Sunday, 23 October 2016

A day of sightseeing...

Good Afternoon, Katie here!

After 3 good nights sleep (for me anyway!) we were up and breakfasted for our meeting at 930am. A few of us were brave enough to try the Indian potato curry for breakfast - it definitely had a kick to start the morning. Our meeting summarised the plan for the day after reassuring words from the Bible and couple of songs. (Don't think we will be entering any choir competitions soon!).

Our first stop on our day of sight seeing was Humayun's tomb. This is in an incredible, sandstone original version of the Taj Mahal, it left us all a little speechless. As you walk around the grounds and the impressive tomb you are struck by a sense of calm and peace. There was quiet, birds chirping and small hushed tones between groups - not even a car horn to be heard! The building was made from sandstone and marble and each grate was formed of a unique pattern followed through the main tomb and the adjoining rooms to family members. The quiet reflected the tranquility and importance of the grounds and building itself; allowing each of us to have some time and thoughts to ourselves.

After this we endured yet another 'experience' on New Delhi's roads and their road system will never fail to amaze me. Saying that, we all feel very safe with our drivers and we are currently up to a total of 6 in the competition of spotting a Tuk-tuk with the most number of people of on. Khan market was our next stop and more middle class with recognisable British shops and a sense of safety from the vast number of security guards outside restaurants and shops. We went to "The Big Chill" for lunch which from the outside looks like a dilapidated doorway but holds host to a morden style American diner. The amazing food continues (Peter very kindly shared his Oreo cheesecake with the entire group) and all of us were desperate to have the salads on the side of our plates but thought better of it; except Maverick Ruth of course!

Next on the list was of stops was the Lotus Temple. This is the house of worship for the Baha'i faith, a faith founded in Persia in the 19th Century. The building was completed in 1986 which was evident from the impressive structure, clean lines and Morden architecture. It stuck me as to how accepting Delhi is in regards to religion, having visited several different places of worship for varying religions in the short time we have been here already; something we can all learn from.

My favourite stop was next, the Qutb-complex. Here housed the Qutb-minar, a beautiful 72.5m tall pillar which was constructed at the end of the 12th century. The minar is also constructed of sandstone, except the top two layers which are covered in marble after the previous top tower was damaged by lightening. Lightening damage struck (pun intended) twice more but thankfully it remains in tact as the tallest minar known in the world. There were other incredible monuments to look at here, one was a small building that marks the beginning of Islamic architecture as we know it today. Additionally there was an un-rusting iron pillar that had been moved to the areas in the 11th century. The 24ft pillar has a large percentage of phosphorous in its outside layer which has led to the lack of rusting and it weighs an extraordinary 6000kg! The pillar, originally holding a statue of Vishnu has been lost/removed from now. We also saw the abandoned attempts of another minar, designed to be grander and twice the size, however it remains at 25m of rubble as not future generation wanted to take it on after the founder passed away - a sad tale indeed.

Interestingly all taxis here have a sticker that says "this taxi respects women"; a government initiative to reduce the number of sexual attacks in taxis on women by taxi drivers. Each sticker has a code relating to the taxi and all taxi drivers have had to had training and passed a test, a very good idea indeed.

We are off for dinner at the YWCA later today, some already swapping to the Chinese side of the menu to branch away from curry. No doubt we all will at some point this holiday!

Hope all is well at home - sending our love xx


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