Thursday, March 25, 2010

Delhi as the Accidental Tourist Destination

Thanks to the one perk we have on the job, Leave Travel Concession,
here we are in Delhi to visit family, and also, as tourists. Yes, it is a fabulous
tourist destination, provided you have a comfortable family pad to return to. Or of course you have lots of money to afford hotel accomodation, which comes in all varieties. Tourism is rendered much more effective thanks to the metro which now reaches many destinations, or at any rate always reaches Connaught Place where the metro stop is called Rajiv Chowk. We visited Qutb Minar, and I learnt that the oldest mosque in the sub-continent due to Alauddin Khalji (I remember spelling it Khilji in all school examinations, but political correctness must have taken over) is in the same complex, Humayun's tomb and Lodhi gardens Tuesday. The city is really and I kid you not, full of history in every corner and every pore. We were clearly not the only ones to think of tourism as we ran into Raghu Rangarajan and extended family at Humayun's tomb! Today was the day for the Jama Masjid which is impressive for its sheer size. We walked up to the top of one of the minars, about 130 steps, not counting the 60 or so you have to climb up before you get to the minar, up a narrow spiral staircase, to reach the top from where you have a view of Shahjahanabad. Then a short rickshaw ride to the Red Fort which is also magnificent. There are actully three museums in there, and the entrance to all these costing virtually nothing. Then on to the National Museum just off India Gate on Janpath which is as good a museum as any in the world. But one was already too tired to enjoy these. The trick is not to pack too many things into the same day. And of course, you want to pick the time of the year when the weather is pleasant. Although today was alright, in general it has been 7 degrees hotter than `normal'. Good luck to all of you who want to visit the City of Djinns. And I have not included in this so many other sights such as the Lotus Temple, Birla Mandir, Malai Mandir, National Gallery of Modern Art, Purana Qila, the zoo... (OLO, have I left anything out?).