Delhi!

We finally arrived in to Delhi, and this was also going to be the final stop on our travels. We would be spending about 4 days here and then I would return to Korea to be reunited with our pup Willy and Jason would be going home to America for a month.

Jason on the train in to Delhi.

Arriving in to Delhi was just madness. The train station was so busy and there were hundreds of rickshaws outside just waiting to snatch up a customer. We decided to walk to the backpackers area (Paharganj) which is right by the train station. Once we arrived in the area we checked out a few places to stay and realised that they were all over our budget. Our backpacks were starting to weigh us down and the June heat wasn’t helping either. We tried another place and once again it was too expensive, the owner then told us that he had another guesthouse that was cheaper and right across the road. We took a look and decided to stay there. After dropping our bags in to the room we decided to try and get in to Connaught Avenue, the main shopping area of Delhi.

One of the stops along the way.
The craziness that greets you when you exit the station.
Paharganj
…and again.
…and again.
Jason walking down Paharganj

I was really hot so we decided to hail a rickshaw, unfortunately this guy decided he’d try and scam us and bring us nowhere near where we had wanted to go to and try to make us go to his friends shop. We said no and asked him to bring us to where we wanted to go, and again he brought us to another friends shop. I got so pissed that I just gave him some money, we got out and walked away. We then hailed down another rickshaw and luckily he brought us to where we wanted to go. BUT when paying we didn’t have any small money so he took the note, refused to give change and just drove off! We couldn’t believe that we had only been in the city for an hour and had already gotten scammed twice…I feel sorry for people that begin their travels in Delhi!

We were feeling pretty stressed at this stage when a guy came along and followed us trying to tell us that we weren’t in the shopping area and that of course he would bring us to the right area. After ignoring him for what seemed like forever and ducking into a store to get rid of him he finally disappeared. We were both just exhausted from all of the lying so we did the only thing that we could think to do…duck in to a really expensive cocktail bar and restaurant and have some delicious food and drinks while basking in the air-con. It was like a different world in there and it was nice to get away from the craziness for a little bit.

In our “safe zone”
Yummy margaritas!

The next day we decided to explore Old Delhi. We found a cycle rickshaw that would bring us to a spice market, then to the Jamma Masjid mosque (the largest one in India) and finally to Delhi fort. He seemed nice and it was great wandering through the tiny alleyways of Old Delhi. There was a wonderful vibe there and many of the people living there were muslim. The spice market was a sight to behold and I have to admit that it was hard to breathe with so many spices all around you! We decided to buy some saffron (which we found out later was completely overpriced) and then went to the mosque.

Our cycle rickshaw driver.
So many spices!
At the spice market.
One of the many old streets in Old Delhi.

The mosque was absolutely huge and because we weren’t wearing the right clothes we got given some curtain style robes to wear. We had to take our shoes off to go in but it was absolute torture to walk on the marble as the midday sun had turned it to fire. It was very beautiful though, I have a thing for mosques and could visit them all day if I had a chance. I hope someday that I can visit the middle east and see some there some day.

Jason being a celebrity!
Outside the Jamma Masjid
Me in my lovely curtains!
Mother and daughter praying together.

After our time at the mosque we went to the Red fort and had a very awkward fight with our rickshaw driver who, like everyone else in this city it seemed, tried to rip us off.
After finally just walking away from him we had a nice couple of hours relaxing in the gardens of the Delhi fort. That evening we decided to take no more rickshaws in the city and to also transfer to an expensive hotel for our last couple of nights travelling. We found a nice hotel that was close to the light rail, about 20 minutes away from downtown.

Jason being cheesy at the red fort.
One of the beautiful buildings inside the fort.

The room was so amazing and the bed was one of the biggest we had ever seen! We spent the whole of the next day just enjoying the swimming pool and relaxing in our room…suddenly Delhi didn’t seem all that bad! That evening we found a shopping center near our hotel that had a cinema so decided to do some shopping and then go and see our first Bollywood film. It was fun watching the kids dance in the aisles, the cinema was much nicer than any back home in Ireland too. The first hour of the movie was fun and it was set in Manali, the beautiful town that we had fallen in love with a week before, but it was a pretty long movie, with an interval, so we were a little bored by the end. I didn’t like how the main characters love interest was a disgusting sleeze who would try it on with all of these girls in front of her, then she got a make-over and suddenly he was trying it on with her.

The next day we wanted to go and see some more sights in Delhi, this time taking the subway to where we wanted to go. We had a wonderful day this time, partly because we didn’t have to worry about being scammed and partly because the sights that we were seeing were some of the most beautiful of our entire trip (I think our comfy sleep probably helped as well!)

We started the day off looking for Humayuns tomb. Jason had read about it so we decided to pay it a visit. We got off at the right station but couldn’t seem to find it. We ended up in an area that had hundreds of homeless people sleeping on the streets. It was very sad to see. We also came across a beautiful abandoned  temple that was now home to many homeless people. After walking for a while we finally came across Humayuns tomb.

A sign in the subway station…this sign really is needed because people spit EVERYWHERE!
A beautiful roundabout.
The beautiful building that now housed many homeless people.

Humayuns tomb is absolutely beautiful and it is the building that apparently the Taj Mahal was based upon. What we loved the most about the tomb was the smaller tombs in the gardens. The whole area was extremely peaceful and like everywhere else in India at that time was practically devoid of tourists, a massive win for us, since we had to put up with the unbearable summer heat.

The outside of Humayuns tomb.
One of the smaller tombs.
This was one of my favorite buildings.
Humayuns tomb.
Enjoying one of our last sightseeing days of ouir travels.
The beautiful Humayuns tomb.

After spending a couple of hours relaxing in the grounds of the tomb we decided to go and visit the Ghandi museum. It is housed in the final house he had stayed in before he was killed. It was a really interesting experience. I learned so much more about him and we got to read so many of his wonderful quotes. We also got to see the room that he stayed in before he died and it was preserved since then. It showed just how simple a man he was.

Both the Humayuns tomb and the Ghandi museum were in New Delhi and it was such a beautiful area, tree lined streets and very quiet. I would recommend to anyone visiting Delhi to go and visit these sights first before going in to Old Delhi.

We began our time in Delhi on such an awful note, we hated the place and just wanted to leave. But we ended up loving the place by the end of our time there. There are some beautiful sights to be seen and really good food to taste. Just watch who you trust while you are there…

The next day was our final day together for a while so we spent the day relaxing (trying to get the last bit of a tan in) and just enjoying our time together. I couldn’t believe that the travels that I had spent so long planning for were over just like that. And boy did we have the time of our lives!!

Our last night 🙂

Getting there:

We caught a train there from Chandigarh, but since it’s a massive city you can get to and from most places in Northern India here (the train station is huge!) and of course fly from all over the world.

Where we stayed:

Our first night we spent on the main Pahar-ganj bckpacker area. There are guesthouses everywhere there. The reason that we found it difficult to get something in our price range was because we needed air-con, which doubles the price of most rooms. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of our guesthouse.

After a night here and a lot of stress from staying in central Delhi we moved to a classy hotel in the outskirts of Delhi. The Park Plaza Delhi in Shahdara. It was an amazing experience! We got a good rate for the room from Agoda.com.

Hotel website here
Trip-advisor reviews here 

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