MESSAGE: Delhi & Agra *Videos*
Delhi is the capital of India. The city, with 17 million inhabitants, is divided into New Delhi and Old Delhi. It is the second largest city in India (Mumbai is first with a population of 20 million.) We spent a few days in the capital, before heading to the next stop on India’s Golden Triangle, the city of Agra.
Also – fyi — Throughout my South Asia travels, I’m posting a “Photo of the Day” on my Facebook site. To see these pics, just visit the GoErinGo / Erin Goes Global Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ErinGoesGlobal
MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Agra Fort. There are only 2 reasons to visit the city of Agra –the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort – but these are two architectural wonders that shouldn’t be missed!
Agra Fort is the sister monument to the famous Taj. The third Mughal ruler Akbar made the fort India’s capital in 1558. It took 8 years to build and the creator of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan (Akbar’s grandson), was imprisoned in the fort by his son during the last 7 years of his life. From his house arrest, Shah Jahan could view his beautiful homage – the Taj Mahal – that he built to entomb his late wife.
EAT (Tasty Eats) – Lassi. A lassi is a traditional yogurt-based drink that is sprinkled with Indian spices. Usually served ice cold, lassis taste a bit like a light milkshake and are generally taken with lunch.
There are several types of lassi:
- Salty: Favored in the Punjab, salty lassis are flavored with salt and roasted cumin.
- Sweet: Popular in Rajasthan, sweet lassis contain sugar and / or rosewater to add a sweet flavor.
- Fruit: Mango, strawberry and lemon lassis are just a few of the popular fruit-flavored drinks. The fruit pulp is added to the yogurt, along with cream or ice cream.
- Bhang: Bhang is a liquid form of marijuana that is added to lassis. Bhang lassis are taken particularly around the time of Holi festivities. Bhang lassis are legal in many parts of India. (I haven’t had one…yet.)
SEE (Must-see Sights) – The Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal was built in 1653 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife. A mausoleum, the Taj is made mostly of white marble and combines architectural elements from Persian, Turkish, Indian traditions.
Here I am gushing about its beauty:
Can’t see this video? Click this link: Erin at Taj Mahal
SHOP (Gotta Have) – Shalwar Kameez. A traditional outfit worn by both men and women, a salwar kameez is a pair of loose pajamas, with a long tunic worn over the pants. For women, a long scarf or shawl called a dupatta is also worn around the neck or head. The dupatta conveniently covers the woman’s head in temples or can be a fashionable accessory.
Sam and I both bought matching shalwar kameezes during our first week in India. Mine is orange and Sam’s is hot pink. Fun!
ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Rickshaw Ride! On our second day in India, we took a rickshaw ride through the back alleys of Old Delhi. Check out these two videos of our city jaunt.
Can’t see this video? Click this link: Erin & Sam in Rickshaw
Can’t see this video? Click this link: Rickshaw through Old Delhi
GIVE (Greatest Need) – Pollution. Both Delhi and Agra are heavily polluted by noise, smog, trash. Our tour guide kept telling us the dirty air was merely fog, but we kept insisting that it was smog. (Growing up in L.A., I know what smog looks like!).
The burning of wood for fuel is contributing heavily to air pollution, especially in the cities. In the countryside, most villagers burn biomass (cow patties) for fuel. Rampant water pollution is created by lack of sewage treatment, cremation practices in major rivers, and inadequate drainage, especially during the monsoon period.
The good news is that between 1995 -2010, India is making good progress (one of the fastest in the world) in addressing its environmental issues and improving its environmental quality. That said, I don’t think I’ve seen a dirtier place in the world. Sadly, piles of trash – mainly plastic bags – were everywhere.
ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Gandhi Smriti. Gandhi Smriti is a museum dedicated to the life of Gandhi. His last place of residence, the museum recounts the last 144 days (and moments) of his life.
The museum grounds show the rooms where he lived and the garden where he was martyred. It was an honor to be able to personally pay my respect to this remarkable man.