Date : Jan 1, 2009
Place : Delhi
Visibility : better than yesterday 😀
The first day of the year 2009 turned out to be bright and sunny with cool breeze adding the zing to the awesome winter magic.Perfect for a day out with family and that’s exactly what we did .
I had been planning to do a write up on Delhi’s lesser known monuments and many other aspects like parks, museums and ruins in south Delhi area of Mehrauli and adjoining places that make it a city worth visiting .
This is the first post in that series .
We decided to visit Safdarjang’s Tomb .A place not much frequented by usual tourists and right now under restoration by the ASI.
The kids were as usual thrilled by the thought of a dayout to ruins and monuments . Just like me, both of them love to explore such places which hold mysteries of the past.
This is known to be the last enclosed garden tomb and was built in 1753-54 as the mausoleum of Safdarjang, the viceroy of Awadh, (a place near Lucknow). A lesser known landmark of Delhi , it is made in the same style as the Humayun’s Tomb though it’s not that impressive .
Shuja-ud-Daula constructed it for his father, Mirza Mukin Abul Mansur Khan ‘Safdarjung’. He was the wazir of emperor Ahmed Shah and Safdarjang was a title.
The tomb is made of buff-colored sandstone with the intermittent use of red sandstone and marble. The central structure has double-storeyed minarets in the corners and a bulbous dome made of marble.
According to one account the arches and domes, were brought to India from Turkey and Persia.
The intricate work on the outside and the carved lotus inside the tomb at the ceiling is very typical of Mugal architecture.
The ceiling is made of marble and is beautifully carved.
The main structure is surrounded by beautiful green and luxuriant lawns with palm trees , manicured flower beds and water bodies.There are several small structures in the compound including a ‘Sarai’ for the travelers who came to the city .
The Arabic inscription on the gateway to the tomb says, “When that hero of the plain of bravery departs from his transitory world, may he become resident of God’s highest paradise (Hegira 1167; AD 1754).”
It was worth a visit and a good history lesson for the kids . 🙂 Although the place needs a lot of restoration work ,it still remains one of my favorites.
After relaxing in the gardens of the monument under the swaying palm trees and warm sunshine ,we decided to do a little kid adventure at the National Railway Museum .This is a place I love to visit any time of the year and a ride in the toy train is a must .
Sprawling over 11 acres,the National Rail Museum has an indoor gallery devoted to the display of various exhibits, models, records, photographs, coat of arms, documents etc. over 100 real size exhibits display the glory of the bygone era and it never ceases to amaze me .
The museum yard has a rich collection of over 100 exhibits consisting of vintage steam, diesel & electric locomotives, fire-less locomotive, cranes, turn table, girder bridge of 1892, coaching and goods stock etc.
The place has a beautiful island cafeteria and lovely laws around it .In summers the museum organizes boating etc in the lovely water body around the island.One can see the Fairy Queen ,many other locomotives ,steam engines,coaches,wagons,fire tenders etc.from there .
A ride in the joy train takes you to 153 years history of Indian Railways and is the main attraction of the place .
We reached there by afternoon and the place was packed with tourists. Still, we managed to have a great time exploring the engines ,pretending to be the royalty seated inside the saloons or simply waving as engine drivers.
All of us have our favorites here and we decided to do a photo shoot,which turned out to be complete laugh riot with kids doing their best as upcoming models .
It was a day well spent and all the goodies(scrumptus Chat and chana bhatura at Bengali Market.pastries and jujubs and delicious paan) that we had for lunch made it even more memorable but the best part of the day out was yet to come.Adi and I were dying to hold the snakes once again and after a memorable journey in the toy train we rushed out to meet our friends 🙂
The other two members decided to keep their distance as we parseltounges decided to wrap the beauties around us .A huge crowd had gathered around the snake charmer who lured the tourists with his melodious music of ‘Been’.
We were excited to find the king cobra and his mate .The creature looked awesome with it’s hood spread wide .
The handler did not let us pick it up 😦 as it was time to earn some good money through religious accounts of the Phanyar Nag .
We were not the kinds to give up such a treat so we asked for the other snakes .The man eagarly gave us what we wanted .First to come was a tiny baby Python and then it’s big brother.
The Rat Snake popularly known as the jalebi snake was real fun and totally enjoyed it’s adventure with us .By this time the crowd was in frnzy and we were euphoric.
My elder son has some magic to charm the serpents and enjoyed every moment of it while the younger one stayed away at a safer distance with his even more scared father .
We had manged to attract a fair amount of crowd by now and the rest of the family was getting really bugged with our adventure, so ,we decided to call it a day and with a kiss on the king’s wide spread hood we placed a 50Rupees note in the basket and gave the little python back to it’s owner. The chap had remained coiled around my wrist all the time . 😉
It was time for us to head back home .With happy memories of a day well spent we drove back towards home sweet home .The roads of the diplomatic area were empty and it was a great drive all the way .
I thought it was a perfect start to 2009 with the family spending happy fun time together, doing exactly what each one of us wanted .
I also got a chance to gather material for my blog which had been long due .