The capital of India – Delhi – will always have a special place in our hearts.
We expected to face long distances and crowds of people. Our first surprise was the hearse-like rickshaw that took us to the hotel. After a few minutes of wondering around the hotel we finally managed to find it.
This hotel will also leave a mark in our hearts. Entering our room we were welcomed by the noise from the street on the one side and the smell and the noise from the restaurant on the other. If you looked more closely to the walls you could find an ant or two crawling on them. However, we are not fans of the luxurious so it was not a problem for us. Especially after we got our towels right after the third reminder we gave to the staff.
We spent our day sightseeing in the city by car and a driver. He was waiting for us for as long as we needed while we were enjoying the sights and then was taking us to the next stop.
|A mystery palace in the mist…|
|No rest for the crazy ones…|
The thing that really surprised us in Delhi was the mist.
It is extremely inconvenient if you want to see anything or take photos. And it is not supposed to be misty in the beginning of November. This just proves that the climate changes are affecting India, too. After all it was the beginning of the winter and we were sweating over and over again.
We should not miss paying our honors to one of the most tasty Indian lunches. At least I was licking my fingers (just the ones on the right hand, though) after it. The dinner was quite honorable, too.
Our first day in Delhi ended with Akshardam.It is a complex that gives you the opportunity to get to know the Indian culture and history in a wide period of time – 10000 years.
The experience started with a long, tiring waiting in a queue. We got so close to the people next to us that every time the barrier was raised we were just wondering how not to crush each other. After we finally managed to get to the check points, where we were supposed to have almost nothing with us apart from a bottle of water we were separated by gender. The huge distances between the people at this point felt like a great luxury. In this marvelous place no electronic devices are permitted. I guess this way we can protect the images in our heads for longer, at least I hope so.
Since it was getting dark as we were waiting, the lights were piercing the mist and we could see everything in HD. Huge gardens, monuments, fountains, and in the middle of all of this – the temple. We left our shoes at the shoes place (oh, heavens) and barefoot, with the slightest fell of inconvenience, we started running up the stairs of the temple. Inside everything was shiny and bright, just like in the fairy tales. The best part of the night was the show at the fountain, where, while we were seated on the rocks, we were charmed by the colorful dances of the water. Here are some photos from the official website of the complex: http://www.akshardham.com/
As our first half-day in Delhi was a bit tiring (lots of people) it was not until our second day (this time a full day) in Delhi, after we came back from Agra and Jaipur, that we understood what it is like to meet those few million citizens for a few hours.
Since we are always trying to do what the locals do, we decided to try the subway. At first we were told that the subway station is far from the hotel, so we tried to arrange a rickshaw to get us there. This didn’t work out. So then we started walking. 6 minutes later we reached the station, we bought tickets and followed the crowd. We had to change the subway lines a few times. So, not only did we get really close to the other passengers, but we always had to be at the edge of our toes not to miss our next station. The tickets are prepaid to a certain station, so if you make a mistake or if you try to cheat it can be a problem when you try to get out.
Going back a really nice gentleman told us that in the subway there is a special part for women. That was a game changer for us. There it was nice, not crowded, smells of flowers and not too hot. Nace almost came in with us, but he got a warning. It is not bad to be a woman in the Delhi subway. Even the security checks, just like in many other places, were separated by genders. This makes it a lot faster and, at the same time, you get checked behind the curtain if you have to be.
Even if you don’t feel like a princess in the subway, as the three of us did, when we came off of it we had to walk to the place we wanted to see. Then it was really hard on us. We had to pass by holes filled with garbage, puddles with suspicious ingredients, markets on the ground. Some people were lying/sleeping on the ground. Crowds everywhere. Scary. Even at a beautiful place like Red Fort. Or to be exact:
…it is full of small playful squirrels, cute tiny mosques, beautiful views, that make you want to…
… you cannot ignore the contrast that is just a few meters away:
|This is still nothing, just a small part of a small market|
|Walking (or flying?) is, of course, safer on the almost destroyed pavement in the middle of the road. Be careful not to get hit by something on the street.|
|Those, who persist on having “real” Indian spices, can look no further. They are probably most tasty when combined with the garbage.|
It was impossible to take photos as we were walking in circles, trying to find our way to the subway station or at least to grab a rickshaw, since we were scared of walking.
On the so called side walks 5 people were walking where there was place for only one. Crossing was a dangerous sport. None of these thousand of people with cars, bikes, rickshaws, etc. doesn’t care that you want to get on the other side with all of your toes still attached to your body. Crossing is some kind of survival of the fittest. If you are fast you can survive. If someone is looking after you, you might survive as well. We were so tired of walking, crossing, and the entire craziness that we just wanted to catch some kind of rickshaw and take a rest at a safe place. We also had no water and just before it was too late we finally managed to find some, so we could bring some of our strengths back. With the last of our energy we reached a boulevard. Between its two huge lanes we were jumping over obstacles of different kinds and finally we managed to get a rickshaw. It was time for the driver to make the efforts and we sat back and took photos of the traffic and the surroundings…
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