**** Delhi-India Travelogue 2004 ****


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pictures here are shot by me with digital compact Nikon Coolpix 2100)

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September 19 2004

My wife Mineko and I are visiting Delhi, Republic of India, on September 19, exactly 20 to September 23 2004. We get up early in the morning in our house and go to Narita Airport in good time. When we are just ready to depart for India at the ticket accounter onto Air India301D, the airline announces that the airplane has not arrived at Tokyo, actually not yet taken off Delhi because of some mechanical malfunction ( or strike?). Aghaaaaar, we have selected Air India to immerse ourself in Indian karma, so are resigned to accept this kind of event. By the airline's arrangement, we are carried to The Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport hotel and stay there for a day, including swimming in the pool (usage fee 3,150 Yen + rental swimming wear: 1,050 for female + 420 for male = total f__king 4,620 Yen!) and meals with free wine (Saint-Emilion, Barton & Guestier 2001) at Terrace, of course to their cost (exclugding 4,620 Yen at our own cost), however, damage to our travel schedule is enormous.

September 20 2004

We depart Narita in the morning, this time almost on schedule, a bit relieved - Photo-1, Photo-2. In fact, I have been to as far west as Singapore in 1994 with Hasegawa families, this is my first travel more west than that. During 8-to-10-hour flight we are watching movies, so-called Bollywood films. Although I cannot understand Hindi, the scenario is simple, moral and straight, consisting of admixture of calm plots and dancing, dancing, dancing,,, which are transformed each other rather abruptly (Link to the article on Bollywood in National Geographic: Suketu Mehta and William Albert Allard. Welcome to Bollywood. National Geographic, February 2005 edition). The bird's-eye view is gradually changing from lush Burma/Myanmar, inundated Bangladesh, to brownish India. We finally safely touch down to Delhi Airport - Photo-1, Photo-2. I am pretty grubby by the time we arrived here, delayed over precious 24 hours. After we change money from Japanese Yen to India Rupee (approximately 1 US$ = 40-45 Rupee, 1 Rupee = 2 Yen), we are met by Mrs.Mori who is a friend of Mineko's and alumnus of Tokyo University, and a wife of President of MITSUI & CO. India, LTD O䕨Y and guided to Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi, and on its way we observe the street view crowed with full of people, auto-rickshaws, cars and motorbikes. Once in the hotel room, I rearrange my plan of operation to Plan A and B in a mad rush 30 minutes. Time is money. Our room is facing vast Central Ridge Reserve Forest. In the lobby, consulting with Mrs. Mori, I make a reservation of Indian guide who can speak Japanese for tommorow's city sightseeing tour on the car arranged by her, and later in the evening I meet Dr. Arpan Ganghi in the lobby after calling him on phone, a pathologist whom I got to know on the internet and associated then with Dr. Lal Pathlabs, the largest private practice pathology lab in India with 15 pathologists and 260 lab techs. We dine together in the Chinese restaurant in this hotel with Mineko's friend Farah from Kashmir (her business partner dealing shawls). We talk frankly on pathology practices, health insurance systems, prevalent diseases in each country, work load, Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan (number theorist), Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (Raman spectrum effect), etc. This is a very small step but giant leap for our mutual understanding, I feel.

September 21 2004
I actually venture on a rented Land Cruiser into the academic sightseeing tour of Delhi (not only representative archeological landscapes but also the life of ordinary people) with competent, knowledgeable and reliable guide, Mr. Mahajan, who is a graduate of National India University and specializing in Japanese language/Japanology. Full speed ahead. I am an amateur photographer and actually consumed 6 rolls of ASA100 print film (24 shots each) with Kiev4 analog FSU camera, two rolls of color slide film (36 shots each), one roll of Brownie 9x6 medium format with Moskva-5, and 150 digital images with Nikon Coolpix. The weather is good in this season and landscape is magnificent and photogenic. The trajectory map of my current roving operation is here. Mineko is apart with me and meeting with Farah for business arrangement and chatter. In fact, they met together at the meeting of World Congress of Women, aka World Iron Lady Association (WILA), a few years ago and found a congenial spirit,,,, awesome indeed. I never get near to them, laugh.

Laxmi Narayan Temple: Photo-1 A temple built in honour of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Laxmi, and of her consort, Lord Vishnu. I enter to look on the inside, removing my shoes.

Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Office Building): Photo-1 We cannot stop car for security.

Parliament: Photo-1 ditto no stop.

India Gate: Photo-1, Photo-1.

Tomb of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat: Photo-1 (This is analog image shot with FSU camera Kiev4) Revered as Father of all Indian nationals, people removing shoes and worshipping

Lal Qila (Red Fort, UNESCO World Heritage Sites):
Photo-1 This fortress is a part of Old Delhi which was constructed from 1638 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and discarded in 1857 when the last Mughal emperor was dethroned and exiled. On August 15 each year, the Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India addresses here,
Photo-2 Front entrance gate,
Photo-3 Enlarged view of the wall from outside,
Photo-4Wall from inside, gators were swimming in the moat,
Photo-5 Mall on the arcade, under threat of eviction by the government,
Photo-6 Military barrack on the premise built by the British Empire during WW2, maybe corps ordered to the east front and confront at Imphal with the 15th corps of our Japanese Imperial Army,
Photo-7 Diwan-i-Am (public audience hall), where the emperor met the liege subject,
Photo-8 ditto, emperor's chair,
Photo-9 ditto, enlarged view of column,
Photo-10 From left to right, Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), Hummams of the royal baths, Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience where the emperor conducted matters of the state and met his ministers, a bit browish behind tree) and Khas Mahal (emperor's private palace served as residence, with a single dome, center of this image),
Photo-11 Khas Mahal (emperor's private palace served as residence).

I dare to charge into the people of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi protected by reliable guide Mr. Mahajan.
Candni chowk, Old Delhi:
Photo-1 People are going in overcrowded conditions,
Photo-2 Advertising display ,
Photo-3 People are going, almost always elbowing off, but to where?,
Photo-4 Horrowed tail of bus, no problem,
Photo-5 Cracked glasses, no problem,
Photo-6 Nightmarish wiring, no problem,
Photo-7 People are still going single-mindedly, but to where?,
Photo-8 Dismissal bell rings at the elementary school, and kid are livelily coming out, some taking a ride on ricksha to home,
Photo-9 Billboard for election campaign, probably.
I am indebted to Mr. Mahajan for this reconnaissance mission in force, otherwise would have been abducted and killed somewhere, with a news report and comment on TV in Japan "A looney and quixotic pathologist from Japan is missing in Old Delhi, You asked for it!" You will love it.

We two take a chinese lunch near Sarojini nagar, then head for
Qutab Minar (Axis Minarret, World Heritage Monument) down through the New Delhi to the south, which is the world's tallest brick minaret, measuring 72.5 meters, constructed under the orders of India's first Muslim ruler since 1193 and completed in 1386 (Indo-Islamic architecture):
Photo-1 Admission fee,
Photo-2 Notice,
Photo-3Manigificent minarret, indeed,
Photo-4 This viewpoint through the arch is strongly recommended by Mr. Mahajan, that is his favorite scape,
Photo-5 Inside the dome of nearby structure,
Photo-6 Derailed minarret during construction, with residual base portion.

The last of this day's itinerary is Humayun's Tomb (UNESCO World Heritage Site declared in 1993), a complex of buildings built as the Mughal Emperor Humayun's tomb and commissioned in 1562.
Photo-1 Isa Khan Niyazi's Tomb, octagonal tomb dating 1547, a Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri's court of Sur dynasty, who fought against the Mughals,
Photo-2 ditto, enlarged,
Photo-3 The pathway leading to the Humayun's tomb from the main entrance,
Photo-4 Panoramic landscape of Humayun's tomb,
Photo-5 ditto, near-distance view,
Photo-6 ditto, entrance iwan or high arc, under the white marble central dome,
Photo-7 Commemorative photo with Mr. Mahajan, intelligible gentleman and teacher of Indian history for me (regrettably low resolution because of backlight).

In the evening, we are welcomed by Mori couple, husband and wife, both graduate of Tokyo University Law School, at Hyatt Regency Delhi with diet and wine. I hear many difficulties and particular circumstances for India, including business custom and occasionally acid employee-employer relation.

September 22 2004

In the morning, after taking breasfast, we take commemorative photographs in the inner court
Photo-1 Mineko and I
Photo-2 Mineko and Mrs. Mori
Although we were given instructions by the guide book never not only to drink unboiled raw water, including fresh vegitable salad washed by fresh water, but alse to swim in the pool of hotel. I am really amazed to see an aged white-haired Caucasian local, probably Brit, swimming at a smart pace and returning on the pool side as if absolutely nothing had happened. They are undaunted, indeed, compared with post-WW2 Japanese. ;)
Doorman in Indian style is gorgeous, elegant and gentle.

Today Mineko and I are taking concerted tour with our guide Mr. Mahajan. Firstly we visit Purana Qila, the inner citadel of the city of Dina-panah, founded by the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun in 1533 and completed five years later (Wikipedia site).
Photo-1
Photo-2
Photo-3 Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque
Photo-4 ditto
Photo-5 ditto, inside
Photo-6 ditto, in combined panoramic view. In the right end, supreme court and convention center (whitish and grayish building) are seen in the distance
Photo-7 Sher Mandal, octagonal tower which was used as a library by Humayun after he recaptured the fort from Suri Empire (Sher Shah and successors)

National Museum has contents too abundant to digest by a few hours visit. Shooting with camera is not prohibited but charged (pragmatic approach, indeed. Foreigner 150 Rupee/person, Foreigner with camera shooting 300 Rupee/person)
Photo-1 External view of the museum
Photo-2 Edicts of Ashoka, a collection of inscriptions made by the Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty during his reign from 272 to 231 BC and represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism, displayed in the front court
Photo-2 ditto, explanation
[Ground floor-Entrance]
Photo-3 Stupa casing slab, 1-2 century AD
Photo-4 ditto, explanation
Photo-5 Buddha statue under the influence of Hellenism (Gandhara)
Photo-6 ditto
Photo-7 ditto
Photo-8 Buddha's ashes (cremains)
Photo-9
Photo-10 Room of treasures, under tight security guard
[First floor-Texture]
Photo-11
Photo-12
[Second floor-Military and Maritime]
Photo-13
Photo-14 Uniform of proudy West India Compary
Photo-15
Photo-16 INS Delhi (INS Indian Navy Ship, HMS Her Majesty's Ship), first commissioned destroyer in 1948.
Photo-17 Navigational instruments

The final destination in the current tour is Central Cottage Industries Emporium (Front facade ), catering to tourist market and operated by the Government of India, with fabrics, saris, jewelry, sculptures and much more at a fixed price. I purchase two candleholders, in gold and oxidized silver color, for the dark and tranquil atmosphere on the dining table back in my home. Yes, I love candle lights at dinner, at liberty from daytime medical service, with background music of Bach and other baroque music, Mozart, etc. streaming from Tannoy speakers. Candleholders are extremely expensive in Tokyo, because many are authentic antique ones, whereas they are high-volume utility product by low wage and extraordinarily affordable here.

After returning to our hotel, we explore the shops under the ground, and after scrutiny I purchase collapsible Indian chair with hand-made painting of maharaja on the elephant (1,545 Rupee) and window-like wall-hanging with hand-made painting (2,236 Rupee) at Taj Khazana (eventually charged to my visa card 9,285 Yen), which the attending clerk assures us "Carry-on baggage absolutely ei O.K."

We check out at the lobby and head for Indira Gandhi International Airport at 15:15 (Code DEL, Lobby of airport), where I purchase a book at a commissary store, entitled "Shock and Awe! joke book" with Foreplay by Suhel Seth (Roli Book, New Delhi, 2003. ISBN 81-7436-270-3, 200 Rupee!). We board on Indian Air AI304 and take off at 20:25 to retun to TKO.

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DISCLAIMER: This post/trip is not financially supported by the industry related to my current assignment to non-profit hospital. The views expressed here are those of the author Akio Hasegawa and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of any institutions in Japan. Citations of trade names do not constitute an endorsement of the products. Feedback is, as always, encouraged. Use the address DrHASEGAWA@aol.com for all correspondence regarding this column.
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version 1.10 2009/12/28
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