Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jeez...that's a bit harsh: A story from the Telegraph (UK)

This article was from the Telegraph (UK):

Indian call centre workers told Australians are racist, alcoholic and backward

Australians are regarded by Indian call centre workers as racist, stupid alcoholics, a report into the workings of a call centre in Delhi has claimed.

By Bonnie Malkin, Sydney
4:21PM BST 26 Jul 2011

Andrew Marantz, a freelance American writer, spent three weeks in an Indian call centre earlier this year, where he discovered that attitudes towards Australians were particularly harsh.

During his training, a senior employee named Lekha, told staff joining the company that Australia was populated by dimwits.

"Just stating facts, guys," Lekha said, "Australia is known as the dumbest continent. Literally, college was unknown there until recently. So speak slowly."

When asked about other famous Australian traits he had one answer: racism.

"They are quite racist. They do not like Indians," he told the class.

"Their preferred term for us is please don't mind, ladies 'brown bastards.'

So if you hear that kind of language, you can just hang up the call."
Lekha went on to explain that Australians were "backward", with many owning outdated mobile phones.

He also cautioned new workers not to bother ringing Australia on a Friday night, because of the nation's love affair with alcohol.

"Australians drink constantly," he said. "If you call on a Friday night, they'll be smashed every time." In the tutorial, new staff were instructed in how to convince unwitting Australians to hand over their credit card details.

The revelations, published on political website, are unlikely to improve bilateral relations, which were damaged over the last two years by a series of attacks on Indian students in Australia which prompted furious reactions in India.

There are so many comments that could be made about this artile but I'll hold my tongue.

A recent article

This article was recently sent to me. I think it's from the New York Times:

In Fight for Better India, Best to Look Within


NEW DELHI — I have entered India from the sky five times over the past year. Those flights started in airports where norms, rules and authority carry weight — Hong Kong; Doha, Qatar; Newark, New Jersey; Frankfurt. But in waiting to board, I have come to a troubling realization: Airport workers around the world have learned the hard way that my people — Indians, resident and diasporic — cannot be boarded the way other humans are.

No: We will not make a line, no matter how the overwhelmed airline staff plead.

No: We will not board according to service class or row number; we will push in as early as we can.

No: We will not obey the instruction to bring just one piece of carry-on luggage; we will often pretend not to hear, then perform a Tony-worthy pantomime of surprise if confronted.

In Frankfurt recently, I was amazed that even the Teutonic staff of Lufthansa was unable to thwart this behavior. They allowed a kind of mob to form, then dejectedly welcomed its members aboard. I asked about it. A steward shrugged and said that, on flights to India, they give in.

If you make it on board, and soar above the Hindu Kush, and fall at last into India, you will learn that the nation is in the midst of a fit of rage over corruption these days. Hunger strikes are being called; the heads of some scapegoats in power are rolling; protests are swelling here and there.

The overwhelming tone of this rage is “us versus them.” The “us” is the ordinary people of India, the “man on the street,” as they too-literally call him here — hard-working, diligent, scrupulous; the “them” are the bums in politics and the bureaucracy — lazy, deceitful, imperious scoundrels.

But what the airport observation suggests, alongside volumes of other evidence, is that the blame cannot so tidily be placed on the “them.” This may well be an “us” problem as much as a “them” one, in which case the revolution being called for will have to be a revolution within.

To be fair, India is a place of deep, improbable kindness. A society where villagers will do anything for the chance to serve a guest tea, where flight attendants are truly hurt when you forgo food, where the caring that flows through the many wings and generations of a family can make other societies seem cold by comparison. The average Indian tends to be flexible, understanding and tolerant by the standards of a difficult world.

But India is also a place where that abundant kindness fails, far too often, to extend into the anonymous civic sphere, to those beyond one’s little community and beyond one’s sight. In India, to be someone’s house guest or son-in-law or teacher can be delightful. To be a stranger beside the same person at the cinema or bank or airport is another experience altogether.

If a sociology of that Lufthansa gate were to be made, it might pick up certain ideas in the crowd’s behavior.

There is an idea that low-ranking gate staff don’t need to be listened to. There is an idea that you, the individual, are the best judge of how the system should run, not the people whose system it is. There is an idea that rules are mere hints, to be applied when useful. There is an idea of ruthless maximization of one’s interests, the world (and that old lady in front of you) be damned.

And, like it or not, these are ideas that govern how so many Indian lives are lived today: how people drive on the streets of this sprawling capital city; how people seldom hold open a door for a stranger at the mall, or thank you when you do; how people pay off the traffic police instead of waiting five minutes for a ticket to be written; how so many rich men make their billions; how individuals choose to report their income; how adults bribe and influence-peddle their children into top schools; how cellphones are bought tax-free on something casually called the “gray market.”

A heart-rending example involves ambulances. Several times in the past few years, I have been in traffic in a major Indian city and suddenly heard an ambulance behind.

To watch it forge fitfully ahead is to observe thousands of drivers make the choice to ignore it. Some people genuinely cannot pull over. But many can. Mostly, they don’t. Not a small number of Indians must die each year thanks to that collective refusal to be bothered.

And this is the issue with the anger now raining on official Delhi. In its focus on those in high places, it ignores a much wider culture of corruption: a culture of rule-breaking, callousness and Hobbesian self-preservation that flourishes with special flagrance in the corridors of power, to be sure, but is hardly confined to it.

If the “them” at the very top are unacceptably corrupt, it may be because the “us” taught them everything they know.

So what to do about it?

Misdiagnosis is dangerous. If the problem remains in the public mind a problem of bad people in power, it may well remain unsolved. If it can be acknowledged as a deeper pattern of Indian life, perhaps something can be done.

That something will have to be more than removing 10, 100 or 1,000 scoundrels from office.

It will have to turn practices now thought acceptable into practices that disgust.

It will have to use shame and achieve what other movements of moral suasion — the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century, the anti-smoking cause in modern times — achieved: persuading millions of people, one by one, that the old ways will no longer do and that life will be better for everyone — for them and for their rivals at the airport gate — on the other side.

Friday, July 22, 2011

An article on Delhi Rickshaws

This article was found on "The Australian" website but quotes an article from "The Times" (UK):

Delhi rickshaws to get GPS upgrade

• Francis Elliott
• From: The Times
• July 22, 2011 1:36PM

Delhi's rickshaws will be fitted with GPS technology to reduce fare gouging and to increase passenger safety. Source: AP

As any visitor to Delhi knows to their cost, the city's auto-rickshaw drivers can have an elastic attitude to fares.

Meters in the three-wheelers are more often than not "broken" and the range of extra charges levied at the last moment is as creative as it is extensive. Even when the meter is working the routes have a tendency to become suspiciously serpentine.

With many drivers paid less than 5000 rupees ($104) a month, it is perhaps not surprising that some take an entrepreneurial approach to pricing.

Today, however, a court hearing is due to rule that each of the city's auto-rickshaws must be installed with a global positioning system (GPS) which, in theory, will make overcharging impossible.

The devices, which are essentially sat-navs that cost about 7500 rupees, will also have a panic button, a feature that the city's transport authority insists will increase the security of passengers.

Critics said that the plan was unfair and unworkable and wondered how a bureaucracy that struggled to issue paper permits would keep track of 55,000 vehicles in one of the largest cities in the world.

Widespread scepticism notwithstanding, it seems likely that a deadline for installation of the sat-navs set for the end of the month will be enforced after a series of strikes by drivers in May and June was called off by unions.

Arvinder Singh Lovely, the Delhi Transport Minister, has defended the innovation.

"Once the meters are linked with GPS, every movement of the autos will be recorded and monitored. It is a step forward in providing good and customer-friendly services to the commuters."

Supporters said that rickshaw sat-navs, which connect to a central server, will make it possible to check if the driver is taking the shortest route. Mr Lovely said that the panic button would be valued particularly by women commuters in a city where sexual harassment on public transport is not uncommon.

Mounting a last-ditch attack on the introduction of the sat-navs is Nyaya Bhoomi, a charity that works with drivers, known in India as "autowallahs". Praveen Agarwal, the lawyer who will be representing a group of 250 drivers in Delhi High Court tomorrow, said he would argue that it would be unconstitutional to force drivers to spend up to two months' wages on a device.

The charity said that overcharging would continue for as long as contractors, police and financiers prey on drivers, who rent their vehicles and receive only a fraction of their takings. Commuter groups fear that the devices will fail to improve relations between drivers and fares.


Copyright 2011 News Limited. All times AEST (GMT +10).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

An article from The Independent (UK)

Found this article on the Independent website:

Contractors still waiting for £50m from Delhi Games organisers

By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi
Friday, 22 July 2011

Suresh Kalmadi, the chief organiser of the Commonwealth Games, is facing charges of corruption

Nine months after India hosted the Commonwealth Games, companies around the world are still owed tens of millions of pounds in outstanding payments. They say they have run into a brick wall in dealing with officials in Delhi, where the issue had become entangled in a wide-ranging criminal investigation.

Companies that provided services ranging from broadcasting to biographical information about athletes say requests for payments have become lost in a bureaucratic jungle. At least one company was forced into receivership as a result, while others have had to lay off staff.

Diplomatic sources have put the amount of money still outstanding at £50m. One British company, Satellite Information Services (SIS), says it is owed £15m for its provision of broadcasting services for the games, held last October. The company's chief financial officer, Jim Campbell, said despite SIS's performance being roundly praised, only half the agreed fee of £30m had been paid.

Furthermore, he said the company had endured what he termed a smear campaign within the Indian media and had been inaccurately criticised in a report commissioned by the Delhi authorities. "Operationally speaking, we had a very successful games. Now we are sitting here with a considerable amount of money outstanding," he said.

This week, the plight of SIS and other UK companies was formally raised in parliament. In a written question, the former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe asked the Foreign Secretary, William Hague: "What steps his department are taking to assist British companies, such as SIS, who are yet to receive payment from the Indian government for contracts relating to the 2010 Commonwealth Games?"

Foreign diplomats in Delhi say they have repeatedly raised the issue with Indian officials.

Earlier this year, eight nations – Australia, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland – jointly wrote to the Sports Minister, Ajay Maken, and the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee. There has been no formal response. The British High Commissioner, Sir Richard Stagg, said yesterday: "We are very concerned. David Cameron has raised this with the Indian Prime Minister. We think it's profoundly unsatisfactory and contrary to all the norms of proper commercial relations."

Estimates suggest a minimum of 20 companies are owed outstanding sums. One of them, InfoStrada Sports, is a multinational company that provided various services, including the reporting of events. A company spokesman, Steve Dettre, said the equivalent of £370,000 remained unpaid. "They keep changing the goalposts and saying we did not deliver certain things. We made all our deliveries," he said.

Those trying to recoup money say the issue has now become bogged down in the criminal investigation into the games. The chairman of the games organising committee, Suresh Kalmadi, and other senior officials have been arrested on charges of corruption.

An investigation carried out by a former government auditor, VK Shunglu, made various allegations about several international companies. British officials say they have seen no evidence to support claims of wrongdoing by UK companies. Among the allegations are that SIS is an illegal company and that it "colluded" with a state broadcaster in order to net profits of £18m. SIS has strongly denied the allegations.

Another problem for foreign companies is that their contacts were held with a variety of Indian public bodies. In January, when he was appointed sports minister, Mr Maken vowed that the payments would be sorted out within 10 days.

The things you see

On the drive home last night, we were cruising past this bus stop near the U-Turn to go to Vasant Vihar.

At the bus stop was this “swami-looking” old guy, long white beard, wearing nothing but, what I would describe as, a “loin cloth”.

He had arm positioned straight up (like he was in some sort of meditative pose) & had his “meat & two vege” hanging out for the whole world to see. sorta looked like he had his “two vege” hanging out but I was trying not to look too closely.

Yep......the things you see indeed !!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A farewell to a friend

On Friday, Tania's office manager, Vimala, retired after nearly twenty years of service at the Australian High Commission.

The farewell party was hoot & a good time was had by all as can be seen by the following photgraphs:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A recent lunch at a great Italian restaurant

I recently went to a working lunch at this new Italian restaurant at The Grand Hotel in Vasant Kunj.

I got to meet the chef who's quite a nice bloke from Firenze.

He makes this great beetroot-based pizza with roasted veges.

Here are photos of what I had for your drooling pleasure:

This is the tuna salad

This is the seafood entree that Marcus had

This is a betroot risotto that Marcus had

This is the combined lamb (see the lamb chop in the top left-hand corner) & smoked chicken risotto (very nice !!)

This is what the CEO was having - a lovely rolled chicken dish

Your truly with the chef's signature dish: zabaglione

Some more photos from Humayan's Tomb

Here are some of my film photos from our visit to Humayan's tomb:

Some more photos of Andrew the peacock

I discovered the other day that there are actually two Andrews (complete with the tail).

Here's a photo of one of the Andrews strutting his stuff on the HOM's lawn

An article from the Sydney Morning Herald

Here's an article from today's Sydney Morning Herald:

As an aside.....did you know that the organiser of the Delhi Commonwealth Games (Suresh Kalmadi) is now in jail because of corruption ??

Pumped-up dream deflates in disgrace

Ben Doherty
July 16, 2011

Losing their lustre ... Ashwini Akkunji, Manjeet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur and Sini Jose celebrate their 4x400m relay gold medal. Three have since failed drug tests. Photo: Reuters

Amid the colour and calamity of Delhi's Commonwealth Games, these were India's
golden girls. The women's 4x400-metre relay team, competing in the penultimate event on the track, ran down the seemingly impregnable Nigerians to claim an unexpected, barely believable, gold medal.

All of India celebrated. Wrapped up in 3½ minutes was the story of India's Games as the public wished to see it - the nation defiantly snatching a last-minute victory in the face of international scepticism. It was a raucous arrival as a bona fide sporting nation.

But now even that golden moment has been tarnished. Three of the four women in the team - Mandeep Kaur, Sini Jose and Ashwini Akkunji - have tested positive for steroids this month. And, to the country's chagrin, they appear to be at the epicentre of a widening scandal that threatens to engulf all sport in India.

Easily available ... steroids are cheap at suburban pharmacies. Photo: Ben Doherty

Eight of India's best track and field athletes have tested positive for steroids in the past fortnight. The results have unmasked what many have long believed is the rampant and systemic abuse of drugs in Indian sport, and highlighted the problem of the ready availability of steroids.

Dr Ashok Ahuja, a former sports medicine officer at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, says the country is ashamed and humiliated by the scandal but he says the spate of positive tests comes as little surprise.

"This has been going on for quite a long time in India at all levels of sport … if we go back into history, there have been too many instances of people doping," he says.

India sent only one athlete from the Commonwealth Games village in disgrace for a failed test. But in the lead-up to the Games, 12 ''probables'', including four wrestlers, were caught. The country's weightlifting federation has twice been banned from international competition because of doping violations.

Ahuja told the Herald that despite the national euphoria over the relay win, many viewed it with suspicion.

"To be honest, we were very surprised by the way these girls improved to achieve Commonwealth gold and Asian [Games] gold. To improve five seconds in one year is not possible, it is physiologically not possible. There was something more to that. They improved in leaps and bounds, too much."

As medallists, all four runners were drug-tested after their Commonwealth win and passed, apparently clean, but Ahuja believes they had been involved in doping regimes of varying sophistication for months, if not years, before.

"I think so. No only these girls, but many athletes in India have been involved in doping over a long time. These runners went over to other countries before the Games, perhaps to get access to masking agents,'' he says.

"This has been going on for three or four years, that's why there was the shadow of doubt in our minds about their performance."

The athletes have protested their innocence, saying they unknowingly bought, and took, contaminated food supplements after those supplied by the Sports Authority of India ran out. They have pleaded they were only following their coaches' orders.
"I have full faith that I did nothing wrong … I'm not mad enough to take steroids," Kaur said.

The Sports Minister, Ajay Maken, has backed the runners' version of events, saying the positive tests happened "out of sheer ignorance on the part of the athletes, who are generally from the rural areas or are not highly educated".

Blame has instead been laid at the door of foreign coaches, in particular the Ukrainian Yuri Ogorodnik, a coach in the former Soviet Union before he landed a job with the Athletics Federation of India, and who regularly took his athletes to Ukraine and Belarus for training camps. Six of his athletes have failed drug tests.

Maken this week sacked Ogorodnik, and warned that any other coaches whose athletes tested positive would follow.

But the result of a single race, however significant, is overshadowed by the broader
issue of drugs in Indian sport, and the health risks run by those who take them.

Steroids are easily and cheaply available everywhere in India. This week, the Herald visited five suburban chemists in Delhi, asking at each for a number of different steroids. Each chemist had steroids in stock and sold them without question. Not once were we asked why the drugs were needed, or for a prescription.

Ten tablets of stanozolol, the powerful steroid most famously used by the disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, can be bought on the streets of the Indian capital for 42 rupees (88¢). Chemists even had a selection of brand names to choose from.

Vials of nandrolone, popular with runners, tennis players and baseballers, are sold, along with a syringe, for 115 rupees. Two doctors at a Delhi hospital, where steroids are dispensed legitimately, independently confirmed the drugs were genuine.

Anecdotally, steroids are being used not only by India's elite athletes but at school, collegiate and club level, Ahuja says.

The president of the Indian Federation of Sports Medicine, Dr P.S.M. Chandran, says drug abuse is Indian sport's worst-kept secret.

"Anabolic steroids are extremely widely used, they are rampantly used, because they are easily accessible and because they have a proven history of improving performance,'' he says.

''That's all the people care about, they don't listen [to warnings] about the side-effects, the damage they will do to their bodies."

The dangers of steroids are well-known - psychotic episodes, shrunken testicles in men and menstrual irregularity in women. Dr Chandran says lax government controls on drug manufacture, import and sale have created a culture of impunity around steroid abuse.

"This is probably the greatest failure. These drugs are so easy to get, not just for athletes, but the common man can just walk into a chemist and buy these drugs with no prescription, nothing,'' he says.

Ahuja and Chandran have called for more education about the dangers of steroids and support for elite athletes unsure of the rules. But for the three women at the centre of the current scandal, whatever reforms might emerge will come too late.

They face two-year bans from their sport and their chance of winning India's first Olympic track medal in London next year is almost certainly extinguished.
Akkunji, only 23, was the darling of Indian sport after her Commonwealth Games success and subsequent Asian games relay and individual golds.

Her story resonates with so much of aspirational India: the farmer's daughter who grew up chasing cows around her family property in Karnataka, whose ability was glimpsed and whose parents made endless sacrifices - even pawning their jewellery - so she could go to a school with a track coach, where her talent would be nurtured.

This week Ashwini's second sample, used to confirm test results, came back positive
for the steroid methandienone.

London is lost, almost certainly, but she intends to run on, and she wants her teammates alongside her.

"It's really sad that all this has happened to us. We are totally innocent,'' she says. ''But we will continue our preparation. We will continue with our practice."

This article was found at:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another story on the "Golden Temple" in Kerala

Here's another story about the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala (it appeared in "The Australian" but it is actually an article from "The Times" of London).

Quite fascinating really.

Talk of curses as India mulls another chamber of gold

• Nicola Smith
• From: The Australian
• July 11, 2011 12:00AM

The 16th-century Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum, India. Source: AP

WAITING in the musty darkness beneath one of India's most secretive Hindu temples this month, a team of experts prepared to prise open the granite door of Chamber A, a vault that had been sealed for a century.

For three days they had been working their way through the hidden chambers of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, southern India, aware of tales that it was guarded by curses and poisonous snakes.
Their torches would catch a flash of a jewel or strip of gold that hinted at the fabulous riches long said to be hidden there.

It took three men straining on iron bars half an hour to prise open the door. As it finally creaked open, firemen wearing masks rushed into the 2.4m by 1.5m vault to pump in oxygen. They emerged shocked and speechless.

A team member could not contain his excitement. "We entered in pairs and shone our torches in the room and it was amazing. There are just no words to explain it," he said.

"It was full of gold chains the same height as me. There were heavy belts of gold, ornaments and precious stones.
Then there were steps leading down into a smaller room where gold coins were scattered all over the floor."

The value of the find has been estimated at $18 billion. Among the treasures hidden beneath the temple in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, were 18kg of Napoleonic era gold coins, a tonne of gold trinkets, a 5.5m gold necklace, a sack full of diamonds and jewellery studded with yet more diamonds. One statue, a 30cm-high jewel-encrusted portrayal of the temple deity Lord Vishnu, is estimated to be worth $105 million.

Yet the 500-year-old temple, which only devout Hindus are allowed to enter, may still be hiding an even more splendid hoard. This week India's Supreme Court is expected to approve the opening of the final vault - Chamber B - which has been sealed for more than 150 years.

Judges delayed the final decision on Friday after requesting advice on what to do about a jammed lock that the ancient key will no longer open. Any attempt to force the lock or damage the structure would risk inciting already angry Hindus.

Legend has it the chamber can be entered only in times of crisis. Word of a terrible curse being unleashed on Kerala if the door is opened unnecessarily has swept through the area.

In hushed tones worshippers outside the temple walls described the "bad omen" of the chamber door, which is guarded by a five-headed cobra with gemstones for eyes.

Stories of previous efforts to open the chamber have compounded local superstitions. In 1933, British writer Emily Gilchrist Hatch described one attempt. "When the state needed additional money, it was thought expedient to open these chests and use the wealth they contained," she wrote. "A group of people got together and attempted to enter the vaults with torches. When they found them infested with cobras they fled."

The sound of rushing water in the chambers has given rise to the belief that secret passageways link the vaults to the Arabian Sea, 5km away.

For almost three centuries the maharajahs of Travancore, which included large swaths of southern India, guarded the treasure. Last week Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, 90, the current maharajah, remained ensconced in his palace, which resembles an English country house with a pagoda roof. His friends said he was "worried about the consequences" now the world knew about the treasure.

Armed guards have now been placed around the temple. But the biggest threat may lie in a debate about the treasure. There are calls for it to be used to boost Kerala's economy or to aid the poor. Hindu groups say treasure should stay in the vaults for ever.

Oommen Chandy, Kerala's Chief Minister, has said the artefacts will be protected by the state at the temple. This means that no non-Hindu will get the chance to see the treasure.

The Sunday Times

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dinner experience at Spice Route

Last Monday, Tania & I took Fran out to dinner at a restaurant called “Spice Route”. The restaurant is located in “The Imperial” hotel located on Janpath.

“The Imperial” is fast becoming one of our favourite hotels in Delhi.

It first opened its door in the 1930s, when India was heading towards independence.

It was a place where the well-to-do Indians & British could rub shoulders. It was also a place where those planning the independence of India (or break up, depending on how you look at it) would meet. Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten would meet at The Imperial to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. Apparently, the Nehru family had a permanent suite here.

The place has a very regal & old world feel to it. Everywhere you look there are old photos of the princes of old India, photos of stern looking soldiers in the valleys of Afghanistan, framed medals of campaigns long forgotten and old paintings of the monuments of India.

A drink in the bar “1911” takes you back to a time at the height of the British Raj. It is truly amazing.

But...I digress. The reason for coming here was to eat at the restaurant “Spice Route”. The restaurant has this amazing decor & has the feel of a truly classy restaurant. The menu we were given had a lot of menu choices: from Chinese, to Malay to Thai but, surprisingly, not a lot of Indian choices.

Seeing as how we wanted to show Fran a bit of Indian food, we asked if there was another menu with Indian choices. We were told that they had a Southern Indian tasting menu. They were most accommodating when we advised that Tania can’t eat seafood & provided chicken & lamb alternatives for her.

The meal was reasonably expensive (we expected nothing less) & we did have a bottle of wine but the professionalism of the staff, the surroundings & the tasty food made for a memorable night. We’ll definitely be coming back.

So...without further ado, some photos of the meal for your drooling pleasure:

Here's the menu we had

This is the entree course: Kerala-style beans, Kerala-style prawns & Kerala-syle sole fish

This is the soup we had: a lentil & tomato soup (very tasty)

This is the main course: prawns, chicken, fish, lentil dumplings & lemon rice (so tasty !!)

This is the bread we had: it's so light & fluffy !!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Another champagne Lunch at the Shangri La hotel

Yes...we went to another champagne lunch at the Shangri-La hotel.

Well...we had to do something with Fran on the Sunday !! That's our excuse & we're sticking to it !!

Humayan's Tomb & Lodi Gardens

Last weekend was a busy time for us as we showed our first visitor from Australia (Fran) around Delhi. We had big plans to show her a number of monuments but the hot & humid weather & the downpour at lunch time means that we only got to a few things.

Our first stop was Humayun's tomb: a tomb complex to the east, of the Mughal Emperor Humayun who ruled present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of northern India from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556.

The complex is located on the banks of the Yamuna river & consists of monuments & gardens contained within a walled compound. Water features & the flow of water are a prominent aspect of the complex.

Looking at the building, there is a certain resemblance to the Taj Mahal in Agra.

See what I mean about the resemblance to the Taj ??

From another angle

The next stop (after lunch & a bit of shopping) was Lodi Gardens. This is a large complex spread out over 90 acres & quite popular with locals. Within the gardens, there are a number of tombs which seem a bit out of place in a public park.

Lodi Gardens were quite the oasis from the madness that is Delhi.

This is one of the tombs you will stumble across in the gardens. This is the Sikandar Lodi Tomb

This is the Bara Gumbad tomb

This is the Bara Gumbad tomb and mosque looking from the Bara Gumbad tomb

Looking at the interior of the mosque