Thursday, February 16, 2006

A (very) little tourism in India

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a kind shopkeeper, Rajiv, was giving us a ride back to our hotel when he learned we had had no time for sightseeing on our trip. He very kindly drove us around for about half an hour to show us the sights below.

India Gate was originally called the All India War Memorial in memory of the Indian soldiers who died during the Afghan and World Wars. The names of 85,000 Indian Army Soldiers who died during the wars are inscribed on the walls of the structure. Below the arch is the memorial to the Unknown Soldier. An eternal flame called Amar Jawan Jyoti is an eternal flame (it runs on gas) that was lit in 1971 to honour the soldiers.

It sits on a broad boulevard reminiscent of roads in European capitols. This is no coincidence; this entire area was laid out by the British during their colonial rule. Before visiting Delhi, I wasn't sure whether to call the city "Delhi" or "New Delhi." I was thinking maybe it used to be called "New Delhi" by the British, but "Delhi" by the Indians. What I learned on this trip is that "New Delhi" is the section of Delhi that was built in the European manner during the colonial period. Aha! That makes perfect sense.

This huge statue wasn't far from our hotel, and we passed it several times in our travels about the city. I'm afraid this picture doesn't begin to do justice to this magnificent piece of artwork. The Ghandi memorial is a huge statue in bronze commemorating Gandhi's march to the sea to protest the salt tax in 1931. You can see much better photos of it here.

Finally, no trip to India would be complete without a chance to see the little monkeys running around loose. We spotted them atop the Parliament building first, but because of security concerns cars aren't allowed to stop in the street in front of the buildings, so I wasn't able to snap any pictures. So Rajiv took us along a thoroughfare through a relatively "natural" area where the monkeys run loose and tourists buy food to (illegally) feed them.

As you can see, they're not the cutest monkeys on the planet ... but they're monkeys! Loose! It's really fun to see. Check out the babies. You gotta love 'em. Or maybe you don't. Their mothers do.

Well, that was about the extent of our purposeful sightseeing. Even though we did see lots of sights, they weren't the monuments or the temples that you would normally expect to go see during a trip to India. We're hoping to do those on a later trip. For this one, the most important sight was little Hope Aradhana.

When I have time, I'm planning to do one last post containing just miscellaneous stuff seen around on the streets, some pics of some folks we met, etc. And I expect that will be the last post about our fabulous trip to India. So, until then ... TTFN!

1 comment:

Rakesh said...
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