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Pahar Ganj

A favorite jaunt for backpackers, locals, expats and people in general is Pahar Ganj.  It is located near the main New Delhi Railway Station and is it ever BUSY!

Pahar Ganj New Delhi India


Pahar Ganj New Delhi India

Pahar Ganj New Delhi India

Pahar Ganj New Delhi India

Pahar Ganj New Delhi India

 

 

 

Horn Please

John and Lindsay had this idea first (I think?)  and I simply took it and ran with it.You see, all of the lorry trucks in India have a variation of art on the back of the truck with the words:

Horn Please

Horn please

(a rare occurrence that a photo is featured that I did not take – credit to krebsmaus07 from Flickr)

I really wanted a “commissioned piece” so to speak, that represented our time in India.  I thought it might be appropriate to have a canvas painted as though it was the back of a lorry truck.

I chose one of the photos of a lorry truck that I had shot earlier … and from here on out, all of the kudos go to my driver, Kushal, who found the lorry truck painter, and worked for two days to get the directions straight … even down to our new address in Florida, written in Hindi.

Finished product?  Now proudly hanging on my wall …

To market we go – INA Market


Take two … back to the INA Market as we were having fish for dinner last night.  This ain’t your neighborhood Krogers or Giant Eagle, people.
 
In an effort to hopefully somewhat adequately describe this experience … I can tell you that INA is a closed market (not open air) and has what seems to be hundreds of shops.  
Shopping at INA Market in New Delhi


From plasticware to shoes, saris and fabrics, vegetables, meat, fish (both live and already processed), live animals, cheeses, grains, spices, stationery, even “American” items like Lucky Charms and Jif peanut butter.

 

There are no spiffy clean tile floors, no shopping carts and orderly shopping.  There is no hand sanitizer when you first enter, and there is definitely no elevator music to lull your ears while you shop.  

 

There is no mindless shopping here either … you don’t have aisles and aisles and shelves upon shelves to choose from, while on the other hand, there are some instances of MORE than you could ever imagine to choose from.

As you walk through the maze of shops, shop owners call out to you “Need something today, madam?”  or “What can I get for you, madam?”  It is a noisy experience.  Bargaining and negotiation for the best price is a constant.

 

The smell is pretty hard to convey.  Tony had a VERY hard time in this environment because of the smell and the heat.  As an adult, I have been able to mentally push past the smells.  It is a combination of all of those spices, the fresh meat, the animals (and all that comes with animals in containers), loads of hot/sweaty bodies, and simply the smell of India, etc. all combines for a pretty powerful sensory overload.

 

As we walked by the chickens, ducks, roosters and fish — the kids said “awwwwww mom … look at the animals!”

 

Little did they know that if they wanted chicken for dinner, one less “cute little animal” would still be sitting in that cage.

 

There was a hysterical situation with a catfish. A woman asked to purchase a catfish … once wrangled out of the blue bucket, he somehow escaped from his plastic bag (en route to be … well … ready to take home for dinner).  He flopped around the market floor for what seemed like an hour as all of the shop owners chased him around.  The kids found THIS rather amusing.

   
Oh … the fabrics…  I think I’ve gone to heaven.  I canNOT wait until my sewing machine arrives!


I’m going to enjoy our times at the markets!  I am looking forward to trying out Khan, Nehru Place and Dilli Haat after the kids start school!

Qutub Minar

We decided to take some time this weekend to “see the sights” … and headed to Qutub Minar.

Stunning!

 



The Qutab Minar is 72.5 metres (238 ft) tall with 379 steps leading to the top. The diameter of the base is 14.3 meters wide while the top floor measures 2.75 meters in diameter.

The nearby Iron Pillar is one of the world’s foremost metallurgical curiosities, standing in the famous Qutb complex. According to the traditional belief, anyone who can encircle the entire column with their arms, with their back towards the pillar, can have their wish granted. Because of the corrosive qualities of sweat the government has built a fence around it for safety.


Surrounding the building are many fine examples of Indian artwork from the time it was built in 1193.


A second tower was in construction and planned to be taller than the Qutb Minar itself. Its construction ended abruptly when it was about 12 meters tall.The name of this tower is given as Alau Minar and construction of recent studies shows that this structure has been tilted in one direction. It is made of red sandstone all the way except for two stories at the top.

We had such a wonderful time here … the surrounding greens were peaceful as local families shared picnics … and it wasn’t so busy that I wasn’t able to capture photos without other visitors in the shots.

 



Of note is the legendary “skin tax” we’d heard so much about.  If we had been Indian residents, our admission fee to see Qutub Minar would have been Rs. 10 (10 Rupees or the equivalent of $0.20) … because we are foreigners however, our admission price was Rs. 250 per head. ($5.23).  Still a bargain and worth every penny, especially since children under the age of 15 are FREE! One of the few times we didn’t have to pay a dime (or a rupee, rather) for Terran!


More information, if you care to read it ::

Inspired by the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan and wishing to surpass it, Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced construction of the Qutb Minar in 1193, but could only complete its base. His successor, Iltutmish, added three more stories and, in 1386, Firuz Shah Tughluq constructed the fifth and the last story. The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughluq are quite evident in the minaret. Like earlier towers erected by the Ghaznavids and Ghurids in Afghanistan, the Qutb Minar comprises several superposed flanged and cylindrical shafts, separated by balconies carried on Muqarnas corbels. The minaret is made of fluted red sandstone covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur’an. The Qutb Minar is itself built on the ruins of the Lal Kot, the Red Citadel in the city of Dhillika, the capital of the Tomars and the Chauhans, the last Hindu rulers of Delhi. The complex initially housed 27 ancient Jain temples which were destroyed and their debris used to build the Qutb minar.[4] One engraving on the Qutb Minar reads, “Shri Vishwakarma prasade rachita” (Conceived with the grace of Vishwakarma), this is thought to have been engraved by the enslaved Hindu craftsmen who built the minar.


The purpose for building this monument has been variously speculated upon. It could take the usual role of a minaret, calling people for prayer in the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, the earliest extant mosque built by the Delhi Sultans. Other possibilities are a tower of victory, a monument signifying the might of Islam, or a watch tower for defense. Controversy also surrounds the origins for the name of the tower. Many historians believe that the Qutb Minar was named after the first Turkish sultan, Qutb-ud-din Aibak but others contend that it was named in honour of Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, a saint from Baghdad who came to live in India and was greatly venerated by Iltutmish.