Day Two–Delhi, Red Fort, Chandi Chowk Spice Market

It doesn’t feel like I’m here yet at all. Woke up at 9am and had a quick and cold wash with a bucket and jug (have to conserve water wherever we can) and then ate breakfast. Met all of the rest of the group; Claire from NY, Ju Lee from Malaysia, Adam from Seattle, Maggie from B.C. and Janalee from CA (I think) and Anne from Chicago.

After breakfast we took rickshaws to Red Fort (Lal Qil’ah), an old Mughal era fort. Built by Shah Jahan in the 1700’s. It’s beautiful. but also very hot. We were greeted by intense security–scanners, pat-downs, and soldiers with guns around every corner… it did make me wonder why?

After a while I did get used to them even though it was disconcerting at first!

There are huge Bodhi trees everywhere filled with parrots and chipmunks and miner birds. Clusters of people huddle gratefully in the shade before tumbling back out into the vapid heat.

but also many people asking for money, or trying to sell some nicknack or other. At first it was interesting, but it soon became very annoying. After the fort we resumed the rickshaw ride and visited a Sikh temple in the center of Delhi.

We had to take off our shoes, and bathe our hands and feet. We also had to cover our heads.. and this was accomplished with the aid of our guide:

The level of religious devotion is palpable here. It is in everything. A great many people were praying today, but it seems as though this is just a normal day. The Sikhs also run a kitchen, where they feed devotees for free. Huge pots sputtered and bubbled over blue flickering heat. Women in blue and white saris giggled self-conciously as we stared in awe at their speedy chapati making. It seems that there are people everywhere; so much seems hidden in our lives, here… everything is an open book. People urinate in the streets, they cook outside or grind sugar cane into sweet juice. Everything is visible.

Clambering back aboard the trusty rickshaws once again, we dove off into the sea of traffic (and cows) once more. This time we headed to Chandi Chowk Spice Market. A warren of narrow lanes overflowing with bright silks, fly-covered meats and snacks, and all manner of items. The constant chatter and stabbing colours bore a painful assault on my sense.

 

 


Jain Temple, Chandi Chowk


Taking a nap, Connaught Place


Sikh Gentleman, Connaught Place

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