12/21/2009 to 12/24/2009 | India

Delhi: Safdarjung’s Tomb

I return often to Delhi but more out of necessity than desire.  Delhi is the Rome of northern India all roads and rail lines seem to pass through here, and if your headed anywhere likely your going to be passing through Delhi.  Many tourist desist the city often because it is the first place in India they encounter the overwhelming pollution, chaos, hustlers, aggressive touts and beggars that India is infamous for.  Fresh off the planes from there manicured and ordered home countries Delhi smacks them in the face with its raw commotion and apparent disorder.  But I’ve always enjoyed the city and while I don’t necessarily return out of choice I always seem to end up staying longer than I expected to.   While Varanasi dazzles me with her eye catching color Delhi’s route to my heart goes through my stomach.   The first thing I look forward to upon arriving in Delhi is a food walk down to the Jama Masijid in old Delhi.  Where I walk the streets branching off from the mosque partaking in the finest Muslim street-side cuisine, a Biryani here, a beef korma and Tandoori roti there, a mutton kebab from the young kid fanning the coals on the street, and a refreshing sweet Lassi from the local Lassi wallah to wash it all down.

Not that Delhi is an un-photogenic place, but these days I have to almost force myself to head out and take pictures in the city, evident by the dearth of images in this gallery.  I often use Delhi as a break from traveling, a place to recharge my batteries a bit, alter my routine, take care of a few errands that I might have, maybe pick up a new hard drive from Neru Place’s sprawling computer market.  This time in Delhi I decided to force myself to get out and do something touristy.  One of the fairly major monuments in Delhi I had yet to see on my several trips to the city was Safdarjung’s Tomb, the powerful prime minister of emperor Muhammad Shah who ruled during the decline of the Mughal Empire in the early 18th century.  The tomb is often touted as the last of the great Mughal tombs.  The tomb has neither the historical nor architectural significance of its predecessors which include the Taj Mahal, in Agra, and the first of the major Mughal tombs in India that of the emperor Humayun in Delhi.  The tomb does have an aesthetically pleasing design though not it the category of the aforementioned tombs.  I had ridden by it often on the bus, as headed down to South Delhi for one errand or another, its white domes and red sandstone walls rising up from behind the wall that surrounded the garden tomb.  It’s a peaceful place, only a handful of tourists make their way here, no doubt after they have seen the more major attractions of Delhi.  At the time I was wandering the garden, a film crew was using the tomb as a backdrop for the dancing shots in the requisite musical scene of whatever Bollywood style film they were making.  It was a pleasant enough outing that gave some purpose to my afternoon.  It also reminded me that I should really make the effort to seek out some of the more obscure relics of Delhi’s long history.  But that is for another time, another pass through this city, I’m sure I’ll be back.

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