Mark Wilson May 28th, 2008
Hank Kreuzman organized an afternoon trip by several of us to Old Delhi. We first toured the Red Fort (see above), which was the primary palace of the Mughal emperors until 1857 and a British and Indian administrative center since. It is a fascinating place, especially considering its long and complex history.
The capitol city of Delhi is under high alert this week because of demonstrations across the region by the Gujjars, a nomadic group of people agitating for a change in their official government status. They held a protest in Delhi today and have blockaded several railway lines passing from the city to the west and south. The army and police thus had high visibility at sites of national interest like the Red Fort. You can see from the photo below that part of the security system involves keeping automatic rifles aimed at the crowd at all times.
We also had an adventurous walk through the streets of Old Delhi (see below).
Our goal was to visit the most famous mosque in India, the Jama Masjid (pictured below). This mosque was completed in 1656 by Shah Jahan, the same emperor who commissioned the Taj Mahal. It can hold up to 25,000 worshippers in its courtyard. We could only go to the northeast steps, but this was close enough to see the huge minarets and see the domes. We were fortunate to be there to hear a haunting call to prayer.