Old Delhi

The Jami Masjid
The Jama Masjid, Delhi

Another book by William Dalrymple, The City of Djinns, made us realize how much of Delhi we had not seen in our 2006 visit. So this year, we wanted to see the Mughal city, Shahjahanabad, with its market Chandni Chowk, and also the Nizamuddin Quarter, situated more to the south. We started out by visiting the Mosque, the Jama Masjid, in the morning, with the sunlight shining directly on the facade. And this year, one of us (John) climbed approximately 100 steps to the top of the minaret.

View from minaret Court and pool from minaret
Looking towards Chandni Chowk Court and pool seen from minaret
Red fort from minaret Old Delhi from minare
Red Fort seen from minaret Old Delhi

After that, we walked through the streets northwards toward the market street, Chandni Chowk. On the way, we stepped into a smallish temple to have a look and met four delightful, happy children who, spying cameras, immediately lined up to have their picture taken. Seeing happy kids like this gives you some hope for India.

Wires Street
Check that wiring Street scene near the Jama Masjid
Hanuman Happy kids
Statue of Hanuman, the monkey god, for
the festival
Happy kids

Seeing the market street Chandni Chowk today makes it hard to believe that this could ever have been a pretty and stately street, before the British filled in the stream and tore down all the trees after the 1847 rebellion. Now it's a mass of cars and auto-rickshaws, store after store selling amost everything, several mosques and a gurdwara (Sikh temple). There's one thing it is, though -- lively!

Chandni Chowk Chandni Chowk
Probably a nice building behind all those ads... Traffic
A load Sisganj Gurdwara
A big load Sisganj Gurdwara (Sikh Temple)

Siv: Before going into the temple, our wonderful guide, Raju (and his brother who was a soldier in Calcutta had also joined him on this day) told us to leave our sandals at the visitors' center next to the temple. We then proceeded to go inside, but first we had to go through a small canal of running water to wash our feet. We were then ready to go inside but we had to cover our heads, so they lent us scarves to wear. My hat was sufficient. I didn't need any different headwear. The whole procedure was quite exotic and the mood inside the temple was wonderfully serene. After the visit, we got a lecture in excellent English at the visitors' center about the Sikh branch of Hinduism, where the leitmotif was peace, living in harmony with nature and in peace with other people. I wished that all people in the world could learn some from this Sikh philosophy.

On to getting lost in the Nizamuddin Quarter

Back to India 2007