Friday, April 6, 2012

A Bus Ride Back to New Delhi, India

I thought I would sleep on the bus today as it was a five hour ride, but there was so much to see, that I was busy the whole time! The road from Agra to Delhi is the oldest road in India. Ash said we would be taking the highway, and after driving for about an hour and wondering when we would get to the highway, I realized we were on it.

Even if the streets and ditches are full of garbage, people meticulously sweep in front of their doors with little brooms. You might not be able to change the big picture, but they work hard at keeping their small area clean.

I love this picture. So many times, kids or people in buses or cars would notice a bus full of tourists and would smile and wave.

This temple, which resembles the Taj Mahal, was constructed for Baba Jai Gurudev, who preaches there and runs a charitable organization. It manages the temple, festivals, a free school for poor children and a free medical dispensary for the needy.

OK, well maybe not all the kids were happy to see us! And would you look at the poor cow in the background.

We saw quite a few school children that morning. Some were on the backs of tuk tuks, flying down the road as they were reading their school books. There is free medical care and education up to age 13. Children are given free lunches to encourage parents to send their children to school.

Cow dung is used for cooking fuel, fertilizer and insulation as the smell keeps the mosquitoes away.

There were 16 people in this tuk tuk!

They look so nonchalant...

I don't know if they were covering up their faces from the smell or the dust...

We stopped after about two hours for a washroom break and a chance to buy coffee or snacks. There was one small store selling everything from t-shirts and skirts, to magnets, jewellery, and so on. We hadn’t had a chance to do any shopping, so this man made a killing that day! Five buses stopped there and everyone wanted to buy something.

Life in the villages hasn’t changed much. One family is not allowed to own more than 300 acres of land and the fields are still harvested by hand. The people in the villages work collectively to harvest the wheat from each other’s fields.

This is a small silo holding food for cattle on the right. Look at the unique shape and design on the cow dung storage hut. Very creative!

Hee haw! They looked like My Little Ponies!

Some of the signs were so interesting!

Ladies with their colourful containers gathering their water...

Water is brought into the small villages. Here you can see a man carrying away water, people bathing and others doing laundry.

Laundry day!

This might have been a wagon repair place?

Someone made an attempt to make this prettier with some pink paint.

And then we were back in New Delhi. Such a change…New Delhi is a beautiful city with lots of parks and wide streets. 

I’m not sure what these were, but they were interesting.

OK, it’s not all modern.

We arrived at our hotel, the same Meridien we stayed at two nights ago, and had lunch before heading out to visit the Qutab Minar.

Qutub Minar was constructed of red sandstone and marble and is the tallest minaret in India. Construction began in 1192 AD. It is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Qur'an. Each of the 5 storeys and tower of Qutub Minar has unique designs.

Another tower was started first, which would have been taller than the Qutab Minar because of the size of its base, but it was abandoned before it was completed.

A nearby mosque had intricate work on the pillars with many figures on them. Because iconic worship is forbidden in the Islam faith, all of the faces were removed from the figures.

The nearby Iron Pillar is one of the world's foremost metallurgical curiosities. It is 98% iron and remains rust free. According to traditional belief, anyone who could encircle the entire column with their arms, with their back towards the pillar, would have their wish granted. However, the government has now built a fence around it for safety.

I think these were parrots of some kind. They loved the outside of the buildings.

There are several arches from previous buildings remaining...

Look at the complex design on some of them...

And then it was back on the bus for a tour by the government buildings. These little girls were approaching the cars and trying to sell something.

This was so interesting. It was “feed the poor” day and when they were finished with their food, they threw the white plates on the ground in a big pile. The garbage is a huge issue.

The government buildings…

And their version of the Champs-Elysees the arch at the far end of the street.

Ash with the sign in four languages: Hindu, English, Punjabi, and Urdu (Pakistan). Ed is trying to decipher the sign.

The media often hangs out by the government buildings.

Relaxing in the shade of the trees. It was at least 37 or 38 degrees Celsius.

Lovely gardens and flowers everywhere. New Delhi is a pretty city.

A beautiful setting for doing laundry…

And with that another day came to an end. Tomorrow we are touring Old Delhi before flying to Mumbai where we will rejoin the ship.

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