Chaos, blatent lying and spectacular buildings

New Delhi Travel Blog

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Red Fort

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).

inside Red Fort
 Kulwanp was conveniently on hand to oblige.

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.

Humayun Tomb
  Unfortunately everyone else is doing the same and therefore chaos ensues with cars/buses/tik tiks 6 abreast in 2 lane roads and no one getting anywhere fast. I was loving it.

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.

Laxmi Narayan Birla temple

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.

inside tuk tuk
  Onstead they played delaying tactivs and just I found a flight, internet crashed.  Seemingly interent is only available in Delhi until 8.30pm. Frustrated and out of love with tourist office I went home. A great day, but not come to be spoon fed the country.  

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.

Lotus temple
Whole new experience as darting in and out of traffic and able to take in the aromas of Delhi with josticks, roadside cooking and exhause vying for dominance.  45 minutes across town only to find the Akshardham closed on Mondays.  D'oh !!, and I'd even written that down in research.  Found another tuk tuk to Lotus Temple.  Delhi's version of Sydney Opera House stands out in white stone in shape of flower.  Another impressive building.  Apparently not having learned my lessonsm got stung again by tuk tuk driver who spoke good English.  as soon as Isat in the tuk tukm he pimped one of his drivers to drive whilst he sat next to me trying to take me to a bazaar before my destination.  Not budging, he went on to offer chauffeur services, better hotels and lovely presents.
all for $1.50
  refusing all paid the tuk tuk fare and darted in to Lodiu gardens knowing he would be waiting for me.  Another nice relaxing place and thankfully multiple exits.  Took a different exit and made off in another tuk tuk.  Another none event visiting Jama Masjid as timed my arrival to coincide with dusk and foreigners not welcome.  However dropped off in middle of chaotic bazaar and maze of little pathways and logjammed with rickshaws and rapidly going dark.  With hands covering all valuables rushed around until got out.  One last tuk tuk back to hostal with novelty now wearing off.  Found a cheap cafe for some real Indian food.  Full meal for 80 rupee ($1.50).  Waiters watched with humour at my attempts to eat rice with my fingers trying to copy everyone else before one offered a spoon. A challenge ensued as every side I finished was quickly replaced by another.  Left absolutely stuffed with imodium at the ready. 

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. 

 

globalodyssey says:
wonderfully written, very enjoyable to read
Posted on: Nov 24, 2009
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Red Fort
Red Fort
inside Red Fort
inside Red Fort
Humayun Tomb
Humayun Tomb
Laxmi Narayan Birla temple
Laxmi Narayan Birla temple
inside tuk tuk
inside tuk tuk
Lotus temple
Lotus temple
all for $1.50
all for $1.50
New Delhi
photo by: peeyushmalhotra