Day By Day

Monday, January 02, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 2 -- The World Reflecting Mosque

We continued through the increasingly crowded streets of Delhi until in the distance we saw an onion dome that dominated the local landscape.

As we approached it became ever more impressive and exotic.

Leaving the bus we climbed a long set of stairs and at the top were told to take off our shoes. OK!

We were then allowed to enter the sacred precinct of the Jami Masjid Mosque, the "World-Reflecting Mosque" built in the seventeenth century by Shah Jahan [the emperor who built the Taj Mahal]. It is the largest and most famous mosque in India.

These are prayer rugs laid out in the courtyard for the faithful. The place is huge, with a maximum capacity of 85,000 people.

The mosque seems to be home to nearly as many pigeons. Suddenly taking off our shoes didn't seem like such a good idea.

Here we are looking across the courtyard at the main structure. Gorgeous, isn't it?

Turning around, we could look down on old Delhi where a local market was crowded with shoppers. Ramadan was coming to an end and people were stocking up for a feast.

More of the market below. All you can see are the vendors' tents.

And a view of Delhi's famous "Red Fort", its lineaments somewhat obscured in the distance by an ever-present smog. Yes, India is polluted, much like China.

These blue lines in the courtyard designate an area set aside for "severely afflicted" worshipers, at least that's what I was told.

Inside the main building, only a few people were praying.

But the architecture was stunning. Just look at these fluted arches!

Looking across the courtyard at the southern or "King's" gate. Through it the emperor and his family could enter the mosque undisturbed and would sit in the central balcony during services.

We saw a lot of this sort of thing everywhere we went -- people just lying down and sleeping in a public place during the middle of the day.

As we left the mosque we passed these girls sitting outside the East Gate. They make a pretty picture, don't they.

Then it was down into the mean streets and byways of Old Delhi for our next unique experience -- a rickshaw ride.

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