Delhi – the start of our India adventure

Delhi – the start of our Indian adventure.  After our flight (Denver – Boston – Dubai – Delhi) and an 11.5 hour time change, we arrived in Delhi on a Sunday afternoon after leaving Denver on Friday night.

Below is a shot of Dubai from the plane.  Poor quality photo with my iPhone but the only shot of Dubai I was able to get.  We had a short layover in Dubai going to Delhi and on our way back to Denver we had a 9 ½ hour layover but it was from midnight until 9:30am the next morning so not much we would have been able to see in the middle of the night.  In this shot you can see the Burj Khalifa, which rises 828 metres (2,717 ft) and contains 209 floors and is currently the tallest building in the world.

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We were met by our driver at the airport and welcomed with the traditional flower garland.  Garlands are used to honor guests when they arrive. Indian culture believes in saying “Athithi Devo Bhava”, meaning “Guest is God”. Since the Gods are honored with flower garlands, likewise flower garlands are used to welcome the guests.

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A view looking out of our hotel window with a guy carrying a huge load on his bicycle.

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Exhausted from our flight, we laid down to rest, intending to go out exploring later in the evening.  However, we ended up staying in and sleeping the rest of the evening/night.  We were to be picked up at 8:30am the next morning by our driver for our tour of Delhi.

Our first stop the next morning was the Jama Masjid Mosque.  It is one of the largest mosques in India.  The mosque was completed in 1656 AD with three great gates, four towers and two 40 m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 persons. There are three domes on the terrace which are surrounded by the two minarets.

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Next stop was the Raj Ghat-Gandhi Memorial.

It is a black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation.

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Next stop – Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.

It is one of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship in Delhi.  As with all Sikh Gurdwaras, the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race or religion may eat in the Gurdwara kitchen (langar hall). The Langar (food) is prepared by gursikhs who work there and also by volunteers who like to help out.

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Next stop – Parliament House.

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Next stop – India Gate.

India gate is a memorial to 82,000 soldiers of the undivided Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War.  13,300 servicemen’s names, including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom, are inscribed on the gate.

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Next stop – Qutub Minar Complex.

This complex contains an array of monuments and buildings.  The best-known structure in the complex is the Qutb Minar. The Qutb Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world, inspired by the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan.  Its construction marked the beginning of Muslim rule in India. The Qutb Minar is 72.5 meters (239 ft) high, has five distinct stories, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a diameter of 14.3 meters at the base to 2.7 meters at the top, which is 379 steps away.

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Alauddin Khilji started building the Alai Minar.  He conceived this tower to be two times higher than Qutub Minar.  The construction was however abandoned, just after the completion of the 24.5-meter-high (80 ft) first-story core; soon after the death of Alauddin in 1316, and never taken up by his successors.

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Alai Darwaza (Alai Gate), the entrance to the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque.

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Looking up into the dome of the Alai Darwaza.

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The ruins of the Qubbat-ul-Islam (or dome of Islam) mosque started in 1193 CE by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak to mark his victory over Rajputs.

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Intricate stone carvings on the cloister columns at Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque.  The columns resemble Hindu Temple Pillars.

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The tomb of the Delhi Sultanate ruler, Iltutmish, the second Sultan of Delhi.

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Next stop – Lotus Temple.  The temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship.  The building is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides,with nine doors opening onto a central hall with height of slightly over 40 meters and a capacity of 2,500 people.  Unfortunately the day we were in Delhi, the Lotus Temple was closed so we only were able to grab a quick picture of it through a fence.

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I was also able to capture a shot of the Lotus Temple from the plane as we were flying back to Delhi from Bagdogra.

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After a long day of touring Delhi in the heat, it was time to call it a day and head back to our hotel.  After dinner, we decided to head out and check out one of the local markets.

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Time to head back to the hotel for bed and get ready to head out to Agra in the morning!

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