Monday, August 1, 2016

Delhi, India

This is our first full day in Delhi, capital of India, and a population of 19 million. We all know that India is renowned for their spices but I didn't think it was possible that they could turn a simple vegetable medley into a flaming inferno... unbelievably, hot! Spices are a big deal here- the spice trade at one time was the world’s biggest industry. And if today is any indication, I think they put spices in everything except yogurt and desserts. We'll see if my assumption holds true.

Everyone who has been to India says traffic is insane and I concur. It's suicidal to contemplate driving here yourself. There's a saying that the constant car horns is the music of India:

It's the combination of rickshaws, tuk-tuks, motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses and people that make it almost impossible for foreigners to drive.

There's lots to do and here's just a sample of what we've seen:

Gandhi was the preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India and is referred as the Father of the Nation. Unfortunately, he was assassinated shortly after independence from Britain in 1948; the temple shown here has daily visitors all year showing respect for his accomplishments.

Hindus represent about 80% of the population but there remains about 14% Islam (most Muslims moved to Pakistan during the British independence), then a mix of Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs. We visited the largest Hindu temple in Delhi, the Shree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir:

This religion, older than Buddhism, has over 33 million gods (earth, wind, fire, humans; think of something and there is a god to represent it) but only one God being the Creator. As with Buddhists, worshippers bring flowers in reverence of their faith.

We also visited the largest Islam mosque in Delhi, the Jama Masjid, which was built in the 16th century:

The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 persons and on Fridays, it's full.

The last pic is the Presidential Palace, a massive building of 365 rooms including 3 main dining rooms:

The current President, Pranab Mukherjee, lives alone in the palace (his wife died last year) and he only uses three of the rooms. His popularity is awesome- 99% of all the people of India in all 4 castes (castes are levels of Indian society and 5 castes if you include beggars) have a favorable rating of his presidency.

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