I don’t know if this was related to the recent blackouts, but the Internet has been really crappy over the last few days. Since yesterday it’s finally back to normal – normal Indian Internet speed, that is. Time for new pictures and blog posts.
You’ve heard of Taj Mahal, probably. For those who don’t know the back story: Taj Mahal was built by an emperor named Shan Jahan, as a mausoleum for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal (Taj is just a short name for Mumtaz). There exist, however, several other places like Taj, and on of the first and most influential to Taj’s architects is located in Delhi: Humayun’s Tomb. While it cannot keep up with the majestic beauty, the sheer amount of marble, and the intricate carvings of its more famous pendant, it is worth a visit for sure. Its remote location in the South of Delhi and the fact that there are more famous places around Delhi has a nice effect for visitors: it is much less crowded than similar places. You can enjoy the gardens on your own and take as many pictures as you want without having to fight for your spot.
The garden surrounding Humayun’s Tomb are even more impressing than those of Taj Mahal and were at least for me the most astonishing discovery: Although built 450 years ago without any modern construction tools, they stretch across multiple square kilometers and resemble absolutely accurate geometry. Every small path, every gate is perfectly aligned. And there is a wide array of water channels that irrigates the gardens. How can they built this in such a way that even 450 years later the water level is still perfectly even across the whole site? Anyways, it’s nice to enjoy this place, and we were not the only one. Some squirrels were having fun, too. Apparently, Indian squirrels are less shy than European ones, but also less creepy than those I’ve encountered in Austin. Simply a bit more relaxed… as every living being in this country
A week later (yeah, I’ve been slow with writing blog posts recently, sorry) we went to another place located in the South of Delhi, but a more recent one: the Lotus Temple. It’s a big temple shaped as a lotus flower – who would’ve thought – which was built as a place for all religious people in Delhi, of whom there are many, to pray to their god(s). Unlike Humayun’s Tomb, this place was completely crowded. People are being given a short introduction of the temple’s purpose before entering in small groups, therefore it takes some waiting time to get in. What surprised me most about this place, though: it was completely silent inside. Akshardham, another religious sight in Delhi, was nothing like that – although admittedly I didn’t see anyone praying there. Lotus Temple was a really nice experience as it offered an isle of silence and calmness in the ever-moving and noisy city that has been my home for the past 10 weeks. That’s right, only three weeks to go…