jillsblog.typepad.com > New Delhi

"Vegetarian or non-vegetarian?" -- now I know for sure.

Room1.JPG

Room1.JPG

What a great room! Can you see the little mirrors sparkling on the wall behind the bed - ha! Quite an Indian touch.


Room2.JPG

Room2.JPG

The large flat screen was a surprise. This is about the size of at least 2 normal hotel rooms. The drapes were silk and looked like a ball gown :)


Pre-dinner.JPG

Pre-dinner.JPG

A few of us gathered before a dinner for early arrivers. This is mostly Aussies and Americans.


Lobby.JPG

Lobby.JPG

This is the beautiful painted dome of the lobby at the Maurya Sheraton. I'm told Presidents Bush and Clinton have stayed here -- and I can see why. Absolutely gorgeous!


RedCarpetTrain.JPG

RedCarpetTrain.JPG

We received the red carpet treatment leaving Delhi for Agra, a 6-hour round-trip to the city where the Taj is located.


TrainRide.JPG

TrainRide.JPG

Finding our seats in the "luxury" train -- we were so surprised that the only luxury was the air conditioning -- and it was freezing! Also, the "ladies room" was a toilet that went straight down to the outside. I definitely minimized my water intake.


DepotCrowd.JPG

DepotCrowd.JPG

These people were very well dressed compared to those we saw in the villages along the railway. I don't see how they can sit crouched down -- I'd think it would kill your knees -- but with no seating, I guess it is necessary.


BlueSaree.JPG

BlueSaree.JPG

This woman's blue saree was striking compared to the drab surroundings. Taken from the train.


DepotKids.JPG

DepotKids.JPG

I noticed how warmly they were dressed considering the heat.


OldWoman.JPG

OldWoman.JPG

Taken from the train, this woman had amazing balance for her age.


HorseCart.JPG

HorseCart.JPG


AgraStreetCow.JPG

AgraStreetCow.JPG

They just blend in with the rest of the street people. I noticed the girl leaning against a sack against the wall looked so tired.


AgraStreetChickens.JPG

AgraStreetChickens.JPG

You can also see some kind of carcass to the right. Chicken anyone?


CamelCart.JPG

CamelCart.JPG

This is not just a tourist thing, the locals use them!


AppoachToTaj.JPG

AppoachToTaj.JPG

This looks like we are super-imposed in front of a Taj photo, but it is real! The Taj is a mausoleum built by an emperor in memory of his wife and queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22 years and 20,000 workers to complete it in 1648. The complex includes gates, gardens and other palatial buildings (I got that from a guide book). It was smaller than we anticipated -- and very dark inside under the dome. On the opposite side from this view is a river valley that is now mostly dry due to a dam. But you can see how beautiful it would have been with a river flowing along side it. We saw sheep herders with their flocks and lots of birds.


CloseToTaj.JPG

CloseToTaj.JPG

You can begin to see the detail of the marble and stone inlays.


Rob@Taj.JPG

Rob@Taj.JPG

Here we are waiting to put on "shoe covers" before we are able to enter the main site. No shoes are allowed to protect the marble.


TajInlay.JPG

TajInlay.JPG

These are semi-precious stones in-laid into the marble: jade, agate, onyx. This area is about 2 feet square.


ScriptAsArt.JPG

ScriptAsArt.JPG

Notice no one is sitting around on the steps or just hanging out -- there were mean guards with whistles tweeting at anyone who dared.


Group@Taj.JPG

Group@Taj.JPG


BangleVendor.JPG

BangleVendor.JPG


SacredCow.JPG

SacredCow.JPG


AgraStreet2.JPG

AgraStreet2.JPG


AgraStreet1.JPG

AgraStreet1.JPG


AgraStation.JPG

AgraStation.JPG


Sunset.JPG

Sunset.JPG

Taken from the train -- very flat!


DSCF0122.JPG

DSCF0122.JPG


IndiaGate.JPG

IndiaGate.JPG

A famous war memorial is 42 meters high built in memory of the thousands who died in WWI. Underneath is an eternal flame to honor the unknown soldiers who died in the Pakistan war of 1971. This area of Delhi reminds me of the mall in Washington D.C.


IntenseTourGuide.JPG

IntenseTourGuide.JPG

This woman is a fine arts professor at a university in Delhi. She also is a manuscript researcher, translates cook books, and is a terrific tour guide.


JillKarenLynn.JPG

JillKarenLynn.JPG

We snapped this of ourselves since we were in the last row of the group photo and knew we'd never be seen. Karen also lives in Singapore, Lynn is in Beijing.


StreetAlters.JPG

StreetAlters.JPG

Several alters are set up on the street -- notice the lady pumping water at right. You may be able to make out the elephant god Ganesh, remover of obstacles.


ImperialInterior.JPG

ImperialInterior.JPG

A very posh promenade in the Imperial Hotel.


LunchOnTheLawn.JPG

LunchOnTheLawn.JPG

This setting was like a wedding reception - beautiful with the pink and green! This buffet is at the Imperial Hotel, one of the oldest English hotels in Delhi. This was a very special treat.


BazaarWalk.JPG

BazaarWalk.JPG

We passed by several street shops on our way to the "fixed" pricing bazaar.


SeriousDecision.JPG

SeriousDecision.JPG

Lynn and Karen make a decision about a wood carving. I think Lynn decided against it in the end. The woodwork and silver are good buys here.


SareeDept.JPG

SareeDept.JPG

These are really comfortable and beautiful. It was fun to see how many different designs they are. The traditional saree is a top and about 9 yards of fabric folded and tucked in a very specific way. The more modern version has either pants and a long tunic, or pants sewn into the yards of fabric that wrap around. We see these a lot around Singapore too. The sexy ones have skimpy tops and is very low on the waist -- apparently you want to show some skin!


Outfits.JPG

Outfits.JPG

Karen, Dave, and I are ready for the night.


EthnicNight.JPG

EthnicNight.JPG

The decorations and costumes were just over the top. They did henna art, fortune telling, and dancing of course.


IndianFinery.JPG

IndianFinery.JPG


Horseman.JPG

Horseman.JPG

Greeted by dancers and very loud drums.


HeadWrap1.JPG

HeadWrap1.JPG

This came as a total surprise as we entered the venue for the "ethnic" evening. You can see Rob is a little worried!


HeadWrap2.JPG

HeadWrap2.JPG

One final nip and tuck.


LittleGirl.JPG

LittleGirl.JPG

One of the dance troop - she seemed to be having fun :)


FabFour.JPG

FabFour.JPG

Here's Rob with his cohorts -- these guys are all American living in Asia.


Mindi.JPG

Mindi.JPG

This shows my hand decoration called a "mindi" which is similar to the name for the forehead decoration, the "bindi" -- these just stick on but are really pretty. I saved it to wear again.


Headdress.JPG

Headdress.JPG

At "ethnic" night, the mens' heads were all wrapped up -- that made for some serious nappy-head at the end of the night!


MySaree.JPG

MySaree.JPG

The hosts were kind enough to have sarees made for the ladies -- here's mine in green -- with the "bindi" decoration on my forehead.


DignifiedDog.JPG

DignifiedDog.JPG

This doggie and a poor family watched us line-up to enter the "Ethnic India" venue for dinner and all its excesses. We all felt very self-conscience as the reality of the situation was so glaringly obvious.


TooTired.JPG

TooTired.JPG

Rob fell asleep before he could change out of his Kurta.


GalaTent.JPG

GalaTent.JPG

This venue is actually outside but you would never know it being under this beautiful tent. I thought it would be too hot, but it very pleasant -- although my heels sunk into the turf.


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