Looking east along Chandni Chowk
towards the Jain Temple and bird
The open space in front
of the Lahore Gate looking east.
Another unattributed plan I'm afraid but annotated by me to show what's
left after the attack and destruction by the British in 1857
The barbican in front of the Lahore Gate looking south east.
, constructed as a bazaar to give accommodation to the
city's finest craft workers, now sells souvenirs, looking east.
One end of the series of barrack blocks built post 1857 by the British,
The Naubhat Khana
or Drum House looking south east.
The interior of the Diwan-i-Am
or Hall of Public Audience looking
Gardens and fountain in front of the emperor's private quarters, the Khas Mahal
looking north east.
The Khas Mahal
niches and external pool views looking north east. Golden flowers or
lit candles were placed in the niches which then shimmered behind a
curtain of falling water, not any more.
Pavilion above the 'Stream of Paradise' the name given to the channeled water which ran through the palace, looking north east
and the Shah Burj
another pavilion masking the water tower behind into which water was pumped from the Yamuna River to the east.
Interior of the Shah Burj
showing armed guard and the textured ramp down which the incoming water
flowed plus a view to the rear showing the top of the octagonal water
tower, both looking north east.
The Hayat Bakhsh Bagh
, the only surviving formal garden: The Bhadon Pavilion looking north and the Zafar Mahal
of 1842 which once stood at the centre of a square pool looking north east.
Detail of the channels and small ornamental basins surrounding the central pool, looking north east.
The Red Fort
Cycle rickshaw rider on the Chandni Chowk
demonstrates his strength...
Once back at the
Eros there was time for lunch and a shower then we were driven just
round the corner to the Baha'i Auditorium where we were part of a
double bill with a Taiwanese 'Bamboo' orchestra, another
extraordinarily talented group of youngsters. We followed them on and
it went very well to the point where, at the end, we got folks up to
join in with Shepherd's Away. After the show they kept the temple open
late for us so we were able to stroll though the gardens and enjoy the
tranquil atmosphere before returning to hotel for more food.
* Thanks to Rajnish Prasad for the following photographs
Performing at the Baha'i Auditorium*
Preparing for our farewell dance*.
The Lotus Temple*
SUNDAY OCTOBER 18th.
Once again the message came through, eventually, that we were to be
packed and ready to go for a mid-day flight to Lucknow so we mostly had
a relaxing morning then we were on our way. Once touched down in
Lucknow we were greeted by the formidably well organised regional
officer and an armed police guard! They lead the way as our motorcade
threaded its way through Lucknow and crowds of protesting farmers with
trailers full of flag waving supporters all pulled by tractors. We
arrived at the Deep Palace Hotel and after a little confusion ended up
being very well fed then the news went round that we needed to see what
was going on in the street outside....
The festival of Dusshera
, not sure what's being sold but here comes the procession...
.... plus elephant! (The shiny circles are the flash reflected off the dust in the air!)
MONDAY OCTOBER 19th.
We had a morning tour laid on for us, once again with armed police escort so our first port of call was the Bara Imanbara
a Shi'ite assembly hall built in 1784 with an interesting interior
around the large hall, we had a whistle stop tour which
unfortunately did not include the step well nor the attached mosque
which was closed anyway. Next we were whisked off to the Chhota Imambara
another assembly hall built for the local Shia Muslims between 1837
and1842 and famed for its decor but were not allowed entry, no
explanation why but there was a lot of haggling between our guide and
the custodians before we sloped off. Then round the corner to the Jama Masjid,
apparently a magnificent building constructed by the third Nawab of
Awadh, Mohammad Ali Shah in 1423, the mosque is closed to
“non-Namazis,” a euphemism for non-Muslims so we peered over the fence
before moving on. Finally we landed up at the former British Residency
famed for its siege during the Indian Mutiny of 1857where they did let
us in. The ruins were
preserved pretty well as abandoned after the relief of Lucknow although
obviously there has been considerable tidying up and consolidation
since then. Like many historic sites in India it is popular with young
couples seeking a little privacy, this makes poking around a ticklish
business at times. Back to the hotel for a late lunch then on the the
Sant Gadgeji Maharaj Auditorium. Our performance had to be extended to
over an hour
that evening as we were the only act on the bill, hard work but I think
we pulled it off. Later that evening after dinner we made another
sortie onto the streets to pick up on all the festival latest.
The Deep Palace Hotel.
The mosque at Bara Imanbara looking north west
with view of approaching pilgrims.
The step well, not my photo unfortunately.
Outside the Bara Imanbara
were asked to line up and have our photos taken, always keen to oblige,
and here is Pete hitching a ride with our police escort, brave man.
a watch tower cum observatory from the late 1830s looking north and the entry front of the Jama Masjid
looking south east.
The Lucknow Residency complex at the time of the siege in 1857.
The Bailey Guard Gate from the
The treasury from the south, note damage from cannon balls.
The Residency from the south west. Well and water channels from east on edge of the lawn south of museum
Another well plus channels and circular tanks east of Dr. Taylor's House
Photo of the Residency immediately after the siege plus same view looking north west in 2015.
Back on the street that evening, Dusshera
rituals underway and the boy band in waiting.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 20th.
An early start and escorted back to the airport for the return flight
Delhi and collected from there by our very own tour company for the six
and a half hour drive to Jaipur. Rather a depressing trip with endless
little roadside settlements, some of the buildings having been
literally cut in half by the process of widening the road, rather
extraordinarily many of the 'half houses' are still inhabited as the
traffic rumbles part outside. Some of the most distressing sights and
signs of utter poverty greeted us on the last 20 kilometres coming into
town, so bad that even taking photographs felt wrong. Once we got there
we weren't good for
much more than checking in and eating at our hotel the Dera Rawatsar.
Truncated accommodation en route to
A stone cutters workshop with mounds of stone chippings.
Water point on the outskirts of Jaipur and the first of the many gates we saw to the planned city.
Two views of the Dera Rawatsar: the internal courtyard and pool.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 21st.
Out with our amiable guide Raj for a sight-seeing tour pausing briefly outside the Hawa Mahal
to take photos and fend off fan sellers and the like then on to the
town of Amber. An elephant ride had been scheduled which some members
took advantage of, others were less sure but then there was the excitement of a
jeep ride up the hill to the entrance to Amber Fort, a massive hill top
palace built as a Rajput stronghold occupied between 1037 and 1728 by the
Kachchwaha clan until they moved to Jaipur, after having built it
first. Something of a gauntlet of sellers of native fiddles, puppets,
post cards, turbans and fridge magnets... fridge magnets? Raj had obtained the
services of a guide who did a good job of taking us round and
encouraging us to peer into assorted odd corners. When the trip was over
our guide, having heard our express wish to visit a Hindu temple lead
us down a track from the fort to the rather spectacular Jagat Shiromani Temple erected between 1599 to 1608
by one Man Singh after the death of his son in battle. We were blessed
by the attendant holy man before returning to our jeeps and coach.
It had to be done, the inevitable photo of the hugely impressive Hawa Mahal
or Palace of the Winds, view looking south west.
Approaching Amber: looking north towards the palace across the lake and associated formal gardens below the palace.
up for an elephant
View of the Jaigarh Fort above the palace looking north.
The area of the Amber Fort.
Amber Fort: courtyard with the Diwan-i-Am
or Hall of Public Audience of 1639 looking east. Below the courtyard is
a large cistern, this is one of the hatches that gives access to it.
The magnificent painted gateway known at the Ganesh Pole
view looking west.
Rather washed out views of the Amber Fort Gardens and dam and the famous Kesar Kyari Bagh
or Saffron Garden sitting in the Maotha Lake, both views looking more or less south and so into the sun.
Sunken bath within the hammam
with seating for four.
Up to the next level, the gardens sandwiched between the Sukh Mahal
and the Sheesh Mahal
. view looking west.
Basin and channel leading into the garden from the Sheesh Mahal
, view looking north west plus tourists enjoying the Sheesh Mahal
Waterworks designed to cool within the Sukh Mahal
: textured ramp and channel looking north west and further ramp and steps down to the garden looking south east.
More details of facilities: the small bathing pool within the women's
quarters and the toilets looking remarkably Roman, form follows
function I guess.
The pillared baradari
within the courtyard of the earlier Palace of Man Singh I adapted as the women's quarters, view looking west.
Jagat Shiromani Temple and detail of carved podium views looking south west.
A gallery of deities and supporters.
The temple precinct looking north east, entry gate and well
Detail of well head and tank and channels
Back down in the village at the local pump, we had one in garden at Kellogg College like this.
The coach then took us back to Jaipur with a brief stop on the rather grubby promenade over looking Man Sagar Lake
with a view of the Jal Mahal. Unfortunately the light was all wrong for
a decent photograph but there was an interesting view of a distant dam.
Onward into town once more and were dropped off outside the Udaipol
Gate to visit the Jaipur City Palace. We wandered round but didn't pay
a great deal of attention to the various museums on offer before
wandering out again to take a look at the famous astronomic /
astrological observatory the Jantar Mantar.
truly fascinating with an extraordinary guide who was casting
horoscopes on the fly, most impressive. Back then to the bus, lunch at
the Aanandam Restaurant the the long, long journey back to Delhi
enlivened by some creative driving to get past assorted traffic jams
and the provision of a round of beers thanks to Raj just before our
arrival at the suitably westernized Ibis Hotel, all ready to fly out the next morning.
Wanderings around the City Palace, Jaipur
Raj leads the way through the Udaipur Gate, looking
View of royal palace from the Pritam Niwas Chowk
, looking north.
Detail of the Peacock Gate on the east side of the Pritam Niwas Chowk
and a Hindu celebration underway in the Diwan-i-Khas
Jantar Mantar plan. (1) Jaiprakash
Yantra; (2) Dakshinabhitti Yantra; (3) Ram Yantra; (4) Digmamsa Yantra,
(5) Samrat Yantra; (6) Raj Yantra; (7) Unnatansha Yantra; (8)
The Jantar Mantar
: the spectacular 27 m high sundial the Samrat Yantra
, looking south east, families gather round another sundial for an explanation.
The Jaiprakash Yantra
II looking north east and the interior of the Ram Yantra
looking south west.
The Rashivalayas Yantraa
looking south, one sundial for each sign of the zodiac.
Our lunch stop in Jaipur.
Promotional photo of the very comfortable Ibis Hotel, last stop before flying home.
So, what to make of it all? Delhi is an astonishing place which one observes with a kind of fascinated horror, at first one
is simply stunned by the noise, the heat, the crowds and the dirt, then
out of the chaos one starts to pick out details which can be
alternatively glorious then ghastly. A growing sense of disgust at
some of the sights unfolding on the streets is replaced by a feeling of
shame, then numbness, then a kind of weary acceptance of the continuing
parade of poverty with its consequent filth and squalor. It seems to
me that two things are ruining India at present: concrete and plastic,
the first has enabled shoddy construction to take place at high speed
with the resulting accumulation of debris everywhere whilst the second
contributes to a litter problem of literally mountainous proportions.
There is clearly a rhetoric in the press that the country is a go ahead
kind of place pressing forward with all the latest technology and
leaving behind its past, whether this view contributes to a general
neglect of historic sites or the problems are more of an economic
nature I can't say but the general condition of most of the monuments
we visited was poor, badly maintained, overgrown and strewn with
litter. The main exception to this was Humayun's Tomb in south
Delhi which has recently been heavily invested in as part of its status
as a world heritage monument, I wonder if in 10 years time it will be a
shabby and neglected as the Red Fort (Lal Qila) is today. Exploring the
archaeology of Delhi is not for the faint-hearted: expect harassment
from touts and would be guides, be prepared for packs of dogs, biting
monkeys and semi-wild pigs, carry water in copious amounts and be ready
to wade through litter and other less savoury deposits. Would I go back? Of course!