Touring New Delhi – Part 1: Red Fort and Jama Masjid
Posted on: September 20, 2018.

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For those who haven’t read the prequels to this article, a brief recap:

This entire vacation materialized in December last year after I accepted an invitation to accompany a few friends for a day’s visit to Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand. We proceeded to Ramnagar by train from Old Delhi Railway Station, but not before having the most delicious varieties of parathas from a traditional eatery in Chandni Chowk…

The highlight of the visit to Corbett National Park was the two jungle safaris—one in the afternoon and the other at dawn. Corbett is a must visit for nature lovers… And after a day at Corbett National Park, we visited a nearby hill town named Ranikhet for a sight of the Himalayas at sunrise. It was a surreal experience watching the peaks change colour as the sun ascended higher in its arc. After spending Monday sightseeing along our way from Ranikhet to Katgodham Railway Station in Haldwani, we returned to Delhi on Tuesday morning.

My stay in New Delhi was brief as it was an extension of my original weekend vacation, Corbett National Park. With my return flight due in three days, my agenda covered only a few iconic places in Delhi—Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Palika Bazaar/Connaught Place, India Gate, and finally Humayun’s Tomb.

Travelling in Delhi was made extremely convenient by the Metro Rail service. Day 1 in my agenda included Red Fort and Jama Masjid. It was a cold December day and a light mist lingered well until noon. The Red Fort was packed with tourists, and after obtaining a pass I proceed inside the Red Fort Complex, a World Heritage Site.

The Complex was spread over a vast area connected by clean, broad, hedge-bordered walkways (with benches) encircling and traversing manicured, tree-lined lawns interspersed with formal buildings with multiple, decorative arches, and ornamental pillars. Dilapidated structures could be seen at the far reaches of the complex, in wide view.

The Red Fort is located on the right bank of the Yamuna River. That particular day, however, visitors were not allowed a closer look at the River and its Ghats, as restoration-repair work was underway. Another impressive feature within the fort complex is the vast collection of guns, ammunition, and armour housed in the Red Fort Museum. In all, I’d spend two hours inside the Red Fort.

It was late afternoon now, and turning left on Netaji Subhash Marg, I proceeded on foot to Jama Masjid, a short distance away. The narrow lane leading to the Masjid—branching away from the main road and disappearing into the bazaars of the area—was flanked by shops selling eclectic merchandise, mostly fast food, and appropriately crowded. The Majid itself is an island, surrounded on all sides by a sea of shops clustered into bazaars.

Jama Masjid is a towering edifice, set atop a lofty platform, with broad, three-sided, tiered steps leading up to it. The actual Masjid that occupies a pushed-back, centred location, overlooks a vast, open, congregation area, additionally accessed by sideward entrances and bordered by sheltered walkways.

The most memorable aspect of the Masjid was one of its towers, made open to the public. For an entrance fee of Rs. 50/-, visitors could climb up the tower on a spiral stairway inside the central shaft. The aerial views from the tower balcony was spectacular and breath-taking…

It was evening now, and I proceed from Jama Masjid to Chandni Chowk Metro Station to take the Yellow Line Metro to Rajiv Chowk. From here I would take the Blue Line to Mayur Vihar Phase-I, to visit my Uncle and Aunt. Next day after breakfast at their place, I was scheduled to visit Palika Bazaar, India Gate and finish with Humayun’s Tomb

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