Delhi

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Karol Bagh, Delhi, India

It had taken some rather drastic measures to get to sleep, including moving the loudly ticking clock to the bathroom and unplugging the humming refrigerator. But there's no real way to silence India. There will always be some truck starting or someone starting to cough like he's drawing his last breath. The latter normally comes with a power outage, so it seems like that dying person is there with you in the dark. Talking about power outages, you learn to do things in the dark in India. Opening the curtains in the morning and finding a dark narrow alley, which nevertheless holds a 'strategically placed' billboard for Nangru Automotive, doesn't help much as far as illuminating the room is concerned when the power went out again.

 

Breakfast at the Grand Park Inn was more like a family gathering with the hotel guests sitting at a 10 person table and ordering their choices of breakfast.

Karol Bagh, Delhi, India
We had a chat with an Indian woman from the US, who visited the country for the first time in 22 years and three Polish people who lived in Germany and currently worked in Bangalore as engineers. Go figure what a colourful bunch. We had to admit we were Dutch without any kind of exciting background story.

 

After breakfast I met Arpan, the local tour agency's representative in the lobby and he gave me an excellent explanation of the journey's schedule. He also confirmed that we would be able to visit Lumbini in Nepal.

Jama Masjid, Delhi, India

While we waited for Kimi to arrive for today's tour we tried to get some cash at a nearby ATM but did not succeed. The machine kept giving us strange messages but no cash whatsoever.

This was Bart's first experience with Delhi's persistent tuk tuk drivers and beggars that flock the streets. Fortunately Karol Bagh also offered the more pleasant view of street vendors baking the inflated dough balls called puri.

 

Kimi arrived around 10:30 and first took us to Jama Masjid, India's biggest mosque, which I had also visited in August.

Ed at Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
The circumstances were very different now though. Instead of 40 degrees Celsius Delhi was now comfortably warmed up to something like 20-25 degrees. This definitely helps you to enjoy sightseeing a lot more. Also, traffic was slightly less (but still quite) hectic because it was Sunday and lots of Indians stayed at home, according to Kimi, being afraid of further terrorist attacks after recent bombings in Mumbai. The vendors at 'Thieves Market' an area near Jama Masjid where street vendors sold goods that according to Kimi were mostly stolen, didn't seem to worry about any attacks. They were busy as ever.

 

Unlike my previous visit to the mosque we now had time enough to climb one of the tall minarets, enabling us to look out over the city, although the hazy morning sky didn't make far views possible today. The climb up the narrow and dark winding stairway was a bit of an adventure in itself though.

Jama Masjid, Delhi, India

 

When we got back to the car park we found that Kimi had car trouble. He couldn't get the car started and after some colleagues had pushed it to a start he suggested to hand us over to another driver while he got the car fixed. After all, we should avoid troubles like these on the highway to Jaipur tomorrow. We made a quick stop at the Red Fort, enabling Bart so take a quick look at Lahore Gate and proceeded to Humayun's Tomb, where he handed us over to the other driver, Jarnail.

 

While Jarnail waited we entered the well maintained gardens around Humayun's Tomb. What a lovely haven of tranquillity this was compared to Old Delhi we had just left. We first took a look at the tomb of Iza Khan, a court noble who built it in his own lifetime, 20 years before Humayun's tomb. He might have been earlier but his tomb didn't even come near the splendour of the tomb of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor.

Ed at Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
It was built in 1562 as the first major Mughal structure of Delhi and seems like a prototype for the Taj Mahal in style. In this case however it was build by a woman grieving for her dead husband.

 

After grabbing a coke and a bag of Masala chips we met Jarnail at the parking lot and he brought us to a recommended restaurant for lunch. This turned out to be a familiar spot: the same Vizmal restaurant I had enjoyed lunch at in August. I knew that the food was very good here, so well worth the (rather long) wait before we got a table, but the prices at this place are also ridiculously elevated. You could probably eat three times at a simpler restaurant for the same money. Also, we didn't come near to finishing our rice, aloo and paneer palak. Maybe we should have skipped that bag of chips ...

 

The next stop was the Baha'i House of Worship, also known as the Lotus Temple, a stunning building shaped like - you guessed it - an enormous lotus flower.

Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
I hadn't expected the enormous crowd that we found here and we actually had to cue to get inside the prayer hall after taking off our shoes. The hall was weird and with it's deep benches felt more like a comfortable version of a Christian church. The Baha'i faith itself seemingly evolves around universal peace and elimination of prejudice and all religions are welcome to pray or meditate in their temples, of which there are several around the world. Unfortunately the passing crowds and noisy kids didn't make this the right moment for a meditation session.

 

After a quick stop at India Gate, which I had already seen in August we asked Jarnail to drop us off at the big circular shopping area of Connaught Place. Darkness had already fallen across Delhi by then and after going round the inner circle we had a cold beer in one of the bars and returned to Jarnail who took us to our hotel, eight activity-packed hours after Kimi had collected us there.

Bart at the Tomb of Iza Khan, Delhi, India
In the meantime Bart had noticed that he had either lost his wallet, or someone had stolen it. Fortunately it did not contain a lot of cash and his bank passes.

 

After Bart had slept for at least an hour and I had worked on my travel blog it was time to get something to eat. Since we were in the Karol Bagh area I thought it was a good idea to have dinner at Spicy By Nature, where I had eaten several times in August. Not knowing our way around the maze that is Karol Bagh it took quite some asking around and looking for a few known hotels as starting point of navigation before we found the restaurant. Food was splendid though and the staff was a lot better at handling a company of two than the sixteen of us in August. Rice, naan, paneer, raita’s and chicken tikka masala were served, but I decided to stick with he veggie food again, just to be on the safe side. After a quick stop at the hotel we went to a nearby Cyber café to upload the blog and check our mails. And by then it was time to get some well deserved rest …

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Karol Bagh, Delhi, India
Karol Bagh, Delhi, India
Karol Bagh, Delhi, India
Karol Bagh, Delhi, India
Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Ed at Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Ed at Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Ed at Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Ed at Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Jama Masjid, Delhi, India
Bart at the Tomb of Iza Khan, Delh…
Bart at the Tomb of Iza Khan, Del…
Humayuns Tomb, Delhi, India
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India
Humayuns Tomb, Delhi, India
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India
Humayuns Tomb, Delhi, India
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India
Lunch at the Vizamal restaurant
Lunch at the Vizamal restaurant
Lotus Tempel, Delhi, India
Lotus Tempel, Delhi, India
India Gate at dusk, Delhi, India
India Gate at dusk, Delhi, India
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra