Posts tagged ‘Delhi’

India Re-capped

On 9th October 2014 my wife and I arrived in Delhi after our overnight flight from Heathrow. Over the next 10 days we covered approximately 1000km as we travelled by road and rail from Delhi to Agra to Ranthambhore to Ramathra to Jaipur and then back to Delhi. 

My first set of images from India were posted on 26th October. Since then there have been 54 other posts (not including this one) containing 266 images (just 19% of the 1,405 shots that I captured in total on the trip). For my final post on India (about time too I hear you cry) I thought I would share these 266 shots again in one gallery.

Thanks for all the likes and comments over the past 5 months, your kind and supportive words are a constant source of encouragement…….I hope you enjoy the journey one more time: 

© Mark Simms Photography (2015)

Qutb Minar Complex

The Qutb Minar (named after Qutb-ud-din-Aibak – the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Mamluk Dynasty of India) is part symbol of Islamic victory over the “infidels” in India and part minaret to the attached Might of Islam Mosque. Construction started in 1199 and it consists of five stories, the first three built by Qutb and the fourth by his son-in-law Iltutmish. The fifth storey was added at the same time as the tower was being repaired after being damaged by lightning in 1368.

Whilst the Qutb Minar itself clearly draws much of its architectural inspiration from the Muslim world, the Might of Islam Mosque (the earliest surviving in India) is very much a fusion of both Indian and Islamic styles. For me, it’s this clash of cultures and architectural traditions that makes the Qutb Minar complex one of the most fascinating historic monuments that we saw in India. This was helped, in no small way, by the rapidly fading light bathing everything in a sumptuous golden glow and casting dramatic shadows across the stone work……perfect conditions for photography:

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor, died in 1556, but it wasn’t until 1564 that construction began on his magnificent tomb. Designed and built by Haji Begum (Humayun’s senior wife and mother of his son and successor Akbar) the tomb took the best part of nine years to complete and provided the architectural blueprint for subsequent Mughal monuments, including the most famous of them all…..the Taj Mahal.

We had absolutely no idea what to expect when we visited this site, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of our time in Delhi… oasis of calm and tranquility amidst the chaos of the surrounding city.

The observant amongst you will notice that there are in fact two tombs represented by the photographs above. The first six are of Humayun’s tomb, but the last two are of the earlier Isa Khan’s tomb, built between 1547-48. Part of the Humayun tomb complex (hence why I’ve included them in the same post) Isa Khan’s resting place may only be a couple of decades earlier, but it’s a world away in design and scale.

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

India Gate

Designed by Edwin Lutyens as part of the plans for New Delhi, India Gate originally commemorated the more than 70,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting for the British Empire in World War I.

Since then it has become a national war memorial to commemorate the deaths of armed service men and women in other conflicts, including the thousands of British and Indian soldiers who died on the Northwest Frontier and in the Afghan Wars and the Indian troops who lost their lives in the numerous conflicts with Pakistan post-independence:

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

New Delhi

Delhi only became India’s capital city in 1911 under British rule. As part of this move a new city, now known as New Delhi, was founded and officially inaugurated on 9th February 1931.

Planned by renowned British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker it stands in stark contrast to the crowded and narrow streets of Old Delhi. With its wide boulevards, neo-classical government/public buildings and large open green spaces you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a sophisticated European capital city like Paris or London…….well, except for the heat, humidity, auto-rickshaws (tuc-tucs) and the white Ambassador cars used for decades by the Indian government to ferry ministers and other officials around the city:

 © Mark Simms Photography (2014)

The Red Fort

Largely constructed of red sandstone, Delhi’s Lal Qila (Red Fort) was built between 1639 and 1648 by the same Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, responsible for the Jama Masjid, Old Delhi and the Taj Mahal.

In the west, a fort is purely military in nature, but in India the word “fort” refers to a fortified palace. These were as much opulent residences for the ruling classes and centres of government/justice, as they were military structures. They were very much symbols of wealth and power on which no expense was spared…….and the Mughal Emperors were fabulously wealthy.

I don’t mind admitting that I struggled a bit with photographing Delhi’s Red Fort…’s a sprawling site with no real stand-out focal point. Also it was hot and humid under the harsh mid-day Indian sun and my energy levels were dipping a little.

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

Streets of Old Delhi

Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor from 1628 to 1658 responsible for building the Jama Masjid in my previous post, was also the ruler responsible for founding the great city of Shahjahanabad, now known as Old Delhi.

The labyrinthine narrow streets and alleyways of Old Delhi are chaotic, crowded, colourful and claustrophobic…….it is an experience not to be missed.

We took the opportunity of trying some of India’s famous street food – paratha (a deep-fried bread with potato, lime and spices) and jalebis (spiral-shaped dough fried in ghee and soaked in sugar-syrup). Both were absolutely delicious and we didn’t have any unwelcome after-effects….;0).

© Mark Simms Photography (2014)

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