KC and I were watching Fox Traveller the other day… ok, ok, it was just him… TV is mainly an idiot box for me and when it starts saying something intelligent I turn it off and go on twitter. There was a show where they showed Humayun’s tomb and were describing it. Everything that Sherpa Medha told us about it came rushing back and I immediately tweeted to Seek Sherpa that she was right about everything. You can read the post here.
Their reply? ‘We miss your blog’.
And I went ‘Awwww… that’s so sweet’.
KC goes to play cricket on weekend mornings and it will be atleast a month before I start my long runs on Sunday so I have time… lots of it. And I booked the Qutub Minar tour. I had been waiting for winter to get over so I can start exploring Delhi again. Also, earlier the charges for the tour were 700-800 bucks which is huge but now they are 500 bucks. I got to know that the prices had been increased by bookmyshow without checking with Seek Sherpa.
Anyway, I met Sherpa Harsh at the booking counter. He is an 18 year old from Agra and has been in Delhi for 2 years for college. We were soon joined by 2 other people (I didn’t catch their names… don’t kill me)- the guy, let’s call him X, is from Canada but has been working as a teacher in an American school in Mumbai for the last 1.5 years and the lady, Y, is from New York but is working for a NGO in Jordan.
I had hoped it would be sunny and that’s what the forecast said but the weather is quite dreary today.
Qutub Minar is beautiful and there is so much to see. I am really torn about which is my favourite monument now- Humayun’s tomb or Qutab Minar.
Qutub Minar and all the monuments/structures around it were built by different kings during different periods. Qutb ud din Aibak was the first Muslim sultan of India. The earliest Muslim kings wanted to let people know that Islam is the only good religion. All the temples in the area were destroyed and the monuments around Qutub Minar were constructed in their place and sometimes, with the same material. This is obvious everywhere because we saw lot of Indian/Hindu architecture with Islam architecture. There is a mosque where the pillars still have gods on them.
– Alai Minar
As soon as we entered from the East gate, this was the 1st structure on our right. Sultan Ala-ud-din had the ambitious plan of constructing a minar which was double the size (in diameter) than Qutab Minar and even double the height. Only the first level was completed when he died and his successors didn’t want to complete it.
I wonder what he was trying to compensate for by constructing something taller!!! Why would anyone want to play ‘mine is bigger than yours’ game unless he is insecure about his size!!!
– Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque
The oldest and first mosque built in India. It is the only open air mosque. Below photograph shows the Hindu deities on a pillar in the mosque
The Iron Pillar located in the mosque
– Qutub Minar:
Built because the Muslim kings wanted to exhibit their power and might.
We headed to the tomb of Azim Khan. I have crossed this innumerable times while driving between Gurgaon and South Delhi and always wondered what the structure is. That’s what I love about Delhi. There is history everywhere. This tomb is lesser known, there are no entry charges and finding the entry gate is a little difficult but so worth it.
The story goes like this- Azim Khan was a general in Akbar’s army. He became a follower of the sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin who appeared in his dreams and asked him to give up his current life. So, Azim Khan did. He built himself this tomb away from Qutub Minar for some peace and isolation.
View of Qutub minar and Mehrauli road.
How beautiful is that!!!
It was getting dark by this time and Harsh asked us if we still want to go to the Mehrauli Archaeological Park since it may start raining. All 3 of us were game since we had time to spare.
I have passed by this area many times and had no idea there is a park inside.
It also has the tomb of Quli Khan, a general in Akbar’s army.
We were on our feet for almost 3 hours… and these are the best 3 hours and 500 bucks I have spent in a long, long, long time. Harsh knows his facts well and had an answer to every question. That is not a joke when it comes to history since so little is actually documented and there are rumours galore.
It was also a day spent in interesting conversation on Mumbai Vs Delhi (Delhi, of course), Jordan, USA, American Sniper, Chris Kyle etc etc etc.
*Rant about how our country treats foreigners*
A guy walked up to X and Y asking them for a picture. They didn’t mind. It was when Harsh was clicking the picture he realized it was actually a video. Why the hell would a random person want the video or pic of foreigners? It pissed me off and I asked him to delete it. What is wrong with people? And then Y shook her head and said “This happens quite often, you know”.
When we were in Ranthambhore, our group in the gypsy had some firang women. While driving from the hotel to the sanctuary we heard a lot of cat calls. The women probably didn’t understand what was happening or were too used to it by now to bother. But I was pissed. And then Indians are surprised when all that the foreign media wants to highlight are the ‘rapes’. Can we please give them a different experience of the country?
And the beggars. Oh god!!! I say- all beggars should be castrated. The other day when I was in the cab in Ghaziabad, I ignored the beggar and he told me ‘Satyanaash ho tera’. There is no way I am ever giving any beggar any money.
Next weekend – Tughalaqabad Fort. I have crossed this atleast 50 times while travelling from Delhi to Faridabad. Finally… I will be able to explore it.
Seek Sherpa is the best way to explore any city. People- please do check out their tours.
PS – You can read about my first visit to Qutub Minar here. It was an unguided tour and so I was not impressed with this monument. Also, pics are missing. I don’t know why.
Some more pics
A view of the dreary sky
That’s rest of the group