During our trip in 2012, we came to believe that Humayun’s Tomb, the shrine of the Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizam-ud-din and Gandhi Smriti were Delhi’s three must-sees. So off we went again, sharing these incredible places with Kelly.
Humayun’s tomb, a landmark of Mughal architecture, was tranquil and majestic as we remembered it. Despite arriving early, temperatures were harsh. And despite the haziness, we managed to take a few good photos of this tomb garden built in the 16th century.
Enthused we decided to walk to Dargh Hazrat Nizam-ud-din. Big mistake! We had only a vague idea of where it was and given this difficult name, nobody understood what we were saying when we asked for directions. We walked endlessly until we found out that we had repeatedly missed the underpass to cross under a main road. But the effort paid off.
This place is our all-time favorite in Delhi. The tiny lanes that lead to the shrine are lined with small shops, all selling and producing offerings. Often these are only niches, where men assemble flower garlands made from rose pedals. Those are piled high on a plate and taken to the tomb. The shrine itself is a huge place, like in Ajmer, with prayer rooms and large courtyards. The epicenter is the tomb of the saint, a small building in the middle of a courtyard, which is mostly covered by a roof providing the much-needed shade. This makes it a perfect place to rest, mingle, chat and wait.
There is always a small crowd, mostly families, filing up to get inside the tomb. Women sit along the beautifully decorated walls of the tomb reading the Koran. Some things obviously never change. We recognized the musician sitting in the middle of all this, singing and playing a traditional instrument. In 2012 we were the only tourists. This time it was the same. Getting all the attention made us choose a low profile. Kelly and Heidi sat down and simply watched. Gilles was taking photos – like everybody else and generously tipped the musicians.
Dead tired, we took a public bus to Gandhi Smriti, but this place cannot be missed. This is where a fanatic Hindu shot Mahatma Gandhi in 1947 and where so many years later Kelly walked in his last footsteps. We only had time to visit Gandhi’s ascetic room and read the most important of the extensive displays downstairs. We wanted Kelly to visit the museum upstairs with its fantastic interactive presentations. Our young guide was so infatuated with Kelly that he could not stop using Heidi’s camera to take photos of her. He was heart-broken when the museum closed for a short lunch break and insisted on continuing the tour after. But we kindly turned down his offer and went back to the hotel. We were wrecked and wanted to rest in our hotel before hopping on the plane around midnight.
If there was a prize for using different kinds of transport, we certainly would be entitled to it! That day in Delhi we travelled by train, metro, bus, bike rickshaw, auto rickshaw, walked around Delhi for hours and finally left by plane. And this is how this trip ended, in a pleasant flight back to Vienna, where we all went straight to work / school.