Day 4: TRIPP and the Red Fort

New Delhi Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 11 › view all entries
The view from our hotel

When I woke up and arrived at the bar to get another meal of wet toast, omelet and powdered coffee, the 'Medical Biotech'-group was already well outside the city traveling towards the north where they would be visiting a pharmaceutical company. Our group was going to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) today to visit the 'Transport Research and Injury Prevention Programme' (TRIPP), which was a department of the IIT. Thijs wasn't really sure about the traffic conditions, so we left early and arrived early at the IIT. We waited outside and eventually went inside in of the buildings where we had a nice view of the city.

We were greeted by a professor who was wearing some traditional indian clothes, a woman doctor and the dean of the department, who started our meeting by giving us some numbers about the IIT and the department, before he left us again.

Our M&I-group at the IIT (left to right: Edo, me, Casper, Erik, Jacco, Jeroen, Charlotte, Thijs and Sanne)
Charlotte had prepared the meeting for this visit and she gave the same presentation as Edo had done the day before about our country and study programme, while Erik was playing her lovely assistant by changing slides. After our presentation we had an interesting discussion about some innovations that had been studied by TRIPP to help solve india's traffic-related problems with polution, congestion and safety. One of the things that TRIPP had developed was a 'high capacity bus system' that would separate the buses and cars from the slow-moving traffic of pedestrians, cows and bikes. This would make the traffic more smooth, but politicians (who drive cars, not bikes) were opposed to this system, because it would take too much road space from the cars.

We compared this bus system with the Delhi metro system and Edo started a heated discussion with the professor when he called the metro an 'old' technology.

The view from TRIPP
When they both had calmed down a bit we were shown a film about the bycicle-ricksha's in the city and the importance of this mode of transportation for so many people in the city. It was one of the very few ways for the poor people in Delhi to make some money and most drivers earned about one dollar per day. After the film they explained that they educated the people about traffic safety by organizing streetplays in the communities and they explained the concept of 'paratransit', a selforganizing concept of semi-public transport. After spending our morning at TRIPP, dr. Farla and Sanne left us to join the 'Energy & Materials'-group at their company visit and we returned to our hotel.

At the hotel we changed our clothes again and decided to take the metro to Connaughts place, where we would eat and after that spend our free afternoon at the red fort and the Jama Mashid, the biggest mosque in India.

Karol Bagh metro station
This was our first trip with the metro, but Thijs had already used it in his first week. During our preparation in Holland I had told the rest that the trains were airconditioned to a comfortable temperature of 29 degrees celcius, which we all thought was very amusing at that time. But compared to the temperature outside, which was again over 42 degrees, it felt as though you were walking into a cooling cell. At Connaughts place we had some trouble getting out of the train, as nobody in India seems to understand that everything is a lot faster if you allow other passengers to leave the train before you try to get in. We walked outside, still discussing the Indian lack of proper train etiquette and followed Thijs untill he admitted that he couldn't find the nice restaurant he had visited earlier.
the red fort
Connaughts place is the biggest and most modernized shopping centre of Delhi and we ordered something to eat at the Pizza Hut and eat it on our way to the red fort.

It took a while before we had found two tuktuks that would take us to the red fort for the price we wanted to pay them, but after some though negotiating (which we were all learning rapidly after our first days in Delhi) they agreed and I entered a tuktuk with Jeroen and Edo. Jeroen said that driving around in a tuktuk while eating a pizza was one of the most decadent things he had ever done, but then realized that eating a pizza is the very opposite of decadence. After a while we were stuck in a traffic jam and while we were standing still, a boy with only one arm came up to our tuktuk to ask for money.

Inside the red fort
I was still eating my pizza and I could have given him a slice, but I was afraid that that would attract more children and I didn't know how long we would be standing still. I ignored him and eventually he realized that we wouldn't give him anything, so he left us again, but as we moved on I felt very bad about not helping him.

We arrived at the red fort and waited for the others to arrive at the square in front of the fort, before we went inside. The red fort was built in 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, when he moved his capital from Agra to Delhi. Later it was used by the Brittish as their army headquarters, so some of the buildings inside the fort looked brittish while other buildings had a mughal architecture.

sunset at Chandni Chowk
There were some securityguards at the entrance and in the small courtyard behind the gate there was a soldier with a huge machine gun pointing directly at the visitors entering the fort. After this courtyard there was a bazaar filled with shops where people sold jewelry and small statues of hindu gods. We walked around, while Charlotte was telling us what we were seeing, as she was the only one who had brought a tourist guide. At the eastern side of the fort you had a clear view of the river and the gardens outside the fort.

We spend some time lying on the grass inside the fort and wondered how our next days in Agra would be. The next day we would leave our hotel to spend the weekend in Agra, where we would visit Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal. After a while we had seen enough and we decided to walk through Chandni Chowk and some of the streets in old delhi to the Jama Mashid.

traffic in old delhi
Chandni Chowk was even more crowded than the streets in Karol Bagh and on the left side I saw a lot of very small streets filled with shops and people. Our progress was slow, because of the traffic and all the people on the sidewalks and the heat and dust made me thirsty. We turned left somewhere and after a while had to admit that we were totally lost in old delhi. We found some bike-ricksha's and asked them to take us to the Jama Mashid, which turned out to be around the corner. Unfortunately when we arrived at the Jama Mashid, the sun was already setting and the muslims were beginning their evening prayer, so the mosque was closed fo tourists.

We returned to Karol Bagh by tuktuk, which was a pretty long ride.

Old Delhi
Our tuktuk was a little bit slower than the tuktuk of Erik, Casper and Jeroen, but our driver compensated this by manoeuvring his tuktuk towards the front of the qeue at every traffic light we encountered. Our driver dropped us of at the Karol Bagh metro station and we arrived at our hotel at about the same time as the rest, who were dropped of at our hotel. Before dinner a lot of people from our group were going to a nearby shop to order some suits. Casper and Edo bought a few shirts and I ordered a dark brown suit, which would be ready during the second week in Delhi. The suit was custom made, but it only cost about 57 euros. When everbody was ready we went to eat at a chinese restaurant, where I ordered some roasted lamb.

We returned to our hotel late in the evening and the streets were quiet by now.

Jama Mashid at sunset
There was a dust storm going on and a warm wind was blowing through the city. At the hotel bar the wind made a lot of noise and the bamboo screen almost seemed to be blown away, but the waiter told us that there was no problem, so we played some card games again. Later that night the Medical Biotech-group returned to the hotel. They had spend 16 hours in their bus to drive to a company and back for a 3 hour visit, but they had seen a lot of the country and shared the foto's with us that they had taken during their trip. After a while everybody went to bed, because we would be leaving early the next morning.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The view from our hotel
The view from our hotel
Our M&I-group at the IIT (left to …
Our M&I-group at the IIT (left to…
The view from TRIPP
The view from TRIPP
Karol Bagh metro station
Karol Bagh metro station
the red fort
the red fort
Inside the red fort
Inside the red fort
sunset at Chandni Chowk
sunset at Chandni Chowk
traffic in old delhi
traffic in old delhi
Old Delhi
Old Delhi
Jama Mashid at sunset
Jama Mashid at sunset
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra