Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Delhi Day

Hi everyone. Amy and Kristin are still keeping me very busy in Delhi!

On Wednesday Kristin and Amy asked our guide Satyender to take us to more of Delhi's famous places. We started the day at "Humayun's Tomb."

Kristin says this building was built for the Emperor Humayun after he died in 1556. This is a HUGE building surrounded by a large garden.

Here you can see the tomb of Emperor Humayun and some of his family members. It was really dark inside this room. The only light in the room came from windows like the one is this photos. But these windows do not have glass like the ones on my house in Muscatine.

Here you can see Kristin near the tomb.

Right after we arrived at the tomb, a HUGE group of school children showed up. They must have been on a field trip. I sure don't get to take field trips to places like this when I am in school! The school children were really LOUD! They screamed and shouted most of the time we were near the tomb. I know my teacher would not let me behave that way if I was on a field trip. I really think they should have behaved better. Kristin thanked me for being on my best behavior. :)

While we were walking around I noticed a man cleaning one side of the tomb.

Kristin says Humayun's Tomb is something she calls a "World Heritage Site." I had no idea! She says that means it is one of the world's most important buildings, just like Giza Pyramids in Egypt and Angor Wat in Cambodia. Kristin says it takes a lot of work to maintain Humayun's Tomb and other World Heritage Sites.

There is a mosque near Humayun's Tomb. Here are some of the photos Kristin took of the mosque and the buildings around it.

Our next stop of the day was a place called the "Lotus Temple." Kristin says it is called this because it is supposed to look like a lotus flower. I'm not sure this building looks like a flower but I wasn't going to argue with Kristin on this.

Kristin told me the Lotus Temple was finished in 1986. That makes it one of the newest buildings I have seen during my entire trip to Delhi. She also says it is a temple for people who follow the Bahai Faith. I think this means it is like a mosque or church.

It was getting warm standing outside in the sun, so we decided to inside the temple. But first Kristin and Amy had to take their shoes off. Then the temple guide told us we had to be very quiet while we were inside the temple. In fact, she said we could not even talk or whisper! It was nice and cool inside the building and it was REALLY quiet. Man, it is REALLY hard to be quiet for 10 minutes! I was really glad when we were back outside.

Our final stop of the day was a place called the "Qutb Minar Complex." The main feature of this complex is this really tall tower. The tower itself is called the Qutb Minar (or Qutub Minar).

This tower is almost 240 feet tall. WOW! That is really tall! Kristin says it is made mostly of red sandstone, the same kind of stone I saw at the Red Fort on Tuesday.

Here's a picture of the very top of the tower. Our guide says people used to be able to climb to the top of the tower, but they don't allow tourists to do that anymore. Whew! I was worried for a minute that Kristin was going to have to walk up more dark stairs to the top of the Qutb Minar.

As we were walking around the tower, I noticed that it is full of really interesting carvings. Our guide told us that the tower is inscribed with the words of the Quran (or Koran), the religious text of the Islamic faith. I was confused about this until Kristin explained that my faith has the holy book of the Bible and the Islamic faith has the Koran. Very interesting. Here you can see some of the carvings up close.

Kristin says the Qutb Minar is the most famous part of this complex. I can see why. It is hard to miss the really tall tower. But our guide told us the rest of the complex is also very important. (Click on the Qutb Minar Complex colored link above to learn more).

As we were walking around, I told Kristin I thought some of the complex ruins reminded me of the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt. I'll have to remember to ask Aunt Lynn if she notices the same thing when she sees the photo below.

Just like at Humayun's Tomb, there were people working on projects at the complex. I couldn't really tell what this woman was doing, but she was pounding the stone with a very heavy hammer.

These men were digging in a ditch with small shovels and picks.

As soon as they had dug up enough dirt, the men would load the dirt in large silver bowls. Then they would put the big bowls full of dirt on top of a woman's head. Can you believe it?!

These women must have really strong heads!

I asked Kristin why the workers didn't have wheel barrows and other tools like we do in the United States. Kristin says she wasn't sure why the workers at the complex were using the large bowls to move the dirt. She says sometimes workers can't use big equipment at historical sites. I guess this makes sense. But Kristin also pointed out that we've seen many places in India where people don't have nice tools. She says that's because many people can't afford them. I thought everyone had a wheelbarrow.

I also noticed a number of small children with old clothes playing near the spot where the men and women were working.

These children didn't have any toys to play with either. One girl was playing with a pair of sunglasses and another baby was playing with an old film container. This made me very sad. I could also tell Kristin was very sad. She was also worried because we didn't see any adults with the children and they were all much younger than I am. Kristin told me she hopes the children belong to the men and women working in the ditch.

Here's s photo of Kristin near the Qutb Minar. She looks pretty small next to that tall tower!

Just as we were getting ready to leave the complex, another large group of LOUD school children came into the complex. They were wearing red uniforms and they all wanted to talk to Kristin and Amy. Kristin managed to make her way through the crowd while I hid in her purse. But the kids swarmed around Amy and it seemed like every one of them wanted to say hello to her!
Whew...that's the end of another long day here in Delhi! Kristin tells me we are going to see even better places in the next few days. I will keep you posted when I can (and when Kristin's computer is working).

Bye for now...