New Delhi, India

November 27, 2002

Weather: high of about 80ºF and sunny

We go to a handicrafts store near Siri Fort and find something right away with mirrors and bells for Olivia.
We visit the Qutb Minar complex, most famous for the Qutb Minar tower. This is one of the tombs near the tower.  While wandering around the ruins, some local Indian tourists decided we were a greater attraction than the tombs and requested to take our photo.  As we walked away puzzled, another group spotted us and asked for photos.  After a third round, we ducked into a tomb to hide.
Here is the tower itself which tapers sharply as it goes up to make the tower seem even taller than it is.  The tower was started in 1199AD as a celebration of Muslim dominance of Delhi.  Verses from the Koran are inscribed on it.
A detail of the stone at Qutb Minar.  As we were admiring the stonework, the guards came blowing their whistles at us and hustled us out of the park.  We asked another fleeing tourist and were told that a VIP was visiting and the park was closing to the general public for security.
A major part of our time in Delhi is Nathu's.  They serve up great snacks and sweets.  Any day can be made better by a stop at Nathu's.
Near the Parliament building is the monkey district.  Our guide Nigel told us that when he worked in the government buildings (back when India was a British colony) people would encourage the monkeys by feeding them tea in saucers on the ledges of Parliament.
Nigel took us to a crematorium where these wooden stretchers and bundles of wood are sold at the front gate. We arrived before noon and so there were only a few cremations in progress.  There are no funeral parlors here. According to Hindu custom, families build the pyres and cremate the  bodies within just a few hours of death.  We saw people arrive and dip the body in a pool before carrying it to a funeral pyre.
Nigel also took us through the Old Delhi bazaar where these spice and nut samples are arranged for prospective buyers. One section had 30 burlap sacks overflowing with dried red chilies, which made us sneeze and cough as we walked past. He said this bazaar is the bulk spice source for all of North India.
A second-story view of the Old Delhi bazaar.

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