We arrived in Delhi on a hot summer afternoon after an exciting 20 days of exploring the states of Bihar and West Bengal. With only two days left to explore Delhi before we start the next leg of our journey- Himachal Pradesh, we settled in to our accommodation for the next two days, the Delhi Mabodhi Society Hostel and got some much needed rest.
During the late evening made our way in to the city and our first stop was the Red Fort at the heart of Delhi. A historical fort, this magnificent structure once was the residence of the royals of the Mughal dynasty of India. A masterpiece of architecture, this fort gives us a glimpse of what life back then must have been. Red sand stone walls, Marble structures and intricate carvings stand as proof to the craftsmanship of a bygone generation.
Once we were done exploring the Red Fort we made our way in to Chandani chowk, one of the oldest market places in Old Delhi. It is one of the busiest markets in India till date and a stroll along Chandani Chowk is one thing you shouldn’t forget to do if in Delhi. Even if you don’t want to shop, these narrow and crowded ghalees are full of new experiences waiting to be explored.
At night Delhi is a vibrant, busy hub filled with both travelers and locals alike. Night food stalls come out and fill the air with mouth watering fragrances that are bound to make you hungry. Locals rushing back home on these crowded streets resemble an ant nest gone haywire.
New Delhi station is for sure one of the busiest train stations in the world and it is even more active during the night. The atmosphere around the station is a culture of its own with porters and rikshaw walas trying to find their last earning for the day, commuters rushing in and out and amidst all this chaos there is a beauty you can only see if you pause and take in the surroundings. The small food stalls located on the Ghalees around the station is a great way to get in touch with the local culture and taste- pretty great food for cheap prices.
Next morning we arranged a taxi to take us to the other important sites scattered around Delhi. Our first stop was the Laxminarayan temple. Spread across nearly 7.5 aches the Laxminarayan Hindu temple is one of the largest temples in Delhi. A major attraction of Delhi, this temple is constantly visited by both devotees and tourists alike.
Our next stop was the world famous India Gate, a monument dedicated to the brave soldiers of the India army who gave their lives during the period of 1914-21. The gate is carved with the names of more than 13,300 of these brave men and the small structure called “Amar Jawan Jyoti” was installed to commemorate the fallen unknown soldiers.
A ride along the world renowned Rajpath way (Kings way) will give you the chance to see the Rashtrapathi bawan, The secretariat building and many more important government buildings which have a high architectural value.
The National Museum of New Delhi is home to a large collection of artifacts and exhibits belonging to many eras of Indian history and is a great way to learn about this interesting country. From paintings, stone carvings to jewelry these exhibits boasts about the rich history, multiculturalism and the craftsmanship that belong to India.
Indira Gandhi Memorial is a museum dedicated to the life of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and is located at her residence. You will get to peep in to her life through the exhibits displayed and you will also get to see the location where she was assassinated. Most of the families personal effects are displayed in this museum including the blood stained saree she was wearing on the day of her assassination.
A Bahai house of worship, the Lotus temple is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Delhi. This temple is open to all, regardless of their faith, gender or social status and is considered as the most visited building in the world. This magnificent structure that resembles a lotus flower is made up of 27 petal like structures and a breathtaking interior hall.
A trip to Delhi will not be complete without shopping and we did most of our trinket shopping from roadside stalls along the way.
During the evening we went to the famous underground shopping center Palika Bazar in the hopes of doing a little bit of extra shopping. If you do plan to visit this place just know some of the things sold here are Fake.. be a little cautious !! Branded spray deodorant bottles filled with water, “leather belts” which were actually made of paper, 16 GB pen drives that were really only pieces of plastic were just a few of the “Quality” products we came across 😛 But the experience of walking amidst the small shops, listening to the sales pitch for each product is always entertaining. I’m sure among the fake stuff there might be genuine stuff too but I for one was not lucky !! First time I failed in shopping in India!! I was pretty disappointed in myself because hey it was not my first rodeo!! Despite the fail in my “Indian shopping instincts” I definitely don’t regret the experience because I got a good story out of it 😛
There is so much more to see in Delhi and I have visited some of the other attractions in my previous visits but as we had limited time this was all we could cramp in during this stay. I wish I had more time to see more but, when it comes to India there is always a next time 🙂
The perfect harmony seen between history and present in this confined space is the main reason why Delhi is so charming and appealing to me. Do visit Delhi if you are heading to India and make sure you plan better to make the most of your time there!
Until next time,