Wednesday, January 13, 2010

India Day 1: Forts in Delhi


Many adjectives conjured up by the name corresponds with the truth - exotic, magical, otherworldly, wacky, fascinating. There is much to share.

December 25, 2009

7:00 a.m. Travel to Delhi. It was a white Christmas in The Hague. L and I walked through fresh, wet snow with our travel bags to the train station. I was already wearing shoes for drier weather; my shoes and socks got wet and I had to dry them out on the airplane. My first time to spend Christmas on an airplane (L's second time).

11:30 p.m. The Magical Mr. MS. Eight hours and a 5 1/2 hour time difference later, we were met at the airport by MS, my classmate and buddy from grad school. MS is a walking encyclopedia, Formula 1 race car driver, human rights lawyer, snooty gourmand, and is, in a word, fabulous.  We stayed in Chez MS while in Delhi and travelled around with MS tours.

December 26, 2009

12:00 p.m. Humayun's Tomb. After overcoming slight jet-lag by ingesting a delicious idli breakfast, we saw Humayun's tomb. Humayun was the second Mughal emperor, and the construction of the tomb was overseen by his senior wife in the 1560s.

2:30 p.m. Lunch at Gunpowder. Fantastic melange of Indian cuisine, with a bias towards Southern Indian. The most interesting item on the menu was "buffalo", but which was, actually, beef (of course generally prohibited in Delhi).

4:00 p.m. Hauz Khas. Originally a madrasa (school), Hauz Khas in now a pretty park interspersed with interesting and well-preserved ruins.

7:00 p.m. Hazrat Nizamuddin. MS and his partner AM gave L a skull cap and me a shawl, and took us to the shrine of Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia, a Chishti saint. No pictures allowed unfortunately, but visiting this holy and peaceful area had to be one of my most unique experiences in Delhi.

8:00 p.m. Dinner at Karim's. Mughlai food - the kind of food known as "Indian food" all over the world. This place had the best kebabs and tandoor chicken I have ever tasted.

10:30 p.m. Drinks at a random dive in Defence Colony. An important discovery was made here: Masala peanuts.