Delhi from the outside

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Baha'i Temple - a beautiful and very large lotus-flower shaped building. The Baha'i believe that everyone should have the right to practice their own religion.

Oh no... she's going to start off hacking that old cliche to death... 'India is a land of contrasts...'

Starting with the touristy bits: Very nice indeed, bright, clean, all set in beautiful and serene parks. The Baha'i temple (the lotus-leaf shaped building, looks like an inverted Sydney Opera House) is of particular note for its elegance and beauty. As is Raj Ghat, Gandhi's place of cremation, tended to by the faithful and those who worship the 'Father of the Nation'.

Then the non-touristy bits: Ye Gods, the filth. It's a city of inordinate dirt, poverty, insane traffic, pollution, flies, mosquitoes. But to so many this is Delhi: The reality. It's life on the streets, home to 11 million people and this is their Delhi.

A snake charmer practises his craft. They're real cobras, honest!
We are but an abberation, here for a few short days, passing judgement on their city. It's like trying to describe London as a whole - impossible in a paragraph, difficult if you had a book to fill. And impossible to get the measure of an entire city in a week. To be honest, it's not a city I'm too keen to get to know that much better - a week is quite enough. But we have the freedom to leave where so many do not through poverty. Our tickets to Mumbai cost the average Indian's monthy salary - each.

We're staying in the Tibetan quarter which has the mercy of being well set back from the main road and therefore fairly peaceful. What struck me at first which I wasn't expecting from Delhi, was the number of Buddhist monks.

Indian women pay homage to the father of the nation at Raj Ghat, Gandhi's place of cremation.
In a way their presence made me feel safe, there was something warm and comforting about their bright red robes and calm demeanour. The down side is that we're about 4km from the centre of Delhi so each trip in requires a tuk-tuk journey. Not that Chris minds getting in a tuk-tuk every day! It was not so much fun last night however when our taxi driver didn't understand where we were going but took our fare anyway. He got hopelessly lost and a 15 minute journey took an hour and a half. In the freezing cold Delhi winter night. I could not feel my toes by the end of it!

Yes - the cold, it's about 24C in the day which is fine but at night the temperature drops to around 5 or 6C. We were not expecting this! I thought I would be using my socks simply to stop mosquitoes biting my toes, not to keep my feet warm!

So today, on to a city which our Indian friend said 'makes Delhi look like a village' - Mumbai. Or Bombay. Whichever one we say, we get corrected! I think this will be fun, we are staying much closer to the centre of the city which is likely to mean more noise and pollution but I think I can live with that for sake of being within walking distance of the centre. The Times of India says that it's 34C in the shade in Mumbai - the weather will be more like we were expecting!

Until Mumbai,

Claire and Chris xx

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Bahai Temple - a beautiful and ve…
Baha'i Temple - a beautiful and v…
A snake charmer practises his craf…
A snake charmer practises his cra…
Indian women pay homage to the fat…
Indian women pay homage to the fa…
The noble Red Fort, a 17th Century…
The noble Red Fort, a 17th Centur…
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra