Into Delhi and out again

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Qutb Minar with the famous 4th Century iron pillar.

Flight BA0257 was fine and full. Terminal 5 had been huge, mostly empty and efficient. Immigration at Delhi was a 30 minute queue, and baggage a further 30 minutes, but changing money was straightforward, though it was 69 rupees to the pound, not the 85 we got last time. Getting an Indian SIM card was also easy - but why do they need copies of passport details, visa and a photograph? But it's 2 rupees a minute in India and  8 rupees a minute to England. That's rather better than the 140p a minute T Mobile roaming charge.

The Nesbitt family were really welcoming again, and we caught up on family news. Saturday, after watching Callum's football team win 3:2 we went to the spice market in Old Delhi. Though we knew what to expect, it was still quite a sight with the crowds, the traffic and the noise.

Qutb Minar in all its glory
Sunday we went out to the Qutb Minar, a fine Moghul site we missed last time, to join the weekend throng which included 3 large school groups. When a crowd of boys gathered round us to say hello and shake hands, firstly a security guard came with his lathi to chase them away; then their teacher followed suit, literally waving a big stick. Traffic was very busy even on a Sunday afternoon. Lots of roads are up for the Delhi metro extension. The signs read "Be a part to build the Nation.  Inconvenience regretted."

Monday, off to Varanasi on the overnight Shiv Ganga Express, first class. Departure time 6.30pm. We arrived at New Delhi Station about 5.00 to see a large orderly queue beside the train, already in platform 12.

Shiv Ganga Express -1st class reservation list
The sleeper class (lowest class) carriage doors were opened. The queue became a melee by each door as people jostled to get on for the best seats. Our first class carriage wasn't opened until about 5.45, the seating list having been posted by the door. Only 16 first class spaces on the 15 coach train. We'd been allocated a 2 berth private coupe! Departure was more or less on time. As the announcer said, "Train 2560 will depart at its to do time."

There was no ticket check until we were well underway. In the meantime, the coffee wallah, soup wallah and tea wallah had been around twice, and the water and juice wallah once. We bought mango juice. Orders were taken for dinner - 32rps for a veg curry. A railway policeman came and asked us to read information about personal safety on trains, and then we had to sign a form, give an address and telephone number! The attendant came and made up the beds with Northern Railway sheets and blankets. The train slid through the night countryside, swaying us to fitful sleep. Arrival was 30 minutes late. We pushed and shoved through the crowd to get off the station, and then the taxi took us on the 20 minute ride to the hotel on Asi Ghat.

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Qutb Minar with the famous 4th Cen…
Qutb Minar with the famous 4th Ce…
Qutb Minar in all its glory
Qutb Minar in all its glory
Shiv Ganga Express -1st class rese…
Shiv Ganga Express -1st class res…
Shiv Ganga Express - 15 carriages!
Shiv Ganga Express - 15 carriages!
New Delhi
photo by: spocklogic