Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sufdarjungs Tomb

After settling in to big city living, finding our local markets and all the other essential things needed to survive, we started to have a look around at the other trappings New Delhi has on offer. Our first tourist type outing was to Safdarjung's Tomb (still my favorite out of the tombs in New Delhi). Safdarjung's tomb is modest in comparison to most and that's was makes it such a nice place to visit. It is understated in it's appearance and is a lovely place to just wander around an imagine how life must have been here 2-300 years ago. The tomb is beautiful with a lovely expansive surrounding garden.

After arriving at the Tomb we were greeted by one of the local tourist guides. He offered to take us around and give an overview of the tomb and it's surrounds, for a small fee of course. This happens at most of India's major tourist attractions of historical significance. You arrive and are then pounced on by guides, both legitimate and not. Thankfully the good ones are relatively easy to identify as they carry a government issued identity card which lets you know who and what they are.

The tomb was built in 1754 and is representative of the many Mughal tombs (albeit smaller than most) built during their reign. The tomb is significant as it was the last tomb built by the Mughal's prior to the British securing their stranglehold on the subcontinent.

The tomb is located very close to work so we often drive by it and it always looks fantastic with lovely surrounding gardens. If your coming to Delhi then Sufdarjung is a must see.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Everyone's a charmer......

One thing about New Delhi is that you never have any privacy. We learnt this very quickly after moving into the residence. No sooner had we arrived and the locals started turning up at the front gate of the residence seeking work, housekeepers, drivers, cooks basically you name it they all came in droves. Mostly younger people, but we noticed something strange. They pretty well seemed to be preying on us. The majority were from the organised house help Mafia, they were often young girls between 15-25 years old who have come to New Delhi but for whatever reason they have gotten themselves stuck and fallen prey to the organised criminal elements within the city. The people running this type of racket will be taking a proportion your house helps income or even worse they may be casing your home out. They go to great lengths by work for a period of time in your house to earn your trust and then one day, perhaps after a month or two you come home to find all your valuables gone.

There are upsides to home visitors including the local vegetable walli who brings fantastic fresh vegetables every day. Or the man who comes around and pays you quite handsomely to take your recycling away! We even have the local Yukult girl who comes around on her scooter delivering Yukult. There is also a less desirable group in this lot including the notorious carpet salesman, who is often very persistent and won't leave until you agree to buy one of his often dirty or badly made rugs.

Many of these people prey on the expat and diplomatic community, cruzing around the better parts of the city and identifying you from your numberplate. They then go to great lengths to get your attention, even to the point of standing out the front of your residence for hours in the 45 plus degree Celsius heat just waiting for you to come out of the house or to come home so they can approach you.

However, my favorite visitor of all is the local snake charmer, he wanders around the street playing the flute and conducting shows with his two Cobras. Soon after setting into the residence we invited him into the yard to do a show for the children. It was fantastic, he played music and entertained us for over half an hour. The snakes were amazing and very friendly, the children had a ball and this much fun was had for the princely sum of $12 AU equivalent.