Visiting Delhi

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Last night we ended up arriving to the hotel quite late so we took it easy this morning. Jagdish and Bhupi came to pick us up at 11am after having a quick breakfast.

First stop was the “catedral”, it is the biggest you find in India with a capacity of 25,000 people. The sun came out, but between city’s pollution and the mist, the photos didn’t come out that nice, although I must say the place was amazing. It is located right in the old Delhi, which is a totally different city if you compare it to New Delhi.

It seems to be that in the 90s the city had a big pollution problem and they took some measures, such us converting some public transportation from gasoline to natural gas.
Gas stations have a special compressed natural gas pump. I wonder why this solution hasn’t been implanted in other cities.

After visiting the Jama Masjid we took a cycle rickshaw ride, which is been the highlight of the day without any doubt. Silvia and I took one and Jagdish followed us in another one. The narrow streets in the old city are just incredible, no words to describe all the activity going on there and all the little stores and other businesses you see around. It reminded me to Stone town in Zanzibar, although it is even more impressive. The guy riding the rickshaw was very small, and he had some problems carrying us all the way ☺ I still don’t understand how he could manage to take us around with so much traffic and so many people going up and down. And for some reason you don’t feel there is a security problem at any given time.
Weird, considering all poverty you see in the streets… We even crossed “little Pakistan”. Although with the Independence of Indian, Pakistan and India became two different countries, 20% of the population is Muslim. So imagine what a huge number, considering we are talking about 20% of 1200 millions of people!

Society is structured in religions and casts, Hinduism and Muslim being the main religions, and 4 casts and counting more than 2500 subcasts, which have a straight relationship with the work you develop. With their last name you can find out the cast they belong to and also what religion they In India you have 14 official languages (English, Hindi and also some regional languages) and 6400 dialects.

After visiting the old Delhi we went to visit the Presidential Palace, which is connected by an avenue to India’s Gate.
In the summer, when there is a clear day, you see from one side to the other, but today the weather was not that nice. There were lots of things going on, first you had many people preparing the parade (Republic the Parade) it takes place the 26 of January commemorating the Independence of India, and there was also some political event taking place, as there were many TV reporters around. In 1948 India obtained its independence due to some internal pressures and also because the British could not maintain its administration after the II World War.

Then we went to Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, a must visit place for any important visit to the country. But most interesting of all was the National Gandhi Museum. They have a beautiful chronological collection of photos and his biography from the year he was born, 2nd October 1869, to the day he was shot dead, 30th January 1948.
The entrance is free although there are several donation boxes in the building.

Mmmm… our stomachs were even making noises, so we went for lunch to Pindi Restaurant. This is one of the most popular restaurants for foreign people. It is funny the way it works, as you see many tables with people from all different countries, and next to them a Hindi guide helping them to order.

Right outside the restaurant we found a snake charmer with huge cobras. Damn! That impresses anyone! As soon as he saw us carrying a camera he started playing his flout, no doubt we took a couple of photos! In this case Jagdish recommended us to give a 50INR as a donation. By the way, tips in India range from 5-10% depending how satisfy you are with the service. In some restaurants they include the service charge in the bill, and in some others when they hand you the bill they tell you service charge is not included and that they expect you to leave something if you liked the service.

Next stop was a Hindu Temple, which was amazing indeed. In all of them you have to leave your shoes out, so bring thick sox ☺, the floor in January is quite cold! Jagdish explained to us they have thousands of Gods, being Shiva (destructor), the king of Gods. Krishna, Hanumam (Monkey God), Genesha (Elephant God), y Vishnu (Preserver). Many times you see three figures representing the creator, the preserver and the destructor. In the temple we visited 5 or 6 different gods, bus as I said, they have thousands! It is funny, as when you go in there is a priest who touches you your forehead with some red pigment!

From the Hindi Temple we went to a Sikh temple. Sikhism means disciple and they have ten gurus. All Sikh used to carry a knife, long hair as a symbol of freedom, kripon (shield) to defend the weaker, a turban to cover his hair and a comb to maintain it.
The primer minister of India nowadays is a Sikh. All Sick practices (community based religion) are included in he Guru Granth Sahib, which is something like the bible from Christians or the Coran for the Muslims, although in India they have 4 to include all Gods and practices. This religion was first created to go against the organization in casts and statue adoration. You can identify easy if some is a “sikist” as they wear a turban. By the way, in this temple you have to take off your sox! Damn, that was cold heheh. When you enter the main room in the temple, you don’t find any statue, but the Guru Granth Sahib and when you go in you cannot give your back to it any moment!

Today we were catching the train at 6.45, so we went to the station 45 minutes before boarding time.
Lucky Jagdish took as to the station as it is a real chaos! It is amazing how many people you can find there and how they wait in all 16 platforms they have. We were travelling in first class and Jagdish talk to the counter man to let us go in before boarding time.

We have a private cabin with two beds and they even include dinner. To go from Delhi to Varanasi takes 12 hours, so we leave at 7pm and we are getting there at 7am. It is 5am right now, so in a couple of hours we will be getting to our destination. During the first hour, many vendors knock on your cabin selling all sorts of food and drinks. If you are taking the train, I recommend you to take some food with you just in case you don´t like what they serve in the train.
Beds are not very comfortable, but you must experience it! Hopefully our hotel in Varanasi is comfortable and we can rest tonight…
tirsomaldonado says:
Thanks for your correction! I have already changed it! ;)
Posted on: Feb 05, 2010
Vikram says:
"Next stop was a Hindi Temple" - it's HindU temple. HindU is the religion, HindI is the language! :)
Posted on: Feb 04, 2010
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