We had a couple of visits last week. First, late one evening (after they’d finished work at 11:30) our barbers, Asraf and Talib, came round to see where we lived. They’re a couple of very funny young men and great fun!
We also had a visit from our lovely friend Bosco who drove up from south Goa to see us. We went to his baby son’s Christening when we first arrived in Goa this time and we all wanted to catch up again before he receives his instructions to go back on board ship.
On 12th Jan we flew to Delhi for a week. After a 3 hour, 1500 kilometre journey north we were not far off the Himalayas and the temperature was decidedly cooler than we’d been used to in Goa!
We decided, as is fairly usual, to find a hotel “in the midst of it” and we chose the Main Bazar area of the city. Not only did Doug get his shoes cleaned here but also some major re stitching done! The shoe shine man was like a magician the way he kept finding things from his tiny box.
Here are a few shots around the incredibly busy, and very cramped, main Bazaar.
There literally isn’t more than a few inches to spare between cars, rickshaws, Tuk-tuks, people and cattle. Every possible space is taken up with some form of trading.
Even while the streets are being dug up everything around goes on as normal. Even the banana seller (behind the cart where the lady is dumping soil) is trading with everything dug up around him!
This an area of comparative calm!
Out of the Bazaar area the city takes on a more western feel (although trying to accurately describe Delhi is almost impossible). Walking is definitely not an option to see the sights of the city so we took a Tuk-tuk (!) to our first few destinations on our list. This scene seems to be a very normal traffic situation.
On the way we passed India Gate, the memorial to Indian Army soldiers lost in the line of duty. We were unable to get close due to the current security regulations. The capital seems to be on a constant state of high security. (We passed the entrance to Prime Minister Modi’s official residence and could not take a photo!)
Our first stop was the house where Indira Gandhi lived as Prime Minister of India (1, Safdarjung Road) and where, on the 31 October, 1984 she was assassinated.
The house is free to enter and shows a vast amount of personal effects and descriptions of her life and death. This is the sari, shoes and bag she was wearing when she was shot.
The house has been left as she lived in it with viewing windows into the main rooms. This is her Dressing Room.
Private Sitting Room.
The Drawing Room where she entertained visitors, dignitaries and Heads of State.
On the day of her assassination she walked out of her house and down the path towards her office in Akbar Road where she was to be interviewed by British actor Peter Ustinov.
The last few meters of her walk have been covered in crystal.
As she approached the gate and the sentry box she was fired upon by two security personnel and the place where she fell is covered by a clear sheet of glass. It was 9:20 in the morning. That evening she was to have hosted a dinner in honour of Princess Anne.
The glass panel which marks the assassination spot of Indira Gandhi.
“Indira Gandhi died as she had lived; unafraid, and with courage abiding” Rajiv Gandhi.
We next visited Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti) – the house where Mahatma Gandhi lived for the last 144 days of his life. He had arrived in Delhi in early September 1948 to try to quell the demonstrations at that time.
Inside the house there are numerous tributes to Gandhi’s life and work as Father of the Nation and there is a fine replication of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and his wife Kasturber.
In the gardens you can visit the place where Gandhi prayed every day …..
……. and, from that place, you can look back to the house from where, on 30th January, 1948 he walked as usual towards his place of prayer. Footprints mark his final walk from the house to the spot where, at 5:17 pm he was shot three times by Nathuram Godse a Hindu nationalist.
Gandhi was taken back inside the house where he died.
“A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word” M K Gandhi.
Our final port of call for the day was a quick visit to the area around the main Parliament and government buildings and the President’s Palace.
A lot of Delhi is under high security these days and the Palace is certainly one of them! This is a zoom shot from quite a distance away.
The main government buildings date back to the time of the British occupation and were the design of the famous British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.
It was quite a day for us – especially being able to visit the two Gandhi shrines. Quite a thought provoking day and one in which we learnt quite a lot about Indian political history.