09:30am. After 14-hours flight from Sao Paulo to Dubai, 5 hours waiting for transfer to Delhi and more 4.5-hours flight from Dubai do Delhi, we finally arrive in Delhi. The long trip and the +08:30 time gap between India and home left us as zombies, but we were very excited the trip was just beginning, so after immigration proceedings we went exchange some money (“some money” indeed is not appropriate since the dollar-rupees rate produced a huge pile of 100 rupees bills) and next were already searching for Mrs. Daljeet, our local agent from India Safaris. We have been in contact for so much time planning the trip that we were truly anxious to meet her personally.
Everything was ready, the driver, Johnson, took us for our hotel in Delhi (The Luthyens Bungalows) – a very simple guesthouse located in the embassies regions, called Imperial City. The place has a country-side style (not so well-conserved to be honest), but fair enough for a couple o nights as the main objective of this trip was not in Delhi.
We have quickly got installed and have been briefed by Daljeet about the plans, trains tickets, vouchers and everything, and after a late-breakfast we have soon departed for the first part of the visit to Delhi. Actually, Delhi has surprised us with a quite green-look (not a vertical city with lots of buildings and no trees) and we headed towards the Red Fort for the first ancient site in the list.
2. Parakeet in the hotel backyard
The Red Fort is located in Old Delhi (for local people Delhi city is only one, there is no Old Delhi or New Delhi, actually the Old Delhi is newer than most part of New Delhi, because the Old/New reference is far behind in India’s history and Old Delhi has been destroyed and rebuilt after Delhi had been already expanded toward New Delhi’s side). Red Fort built in Delhi by the emperor Shah Jahan, has been inspired in the Agra Fort, so that the same architecture and design has moved from Agra to Delhi after Agra lost its post of Mughal Empire capital to Delhi.
3. Main Gate (Lahore Gate)
4. Diwan-i-Aam courtyard view from the throne balcony
Actually our objective is not to tell the details of the history and architecture (we admit that there is a lot of interesting things we have learned after listening to the guide’s lectures, but we would have to spend dozens of pages just telling the years of stories around the monuments), we would rather share the beautiful pictures taken in these places to give you an idea of them, and let you decide if it is interesting to visit them if you ever get to India.
The Red Fort is all surrounded by a big defense wall and the buildings inside are all made of red sandstone or white marble with all sort of gems inlays. There is a lovely green garden, very pleasant to refrain a bit of the heat of India’s summer.
5. Diwan-i-Aam pavilion columns
6. Lady´s Chamber columns
7. Courtyard with white pavilions in marble
Out of Red Fort, we’ve met Surya waiting with a rickshaw driver to take us to the mosque of Jama Masjid of Delhi, also located in Old Delhi just a few blocks far from the Red Fort. The rickshaw ride is really crazy because the driver find his way through the narrow streets of the Chandni Chowk amongst other rickshaws, tuc-tucs, cows, buses, people, dogs, cars, bikes, scooters, motorbikes, unbelievably without shocking with anybody or anything in the middle of the way. It is a good opportunity to see the alleys where the small businesses dedicated to selling the tissues, saris and brocades for the colorful Indian wedding clothes.
8. Rickshaw ride staring point
9. Chadni Chowk market stores
The rickshaw dropped us at the entrance of Jama Masjid mosque (Friday’s Mosque), where we had to leave our shoes by the door and Alessandra had to wear a Muslim’s dress over her clothes before entering. The building is a mosque (what else to say…), it is a huge massive mosque also built mostly on red sandstone – the time of the day was not so good for pictures since we had the sun shining hard at noon time when we were there, but we have selected some interesting angles to give a slight glance of it for you.
10. Jama Masjid main façade
11. Jama Masjid main entrance from inside
12. Jama Masjid ornaments
After this session, we started heading back to New Delhi area again, where we have started to see the second part of the first day in the city.
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