A SAD FAREWELL AND A SWEETER SMELL IN LODHI PARK DELHI
Alert: Excuse errors this is finished rather hastily because I’m very anal about my to do lists and I HAD to tick it off today.
My amazing time in India was coming to a close and what a trip.
Glittering palaces, exotic gardens, resplendent Mughal royalty, huge mausoleums in honour of great love. Fabulous architecture, spicy fragrant cuisine, beautiful art. Beating heat, beauty and wonder. All this is Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Sarnath. Epic monuments to great religion. Hinduism and Buddhism and Islam celebrated exultantly.
Poverty, disease, filth, crime, inequality and religious tension. Cruelty and despair are also there each time you step out the door. I was very aware of that but it couldn’t stop me loving this wonderful land.
Two very different sides to this coin. I will go back though for I am in love. There is so much more for me to see and do there. Next trip I want to do a long train trip and work down India as I went across Russia on my Trans Siberian Express trip. I have heard that this also is wonderful and obviously a great way to see the country. I shall do it in the heat as my Russian trip was mid winter. Hoozah! I am champing at the bit just thinking of it!
Anyhoo! Last bit of this trip.
Back in Delhi. From my Journal.
I returned from Varanasi a broken woman. Although I loved Sarnath it still did nothing to erase the foulness of Very Nasty. I was exultant to be home in Delhi with my family at the Park Hotel!
Scrub, scrub, scrub in the shower of my room. Hot, hot water steaming away in the longest ablutions I have ever taken. Wash my hair just one more time dammit. Would the psychological filth ever be cleansed from my body? Finally clean and my Varanasi clothes chucked in the bin I planned my last long walk to catch some of the last landmarks and the famous Lodhi Park. I was again a happy bunny!
I walked around Connaught Place a bit and found a small shop for new shoes and some stalls for new tshirt and shorts as I had chucked the stuff from Very Nasty. I planned my last day while sitting by the pool. They were prepping for a very ornate wedding party so I amused myself watching them create a beautiful party area. I had been given some free nibbles as their guinea pig. I was after all part of the family by then but like any family they can be problematic as well as loved.
They would watch me pop one petit four in my mouth and slowly savour it while they stood round my for the verdict. Eager eyes gazing at me sucking and chewing eat morsel for the amount of time I hoped would show I respected each one properly and equally.
‘Perfectly delicious’ I would announce after waiting for dramatic pause and their anxious faces broke into grins and they whooped and yelled while I sat in the middle like a fat benevolent Buddha
I gave the thumbs up to all their dainty morsels and all was well until one young chef wanted to know the best one the winner. Now this suddenly put me in the unevious position of being judge and causing god knows what friction in the kitchen for days to come.
‘No, no I couldn’t they were all equally delicious’ I tried.
‘ No, no you must Miss Rebecca. You must declare a winner. It’s a custom’
I squinted my eyes. I was sure it wasn’t a custom. They were growing restless and heckling me. I slid my finger pointing at each plate pretending I was pondering a winner. In fact I was just looking for expressions on their ardent faces. I would have to gauge the top chefs entry to prevent anarchy in the kitchen. I now thought I knew.
‘This one, this one is the winner I loved the scent of rosewater and the crumbling biscuit. Wonderful! Now who made this?’
I looked up and saw the head chefs face and knew immediately I’d fucked up. He turned his back and flounced off. The others were laughing and clapping the back of a young blushing kitchen skivvy who I found out later had bought in his mums homemade cakes.
Head chef in a sulk for my last two days.
Well they do say there’s no such thing as a free lunch…..
Art Gallery and Lodi Park.
There are a number of lovely gardens in Lodi Park all of which were out of season for while I was there. There is a very extensive herb and spice one for example, which was in a very sad state, and the rose garden was post bloom and ordinary, but I cared not for this place is a park of wonder in the centre of Delhi and not to be missed. Be ready for some very separate architecture than in other parts of Delhi, of the earlier Lodi Dynasty.
There are scattered monuments and tombs all over and a lot of the tombs have unknown residents that makes it so very poignant. In a lot of the arched windows young lovers sat taking in the views and holding hands. It’s obviously a place to take your beau.
Sheeth Gumbad has remnants of the pretty blue tile that would have covered its dome too. As I ambled up to it I was in a rather sentimental frame of mind as I would be leaving India the next day, so when I entered and the tombs were unmarked I shed a tear. I was the happiest I’d been in this tranquil park coming across these beautiful examples of old monuments at every turning in the large 19 acre park.
As you can see the place is crammed with these relics and it manages to combine a bit of history, religion, architecture and the feel good experience of beautiful gardens and the odd creature around the ponds and fountains.
National Gallery of Modern Art
I walked past all the expected things on my last days in Delhi, their equivalent to Marble Arch and all that but I just want to leave you with a few pics from their National Gallery of Modern Art. I will add to this whole blog later but for now this place was a MUST.