Thursday, January 18, 2007

Delhi outings: Humayun's Tomb

Fog in Delhi is a dreaded word in aviation industry. Dense fog sends every travel service for a toss during peak winter. Hardest hit are the airlines, followed by railways. Ironically, we had seen fog only in televisions, even though we live in Delhi. But on the morning of 31st December I had a different experience. Munish had called the group for a photo session at the historical monument of Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi. The time frame was dawn to sunrise. The theme of the shoot was compositional technique like framing, abstraction, etc. and this monument provides a good opportunity for honing one’s skill.

Waking up very early in the morning at the call of my alarm ring, I looked into the sky and saw no fog around. The 4 km stretch upto the Nizamuddin Bridge was almost clear. But once I was on the NH24, a blanket of fog seemed to have appeared from nowhere. The more I went ahead, the denser was the fog. Soon I got engulfed by a thick envelope of fog. Visibility was as low as 20 mtr. It was scary. I seriously thought of turning back but there was no U turn until I had to cross the Nizamuddin Bridge. Thus I managed to reach the other side of Yamuna. I pulled the car to one safe spot and called up Munish to give an account of the situation I am in. Munish told me that nothing is visible even at Humayun’s tomb. He advised me to take some photos of surroundings and then go back. But my wife, who was accompanying me hoping for a morning walk, opined that as we had came that far getting up so early in the morning, we should try to reach our destination and so drove ahead. Surprisingly, once we reached the residential area around Ashram crossing, there was no fog. This explained why there was no fog around my house and why we have not seen any fog till now except in television. But once I turned right from Ashram and had crossed the Nizamuddin railway station, the envelope of fog reappeared. Tearing through the fog, I made it to the parking lot of the Humayun’s tomb. Once inside the park, we were at a loss. Nothing was visible in that thick fog. I rang up Munish to ask for direction. After wandering for few minutes, I found the ticket counter. Paid the 20 bucks entry fee and we were allowed in.

Humayun’s tomb turned out to be a magnificent monument. It is the mausoleum built by Hamida Banu Begum, wife of Humayun around 1572. The entire campus has many buildings and structure. However, the main tomb towering nearly 47 mtr, stands majestically on a platform of 12000 sq mtr. Humayun was the second emperor of the Mughal dynasty that had ruled Delhi. It is believed that the Tajmahal at Agra is inspired by this monument. The entire structure has more than 100 graves, thereby earning the name of ‘Dormitory of the Mughals’.

As we were leaving around 10 am, tourists had started trickling in. Most of the tourists are foreign tourist. Ironically, this monument is not covered in the local sight seeing tours. This is such an important monument in the history of Mughals and Delhi, and yet it is given a miss. Even I have seen it after spending almost 3 years in Delhi, courtesy this photo shoot. A tourist is taken to only popular and well known places like the Red Fort and Kutub Minar. But one should try to deviate from the regular schedule and explore other possibilities. The best way to travel in Delhi is to hire a car. The hiring charges for a local trip is Rs.500/- for 80 km and 8 hours. Spending about a 1000 bucks one can enjoy Delhi at his own pace.

We spent about 2 hours clicking around. For the first time I actually felt the need of a DSLR camera. Film is really outdated. I soon will be upgrading, probably to Canon 350D.

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