Delhi, the capital of India, is a city we really enjoyed.
Actually there are three parts of Delhi.
- Old Delhi is the historic city, the city that has grown organically around the great palaces and mosques of mogul, the emperors of Central Asian origin, who have ruled India for centuries, is that mad, chaotic but authentic and memorable India.
- There is New Delhi, the colonial city, built by the English, desperate for the chaos of the Old city, the planned city, the tall and shady trees, a solemn and precious atmosphere determined by the fact that the state authorities are here.
- And finally, the youngest Delhi is not called Super-New Delhi, but Gurgaon, the modern and funky city where skyscrapers have been built, where the malls have surpassed the bazaars and where the world of business, fashion, that of the twentieth-century India.
Early morning we started our visit in Old Delhi with Jama Masjid Mosque.
Towering over Old Delhi, the mighty Jama Masjid mosques stands as reminder of Mughal architecture and it is considered the largest mosque in India.
The place for sure will impress at the first glimpse.
It was made by Emperor Shah Jahan, who also commissioned the Taj Mahal in Agra. He constructed the mosque, as the central place of worship, after establishing his new capital in Delhi.
We climbed a few stairs where we received something to cover ourselves and also let our shoes there since shoes are not allowed inside.
If you feel it isn’t the most hygienic place, bring your “disposable” slippers because you have to walk across the huge yard before reaching the building.
The mosque is built on an elevated stone platform that is accessible from three sides. The eastern gate is the largest and served as the Royal entrance.
The mosque faces west towards the Holy city of Mecca.
The courtyard in front of the mosque is huge and can accommodate up to 20,000 people during prayer, instead the covered area is quite limited.
Because Chandni Chowk Bazar was very close, this was our next adventure.
Rickshaw Ride in Chandni Chowk – was one of the most unique and entertaining trip.
This place has a history of about 400 years and wandering through the labyrinths gives you the opportunity to explore the bustling bazaar, taste local street food and experience the atmosphere of this chaotic and fascinating indian world.
All your senses will come alive, as you will see the many captivating sights and sounds. It is really chaos, but surprising things are somehow working.Every second, we had the impressions that we will crash into something. We were in the middle of the famous Old Delhi Traffic: rickshaws, bikes, motorbike, carts, pedestrians, monkeys and many more things.
This is the real feel of India.
Next on our list was the Raj Ghat which is the Memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. It is an open air complex which marks the place where Gandhi was cremated. A flame burns constantly at one end of the platform. There are many people coming here to pay their respects.
Then we had a bus ride around New Delhi, the more organized and greener part of Delhi.
Here we sow the India Gate, a memorial for Indian soldiers, Parliament Palace and the Presidential Palace. Unfortunately we didn’t stop to enter any of these place. It was more a sightseeing from the bus.
Gurudwara Temple Bangla Sahib was our next stop.
This is the Sikh Temple. Sikhism comes from the dominant Hindu religion.This religion was founded in northern India in the fifteenth century.
They believe that there is only one God, everybody is equal, a good life is lived as part of a community, by living honestly and caring for others.
They refuse casts and social classes.It is easy to recognize a Sikhism believer. Turbans are their distinctive mark. They never shave so they have huge beards and mustaches. Please note that these believers are taking their religion very seriously. You need to walk around this temple bare foot, otherwise they will throw you out (and not politely).
Last on our list, just around sunset, we reached Qutb Minar, our favorite place in Delhi.
Built in the early 13th century the tower of Qutb Minar is the tallest brick tower in the world.
We loved the surrounding archaeological area for the most spectacular sights perfect oasis away from the chaotic city.
After a good night sleep, early morning we left to Agra, but first we stopped to see the amazing Akshardham Temple, the largest Hindu temple in the world.
When entering the complex, we were breathless. It was such an impressive piece of architecture.
It is quite a new temple, because it was constructed in 2005 by thousands of artisans who carved breathtaking pieces of art using traditional methods.
The temple is a house of worship dedicated to devotion, education and unification and the spiritual premise is that each soul is potentially divine.
Everything is spectacular.
In Akshardham, the main shrine has the central position in the complex.
The architecture is a blend of architectural styles across India. It has 234 ornately carved pillars and nine domes.
At the base there are 148 life sized elephants, a tribute to the elephant importance in Hindu culture and India’s history.
Unfortunately, no photo equipment of any kind is allowed. In fact, no electronic devices like phones or other objects are allowed either. We were advised to leave everything in the bus except for money and passport.
Delhi is the city of contrasts. It can seem chaotic and overwhelming at times. But once you get below its frenetic surface, it offers a rich culture, history and architecture ready to be discovered.