23 November 2014

New Delhi

New Delhi was built to the south of the old city during the 1920's after the British East India Company gained control of much of India. Much of it was planned by Edwin Lutyens. When India gained independence in 1947 New Delhi was declared its capital and seat of government. As such it houses important offices of the federal government, including the Parliament of India, and is known for its impressive wide, tree-lined boulevards, numerous national institutions and landmarks.
India Gate (above) is one of the largest war memorials in India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi it is a prominent landmark and commemorates the members of the former British Indian Army who lost their lives fighting for the Indian Empire in WW1 and the Afghan wars. Originally a statue of King George V had stood under the now vacant canopy but was removed to Coronation Park with other statues. Following India's independence India Gate became the site of the Indian Army's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, known as the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

Driving in India is not for the faint hearted, more a case of "Who Dares Wins". Traffic navigates around cows, goats, dogs and the occasional elephant. Tuk-Tuks and rickshaws compete with much larger vehicles for a space on the road. Cyclists and motor bikes squeeze into the tiniest spaces. Everyone wants to inch forward just a little more. Motor bikes and scooters are very popular. It's commonplace to see a family of 5 or 6 on a scooter. I saw a man taking his little girl to school, she was standing on the footplate between him and the handle bars!
On one of our journeys we saw two cows in the middle of the road, our driver slowed down as he approached them, but the oncoming bus driver didn't, he almost deliberately drove into them, one moved away but the other one wasn't quick enough, the corner of the bus caught it, thankfully it wasn't injured and strolled away, but it had broken one of the bus's headlights - we all cheered.
Many vehicles had notices on the back saying "Please use horn" which everyone does, with great enthusiasm!

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