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Published: September 30th 2018
Our hostel has the advantage of being right next to Delhi Gate tube station so after a quick breakfast we went to get the metro across to New Delhi. The wonderful thing about metro systems is that they’re fairly similar world wide and so it was easy to buy a ticket and find our platform. And it’s air conditioned. It’s so similar to home there was even a WHSmith inside the station!
Alighting the tube we walked to Hazrat Nizam-ud-din Dargah. This is the mausoleum of a Muslim Sulfi saint who died in 1325 (Nizam-ud-din). There are a number of later kings and nobles whose tombs are nearby. The shrine is in a bazaar and down narrow lanes past people selling offerings. On the way you see the Baoli, a step well. To enter the shrine itself you need to cover your head but looking around is free so don’t be forced to buy one of the many hats for sale. The area is really busy with pilgrims and there’s lots of traditional music which makes it an interesting place to visit.
Just outside the alleys near the shrine is the meat market where live chickens are for sale
next to the hanging carcasses of goats. There’s no refrigeration and plenty of flies around which makes vegetarianism very appealing.
From the shrine we walked over to Humayans tomb. This sandstone and marble tomb built in the mid 16th century is surrounded by beautiful gardens and over 160 royals are buried in the grounds. Unfortunately belonging to The India Archeology Society its entrance fee has jumped up to 600 rupees each since July 2018. On the plus side it’s a little oasis from busy Delhi and if you come with plenty of food and drink is a beautiful place to relax.
The tomb itself is thought to have helped inspire the Taj Mahal.
The surrounding gardens were first restored by Lord Curzen in 1905 and have since been re done between 1997 and 2003. This is one of the few places we’ve been where the water system is mostly working, with pretty fountains and streams.
From the tomb we headed towards India Gate and some lunch. Delhi is not designed for walking. Our pavement was intermittently blocked off, dug up, covered in razor wire or just left us half way along a 4 carriage main road. We gave
up and got a tuk tuk.
Finding food around India Gate was surprisingly difficult. The restaurants we found were extortionate (more for one plate of rice than we usually spend on a whole meal). We ended up eating a plate of delicious noodles whilst sitting on the curb of a carpark near the gate.
India Gate was built by the British between 1914 and 1931 as a memorial to the Indians who died in WW1 and other operations. It forms one end of the Rajpath - a grand parade between the gate and offices of Indian government designed by Lutyens. The whole area was heaving with visitors.
We walked from India Gate down to the Rashtrapati Bhavan (presidents house). Unfortunately tuk tuks and taxis are allowed along the road but the park land either side is beautifully kept. We also found the view somewhat disappointing given the presence of the Delhi smog.
Part of the gardens was full of military stalls, information and music to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the surgical strike (an Indian military operation against Pakistani held Kashmir). Stephen in particular found seeing the weapons they currently use very interesting (most are Russian in origin
but now made in India).
As we got closer to the Secretariat buildings that flank the drive to the presidents house (and are used by government ministries) the gardens became more elaborate and contained large, working, fountains.
You cannot get that close to the presidents house (unfortunately) but if you’re more organised than us they are tours you can pre-book on line for parts of the house, the gardens and a museum in the old stables (each tour is only 50 rupees each).
From these buildings you can also see the outside of the Indian Parliament. Tired we headed back towards the hostel for dinner and relaxation.
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