Slum clusters are evident as we move, slowly, toward the more middle class living areas. People crowd near public bus stops with just a few moving up the stairs or escalators of the modern metro system. The metro is not for the lower working class. Just too expensive and not extensive enough. You usually need to take another form of public transportation to get to your final destination. Men sit at areas on the curb in quiet groups waiting for contractors to stop by and offer some work for the day. Most days they sit all day to no avail. Lots of card playing. It accounts for all the “entrepreneurs” hawking fruit and candies to the locals and negotiating with tourists at sites of interest. No street sweepers appear until you reach the middle and upper class areas. Guess the government can’t afford to put many to work at that level.
No social security, sparse health care, high unemployment means that people are dependent on family, friends, neighbors to help one another. That’s how they make it work.
As we move forward into the business class area we start to see nicer (some single) homes that are generally passed on from father to son. Now we see street cleaners with old straw brooms and less and less strewn garbage. Streets and pavement tend toward some standards, and most homes are fenced or gated. Some of India’s greatest wealth is concentrated within these relatively modest homes. People tend not to show any ostentation…for both safety and tax purposes (that’s another story).
We near the oldest part of Delhi as we approach the Red Fort, built in 1648 as a symbol of Mughal’s Emperor Shahjehan. It is now Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.
Then to Raj Ghat, cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi.
Later on to New Delhi visiting Qutub Minar built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek in 1199.
Beautiful sculptures inside of Shiva and many of the other Hindu Gods…come see our postcards!
Past the India Gate (war memorial arch), and the curious Birla Temple.
An old Hindu Temple that was destroyed by Muslims from the north and converted to a Mosque. Uniquely the Muslims used much of the Temple’s old stone work to create the Mosque, leaving very uncharacteristic images (no images other than calligraphy ever used in Mosques) including some from the Kama Sutra — go figure (figuratively).
We drive past the the President’s House, Parliament house and Government secretariat buildings and head back to the hotel for dinner and rest for the long (7-hour) journey to Jaipur tomorrow. Have a good night!