We started off the day with a visit to the Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial. A bit of an oxymoron because in Hinduism there is no grave, there is never a reliquary. A Hindu life ends when the ashes of the burial fires are put into the river. There are no ashes at Gandhi’s Memorial; there is nothing at all of Gandhi, just a small quote posted near the entrance, “A word uttered from a pure heart never goes in vain”.
|Large Picture of Ghandi|
|Raj Ghat, Gandhi's Memorial|
|The Jama Masjid|
|Inside the Mosque|
The Jama Masjid Mosque’s plaza can hold 25,000 devotees but I was disappointed when we entered. To my eyes it is just a huge open space, where people can pray. In the middle of summer (45 C) the unsheltered plaza would be very hot to kneel on. Sure there are a few shaded side buildings but not grand enough to allow shelter for all 25,000. Shah Jahan never saw the finished Mosque; I believe he would have not liked it. Besides the vendors outside, the charges for taking photos, the requirement to remove all shoes and the requirement for all women to wear cover-ups (even if they already had long sleeves) and the men to wear skirts if they were wearing shorts, all irritated me. I found it to be a tourist trap, way over-rated.
|Narrow Streets in Old Delhi|
|Shopping Even by Superman|
People in India are smart. I noticed in India most people speak at least 3 languages. All speak the language of the town or area they grew up in. Grow up in the Punjab and you speak Punjabi or Urdu. Your Home town is in Rajasthan? You most likely speak Hindi but you would be given Sanskrit, etc. All speak Hindi, the official (TV, Movies, and Government) language and then English to various degrees, the language of business. People are smart in India. Business is done with a cup of tea and a certain trust and certainly with a long term relationship in mind. Any denomination or currency is OK, even though the exchange rate might vary in the business's favor.
|Explaining the Weaving Process|
How do I know about this business set up? I bought a silk carpet! Handmade in Kashmir, it took 3 people 2 years to make it. All the silk is organically dyed using natural dyes and all the colors match and are from one dye lot. At 6x9 feet, it fits anyplace. With a little care the carpet will last hundreds of years.
|My Silk Carpet|
|Signing My Name On My Carpet|
|Lunch Time View|
Here are a few more things I learned about India.
Namaste: you gently fold your hands in front of you like in a prayer, slightly bow your head and you say: “Namaste”. It is a courtesy greeting or farewell, at any time of the day.
Caste system: Modern India abolished the caste system; it is against the law to discriminate because of your station in life. The old ways die hard however. Laborers are still on the low end of society. Education is paramount and allows access to higher or upper stations in life. People pay lots of attention to the school one attends or to the job one practices.
Arranged marriages: are still common practices. Love marriages are OK “if” the family approves and the horoscopes are compatible. Indian life without the approval and/or support of the extended family is ‘unthinkable’. Family and the support structure of it are paramount. Astrology helps finding mates.
Hinduism: 70% are Hindus. - 18 % Muslims. - 2% Christians. - 10 % Others
The way of life for most people in India is Hinduism. Each Hindu person has (must have) 5 people in his/her life: 1) Priest 2) Goldsmith (Jeweler) 3) Hairdresser 4) Astrologer 5) Wash-person. All of these 5 are essential to a Hindu life.
Prithy said good bye to us, she is only the Delhi guide, but we certainly learned a lot from her. Thank you, Prithy! Namaste!