Sunday, 14 March 2010

Delhi Winter

Open-air market Dilli Haat on a Delhi winter evening

As I wrote in my last post, winter is the time to enjoy Delhi. This is the time of year where it is not just bearable but even pleasant to roam around and explore the various areas of the capital. Last posts I focuse don one particular and particularly lovely place, Lodhi Garden. In this post I'll show a series of other places you could have met us last winter had you also gone there.

The massive 16th century citadel of Purana Qila ("Old Fort") was a first-time sight for me. It is actually surprising that it does not attract more visitors and tourists, but perhaps it is overshadowed by the Red Fort ("Lal Qila") in Old Delhi and the nearby Tomb of Humayun, who built the fort. In any case it's a nice and relaxed place to visit, with plenty of pleasant laws amidst the old building and some good views particularly towards the zoo and the Yamuna river in the north and east.

Boat rides are offered just outside the massive ramparts of Purana Qila

A school class having their picture taken outside the main entrance the fort put the size of the gate into perspective

Humayun's octagonal library, the Sher Mandal. Humayun's loev of books became his death as he accidently tumbled down the stairs in 1556 and died from the injuries

Beautiful Arabic inscriptions on a mosque (most likely Koranic quotations) inside the fort

I visited astrological observatory of Jantar Mantar in the heart of New Delhi for the second time. It's an interesting place for those interested in the history of science, but for most of the instruments it's hard to figure out what they are for without a good guide. But it's also an interesting place for enthusiastic photographers with the many curious shapes and patterns of the instruments.

View towards the biggest of the instruments, the major sundial which can tell you the time with a very high degree of accuracy. The big buildings of central New Delhi can be seen in the background

Flower beds add to the atmosphere

Lovely patterns of the Ram Yantra instrument

The places above are typical tourists attractions, which the average Delhiite (including myself) visits perhaps once or twice in their life. But I also want to show a few of our more regular hangouts. One of these is Dilli Haat, an open-air market full of handicraft stalls from all over India, and food stalls run by the various Indian states, which can use it to display their regional cuisines. It is well run, and the 15 rs entrance fee keeps out pushy salespeople and beggars making it for an unhassled experience. You still have to bargain hard though.

An unhassled stroll on the clean walkway at Dilli Haat

There's always some special display or events on at Dilli Haat. Here it is school children singing Christmas Carols

Another place we go fairly often is Nehru Place, although in this case not because it's a particularly enjoyable place. Rather it is the place to come to shop for computers and computer accessories. The market is dominated by a couple enormous buildings having stores in the bottom two stories and offices above. The area between the buildings is pedestrian only, with a number of salespeople selling all sorts of goods, including clothes, shoes, computer games and even fruit juice. It's usually a pretty crowded and dirty place, but the low prices and wide selection mean that you really don't want to go anywhere else when you need that new external harddisk or bluetooth mouse.

Two stories of computing discount heaven

Side business have sprung up to cater to the additional needs of the computer shoppers

Here are a few other things we did and saw during the winter in Delhi:

... I tried paintball for the first time at my company's Family Day

... we celebrated New Year's 2008-2009 with good friends, Alistair and Anders, at a Chinese restaurant in GK-2 M-Block Market

... we tried out India's first microbrewery at Rockman's Beer Island in Ambiance Mall in Gurgaon. Very decent beer, by the way.

... I caught this shot of a labourer resting his weary body my newly acquired zoom lens

... and I once again had a chance to be shocked at the working and safety conditions of people working in the construction industry in India, when I saw this scaffolding just outside my Gurgaon office

That's all from that winter. My next update will be from our amazing spring trip to one of Asia's hottest cities: Hong Kong.

(The events in this post took place from December 2008 to February 2009)