Mehrauli Walking Tour - Exploring Delhi's Oldest Neighbourhood

Posted by Anna Schaeble • Friday, June 29. 2012 • Category: People and Places
When I booked myself on a Historic Mehrauli Walking Tour I was really excited, was really looking forward to go. Why was I so excited about this walking tour? I had arrived in India only two weeks before to complete an internship as part of my studies in Germany. And of course, everything still felt completely new and adventure-like to me. It was my first time in India, as you may have guessed. You must remember your first time being here and can imagine how I felt.

(c) by Anna Schaeble

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101 Things to Do While in Delhi

Posted by Daniel Ratheiser • Monday, September 26. 2011 • Category: In Depth

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Delhi Walla: An Interview with Mayank Austen Soofi

Posted by Laura Mansour • Thursday, September 1. 2011 • Category: Arts and Beyond

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Discovering India for the First Time: The Feelings of a Franco-Egyptian Girl

Posted by Laura Mansour • Monday, July 25. 2011 • Category: People and Places
At first glance one could say that there is no point in comparing Egypt and India, but when I came here I noticed that there were quite some similarities between these two countries. When I first arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi I had this strange feeling of familiarity. Facing me there were hundreds of Indians staring at me but it didn’t disturb me, the same thing occurs in Egypt, so I am quite used to it. I only realized that I was in India on the way to my flat, when I tried to explain to my taxi driver who didn’t speak a word of English how to get there. From that moment I understood that in India things could quickly get more complicated and that I had to sweat it out. A challenging programme was waiting for me; will I be able to measure up to it?

The first days I decided to gather my courage and discover my neighbourhood. I made this leap to have a glimpse of India’s living conditions and culture and I quickly realized that I was not in an environment that was completely foreign to me. I was walking along the main market of Malviya Nagar when I had this strange feeling: it was a mixture of a dream and a flashback from my time in Egypt.

The panorama that stood in front of me, the city of Delhi with its crowded streets, noises and smells, reassured me somewhat. I found here the same hawkers shouting their slogans, the same sweltering atmosphere of the days of extreme heat and also the same frame of mind: bargaining. Nothing better than going to shop in a local market or to launch into the traffic jam to feel fully immersed. Crossing a busy intersection involved similar risks! However, it reminds me of how my cousins in Egypt who used to take my hand to help me cross the street – now I can proudly say “I can cross the street on my own!”

It is true that when when many people think about these two countries, one word comes first in their minds: poverty. Children, the unemployed and handicapped are the most affected by poverty and it is a fact that one often comes across beggars, touts and children who are trying to sell roses. Nevertheless, you have to go beyond that kind of stereotype if you really want to appreciate the splendour of these countries. Simple people, always welcoming, with a sense of mutual support, that is what I found here, not to mention the gorgeous sceneries which are classified among the Seven Wonders of the World.

Some scenes particularly struck me. Just look at these pictures and try to tell which country it is:

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Urs at Ajmer: Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti Rules

Posted by Daniel Ratheiser • Friday, June 11. 2010 • Category: People and Places
The Urs celebrations of the great Muslim Sufi saint Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti at Ajmer are famous all over the world - not only among Sufis or other Muslims. Sufism (also referred to as tasawwuf) is the inner, mystical dimension of Islam, which focuses on direct knowledge of God and the experience of mystical union or direct communication with ultimate reality. One can hardly overemphasise the importance of Sufi Islam as the key channel for Hindu-Muslim interaction in South Asia throughout the centuries, which resulted in an extremely fruitful cross-fertilisation of ideas, thoughts, sciences, and arts – and there is no place in South Asia where this is more evident than in Rajasthan’s Ajmer and even more so during the Urs festivities.

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