ThE EXPERIENCE BEGINS IN OLD DELHI   7 comments

First of all I want to challenge the date I mentioned in the previous post. According to our guide, Muslims invaded India regularly to rape and pillage until 1142 when they decided to stay, destroyed churches and turned some to mosques. And that leads me to point out something about our first sightseeing day in Old Delhi. Right from the beginning there’s the evidence of a mix of religions — not just side by side, but seemingly more intimately connected than that in some cases.

I’m not sure it shows well in the photo, but monks were a common site wherever we went, including at the Gandhi memorial (below). look at the far end.

As the label of the photo indicates, Ghandi was assassinated  on January 3, 1948, shortly after he had accomplished his goal of independence for India.

Assasinated January 3, 1948

There is no doubt Ghandi is revered in India. Each person who did a presentation for us started out with the story of his accomplishments and assassination. In a later blog I’ll take you with me to the site where he was murdered.

Add to this memorial the statue in the same location.

Now on to our next experience. One advantage to being a real grownup is that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do — well, mostly. Like I don’t have to do that scary thing of climbing long flights of stairs with no railing — unless I really want to reach the goal (In which case there were wonderful people ready to hold my hand.) In the following case, the goal was the Jama Masjid mosque. Karanveer, our guide, was good to me. He helped thread me through the crazy Indian traffic so I could get a photo of the mosque from the bottom of the steps. I left it up to the others to climb to the inside.

But I think I may have had the more memorable experience as someone else threaded me back to the bus so I got a photo of the mosque with a good view of the traffic.

As for the traffic, it’s no news to anyone else who has been there, but the fact is the roads are shared by cars, busses, bicycles, rickshaws, people, cows, motorized rickshaws, and dogs — many of who were sleeping in the middle of the road — all of whom seem to be going wherever and whenever they want to go. But they all survive. Even the cars seem dent free.

We figured out it’s a dance, the rules for which we are not familiar. But on another day, as I was trailing along with the group, following the leader across the street, there was suddenly at my right hand a car. I stopped and threw up my hands (like any good American would do, I guess) and I think the driver did the same. It dawned on me as I made it safely across the street that I had interrupted the dance. If I had just kept going at my pace there would have been plenty of room behind me for the car.

That wasn’t the end of our days adventure. There’s a rickshaw ride to come. But I’m ready for bed now, so that story will have to wait for my next entry.

7 responses to “ThE EXPERIENCE BEGINS IN OLD DELHI

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  1. Love it! and I have a question – how do you tip people in India? how do you not being harassed completely out of your mind for money everywhere

    • Oh Leelah, the poverty is so hard to see. And we were told in our initial meeting with the Smithsonian guide that we should completely ignore them. “Don’t even look at them.” We were told the same thing in Egypt. There is no other way to handle it, even though there are temptations. One temptation is that so many of them have such lovely, welcoming smiles. I commented that being poor in India might be psychologically less distressing than in the U.S. because of the Caste system which still has a hold on the country. In the U.S., poor people are likely to believe it’s their own fault they are poor. In India it’s clearly related to the caste into which they were born, so my guess is there would be less self-blame.The folks traveling with me didn’t agree, but I’m kind of accustomed to being odd man out when it comes to people things.

      Many of us did, however, comment on the smiling welcome we received at all levels. I particularly remember one man with no hands who had the most generous smile. After I got back on the bus I realized he might have liked just to have someone touch his stumps. Anyway, unless someone was selling something I wanted to buy, and the guide had said it was a good place to buy it, I followed his instructions.

      I want to reiterate, though, that kind welcoming prevailed.

    • p.s. Leelah, I just realized you asked about tips. Where it would be appropriate to tip as, for example, after meals or with hotel portage, the tour guides handled it, so I have no useful answer.

  2. Great pictures and story – I enjoyed visiting India virtually via your post.

  3. WOW

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