"If on Earth be an Eden of bliss, it is this, it is this, none but this"!
That says a very well known Persian verse, written on one of the walls of the Public Auditorium of Lal Quila (Red Fort), in Old Delhi.
They say India changes your state of mind and soul. India has this impact through its inhabitants, music, traditional dances and its marvelous monuments. Nobody can resist a warming welcoming and `spicy' country which smoothly seduces you.
Our plane resound of applauses the very minute we landed in New Delhi; the Indians started preparing for getting off the plane, fixing up their turbans and combing their moustaches. At the arrival gate, the National Guard Soldiers were waiting for us, looking pretty tired, but with a smile on their face. The driver who had been waiting for us all night long in the airport kindly welcomed us with the traditional greeting "Namaste."
At the airport exit, the humidity of the air as well as the heat burst into us, though it was very early in the morning; soon after this, I got scared noticing that the driver was going on the wrong side of the road, before I realized they use the British way. Claus, my son, was shouting in wonder every time he saw the monkeys on the road side. We entered the traffic: cars, bicycles, buses, the well known rickshaw, motorcycles and scooters. The holy cows were walking freely on the streets, but did not bother the traffic at all; as if they had attended driving classes.
There's a huge difference between the New and the Old Delhi. Old Delhi or just Delhi is the old town, up North, now looking more like a district of the Indian capital. New Delhi, built using the architectural British projects in 1931 and it became the administrative and political center of the world's biggest democracy. A paradox of old and new things combined, the city is very open and friendly.
In two days we made the city tour: Red Fort (Lal Quila), built by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan in 1648, it is the well known Agra Fort replicate and sheltered once the Legendary Peacock Thrown and the Koh-I-Nor diamond, taken as war capture in 1739, by the Persians. Presently the diamond is set in the Royal British Crown. We passed by India Gate, an arch of 42 meters high dedicated to the Indian soldiers killed in the First World War whose names are unscripted all over the monument. Connaught Place is the commercial center of the capital, with shops, restaurants, stalls and cinemas; Humayun's Tomb, the one who won the town's independence from the Afghans invaders in 1555, lies in the middle of a beautiful garden; the red sand stone monument is considered to be a prototype for the Taj Mahal. On Kalkaji hill there's the modern temple Bahai Lotus, imitating the form of a lotus. Built in white marble and finished in 1986 it is a pilgrimage destination for the Bahai faith.
Qutab Minar is a Muslim monument built from the remains of some ancient Hindu Temples; the Iron Pillar from the interior yard,...