Chaos, blatent lying and spectacular buildings
New Delhi Travel Blog› entry 2 of 33 › view all entries
Had a lie in to recover before heading back to the tourist office from last night for some advice. Good to their word, hotel rang tourist office who sent a free taxi to collect. Same guy from last night still working. Really friendly, but advised that I couldn't get my desired flight to Kathmandu within a week without paying business class. He rang a couple of numbers who then spoke to me to confirm the availability. I wasn't convinced. His alternative was a full chauffered tour of Rajasthan before train to Kathmandu. I opted for a days guided tour of Delhi for 600 rupee ($8).
Kulwanp having previously lived in Germany for 7 years before the wall came down spoke very good English and was keen to highlight how trustworthy he was by regularly discussing how British women kept contacting him with "passion". There was a trait emerging that English speaking Indians just make things up (not sure whether for conversation or scam yet !!). Tour of day was Red Fort, Raj Ghat, Humayan Tomb, Presidential Palace, East Gate and Laxmi Narayan Birla. We headed off in to the chaos of Delhi traffic, thankfully in his brutish American style Ambassador. The traffic everything to be expects of Delhi with a cacophony of horns anouncing every dart in to a current/expected/hoped gap in the traffic in the idea that someone else would get out of the way.
Red Fort - originally fortress of the Moghuls when they ruled over India. Impressive red fort that encloses a 17th century bazaar (now mainly full of tat shops) but then opens out in to complex of gardens containing many wonderfully ornate buildings that once homed the Moghul princes.
Raj Ghat - well kept gardens that is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi and place of serenity and homage for indians. Very pretty and tranquil area.
Humayan Tomb - almost a replica of Taj Mahal but predating by 200 years and made out of stunning red stone. Never heard of this place before and not even rewcommended in guide book, but truly awesome architecture that is ovewr 500 years old.
Presidential palace and government building would be impressive in most cities, but nothing stand out in Delhi.
East Gate - a replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris built to remember the dead of the 1st world war. Lit up against the night sky and party atmosphere as Navy brass band playing. Impressive place.
Laxmi Narayan Birla - biggest Hindu temple in India and another beautiful building with colourful walls and numerous towers and turrets all lit up against night sky.
Kulwanp finished the day by taking me to traditional Inbdian curry house called "splash". Predictably not authentic but fantastic for English curry and washed down with beer. Kulwanp insisted on taking me back to office where I could get on internet for flights.
Day 2 got up with priority of getting flight to Kathmandu. Hostal internewt not working so went out to find Kulwanp waiting for me to chauffeur for another day. Walked away. Internet cafes nowhere near as common as expected with only hotels with access, but unable to use without booking room. Eventually found one and immediately managed to get a flight to Kathmandu for following day at $85 (as opposed to $350). With renewed optimism set off to see Delhi for myself and flagged tuk tuk to Akshardham.
Delhi - amazing buildings and sights, explosion on senses, less scams but don't trust anyone that speaks good English. Good start, but on to better things.