Incredible Northern India Garden Tour
March 3rd - March 15th, 2010
DELHI –AGRA – BHARATPUR - JAIPUR –JODHPUR –UDAIPUR – DELHI

 

March 4th, 2010

Today after breakfast we set off to visit some of the places you always hear about…
Jama Masjid – it holds 25,000 people and what surprised me about this mosque is the pond in front of it. This is where they wash up before entering for prayer, but it is also a place where birds bathe and drink. Wow, a lot to get used to and a gentle reminder to respect where you are visiting. There may be many things you are not used to, but please remember to respect the people and their customs. I mean after all, this has been going on since the 1600’s at this mosque. This is the largest mosque in India. It is one very long hallway set with prayer rugs and again we were surprised that they let us just walk in while some were even in prayer. Very tolerant of us so let us remember to reciprocate.

We then took a rickshaw ride through a labyrinth of alleyways with nary a bit of room to spare. Down wedding street lined with shops selling beads, trim and all manner of items for weddings, then up jewellery lane full of colourful bangles and ended up in pancake alley – you guessed it – lined with stalls that make pancakes with spicy fillings of vegetables. It smelled so good! We then walked down an extremely crowded street full of vehicles, tuk tuks, even oxen pulling carts laden with drygoods to sell. We all stopped when we saw vendors squatting in corners selling beetle nuts wrapped in leaves. Very popular. We ended up facing the Red Fort and although a hazy day you can see why it was called that. The red stone makes this palace even more impressive. The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, after ruling from Agra for eleven years, decided to shift to Delhi and laid the foundation stone of the Red Fort in 1618.

It is called so because of the red stone with which it is built. The Red Fort is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. India's history is also closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of the three century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free from colonial rule.
From here we boarded our coach to drive by India Gate and Parliament House. This is a beautiful area of Dehli with many embassies located along the way. After lunch it was off to see the Bahai Temple, lotus shaped and purely exquisite in design. It is made in the shape of a lotus and is one of the major attractions for national and international tourists. It represents the Bahai's faith which is an independent world religion, divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, broad in its outlook, scientific in its method, humanitarian in its principles and dynamic in the influence it exerts on the hearts and minds of men. All around the lotus are walkways with beautiful curved balustrades, bridges and stairs, which surround the nine pools representing the floating leaves of the lotus. There are 27 petals making up the Lotus shape and the petals are made of white concrete. The exterior of the petals are clad in white Greek marble panels. It holds 1300 people.

Surrounding gardens complete the design.

From there we went to Raj Ghat, The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the west bank of the river Yamuna on the evening of January 31, 1948. A simple open platform inscribed with the Mahatma's last words, 'Hey Ram' (Oh God) is set in a garden with fountains and a variety of exotic trees.

Our last visit of the day was the Qutub Minar. The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storey’s, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. There are also the remains of another there, but the history on it is very faint. It was supposed to be twice as big as the one standing now and as you can see by the pictures, it would have been a wonder to see.
 

 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row