Sunday, July 01, 2007

Old Delhi: National Museum and Lodi Gardens

In an effort to learn more about Indian culture and history we ventured into the Old Delhi area (near India Gate, where we traveled before) and visited the National Museum. Though it was Sunday, India's day of rest, we saw relatively few people lounging around the gardens and parks near the capital. We did however catch a glimpse of a cricket game going on (often lasts several hours) a sport that every Indian seems crazy about.

India's National Museum, like many of its tourist attractions, charged foreingers 10X the price of their citizens (we paid 750Rs to see the Taj, it's only about 20-30 Rs for an Indian citizen). It's a concept almost unheard of in America where many of our national parks are available to us and any foreigners at an equal low price, if not free. Equally sad, is that even if our tourist money was meant to improve the areas we are visiting, not much (according to one of our hired tourguides) makes it past corrupt officials. Unlike my friend Christina who has seen less corrupt goverments in Uguanda and Kenya, I feel India is definetly a work in progress. Recently, over 600 NGOs in Delhi were blacklisted due to their illegal actions with money/funding and failure to deliver any good service to the community. In fact, many NGOs are set up as ways for big businesses who donate to them to get tax deductions or benefits.

After we toured the museum which was relatively small and a bit dusty and aging compared to American national museums, but otherwise informational (my favorite exhibits were on the evolution of Indian alphabet letters through time and the northern indian dress exhibit), we moved on to see the public Lodi Gardens.

Lodi Gardens was a beautiful, sprawling place and was well kept. There were several mosques and tombs on the grounds which were less well preserved. On Sunday, it's also a popular hang out place for many Indian couples.

Me, Julie, and Yamilee

In front of a building housing many tombs, believed to belong ancient sultans.

After touring Lodi Gardens and the nearby Safdar Jang Tomb (similar layout to Taj Mahal and said to be the last flicker of the flame of Mugal architecture) we headed to an "All-American Diner" for dinner. The comfort of french toast and hoagies was too good to be true! Funny how one can miss American culture without really realizing it!


NLee :-) said...

Wow! That was so interesting! (sorry - i'm bad at commenting cuz i don't know what to say...)

snigdha G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.