Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Marathon - Day 6, Part 1

Our day started at 9.30 when we were picked up by Sanjay and greeted by our tour guide for the day and were driven to our first stop of the day.

The first place was Jama Masjid Mosque in Old Delhi, which was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (the builder of the Taj Mahal), and completed in the year 1628 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India. It’s constructed of red sandstone and black and white marble. It has three entrances that lead into a huge courtyard that is big enough to house up to 25000 worshippers at any one time.

Jama Masjid Mosque

Inside the Mosque
We entered through the main entrance, but before we were allowed into the courtyard, we had to take off our shoes and cover up. As the floor was hot we bought some slippers from a vendor at the gate and hire some robes to wear because we had too much skin on show. The robes were huge, brightly coloured and looked like silky bath robes! They made us look ridiculous! Luckily for Tom though, he was covered up enough so he didn’t have wear one. He also chose not to wear any slippers either and just have bare feet. I’m glad I did though because the floor was so hot! It felt like you were walking on a bare flame! Which was crazy considering it was only about 10.30 in the morning, the sun was that hot already!

Mum and dad in their sexy robes!

Check us out!
It was really peaceful walking around the courtyard and it was a great place to people watch. The best part of the visit though was the climb up one of the minarets. It was a long walk up a spiral staircase to the top which was just a small platform that surrounded the opening to the staircase. The view from up there was amazing and I took a few pictures but I did get a bit scared at one point whilst taking them that I was going to be blown by the wind backwards down the spiral staircase!

Minaret we climbed

Spiral staircase

Me and Tom looking happy at the top! 

The next place to see was Laxminarayan Temple which is a huge, beautiful modern Hindu Temple that was built in honour of Lakshmi (Hindu Goddess of Wealth) in 1939 and was opened by Mahatma Gandhi. The building is made mainly from red sandstone and Makrana Marble (the same marble that the Taj Mahal is made of) and is adorned with carvings and paintings from Indian mythology.

Laxminarayan Temple

Once again before we were let in, we had to take off our shoes and in addition leave any mobile phones and video cameras in a locker. The marble floor was scorching, but luckily we still had our sexy slippers to wear! One thing I learnt that day though was to not wear them whilst walking down marble stairs because I slipped and fell down a small flight on the way out of the temple and smacked my elbow on the ground! I fortunately didn’t break anything but oh my gosh it hurt so much and I have to admit it was a bit embarrassing too!

The next place on the list was Raj Ghat which is a beautifully well kept memorial park. It had a stone footpath flanked by lawns that led to a walled enclosure that housed a black marble platform that marked the spot where Gandhi was cremated in 1948.

Black marble platform where Gandhi was cremated in Raj Ghat

Raj Ghat

Once again, we had to take our shoes off but stupidly we’d left our slippers in the car! The paths, even though they were covered in a carpet, were so hot! I practically ran to the nearest patch of shade I could see! Even the grass was hot, so walking on that wasn’t even an option to cool my feet.

The next stop was the Bahá'í House of Worship or Lotus Temple. It was built in 1986 and it is a place of worship for the Bahá'í Faith which is a religion that was founded in the 19th century in Persia that believes in one God and emphasises the spirituality of all humans regardless of their religion. Currently there are 7 houses of worship worldwide.

Lotus Temple, it too is made of Makrana Marble

Mum and dad

I think this was one of my favourite places of the day. The building is very impressive and in parts it reminded me of The Sydney Opera House. The building is surrounded by beautiful grounds and large pools of water. 

As with nearly all the places we visited that day, we had to take our shoes off but the ground was covered in hessian carpet which seemed to take the edge off the heat somewhat.

At the pool side underneath the temple

Inside the temple, it was just one large plan white hall with a really high vaulted ceiling that birds were flying around in. It had large windows all around and was filled with lots of wooden benches were you could sit and reflect in the deadly silence. We only sat in there for a little while as it was quite difficult for us all to not speak for that long!

To be continued..........


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