Saturday, October 22, 2011

India Day 7 - Last day in Delhi

Today we drove through Delhi and saw the Parliament buildings. India is a republic but is part of British Commonwealth. This means they don't have the queen.
we stopped at the inida Gate which is a huge arch a lot like the Arc de Triumph in Paris. It honours the soldiers who died in the First World War. We chose an interesting time to go because there was a military activity going on which involved a lot of exaggerated marching about and placing wreaths. It seemed very British.

The next stop was a visit to the place where Gandhi was assinated. It was a garden where he had gone to say morning prayers with his followers. The museum was very well done and the message of Gandhi came through very powerfully. The upstairs part of the museum was set up to be interactive and was really aimed at children. The most powerful experience was a display that had been created to demonstrate working together. On the floor were 2 circles and in the centre a pole. Two people knelt down and put one hand on a circle and then held hands. when you did this the lights on the pole lit up. Mike and I were encouraged to try it out and the pole lit up. While we were still donw on our knees a family came by with a small girl - maybe one year old. The very helpful guide took the little girl and put her hands into each of ours. The pole lit up - a symbol of our connection. It was a very touching moment - made even more so by the little girl refusing to let go. We also had an excellent lecture about non-violence and about be gandhi-ists in the modern world. The lecturer equated the demonstrations against Wall St with Gandhi's non-violent approach. Non-violence is not just giving in. It is not fighting back but refusing to give in. I guess this was one of the life-changing moments that people say you will experience in India. It was amazing.

We were taken to lunch in a private middle-class home where we were able to talk frankly with a husband and wife about whatever we wanted to ask. Our discussion seemed to focus mostly on politics and the Indian system of government. It was very interesting and the food was good.

On the way home, we stopped at a government sponsored store which was selling beautiful crafts produced in the Kashmir. Apparently no tourists are going there now because of the unrest - so they are unable to sell their beautiful carpets, shawls, carvings, etc. Suffice to say, we bought a silk carpet. It is lovely and is being shipped home by UPS. We don't know if we got the best deal ever but it is a lovely carpet and will always remind us of this trip - plus hopefully it will help the artists in Kashmir who made it.

We are becoming friendly with some of the people on the tour. Many of them seem to have similar viewpoints to us and are at a similar stage in their life. This is being a very nice part of the trip right now - though it is a bit exhausting.

On our way back to Radisson Blu, we stopped at the Bahai Temple which is constructed in the shape of a lotus flower. It is a very amazing building and one of the key landmarks in Delhi.

Here it is in the distance.

Once we got home, we went for a swim on the roof top garden overlooking the smokey, drak city with its constant hooting and fire crackers going off. People are decorating their houses for Diwali - which is a lot like our Christmas - and you could see that there were many more festive lights up tonight than there were last evening. We were joined in the pool by a some Indian people including 2 energetic boys who were swimming energetically around the hot-tub. Another memorable moment.

We have just finished dinner in the restaurant downstairs with a lovely couple from Wisconsin.

Tomorrow we set off for Agra at 8 am - so time to sign off and hope the typing is not too bad.

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