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New Delhi

Updated: Jul 12

Taj Mahal

The Dreamliner landed in 400. It was just as hot as Sharm e Sheikh, where I visited last year. The only difference was that here, everything was green, making one feel like being in a Jungle.

entrance to Oberoi Hotel New Delhi

Neatly laid-out gardens lined the road, which only residents were allowed to enter, leading to the entrance. The tall man with a curled moustache and white uniform saluted our arrival. I tried to tell him that there was a mistake: “I am not Lord Mountbatten.” But he wouldn’t be convinced.

A white-gloved, white-uniformed man who looked as if he had left his ship especially to hold his hands in a kind of prayer motion and open the car door.

Jama Masjd entrance

This ceremony was performed whenever we entered or exited the "hotel".

 

The refrigerated air struck me as a dark-skinned maiden in a royal blue sari bowed before us, palms pressed together under her nose. I wanted again to point out that we were only mortals and that one shouldn't worship us, but they have been worshipping people who they consider superior to them for so many hundreds of years that the custom is ingrained into their being and explanations to the contrary would be futile 

Took Tuk

I was mistaken in this attitude, as I discovered during our short stay. Everything and everyone is a god. There are lower gods and higher gods. Relative to the desk clerk, I was a high god. A little higher, and I think they would have built a temple for me.




Luxury Neighborhood New Delhi

Our hotel room was our temple, and the dining room was where we, the higher gods, were fed by the chefs and waiters who were lower gods.


A stone bridge ascended by innumerable stairs allowed me to cross the four-lane motorway and view the forever-moving cars and buses from above as I descended to an exclusive neighbourhood, Sundar Nagar, guarded by police. Until I saw the palatial mansions, I thought I had entered a military compound.

I would have liked to sit a while in the neighbourhood park but rushed back to show people, who were overly concerned about my safety, that I had survived the heat and nothing untoward had befallen me.


Ancient Hindu carvings Qutub Minar

The highlight of our visit, however, came after an hour-and-a-half train ride from New Delhi station to Agra, where the Taj Mahal is situated. The journey through slums of misery and poverty brought us to this beautiful structure, and the contrast was intoxicating.

The red fort

I gasped in amazement and wouldn’t go nearer for fear of my mind exploding, and I sat down, refusing to approach the shrine.

Now I understand the Biblical prohibition against building temples. A god needs a temple that is true enough, but the world is His temple. There are gods or there is a God,, but our task isn't to build stone temples. Devoting ourselves to making the world a happier place for man, we fulfil our duty to serve God.

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