Day trip in Delhi
New Delhi Travel Blog› entry 3 of 12 › view all entries
We took an early flight from Mumbai to Delhi, where we would catch an evening train to Amritsar, so we had a solid few hours to spend in India's capital city. I remember thinking the traffic was less hectic here, particularly around the Gate of India and the Red Fort, although I can't say if this is actually true (having revisited both Delhi and Mumbai later and finding the traffic equally hectic).
The Red Fort is impressive in its size and redness, and I was surprised by the many gates and layers of fortification we passed before entering the palace area. E hired a guide who spoke good English and explained in detail the different building uses (giant bathrooms, Shah Jehan's personal mosque, etc).
We had lunch at the restaurant on site, sitting on stately wooden chairs on the lawn outside and watching the squirrels dare each other to come closer to us. I believe the lunch was thali or something similar (all I remember is that it took ages coming, but was quite good, and there was a sort of rice pudding for dessert).
Then it was time to go to the train station, which was an experience in itself. We were dropped off on the wrong side of the station so had to traverse the tracks on the overhead pass with all our luggage. This was probably my first encounter with large amounts of people in a small public place, all hurrying, some pushing, many staring at us.
I have to admit to being intimidated, and crossing the busy road into a darkish narrow alley didn't help. But we shortly ran into L and D, who were laden down with a massive sitar and tablas as well as their backpacks, and we headed to the station together.
Just a note about train travel in India: I was amazed by the efficiency of the staff in serving us tea (each with your own mini thermos), biscuits and snacks, then later, hot dinner with roti. Plus the toilets were clean. I'm told these luxuries disappear if you catch 3rd class or lower (and god forbid if you're in the carriage with no seat numbers).