As I told you, I had to leave my roller suitcase behind in Singapore. But I still had too much luggage, especially since I started shopping in India. So not to get into hot water with the airlines, where they charge at times $32/kg of excess baggage, I decided to ship some used clothing home. So Shampi and I embarked on finding DHL, the address was obviously somehow nebulous. We drove up and down a main road a lot, until we finally found it. I had brought a bag of clothing to be boxed. When they told me the price, I almost fell over, it would probably have been easier and cheaper to toss the clothes and buy new ones for that money. But I like my clothes, so I did it. Altogether it took a couple of hours out of my day.
Relaxation was on the plan after that stress, and it was a lovely sunny spring day, so I opted for Lodi Gardens. Lodi Gardens is a beautiful large park located in the midst of the residential area. That means, in the heart of the city, where all the embassies and residences for many countries’ ambassadors are located. So you can imagine that the area is maintained very well. I have seen men hand painting the curb stones with little brushes in the Indian colors, Saffron (looks rather orange), and green.
Lodi Gardens are also a bird sanctuary. So there was a lot of chirping going on. Also young couples used the beautiful day to meet in these gardens, sit on the grass or walk hand in hand on the lovely meandering paths.
The area of these gardens were originally two different villages. Lady Willingdon, the Vicereine, decided in 1936 to create a park out of the area. So she sent the villagers to live elsewhere (what did she care?) and build these lawns and that park around those beautiful old tombs from the 15th Century, from the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. They are special and very beautiful, located in these wonderful gardens. Maybe it seemed that way because the birds were singing, soft spring wind was blowing, and there was just such a positive atmosphere. There is also a very old bridge from the 17th century named Athpula, literally meaning “eight piers”. Too much greenery made photographing that bridge difficult.
You can see the paths on the plan. I walked completely around the outside path, and went inside to see all the tombs. In that era they had square and octagonal structures. My favorite was the oldest one, an octagonal tomb, the Tomb of Sheikh Muhammad Shah, who ruled from 1434-44. Inside are the graves of the sultan himself and some of the most favored nobles of his court.
Sheesh Gumbad, below, is supposedly Bahlul Khan Lodi’s Tomb, chief of the Pashtun Lodi tribe and founder of Lodi dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The names of the nobles buried within have long since forgotten.
A little further down the path you can see Bara Gumbad (meaning: big dome). Bara Gumbad has an attached mosque within arcaded walls, built in 1494.
Please feel free to enlarge all those small pictures, they are wonderfully detailed and worth looking at.
As I finished walking around Lodi Gardens, I found at the end (or beginning if you will) of the walkway, short before the exit, a garbage bin, which I could not resist taking a picture of.
After we left, we went to a brand new Hindu Temple. They do not allow to take pictures there inside or out. To get inside presented real hardship. My driver dropped me off at the entrance. I and 10000 other people wanted to go in and see the temple. The first wait for Security was one hour and ten minutes. I stood within those masses of the 10000. Never have I ever been in such a crowd. I was very tempted to give up and leave. But then, by a miracle burst of patience, which is not my strong suit, I waited. Beforehand we were informed that you can take practically nothing inside, even within your purse. So you leave most of the contents of your purse in the car. Still Security was extremely thorough. The purse itself can only have a certain shape and is passed through the x-ray machine. Then you are physically searched and after that you go to another officer, who takes all the contents out of your purse and takes them apart, even the lipstick.
I got this picture off the internet. I tried some before this, all were marred with something in the middle, so you could not copy and use it. They must have missed this one. You can see what a huge complex this is, and this is only a small part of the whole area, there are huge gardens, buildings etc. It’s a whole city in itself. – After the Security search you walk at least a mile to get even near this temple. Then you check in your shoes and walk barefoot up the stairs of the plinth and into the temple.
I have seen so many gorgeous, beautiful, extraordinary, unique tombs and temples and I really did not particularly like this one. It was constructed by 10000 Artisans with the help of 3000 volunteers and opened in 2005. I walked through and around it very fast, and somehow could not get out of there fast enough. Sorry, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
New topic: I love elephants, all my life elephants have been precious to me. I always dreamed that once I go to India, I would be able to see one, not in a zoo, and maybe even ride on one. Well, my driver told me that he doesn’t know about the riding, but he can take me to an elephant. We drove quite a bit outside of Delhi, not too far from where the Hindu Temple was, and finally arrived at a place where one could see an elephant. We veered off the freeway onto a dirt road. It was muddy. The road went down a hillside and at the bottom I saw a few very decrepit corrugated iron huts. The people who lived there, surely had no money at all. These were real live slums. We did not descend the hill, no need to. At our right was an elephant who was chained to a tree with one of his feet. He stood in a pile of garbage, sort of playing in it listlessly with his trunk. He looked thin and poorly taken care of. Actually, absolutely pathetic. While my driver was out there talking to the kids around the elephant, trying to strike a bargain for me to be able to take a picture, I felt so bad for this poor elephant, that I felt if I had had a gun, I would have killed him and helped him out of his misery. I am sure these people had no food for themselves, so I am also sure that the elephant never got any real food.
So, not being able to help myself, suddenly the misery of that tortured animal’s life overcame me and I violently broke out in tears. I never left the car and waved for my driver to get back in. He probably never had seen a grown woman cry this bad, surely never a foreigner, so he was completely out of sorts. He didn’t know what to do with me. We left quickly and on our trip back to Delhi he tried to calm me down by saying a hundred times: I am so sorry to have brought you here! I am so sorry….. — tomorrow I will take you to the zoo, where the elephants have lots of space to roam freely and it will make you feel better. – Well, I never went to the zoo, I didn’t want to risk another eruption of pity for elephants in India. The episode spoiled my day thoroughly.
On our way back to the hotel, Shampi thought he had to cheer me up and show me something I would enjoy. He took me to yet another Government store. Lovely things, beautiful rugs, scarves, shirts, jewelry, whatever the little heart desired. – But I did not feel like buying anything. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful rugs, then I left. The fun had gone out of the day.