A Travellerspoint blog

March 2010

We have arrived!!!!!

First few days in Delhi...

sunny 35 °C

OK so first off, sorry for the delay in updating the blog but I haven't been able to get online much since we arrived. I was all set to press "send" this morning after writing a lovely long piece about our first few days when a power cut struck and took my hard work with it! Well, such is life, so I'll start again and hopefully I'll get it done before the power cuts off :)

So what can I say about India? LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!!!!! I can speak for Neeta on this one when I say that this country is amazing beyond all expectations. The roads are crazy, the people are fantastic, the city is alive, pumping relentlessly 24 hours a day. We arrived at 12.30am and were welcomed by Pervez who runs the homestay with his lovely wife Lubhna. All I can say about our accommodation is that if you ever come to Delhi, it is the ONLY place to stay. It is truly lovely, Pervez and Lubhna are the perfect hosts, and have helped us out so much. Without them, our brief stay in Delhi would not have been so special (and Lubhnas food is amazing!)



Our first day out into the wild of delhi took us onto the streets in the famous (or infamous) auto-rickshaws. These are basically modified motorcycles that zip in and out of the crazy traffic all over delhi. There is no real system of order from what I can see, you simply find a space and fill it with a vehicle, praying that you dont crash or that your rickety old auto rickshaw doesn't collapse before you get there. To be fair though, as mad as it may seem to us I felt pretty safe on the road, these guys must have the reflexes of formula one drivers!



We arrive at Humayan's tomb, a site unknown to me and relatively unassuming when you first get it but we soon discover that it houses one of the most amazing peices of 16th Century Mughal architecture this side of the Taj Mahal. The building is constructed entirely of local red sandstone and white marble and is stunning. I was taken back by how similar it is to the Taj and I discover that the Shah based his design on this building.


We get a brilliant surprise though as we get closer to the tomb itself. At first I dont pay attention to the birds hovering above us, but as we get up to the top floors of the building we discover that these are falcons, huge wingspans of 4 to 5 feet, gliding on the updrafts of hot air that rise from the grounds. It is a truly magical sight and was not at all what I expected to see on our first day in delhi.


Tuesday arrives and the jet lag hits me like a brick. Neeta wakes up at a reasonable hour but I'm still in bed at 1pm. That's not to say that our day was uneventful, far from it... We head off to Delhi Railway Station to get our tickets to amritsar. Delhi station is an absolute nutter-fest. Imagine delhi as a ball of crazy if you will. The station is that ball's nucleus, emitting lunacy from its epicenter, infecting everything in its path!Every step of the way we are confronted by con-men trying to steer us away from the tourist bureau and to their dodgy agencies where they plan to rip you off. We almost fall for one, he is well dressed and stands beside the metal detector, he looks and sounds very official, he produces ID, he is very helpful and tells us that the tourist office is closed because of building works. My Spidey sense tells me not to fall for it and we head past the guard upstairs to find... lo-and-behold, the tourist office! Close shave that one. After we get our tickets we hit Janpath Market for some shopping and heavy haggling. I get a very respectable fake casio G-Shock watch for 200Rs (about 3 quid) and we pick up our sim cards and a mobile phone at the same time.

The people in India I find to be so warm and friendly, unlike almost no other place I've seen before. There is a real honesty and warmth about them. Perfect strangers ask me to take photos of them, just because, well... I guess it's nice to have your photo taken once in a while :)


Today, Wednesday, we get up early and arrange a driver for the day so we can see as much of Delhi as possible before we head off to Amritsar tomorrow. Our driver Jompiram is a nice bloke and Neeta exhausts much of her Hindi capabilities on him. She's always complaining that her hindi is crap but everyone seems to understand her. She can certainly hold her own over here which is such a bonus for me as I stare dumbly at the vendors, smiling and nodding...

We head to Jama Masjid first, a beautiful mosque in Old Delhi where the floors are so hot from the sun you could fry an egg on them. Again we marvel at the architecture but are more astounded by these lovely people, poor in material wealth but so rich in spirit. These guys have got soul. We love it here for them more than anything else.



After the mosque we go to the Red Fort, the former home of the Shah himself. The only way to describe it is WOW! It is a military looking structure from the front but once inside the Shah's love of white marble shows itself, his entire palace is made of it and the carving detail boggles the mind. The main court where he used to entertain his guests is cordoned off, but we slipped the guard 100Rs and he let me in to take some pictures of the amazing marble work...


Next we head off to the Ghandi Memorial site, the place where he spent the last 144 days of his life. This was such a moving place for us, personally, as we both have a lot of love for the man and his teachings. The memorial traces Ghandi's last footsteps up to the actual place he was shot. It has an amazing presence about the place and I feel a real wave of sadness hit me when I visit the shrine. The museum had some amazing modern art, all ghandi related, and loads of information about his life. Neeta and I were both just stunned at how relevant his teachings were in the 1940's to the problems we face today, and how his vision for a free, democratic and fair India was never fully realised. There's still time though... Rest in Peace Ghandiji...



Tomorrow we're off to Amritsar and brave the trains of India, wish us luck :)

Posted by Gavness 11:29 Archived in India Tagged events Comments (1)

6 days to go...


Only 6 days before we leave for Delhi! The excitement and terror is building inside me but I am looking forward to this more than anything else I've ever done. Tons of stuff still to do but we are getting there slowly but surely.

Thanks to all of you for coming to our leaving drinks on Saturday night. It was a great crack and a heavy one (head still hurting). We'll do it again when we get back :)


Keep following the blog, I can guarantee you its going to get a lot more interesting...


Posted by Gavness 14:59 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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