I had an extra day in Delhi so I decided to see two of the many sights that I had missed on previous visits: Purana Qila and the National Museum. Read on!
Purana Qila, the “old fort”, was handy and so I decided to take a walk around there. It was built between 1533-1550s by the second Mughal emperor, Humayan. Apparently he slipped on some steps inside the Sher Mandal (see below), and died a few days later; I recall visiting Humayun’s tomb twice earlier.
There’s not much left but some of the walls and two or three main buildings, notably the mosque and the library building [photos]. Interesting, but not nearly as well-kept as the Red Fort. Still, a very pleasant place for a walk. Indeed, there were dozens of happy couples, one under each shady tree it seemed, each in their own blissful snuggle.
The Rajpath is not far, so I headed past the India Gate and down the path (what in Washington DC they might call the “mall”) to the National Museum. I had heard this was most impressive, and was not disappointed. Of course, the museum has a lot to work with, curating the history of a region that has been settled by civilizations for over 9,000 years. They have an astounding array of artifacts from nearly that far back. Statues of Hindu gods and goddesses, many over 1,000 years old, heck even over 2,000 years old, are numerous. My personal favorite – as a past collector of coins – was the numismatist room, with large displays of coins over every region and era. I also enjoyed the miniature paintings, the diagrams showing two thousand year of evolution of various Indian scripts (shapes of written characters), and the amazing tapestry. My [photos] won’t do any of it justice. I had a quick buffet of rice, curry, and naan, in the museum cafeteria for Rs200.
I coerced my taxi driver into dragging me about town, looking for various kinds of shops so I could tackle the shopping list I had brought, but managed to get all the groceries and gifts I needed. I snagged a few [photos] from the streets of Delhi.
Later, I headed out for one last thing: a box of sweets (ladoo and burfi), and for a real masala dosa. (The hotel made them for breakfast, but heck, I can make a better masala dosa myself.) So I tracked down a Karnataka restaurant and had two excellent dosa, a lassi, bottled water, and tea. Yum! [photos] The taxi ride (Rs500!) cost more than a kilo of sweets (Rs320) and dinner (Rs145) combined.
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