I have been happily spending money since Sydney, Singapore and Delhi, drawing from a cash machine. Cash machines have a lot of money, right? But when I checked my bank account, I found out that every time I used the cash machine, I was charged 5$, sometimes 9$. Since I have already been at a cash machine at least 10 times (I always seem to run short), you can figure out how much in fees I already paid. They didn’t tell me that in advance, and I never checked. So, no more of that.
Day Four I decided to visit Humayun’s Tomb. Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor and ruled over a large territory, of what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India between 1530-1540 and again from 1555-56. After his death his senior widow , Haji Begum, commissioned the construction of a very significant memorial. Construction started in 1565, designed by a Persian architect. It is the first great example of a Mughal garden tomb and was inspiration for several later monuments, such as the incomparable Taj Mahal.
Beside the Emperor’s sarcophagus, the graves in it’s chambers include his two favorite wives, as well as Shah Jahan’s scholarly son. So there are two chambers, one with one sarcophagus and one with three. All white marble.
All Mughal architecture is completely symmetrical. The gardens, the guest houses, the mosques inside a tomb’s walls, all are symmetrically placed. That is very confusing. I am really quite good in directions, but twice in two days I got turned around, walking around the tomb, then not knowing which is the ways out, it was really disconcerting.
As I was walking out of Humayun’s Tomb area, I noticed on the left side a gate leading outside to another beautiful monument. I investigated and came upon a tomb which predates Humayun’s by two decades. It is ISA KHAN’s Tomb. There isn’t that much in the literature. But Isa Khan was an Afghan noble who fought the Mughal empire and died in Delhi in 1548. He was part of the ruling Khans, who dominated the continent until about 1525.
The tomb is a wonderful building and it is presently being restored, paid for by the Aga Khan Foundation. There was a poster board with details about it, which I will also include.
It was still drizzling as I walked around the tomb and the gardens. When I was leaving the main gate, it suddenly began to pour. Luckily Shampi was coming towards me with an umbrella.
On the way home we stopped at one of the largest government stores, Dilli Haat, where I really got into trouble. I spent two hours, being served Indian tea and shown fabulous goods. I bought several larger items which I probably shouldn’t have bought, and they were not even cheap. Oh dear!
Indian tea is wonderful, BTW. It is spicy tea called Masala, with milk, steaming hot. Masala means spice, or spices, in Hindi. Many people take it with sugar, then it tastes actually like dessert. I normally take it without, just so that I don’t pick up new bad habits. But here, …….
It was still pouring when I came out. Back to the hotel. Later in the evening Shampi deposited me in a wonderful, but horribly decorated, Indian restaurant. Indians seem to have a fable for blue light. Inside restaurants. Doesn’t do much for my design sense. Also, the restaurants frequently have a very stiff feel. Ambiance is totally lacking. The food was delicious, though. I ate cottage cheese dumplings with cashew nuts inside in a thick, creamy tomato sauce, rice and freshly baked butter naan. Hmmm. And drank a glass of local red wine. Not bad. I didn’t get a headache, that’s a good sign.
I have been told beforehand to brush my teeth only with bottled water. I find that excessive and unnecessary . So far I have not been affected by anything I ate or drank. I think I have a cast iron stomach, dating from the time I lived in Lebanon.
Enough for Day Four. Stay tuned.