All the best laid plans can go wrong and when I forgot to set my alarm clock I woke an hour late but still managed to beat half of the group to the breakfast table and fortified with my Madras omelette ( don't ask ) toast and Jam washed down by a cup of coffee. John and his merry band were up, out and walking the short way to The Jantar Mantar.
Jantar Mantar consists of 13 architectural astronomical instruments . The site is one of five built from 1723 onwards, designed to complete the task of revising the calendar and astronomical tables. The primary purpose of the observatory was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Some of these purposes nowadays would be classified as astronomy.
Completed in 1724, the Delhi Jantar Mantar had decayed considerably by 1867. The Ram yantra, The samrat Yantra, Jayprakash yantra and The mishra yantras are the distinct instruments of Jantar Mantar.
After an interesting talk of which half the group couldn't understand the Indian Guide and the other half who did, found it hard to stay awake we headed off to a local Tourist office where after some hard bargaining we hired two cars to escort us for half a day to see some sights we stipulated and some we didn't and 5,000 Rupees lighter off we headed into the Delhi traffic which is not for the faint hearted.
Our next stop was to Qutub Minar.
At 73 meters, the Qutub Minar, Delhi is the tallest brick minaret and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Qutab Minar is a soaring tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony.
Set in its own grounds once you have paid the tourist price for entry 500 Rupees (£6.50) compared to the Indian price of 30 Rupees (40 pence) you are free to wander the grounds and take as many pictures as you like and have your picture taken with all the Indian Families eager to have their picture taken with the white European idiots who paid almost 17 times as much as them to get in. ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha ?
The entrance fee is well worth the money and time spent exploring the grounds was enjoyed by all as you will see from the pictures.
By now we were all hungry and put ourselves in the hands of the taxi drivers for lunch and although the wait was almost insufferable we went to a very popular Indian Restaurant called Chimneys in Khan Market Lodi Colony which I would recommend to anyone visiting Delhi all but Big Jon Bristow who had a cold meal really enjoyed it and at about 500 Rupees (£6) was excellent value for money
Invigorated we set off back the way we came ( not good planning by drivers) to see the Lotus Temple which is a multi denomination temple set in pleasant grounds and being free to enter attracts large crowds especially on a Sunday which is a holiday in India. The queue was long but well managed and before long we entered a very austere setting with lots of attendants "shushing" you at every opportunity, pictures were forbidden so ignore the two I post they never saw me take Ha Ha.
By now the sun had set and although we had run over our allotted half day my driver with Jon, Dave, Denise and myself assured us he was happy at no extra charge to pay a visit on the way back to India Gate where locals congregate at night time Ina festive mood especially as it was still close to their celebration of Diwali. There are crowds of Indians picnicking and enjoying themselves. Stall holders sold sweets and food and the air was filled with incense and sounds of people having fun. A band played and Gurkhas took their turn of guarding the eternal flame at the gate in honour of those that fell in the war.
Not wishing to take advantage of our driver we returned after 30 minutes and made our way back to our Guest House. Where we retired to a bar next door to chat about our day and enjoy a well earned bottle of Kingfisher beer or glass of wine.
After catching up on this blog I am heading up for a well earned sleep.