Success is measured in small steps in Delhi.
We found our hotel. We left the hotel. We got searched at a mall. We got back to the hotel. We got a beer. (This is the condensed version – the original occupies three and a half tightly-written pages in my journal.)
That first afternoon in India we didn’t take a single photo; we were afraid to pull the cameras out!
The next day was another rigamarole, trying to book a train for Agra. (Another page and a half in the journal.)
That settled, or so we thought, we headed off to see some Delhi sights. Our first stop was at the Red Fort where we were searched again. There was a separate area for women to be frisked. With highly visible security everywhere we finally took out our cameras.
The fort was beautiful in the early morning light, enveloped in a mist that the sun was trying very hard to dissolve.I think it’s called the Red Fort because red sandstone was used in the construction of most of the building. Although somewhere I read that it was built of white limestone in the 1600s and the British painted it red in the 1800s. Why they would do such a thing is not mentioned…Much of the building is intricately carved with Islamic motifs which consist of geometric shapes, flowers and what looks to be Arabic script. If walls could talk I wonder what it would say?The intricate tracery of a tree through one of its doorways.Guard station in the Red Fort.A portion of the fort facing the back is all soft creamy marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.This inlay work is called pietra dura. Some of the stones used were agate (green), carnelian (red/orange) and possibly lapis (blue). Agates and carnelian are translucent and make the Islamic floral motifs glow.Open to the outside, the carved marble lattice windows create shade and allow breezes through. Marble niches. I like the geometric pattern they create when they’re empty but keep wondering what they might have contained when the Shah was living there.Marble columns.
Boys on a school trip.Woman in red.Al feeling confident enough to hand over his camera to someone else to take our picture.Next up on our agenda was the Mosque, walking distance away IF we could handle the street market in-between the Red Fort and it!!!
A few notes on the Red Fort. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, constructed under the supervision of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, also known for commissioning the Taj Mahal. The architectural style is called Indo-Islamic, formed when the Hindu Indian builders were learning to incorporate the elements of Persian Islamic design into their construction techniques.