Day 1: sightseeing

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Erik in a street outside our hotel

I was the first to wake up the next morning, so I took a shower with only cold water, but that didn't matter, because the temperature was already rising above 30 degrees celcius in our bathroom. After I had prepared myself with more then enough DEET and sunscreen, I walked to the bar, were a few other students were already having breakfast. The bar was only separated from outside by a thin bamboo screen, so I could feel the heat from the air outside and I couldn't wait to get on the streets for the first time.

After Edo and Casper had finished their breakfast and everybody was prepared, we went outside to find  water. The difference between the cool air and clean marble from our hotel and the street outside was immense. Although it was only 9 am it was extremely hot outside and the air was very dry and dusty.

Lodhi Garden
We walked in no particular direction, but decided to find a shop as we were walking directly onto a garbage belt at the end of our street were people were trying to find some useful materials in the waste. We walked past a shop were people were spray-painting cars in the middle of the road without protection and bought 3 bottles of water, before we returned to our hotel to pack our bags for the rest of the day. Our first day in Delhi would be a free day for the entire group to get used to the city and see some sights and we had agreed that everybody would find an autoriksha- or tuktukride to Lodhi Garden.

When we left our hotel we met Erik Westerduin, who was looking for a barber and decided to go to Lodhi Garden together.

some indian kids
 While we were walking around in the street we were followed by some women beggars with children, but we didn't give them anything. On the streets around our hotel, the chaos was enormous as cars, tuktuks and bycicle-riksha's were driving everywhere and blowing their horns all the time. The difference with the streets at night could not have been greater. We found a tuktuk driver, but he said he needed 150 rupis to get to Lodhi Garden, so we tried to find another one. The next one agreed to take us there for 50 rupis, so Edo, Casper and Erik took a seat in the back and I was allowed to sit beside the driver (although hanging beside the driver would be a better description as the front seat was probably just designed for one person). We were only driving for about two streets when our driver decided Lodhi Garden was too far for him, so he left us on the street and we were picked up by the driver who had first offered us a ride for 150 rupis, which we now decided to take.
Near Humayun's tomb

As I tried to prevent myself from falling on the street with every sharp turn, we got our first Indian traffic experience, which is known in the Western world as a near death-experience. Our driver was very interested in us and to be polite he was paying a lot more attention to his passengers behind him then to the road in front of him. The traffic was supposed to be driving left, but our driver spend almost as much time going in the opposite direction and seemed to be very optimistic about his re├»ncarnation chances. This view was probably shared by the pedestrian who were walking in the middle of busy roundabouts as if they were simply strolling around a park. We saw the India Gate and some very expensive hotels in New Delhi and after about 20 minutes we arrived at Lodhi Garden were everybody was arriving in groups of three or four by tuktuk.

Humayun's tomb
We were the only ones who had paid more then 50 rupis to get there, which was very amusing according to the rest of the group.

We walked around Lodhi Garden and saw some very old and beautiful tombs from the mughal period. Compared to the streets the Garden was very quiet and relaxed. I drank a lot of water, but so far the heat wasn't really bothering me. There were parrots and squirels everywhere in the park and we stayed there for about one hour. After that we decided to go to India Gate with Casper, Edo, Erik and Charlotte. We took two tuktuks and walked from India Gate to a nearby park. Around the India Gate there were a lot of people trying to sell sunglasses, fruit or 'entry tickets' to us, but I was getting used to ignoring them. In the parks  there were people playing cricket, but I didn't understand the game at that time, so I wasn't really interested in it.

Erik and Mark working on their Karma

We found other members of our group in a park outside the Delhi zoo and got something to eat. There were other families in the park who wanted to take pictures of us. At the end of the afternoon everybody of our group was meeting again at Humayun's tomb. I saw an englishman who was wearing a shirt of PSV, but he didn't know what his shirt meant. We walked around and saw more tombs before we saw Humayun's tomb itself. Humayun's tomb was definitely the most beautiful thing I had seen that day. I was told that it was used as a source of inspiration for the Taj Mahal, which we would be visiting at the end of the week. I walked onto the platform and strolled around in the afternoon sun. I met Alco on the platform and he told me that I was walking in the right direction.

charlotte, Edo and me (right)
Walking around a temple or tomb in clockwise direction is supposed to be good for your Karma and he told me there were people who spend an entire day on one circulation by following the sun around the temple.

Usually I never take pictures inside churches or temples and I decided I would also apply this rule to tombs. After everybody had seen enough we went outside and waited for our bus to bring us back to the hotel. Edo, Casper and I went on another water-finding expedition even though I had already drank more then three liters that day. We crossed the street, which sounds pretty easy, but offcourse you haven't seen that street. After crossing the street we walked directly from the quiet park into the dirtiest, busiest street I had seen so far. There were flies everywhere and we were soon being followed by beggars without hands and street children.

Edo and Casper chilling at Humatun's tomb
We bought three bottles of water and somewhere in the middle of this crowded street there was a money exchanger, where I could finally exchange my dollars for rupis. The fact that I didn't know how much rupis one dollar was was not beneficial for my bargaining position, but I believe he offered me a fair price.

After crossing the street again (which again sounds easier than it actually was) everybody got inside the bus and we returned to Karol Bagh. After refreshing in our hotel room (my face was covered with a layer of salt and smog after an entire day in Delhi) we walked to a nearby restaurant to get a traditional Indian meal with the entire group. They didn't serve any alcohol in the restaurant, so I ordered a coke. The meal consisted of various dishes, which were being refilled every time you were finished with it, even though you told the waiter you didn't want anymore.

traffic in Karol Bagh
I liked the paneer and some sponge-like thing, but I still missed some meat in it. After dinner we decided to find a place to drink something before returning to our hotel and we went to a nearby restaurant called 'crossroads'. Jacco Farla, who was one of our accompanying teachers, joined us and he told us about his experiences on his first day in Delhi, as he had travelled one day ahead of us.

I couldn't tell apart the streets in our neighbourhood, so I was very glad that the rest of the group knew where our hotel was. I had walked around Delhi for about 15 hours now and my eyes were beginning to sting with the dry air and the smog and dust. As we went to bed I had the feeling that I had already been in Delhi for several days now, but in fact it had only been 24 hours.

sylviandavid says:
I am so excited about your blog! Thank you so much for sharing it! I want to show my husband when i get home tonight.... good Job! Happy travels. Sylvia
Posted on: Aug 21, 2007
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Erik in a street outside our hotel
Erik in a street outside our hotel
Lodhi Garden
Lodhi Garden
some indian kids
some indian kids
Near Humayuns tomb
Near Humayun's tomb
Humayuns tomb
Humayun's tomb
Erik and Mark working on their Kar…
Erik and Mark working on their Ka…
charlotte, Edo and me (right)
charlotte, Edo and me (right)
Edo and Casper chilling at Humatun…
Edo and Casper chilling at Humatu…
traffic in Karol Bagh
traffic in Karol Bagh
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra