I visited a bit of historical Dehli, and a bit of modern Dehli. The highlight of the historical site was the Qutb Minar—the largest single tower in India, it's a five storeyed "victory" tower was built around the end of the 12th century. It was incredibly striking for its red stone was intricately carved, and rose to 238 feet, contrasted against a beautiful blue sky and the lush green trees of the grounds around it. The courtyard had an intricate gateway that was embellished by carved panels with passages from the Koran—it is also one of the earliest buildings in India to display Islamic architecture. The complex itself is one of those that continued to be built onto throughout history, and it also houses the oldest extant mosque in India.
For a modern taste of Dehli, I visited the Lotus Temple. This is an incredible building—27 marble lotus petals look as though they are about to unfurl at any moment. The approach to the entrance is slightly uphill, so the white lotus is illuminated by the Sun, against a deep blue sky. It is a Baha'I House of Worship and they invite followers of all faiths to meditate and attend their daily services. I certainly took the opportunity to contemplate over my own deep reflections. At the Visitor Information Center, I learned more about Baha'i than I'd known before: the prophet that called himself the Bab meaning "the Gate" and who spread this faith, revealed himself in the 1860's in Persia. His exile and persecution of course helped to spread the religion. Its foundation rests on the idea that all humanity is one race, advocates tolerance, etc. They believe that there are nine basic religions in the world, so nine is considered a divine number. There are eight Baha'i Houses (the ninth was destroyed in an earthquake), at least one on each continent (I don't think they count Antarctica). Whenever someone asks where I am from I say Chicago (because how many Indians have heard of Wisconsin), so the Baha'is got very excited because Chicago is where one of these temples is located.
So, that was my highly abbreviated view of Delhi for this trip. As the nation's capital, one could easily spend a week there and not see everything. Instead, I rode back to the airport and caught my flight to Pune. The Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT)—we astronomers are very clever when it comes to naming our telescopes—is a two hour bus ride north of Pune. There is only one bus that leaves at 7 am from the NCRA facilities on the Pune University campus, so I stayed in the NCRA dormitories for a night and caught the bus the following morning.