Continuation from here ...
The next morning, as I stepped out of the hostel, I was disappointed again. It was still foggy. :( I am not sure if it's always like that during their winter timing?
My first destination of the day was another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Honestly before this trip, I didn't know India has a lot of interesting histories. I mean, when people mention India, we straight away associate it with Taj Mahal. Other than that, I knew nothing about India until I bought some books before the trip to study my journey.
So the site I went that day is situated in Old Delhi. Yeah yeah.. there's New Delhi. So there must be an Old Delhi.
Took the metro to Chandni Chowk. When I exited the station, I noticed a big crowd nearby and most of them were eating food from paper plates. As I walked past them, I saw a small temple and a guy distributing foods. Those were the homeless and the poor people I guess?
Chandni Chowk is definitely one of the most fascinating areas in Delhi. It is one of the oldest and busiest market in Old Delhi. The buildings are crumbling but the area is still chaotic and crowded. Add that with the non-stop honking from the drivers. Madness, I tell you.
Walking amidst the busy crowd, I saw a long line of people queuing up by the roadside in front of a big temple. I had no choice but walked past them to get to my destination. It was quite intimidating, really. Because most of them were guys. At the end of the line, there's a few guys distributing capati to them. Looks like this area is home to many of Delhi's poorest people.
Anyhow, it was really an eye-opener. What a difference this sight is from New Delhi; only a short distance south.
At the end of the road, there it is. The Red Fort or also known as Lal Qila.
Despite the foggy and blurry morning, I decided to proceed visiting the fort complex.
See the big difference of entrance fees charged between the locals and foreigners? -_-
They have special counter for the foreigners. Because we pay more? Anyway, one funny thing here was that some of the locals thought I was Indian! Seriously, never in my whole life, in KL or anywhere else in the world, people mistakenly thought I was Indian. But they said I was the Northern Indian. Bollywood la kot.. muahahahaha... But I was afraid to menyamar as local cos I wasn't confident. Could've saved me Rs240. Haihh...
There are two entrances to this Red Fort. However, visitors are allowed entry through this Lahore Gate.
The gate leads to a covered bazaar street, the Chatta Chowk.
The bazaar was closed as it was still early when I arrived so I just walked past it. Immediately after exiting the bazaar, you will see the Swatantra Sangrahalaya on your left side. Also known as the Museum of Indian Independence Movement, it preserves all the memorabilia relating to the struggle of the Indians during their first battle of independence.
Am not really a fan of museums but I thought I'd just go inside since I was already there. Plus, the entrance fee to the museum was inclusive of the entrance fee to the Red Fort so I must go and see it to maximize the money I spent. *kiasu mode*
I didn't spend much time in there though because I was scared. The museum was so empty. Apart from me, there were only a couple inside the museum that time. Maybe because it was early in the morning. Maybe because visitors just were not interested to visit it, I don't know. As soon as the couple went out of the building, I looked around just for a while and decided to follow them out.
There's an eerie feeling being alone in a museum. Like being in a ghost house @_@ What's more, most of the buildings around the museum were old and some of them were left crumbling. Add that with the foggy morning. Everything looked so vague and mystical.
Anyway, there's a step well not far from the museum. Unfortunately I couldn't see the inside as it was gated. I actually would love to visit Chand Baori, one of the deepest and largest step wells in India, but I had to forgo it due to transportation problem.
Chand Baori near Jaipur. Source : Google
From the museum, if you walk further north, there is actually an older fort, the Salimgarh Fort. I just walked until its entrance but dared not to go in. There was no one in sight, except the army personnel guarding around the fort. Weird ok. This fort is actually part of the Red Fort complex, but maybe not as popular. Plus, it's so far behind so I guess many visitors will not notice it unless they really take time to explore the fort.
Seriously, that area was so deserted it made me scared. I decided to turn back and headed to the other sections of the fort.
Standing at an open space in front of Chatta Chowk is the Naubat or Naqqar Khana. The name means the 'drum house' , as musicians used to play for the emperor from there. Now, there is a war memorial museum inside on the upper storey.
Beyond this, is another large open space. At its far end, you can see the Diwan-i 'Amm, the large pavilion for the masses. Here, the emperor would sit and hear complaints of the common people.
This is the emperor's throne.
Then, there is the garden, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh. It is divided into squares with channels of water between them. At either end of the channel, there is a pavilion. And in the centre is another pavilion, the Zafar Mahal.
Sawan Pavilion, one of the pavilion at the either end of the channel
This is the Moti Masjid, a small mosque built for the personal use of Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan's son.
In case you don't know, Shah Jahan was the one who built the fort and the founder of Old Delhi which was formerly known as Shahjahanabad.
Most of the visitors flock to Diwan-i-Khas or hall of private audience. The hall was used by the emperor for private meetings.
marble platform inside the Diwan-i-Khas
Some of the parts were closed as restoration work was in progress but it is still amazing to see the fine work from centuries ago.
details of the inlay decoration
The stream of paradise, or Nahr-i-Behisht flows through the centre of the hall.
Going out, I walked through Chatta Chowk again. It was already noon and the shops had opened. The shops sell mostly jewellery and crafts. But it is a little bit expensive so I suggest if you want to buy souvenirs find it somewhere else.
Anyway, there is a sound and light show every evening, highlighting the events in India's history connected with the fort. I missed it since I came early in the morning. I heard it is quite good so you might wanna watch it if you visit the fort. The ticket is sold separately though.
This fort is huge. For a history enthusiast, you certainly can't miss to visit it. Not only it's a reminder of the glory of the Mughal era, here is also where modern history took place. The Indian flag was hoisted and the British Union Jack was lowered when India gained Freedom on 15th August, 1947.
Red Fort is open daily, except Monday.
Visiting hours are from 09:30 till 16:30.
Entrance fee is Rs250 for foreigners and Rs10 for Indians.
Direction: Take Metro Yellow Line and stop at Chandni Chowk station. From there, you have to walk around 1km+ to get to the fort