March 14, 2012

India : Delhi (part 6)

Continuation from here ...

So there's another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Delhi. Man, they have three World Heritage Site in only one city. Impressive right? Just shows how rich India is with history...

From Jama Masjid, I was lazy to walk back to Chandni Chowk metro station so I hailed an auto-rickshaw in front of Meena Bazaar to get to my next destination. As I was about to show the driver my haggling skill, he pointed his hand to the meter. Wahhh.. I couldn't believe my luck. I thought finding an auto-rickshaw driver who still uses meter was almost impossible in this city.

The site I was going, Humayun's Tomb, is located in South Delhi. We passed by a fort, Purana Qila, on the way to the tomb but I thought I've just visited the Red Fort earlier so one fort was enough. The fort was founded by Humayun and it used to be his capital. If you have extra days in Delhi maybe you can check it out.

The driver dropped me by the roadside nearby the parking lots. After a long ride (the distance was almost 9km), I was charged only Rs55! *happy tears*

As soon as I stepped down from the auto-rickshaw, guess what I saw. A cobra peeking from a basket! Yes. A snake charmer was standing by the roadside, holding a basket containing a cobra. :O He just looked around like he was waiting for someone but I guessed he's waiting for interested tourists to watch his performance. Yeah they don't perform for free ok. Sorry no picture of him cos I was too afraid to lift up my camera. But now I regret it cos throughout my trip afterwards, I didn't see any snake charmers around. Perhaps, it is true that this snake charming profession is in danger of dying out.

I was afraid of snakes so I quickly walked past him heading to the ticket counter.

entrance gateway to Humayun's Tomb

 Upon entering, my eyes caught this beautiful monument.

It looks familiar, right?

Standing majestically at the centre of a garden, the tomb holds a similarity to the much more famous tomb, the Taj Mahal. It was built before Taj Mahal though.

To get to the tomb, you need to climb rather steep steps. It could be tough for some, especially the elders.

During my visit, a lot of preservation works were going on but still, it was worth a visit.

Combination of red sandstone and white marble, with elements of Islamic, Indian and Persian architecture make this building stands out.

inside the main chamber

A little info about Humayun: he was the second Mughal Emperor, succeeding his father, Babur. The tomb was built by the order of his wife, 9 years after his death.

Humayun's cenotaph stands alone in the main chamber

The tomb was the very first Mughal garden tomb. The gardens incorporate Persian-style garden layout, known as Charbagh. Charbagh means four gardens, where the garden is divided by walkways or flowing water into four smaller parts.

Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station is just across the street so sometimes you can hear the horn sounds by the trains and even the announcement made from the station.

There are several other monuments outside the tomb compound.

One of them is the Arab Sarai. It is a rest house for the workers and craftsmen who were actually engaged in building the Humayun's Tomb. 

gateway into Arab Sarai

the Arab Sarai ruins

This is the Afsarwala mosque.

It is said there's an unidentified tomb located adjacent to the mosque but I didn't see it.

Humayun's Tomb is open daily.
Visiting hours are from sunrise to sunset.
Entrance fee is Rs250 for foreigners and Rs10 for Indians.
Direction: Take Metro Purple Line and stop at JLN Stadium or on Metro Blue Line stop at Pragati Maidan. From there auto-rickshaw will cost around Rs50.  

I went out from the tomb compound and walked towards the roadside, secretly hoping the snake charmer was still there. Who knew I might be able to watch his performance. But he was nowhere to be seen so I hailed an auto-rickshaw to the nearest metro station. The driver drove me to JLN Stadium metro station which cost only Rs50. 

The Red Fort, Jain Lal Mandir, Jama Masjid, Humayun's Tomb, I've covered quite a lot that day. I thought of going back to the hostel and have a rest but it was only 4pm. Still early to call it a day. 

So I decided to go to another attraction in Delhi, the Akshardam Temple. The journey by Metro was quite interesting because it crossed the Yamuna river and the views were great. From the metro station, it was only a short walk to the temple. 

Direction: Take Metro Blue Line and stop at Akshardam. 

Cameras, mobile phones and any electronic equipments are prohibited inside there. You can deposit them at the cloakroom outside.

The security check was quite rigorous so please do not try to sneak in the prohibited items. If they find it, you will be sent back to the cloakroom to deposit the items and join the queue again. Also, remember to dress modestly as those wearing shorts and short skirt are not allowed to enter the temple.

The main temple is enormous and covered with fine carvings. It has nine domes and over 200 pillars and was built in just 5 years by more than 11000 workers and volunteers. It stands on top of a spectacular elephant platform with a hand carved frieze covered in life sized elephants and other animals. The temple stands on the plinth which in turn is surrounded by a square lake of sacred water. 

The temple is definitely a stunning piece of art. But sorry no photos cos I had to deposit everything in the cloakroom. You have to come here to see it yourself. 

Out from the temple, it was almost dark. I went back to Paharganj, had my dinner and walked around the bazaar for the last time. Tomorrow, I would be going to Agra!  

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