New Delhi, India

December 18, 2002

Weather: high of about 75ºF and hazy

We explore the Craft Museum and Purana Qila (the old fort).

The Craft Museum consists of outdoor workshops and indoor exhibits. The indoor exhibits are mostly a dazzling array of textiles. Amidst all the bright colored blankets under glass there is this reconstruction of an elite old Delhi household.
Somehow I manage to avoid taking any pictures of the many textile exhibits and instead snap these two guards talking by a window.
The museum gift shop sells just about everything you see in the museum except the textiles.
Here is a small example of how we're still far from home. Everytime I try to turn on a light here I have to stop and think, and usually try every switch but the right one. Seeing a price in rupees and converting it to dollars is a little easier now. But there are a million other tiny differences that are constantly confusing.
Julie tries her charm offensive to convince me that it is a good idea to buy this bench and carry it home with us. It doesn't work.
On the way home from the Craft Museum, we see the ruins of Purana Qila, the old fort. We come back the next day and explore. We arrive early enough in the morning that the light is very atmospheric.  Here at the Dala I Kuhna Masjid mosque, there is no one to greet us but a gaggle of cheeky green parrots.
Steep stone stairs lead up a narrow passage to the upper chamber of the mosque, but it is closed to those who don't have their own set of wings for transport. 
This is the library where the magnanimous Mughal ruler Humayun is said to have fallen to his death in 1556 while running down the stairs to perform his prayers. The doors are bolted so we could not see the stairs.
Exploring the walled fort  (one of the many gates is pictured here) we found what looked like an empty streambed. On one side was a 30-foot wall, evidence that Delhi has been continuously inhabited for 3,000 years.  The top of the wall shows the 20th century,  with Mughal details lower down, then the Sultinate period, and at the base, evidence of the earliest inhabitants. The Old Fort itself is a relative latecomer, about 600 years old.
Here is more of that rich "atmosphere" that makes the photos so lush and makes me sneeze black goo.

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