Saturday, January 7, 2012

back in Delhi, day 1; Jama Masjid Mosque

We arrived in Delhi in the morning and, as I'd done with Carlos the week before, walked across the street into the rundown, gritty Pahar Ganj backpacker slum.

Masumi lead me to Hotel Payal, recommended in her Japanese travel guide, and it was a decent, clean, friendly place for a fair price.

After lunch, we headed to Chawri Bazar, a crowded and busy street lined with ever sort of shop from paper to brass ware to jewelry. At the end of the street, the Jama Masjid Mosque stood out like a rising moon. We climbed the massive staircase to the gate, left our shoes on a shelf, and entered.

The Jama Masjid Mosque is the biggest mosque in India and was commissioned by Shah Jahan, the same man responsible for the Taj Mahal, in the year 1644. For me, it was more of an architectural marvel than a spiritual one, but that is probably just my own bias being exposed. Regardless, it was a great place to take a few pictures! Actually, once I stepped inside the mosque, there was a stronger sense of spirit, as men bowed and sat before the idoless space. 

On the way out, we retrieved our shoes and the man sitting on the step by the shoe case told us we had to pay him for watching his shoes. I began to argue then remembered all the other times I'd been ripped of when I could have just walked away, so I told him we didn't need to pay him anything and headed down the stairs. After two months, I was finally learning something!

We'd planned on heading to the old Red Fort, also built by Shah Jahan and freshly added to the list of UNESCO sites, but it was closed. It would have been nice to see but, frankly, I wasn't too disappointed. We decided to call it an early night, and caught a rickshaw back to Pahar Ganj.

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