Being shown the beauty and history of Old Delhi and Agra by women pushing back against traditional gender roles makes a trip to India all the more uplifting – and a fitting salute to next week’s International Women’s Day
At dawn, the hazy morning light lends Delhi’s Jama Masjid mosque a dreamy, soft-focus quality. One of India’s largest mosques, it can hold 25,000 people, but only a handful of early visitors wander the vast courtyard and imposing red sandstone and marble creation beyond. Built by emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, with a workforce of 5,000 men, it’s a tribute to Mughal pomp, a blend of Hindu and Muslim design, all elegant pillars, onion domes and minarets piercing the sky. A flock of birds takes flight, breaking the near silence and adding atmosphere to my Instagram shots.
It’s hard to fathom that at the foot of this peaceful, elevated, oasis lies the chaos of old Delhi. The day is just beginning, but already the narrow lanes seethe with life and colour. As we spill out of the gate, our guide Sana leads our group of seven across the frenetic main road, fending off hawkers, weaving between carts, dodging gung-ho tuk-tuks.
Source: The Guardian