July 8th - Pushkar --> Delhi --> Home

ColazioneBefore leaving for our last day of vacation, we give a look (and take some photos) to the Hotel. It's quite recent building, but it has been built Maharaja-style. The walls are covered with old portraits, paintings and weapons displays. The room is furnished in old England style. It's a really beautiful Hotel. We have our breakfast in one of the many gazebos in the garden, and we hope our passport have arrived from Udaipur in the meanwhile. Gajju give us the good news: The passport are here! We give a good tip to the person bringing them back, and we leave the Hotel.

Auto retròWe are heading to Delhi, but we will go through Jaipur to say goodbye to Karni, and also to change again our driver and our car for our last vacation day. We say thanks and goodbye to Gajju and to Karni, and we join again Shankar with a new car. We don't know which brand the new car was, but it was certainly rather old, white, with an old-fashioned charming look. It's smaller than the Toyota, and less comfortable, but it's just for one day... Inside the car has been completely revisited, and it has Airconditioning and a good stereophonic audio set.

Moschea So, we're back in Delhi. This time is the old Delhi though, where we are going to visit the Jama Masjid Mosque , the Red Fort, and we'll get a taste of the old town. After parking the car in a huge parking lot near the Mosque, Shankar helps us contact and negotiate the price for a rickshaw driver who will take us on a tour for our visits, going where a car definitely can't go. First we go to the Mosque, built on a small hill right at old Delhi's heart. While climbing the staircase leading to the complex we see one of the two tall minarets peeping over the walls. The Jama Masjid complex is a very large square courtdyard surrounded on three sides by walls and porches. The fourth side, looking East, is closed by the real Mosque building, with three onion shaped domes and two tall minarets. On each of the three walled sides there's a gateway leading into the courtyard. We enter through the Northern Gate. At the centre of the square there's a large fountain. Paying a cheap fee you can climb the walls and reach the top of the southern Minaret, and we decide to go to have a better view of the Mosque and of the surroundings. Delhi from the top of the tower makes an impressive view, the crowded streets around the Mosque make an immense maze swarming with a million ants moving for going nowhere. Before going to visit the Fort we take some more time to enjoy scenes we are not used to. Many faithfuls come here to pray, other simply to enjoy the company, chat, sitting on the cool marble floor in the shade of the Mosque. Children play around the central fountain, women dressed in the black muslim attire mingle with women shining in their colourful hindu sarees, men wearing white muslim skullcaps meet men with red or orange turbans. This well explains the concept of "melting pot" which we often use to define India and its people.

After the Mosque our rickshaw brings us to the Red Fort. The guides say the entrance fee is 100 rp, and Shankar confirmed that figure, but we are asked 500 to get in. After careful investigation (We don't like to be cheated) we discover that actually there has been a recent change to the entrance fee, se we gotta pay, swallowing the laughing look of the guards which says "OK, if you wanna see the Fort you gotta pay. C'mon, you got Red Fortthe money, don'tya?" (and, after all, they're right...) The entrance to the Fort is through the massive Lahore Gate, made of red sandstone as all the walls surrounded by a dried moat. Just behind the Gate we enterMeena Bazar, a gallery of smal shops selling golden and silver decorations, coloured frills, mirrors, semiprecious stones, handicrafts and something of everithing else. Inside the walls there's a series f really interesting and beautiful buildings, we now begin to recognise the differen places: Diwan-I-Am is the hall of the public audiences, a columnade hall covered with a roof but without walls, the small but precius white marble Mosque, Moti Masjid; the hall pf private audiences, Diwan-I-Khas, a flamboyant marble building finely decorated with carvings and coloured stone inlays; and, lastly, the astonishing Khas Mahal, the Maharaja's private apartments, with its marble laceworks so slender and complex they really seem a silk lace not a stone work. This was really a "Gran Finale" for our vacation!

Vecchia DelhiOut of the Fort we rejoin our rickshaw driver who drives us for our very last tour in the old Bazar laying between the Mosque and Chandni Chowk, old Delhi main street stretching westward from Lahore Gate. This large area is a real immense Suk which reminds us the ones we saw back in Marrakech and Fez. We enjoy our bicycle ride through the maze of incredibly crowded alleys, and Franco shoots a souvenir movie of the trip. When we pop out to Chandni Chowk we are really bewildered and need a small rest, so we decide to have a walk coming back to the car. Our driver insists to bring us back with its rickshaw, partly because of professional pride, partly because he evidently believes we could get lost trying to go back. I personally somewhat share its second concern, but Franco seems very self assured and I have to give up with my fears. To my surprise, Franco easily finds its way back to the parking lot; now the real problem would have been finding our car INSIDE the lot! But, as we imagined, good Shankar was waiting for us at the parking entrance, ready to drive us for our last indian miles to the airport.

So, like every nice adventure, alas, this has come to an end. We've been very lucky, everything was almost perfect. The only minor trouble we had, the forgotten passport, was easily solved thanks to the dedication of our devoted Gajju. While at the Airport, waiting for our flight, we smile watching our luggage which as usual has rised to more than twice the one we had when leaving. So, we have just to thank again Karni for perfectly organising the tour, and Gajju and Shankar for driving us safe out of a more than 2500 km trip around India. Hope you readers have enjoyed the tale and the photos. If so, come back to the site from time to time, meybe there's something new wating for you.

Ieri... -- HOME PAGE