View of Delhi in the smog - from Connaught Place

Arriving at  01:30 in Delhi was an almost surreal experience.  The dense fog mixed with pollution gave a stage-set character to the animation of the arrivals taxi yard at the Delhi airport.  Yet we were told that pollution had lessened, due to the mandatory use of natural gas in the motors of buses and auto-rickshaws. Also, the best we can say is that the Delhi airport (named after Indira Gandhi) is not a model of efficiency.

Be that as it may, Delhi is a very large and quite impressive city, of which we saw only a little, although we were there three times (once only to spend a night between airplanes).  So here are some pictures of the few things we saw.

The first afternoon, we hired a car and driver/guide to take us to see Humayun's tomb.  On the way, we went through the Nizamuddin quartier (where we ate in a marvellous Muslim restaurant, Karim's --  highly recommended). We were the only Westerners in the place.

A narrow street in Nizamuddin A pastry cook and seller

After a delicious lunch (really, dinner), we visited the site of Humayum's tomb.  Humayun was an emperor of the Moghul Empire and died in 1556, after having been  in exile in Persia for 15 years.  On his re-accession to the throne, he brought back a Persian architect who designed his tomb, completed in 1565. He introduced into India the complete bulbous dome which later was used in the famous Taj Mahal, built by his grandson.  At the same site are located the tomb and mosque of Isa Khan, one of the Afghan kings who forced Humayun into exile.

Tomb of Isa Khan, built c. 1547 Humayun's tomb
One of the tomb chambers inside
Humayun's tomb
Svetamber Jain Temple, seen through a window inside Humayun's tomb
Chipmunk Snake charmer
A chipmunk at Isa Khan's tomb A snake charmer outside the palace
Cricket players in full Muslim garb in the park next to Humayun's tomb Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Delhi - at the end of our day tour of Delhi we stopped to look at this impressive Hindu temple

On the way back from this brief tour of Delhi, our excellent guide drove us through the government district with its rather drab colonial buildings set out after the pattern of the Mall in London, but with not much of its grandeur. We drove through the India Gate and up the Mall towards the rather fancy-looking Government Palace.

On our return to Delhi almost three weeks later, our young driver from Jaipur had a great deal of trouble finding our hotel. He didn't trust maps so he frequently stopped and asked for the name of the hotel. Where we finally ended up was the wrong hotel with a similar name, but we were tired and so we decided to stay for the night. That's how we got to know the working-class Paharganj quarter.  And, of course, getting to see this quartier populaire definitely added a lot to our experience of the Indian capital. There were the run-down streets, crowded with cars and people, the bazaars, the street sellers and the most incredible overhead electric wiring.

A street in Paharganj A cyber cafe

Typical wiring in the streets of Paharganj Selling what looks like French toast (looks good, too)

More pictures of Delhi are on the next page.

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