Thursday, January 22, 2009

Trip to Delhi

Hubby and me visited Delhi from 05 to 06 January 2009. As I wrote in the previous post, we had travelled from Delhi to Chandigarh by my older brother's car on 3rd of January, and visited his family and did sightseeing in Chandigarh for two days. In the afternoon of 5th of January, my brother, hubby, and me returned back to Delhi by car.

5th January
We reached Delhi at about 4.30 pm. As it was still too early to go to my brother's home (he lives in Delhi because of his job), we decided to do a bit of sightseeing the same day.
First we went to see the Bahai House of Worship. It is also known as the Lotus Temple and is located in the village of Bahapur near Kalkaji, south of Delhi. Shaped like a half opened Lotus flower, this 40 meter high temple is made of marble, cement, dolomite, and sand. The architecture of the temple represents a blend of both traditional and modern engineering expertise. The credit for the architecture of the temple goes to the Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba. The temple structure has 27 freestanding giant white marble petals and nine sparkling pools that are indicative of the nine unifying spiritual paths of the Bahai faith. The temple has no restrictions for visitors and is open to people from all religions and faiths. The place provides an ideal environment for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility. The temple was inaugurated in 1986. Since its inception, it is estimated that the temple has attracted more than 50 million visitors. We were unaware that the temple remains closed on Mondays. So 5th of January being a Monday, it was very unfortunate that we could not enter inside the temple. However, the temple was clearly visible with a very nice and stunning view from outside the temple complex. The temple looked wonderful and remarkable.
The Lotus Temple

Hubby standing on a pillared wall outside the Lotus Temple complex

Hubby, me, and the Lotus Temple

Next, we went to see the Qutub complex. Qutub complex, also spelled Qutb, is an array of ancient and medieval monuments, structures, and ruins at Mehrauli in Delhi. This complex was first constructed by Qutub-ud-din Aibak who established the first Islamic sultanate in the Indian subcontinent in Delhi in 1192, and his successor Iltutmish in his new city called the Qila-Rai-Pithora near Prithivraj Chauhan's older city. The complex was added to by many subsequent rulers, including Iltutmish and Ala ud din Khilji. The Qutub complex was accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1993. The most famous monument situated in the complex is the Qutub Minar; other important constructions in the complex are the Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque, the Alai Gate, the Alai Minar, and the Iron pillar.

Me in front of the Tarikhul Islam Mosque located near the Qutub complex

Brother and me inside the Qutub complex

Hubby and me inside the Qutub complex

Notice indicating the World Heritage status of the Qutub complex

The soaring tower of Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret of the world. Construction of the Minar commenced in 1193 under the orders of Qutub-ud-din Aibak who completed only the first storey, while the next three stories of the Minar were built by Iltutmish in 1230. The Minar was damaged in 1322 and was repaired by Mohammad Bin Tughlaq. The fifth storey was added by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in 1368. Qutub Minar is a 72.5 meters high stately tower and is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afgan architecture. The tower has 379 steps leading to the top. The base of the tower is 14.3 metres wide and the top floor is 2.75 meters wide. Qutub Minar is a five storied tower. Each storey is marked by a balcony. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone, while the fourth and fifth are made of marble sandstone.

Qutub Minar from afar

Hubby and me in front of the Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar is the tallest structure in the vicinity which makes it imposing and grand.

View of Qutub Minar from inside the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque

Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, to the northeast of the Minar is the first mosque to be built in India and one of the most spectacular in the world. Its construction was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1192 and was completed in 1198. It has a rectangular courtyard. The courtyard is enclosed by cloisters which were erected with carved columns and other architectural members of twenty seven Hindu and Jain temples, which were demolished by Qutub-ud-din Aibak. The mosque is in ruins today but indigenous corbelled arches, floral motifs, and geometric patterns can be seen among the Islamic architectural structures. It was almost dark when we reached the mosque. However, wonderful lighting arrangement has been added to the Qutub complex by Delhi tourism. After we entered the mosque, the whole premise glowed up with ambrosial lights, which cast a mesmerising spell.

Outside the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Part of Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque (outside view) on the left side of the main entrance of the mosque

Colonnade standing just outside the mosque on the right side of the main entrance

Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. Many pillars were used to support the hallway.

Qutub Minar towering above the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque

A famous Iron Pillar, which was erected in the 4th Century AD, is located in the courtyard of Quwwat-ul-Islam. It raises to a height of 7 meters and weighs more than 6 tons. The Sanskrit inscriptions on the pillar tells that it was erected in honour of Hindu god Vishnu and the memory of Chandra Gupta. It is made up of 98% wrought iron and it stood the test of time of more than 1600 years without rust or decomposition. This proclaims the metallurgical excellence of ancient India.

The iron pillar

Since it was quite dark, we skipped seeing the tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Darwaza, and the incomplete Alai Minar building started by Ala ud din Khilji in the Qutub complex.
We reached my brother's home in the outskirts of Delhi at about 8 pm. We all had skipped lunch to do the sightseeing. So we were very hungry and ate almost all the packed lunch (there was a lot) that bhabhi gave us when we started our travel from Chandigarh to Delhi. My brother and hubby ended the day by having Suntory Yamazaki pure malt whisky and Suntory Hibiki malt and grain blended whisky that hubby had carried from Japan as a present for my brother. Both looked rather drunk after a couple of strong pegs!
Suntory whisky

Brother and hubby posing for the photo. Looks like they are really drunk!

6th January
Due to too much travel, sightseeing, and over-eating delicious spicy food for almost 10 days, I felt sick after waking up in the morning. As hubby and me were to take a flight in the evening to return back to Japan and had a long travel ahead of us, we decided to take the morning easy and relax at home. I started feeling better by 11 am. My brother cooked potato curry and rice and we had them for lunch along with many other items leftover from bhabi's packed lunch.
It was the first time that hubby and me visited the present home of my brother. We noticed that my brother's home was amazingly big with many rooms. We took a few photos of us in one of the rooms for keepsake.

Me and hubby in my brother's home

A cute looking phone at my brother's home

We left my brother's home with our luggage at about 12.30 pm. My brother accompanied us and we did further sightseeing in Delhi. We used my brother's car to move around in Delhi, which was very convenient and saved a lot of time.
First we went to see the Raj Ghat. It is located near Connaught Place, New Delh. Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. It is located on the banks of the river Yamuna and is surrounded by a wooded area and several exotic shrubs that give the area a serene ambience. A stone footpath flanked by lawns leads to the walled enclosure that houses the memorial. The memorial is a black marble platform that marks the spot of Gandhi's cremation on 31 January, 1948. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. The memorial has the epitaph 'Hey Ram' (meaning 'O God'), which is believed to be the last words uttered by Gandhi. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi are located near by. The cremation sites of several other famous leaders are located in the vicinity of Raj Ghat. Hubby and me felt very calm after visiting the place. Later we went to a nearby bookstore and purchased a biography of Gandhi entitled 'The Life of Mahatma Gandhi' authored by Louis Fischer.

Entrance of the Raj Ghat

A stone footpath flanked by lawns leads to the memorial

A board in the footpath displaying 'Happy New year' patterned from Marigold flowers

Words of Mahatma Gandhi at the entrance of the walled enclosure of the memorial

Mahatma Gandhi memorial inside the walled enclosure with beautiful lawns

Mahatma Gandhi memorial

Me and hubby in front of the memorial

Flame burning perpetually in the memorial

Brother and me near the memorial

Next, we went to see the India Gate. It is located at Rajpath, New Delhi. India Gate is 42 meters high and is a popular relaxation area during the summer evenings and a popular pinic spot during winter. Also known as the All India War Memorial, the historic monument was constructed as a memorial to commemorate the 90,000 soldiers who laid down their lives during world war I. It is one of the largest war memorials in India. The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Another memorial, 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' or the flame of the immortal warrior burns under it since 1971. The eternal flame reminds the sacrifice of brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.

An empty canopy and India Gate

India Gate

Me and brother in front of India Gate

Hubby and me in front of India Gate

Facing the India Gate is an empty canopy, which used to hold a statue of King George V in it. But the statue was removed and placed in Coronation Park. The canopy, which was also designed by Edwin Lutyens, now stands empty. However, it is a very elegant structure even without any statue in it.

Me and hubby in front of the empty canopy near India Gate

It was 2.30 pm by the time we finished seeing the India Gate. After that we decided not to do any more sightseeing and went to the Indira Gandhi International Airport. We reached the airport by 3.10 pm. My brother, hubby, and me had coffee at the waiting lounge of the airport. At 3.30 pm by brother said bye and left us at the airport. Later we had Chinese fried rice at the restaurant in the waiting lounge.

Hubby having Chinese fried rice at a restaurant in the waiting lounge of the airport

At 4.15 pm, we entered the airport. Japan Airlines flight to Narita was at 7.50 pm and we reached Narita at 7 am on 7th of January. Later, we took domestic flight from Handa airport and reached Akita airport at 2.30 pm. As soon as we came out of the airport, we saw snow everywhere. We reached home by 3.30 pm.


google said...

fotos are real good...

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thanks google for appreciating the photos.

google said...

where did you get the daru?

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

We bought the daru after security check up at a duty-free shop in Narita airport. We could take it with us in the aeroplane cabin. But after reaching Delhi, we had to put the daru in the checked-in luggage, as we cannot carry daru in the cabin in domestic flights in India. Fortunately, the bottles did not break during all the journey!

Ashish said...

The daru was jhakas. yeh dil mange more

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Yes Ashish Dada, I guess the daru was jhakas. I remember you jhum-jhuming afterwards :)... Wish to meet you all soon...