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Phil's Mondo India Slide Show
Sights of New Delhi

Nothing can really prepare you for the awful shock of landing in India after midnight, and knowing this, I had a ride to my hotel prearranged, and my first few days in Delhi arranged for taxi based tours, the only air-conditioned vehicle that I would ever encounter. Little did I know I was riding in the lap of luxury! I also stayed in a nice hotel for the first few nights to ease my agjustment here, which was helpful. A far cry from the 3 dollars a night ratholes that I ended up later in my journeys. But now, onto my first excursion into the Indian subcontinent...

My first encounter with India's famous temples was one of the newest, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, also known as the Birla temple, named after the wealthy industrialist BD Birla who financed this colorful temple in 1938. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of prosperity and good fortune, and she does quite a business, from what I saw, due to the lack of much prosperity for most Hindus. Mahatma Gandhi was known to frequent this temple during his time in Delhi. I found myself getting the first of many surprised looks and raised eyebrow upon entering a Hindu temple. And similar to many temples, part of it was not open to non-Hindus. But it was a beautiful place, which stood out from the city surroundings.

Looking similar to the Arch de Triumph in Paris is the India Gate monument, dedicated to the soldiers who have died in recent wars. The names of 85,000 soldiers are inscribed on the monument, which is situated in the governmental area of New Delhi, south of Connaught circle, and much more organized, spacious and sane than Old Delhi - new Delhi and this area was designed by the British and one can see the influence. I soon discovered that I was joined by large numbers of Indian tourists taking in the sites of their own country. In a land of a billion people, it is one of life's pleasures to be in a relatively sparse crowd such as seen here.

This picture is taken on the "RajPath" a 3km roadway closed to cars. At one end, behind me, sits the presidential palace, and at the other end, in the distance is the national stadium.



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