Delhi’s famous monuments, after almost 100 days, are now open for visitors. All the monuments under ASI, are unlocked. While 1000- 1500 people are allowed to visit, not more than 200 are showing up.
One of the best things about Delhi is its historical monuments. But right now, even though the monuments have been unwrapped to the public after months of lockdown, it is with constraints on the numbers, and people aren’t being too adventurous anyway. And now that the monsoon has begun and the city isn’t baking, it’s actually the perfect time for a history lesson outdoors.
From more than 1000 visitors to just 100 visitors.
At the Qutub Minar, guards generally look bored and as if they are just going through the signs of their job. But not this time, with a guard jogging right up to the entrance, spraying sanitizer on the hands of the few visitors present and testing their bags with gusto.
While it’s great to have the monument complexes almost all to yourself, to lie in a restored medieval-era lawn and gaze up at the sky, or listen to music or read a book under the shade of a tree, the stillness can be unsettling too, and the structures can feel haunted and isolated.
At Humayun’s Tomb in Nizamuddin East, the scuffling note of rats was the only sound audible in the main hall, which had no other travelers
A blow to the vendors
India Gate, which, pre-Covid, would look like a mini-carnival every evening, lay empty at twilight, and the lawns near the war memorial were cordoned off. The place is known for its hawkers and street food vendors thronging the road at night, but they aren’t authorized to open their stalls right now.
Assistant sub-inspector Satinder tells that even though it breaks his heart, he has to chase away hawkers who try to occupy some indistinct corner to sell their wares. We know it’s not their mistake, they are barely peeking for some means to earn their bread, and everyone’s business has been paralyzed. At the same time, we can’t let them go about their business (just like that).”
Sitting in front of the memorial to our soldiers, one can practically see, in their mind, the gaudy helicopters and soapy bubbles floating by, children looking through kaleidoscopes, families out for picnics, joggers out for evening exercise, a theatre organization or a lone dancer deep in practice.
But in the new Covidien era, silence is the new normal.