01 Mar 2015

INDIA by janosilva

4/12

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We woke up at around 6:30 AM to the sound of rain on our windows. We all had an early breakfast together but then I borrowed Kate's rain coat and umbrella and headed back to Old Delhi while the girls relaxed before the start of our tour.

On the way to the center of Old Delhi I saw some vegetable vendors setting up shop on the street and asked my tuk-tuk driver to let me out there. I decided to follow some folks carrying sacks of produce down an alley and I came into a courtyard which doubled as a vegetable market. It was raining cats and dogs at this point and everyone was set up under makeshift tarp tents. The ground was a complete disaster but some how most of the vendors managed to keep the product dry.

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We walked by Digambara Jain Temple yesterday but couldn't go in because it was closed to the public at that time. Today I walked by while it was open so I took off my shoes (required) and went in. Inside there was a group of people singing in unison, but everyone else was focused on their own form of worship. Some were performing rice offerings, some were pouring oils, some were praying with beads, and some were just sitting on the floor praying in silence.

An interesting aspect of the temple is that it houses a hospital tending to "vegetarian birds." Birds of prey are cared for as outpatients only. When people find injured or ailing birds they take them there to be nursed back to health. I got to see a lot of the birdies as they sat in their cages recuperating. As someone who tried to care for several injured birds with a very low rate of success as a kid it warms my heart to know that such a place exists.

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We started our guided tour at Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. The courtyard can hold up to 25,000 people for prayer. Kate wanted to go up one of the minarets to get a view of the city. She's lucky I obliged because women aren't allowed to go up unaccompanied, LOLz. Also, several groups of locals requested to take pictures with Sara and Kate. I guess they are exotic here.

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Our tour guide took us to Lazeez Affaire for lunch. As soon as we got there it became clear that it was one of those places that is in cahoots with the touring agencies since it was full of tourists. Exactly what I thought we'd avoid by having a private driver/tour. I got a Pakistani butter chicken and minced lamb meat and herbs stuffed naan. Kate's order was the winner this time with a tendori style chicken and cheese filled naan. I guess I can't complain about the place too much since the food was decent. But then again my portion of the bill alone was as much as all three of us paid last night, so yeah....

Afterward I jumped to Nathus Sweets a couple of doors down and got us a kesar gunjia, a launch slats, and a samosa gunjia. They were all very similar and a lot better than I expected. I might just bring a box of these back for the family.