Following my previous post, Delhi- Taj Mahal Experience, where I spent a whole day at Agra, here i’m sharing my experience in Delhi. We had to wake up early as we booked a tour for the Old Delhi with “When In India” tours. I recommend the tour!!! We wanted to feel the Old Delhi experience. We had to meet with the guide at a certain spot. We had breakfast at the hostel, we were staying or at least, we ate whatever seemed safe to eat :p.
Above shows the alleyway and the main road of where the hostel is. In every alleyway, mass of tangled electric cables are hanging above passengers, as shown at the second photo. This is because electricity came after when the buildings were built so they were put over them. The last photo above shows the roof restaurant of the hostel that we had breakfast. After breakfast, we tried to book an uber but something was not working correctly with the app so we took an auto rickshaw but we were late. The traffic was crazy as usual, drivers were not following the lanes.
We arrived at the meeting spot, the Digambar Jain temple, a few minutes late but we were the first ones that arrived there. We met our guide and our driver. Yes, we had a driver, it was a rickshaw tour with headphones. When everyone arrived, we wore headphones for the live commentary, we fasten our belts and we hit the road.
Let the Old Delhi Experience begins!!!
The weather was amazing for a rickshaw tour. It was the first time I had a rickshaw tour and I must say it was amazing. The only problem was that it was difficult to take photos because of the shakiness of rickshaw. It is advisable to have a guide at the Old Delhi because it is easy to get lost.
During the tour the guide showed us a temple which was build around a tree. People in India respect and believe in Nature. The guide informed us that the first meal that Indians do everyday goes to the stray animals. We could see plastic plates with food, everywhere.
First stop was the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and one of the 10 largest mosques of the world. About 25,000 people can pray here at one time. It is also called the Friday Congregational Mosque where Muslims turn up every Friday to offer prayers. The mosque is made by red sandstone and white marble and it took seven years to complete. The two high minarets are 40 meters tall and the mosque has three imposing gates. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed so there are photos outside of the mosque.
Leaving from Jama Masjid, we passed by a building where food was provided to poor people. Also at an area near by, a thieves bazaar is being held specific days of the week. A bazaar specific for the thieves that sell whatever they have stolen. We had a few stops but I want to share with you the most interesting parts of the tour. Next stop was the oldest house that exists in Old Delhi, hidden inside the alleyways. The house has decayed but you could see the structure and the skeleton of the house. It must had been an amazing house. What do you think?
The guide also informed us that Indians usually add the sculpture of the Ganesh (elephant) god to a new house or business as is the Lord of Good Fortune who provides prosperity, fortune and success. In addition, I have seen a lot of people hanging chilies with lemon tied to a thread, outside of houses. The myth says that the godess of misfortune called Alakshmi, brings bad luck to the shop owner’s or the business men. Therefore the chilies with lemon blocks her from entering the shops or business places. Another myth says that Alakshmi is attracted to sour, pungent and hot things, so she only comes up to the door eats her favourite food and leaves satisfied without entering the shop. Moreover, the scientific reason is that the acid keeps the insects and pest away.
My favorite part of the tour was the spice market. This is the biggest Asia spice market in the world. The biggest selection of spices, nuts, herbs, teas, etc. There were things that you could see for the first time in your life. We walked inside the market and from the very first moment the odor and the vision where enriched with intense odors and bold colors. After discovering some new herbs and spices, we went to the Mehar Chand and Sons, a shop with the biggest selection of spices. I bought the 90% of my presents from here, especially for my father that wanted the spiciest carry. I was informed from the owner that carry generally is not spice, it gets spicy with the herbs and spices added in it. There is the most spicy and strongest chilli that can make your food super spicy but it is too strong ( i got it for my father).
After shopping spices we went to a restaurant for lunch that guide picked for us. It tasted better than it looked. The best one was the gulab jamun, milk-solid-based with syrup ball dessert. After the lunch, we passed by the bazaars with the rickshaw but it was so difficult to take photos.
After we finished the tour we went to different markets for shopping. Almost in every market you can bargain and get things in low prices. Most things are for women. I recommend the Khan market where things are a bit more expensive and there is not bargain here. For its small size, there is a selection of men clothing and accessories shops. Play Clan is a brand that is made in Delhi and it is amazing. Graphical and visual fashion, home accessories and art pieces for peopwl that lovw design. I wanted to buy everything from here but I needed to be more selective as there was not much space in my luggage. I bought a t-shirt that I loved. You can click here to see how I wore the t-shirt. Furthermore, you can find a map at their store with all the restaurants and shops near by which is very helpful for tourists. I have also bought a pair of shoes from Foot Loose store but I have no photo of them yet :p. At night we had dinner at “Mr Choy” restaurant that our german friend (we met at the wedding) recommended. A stylish restaurant with DELICIOUS FOOD. Price wise is not very cheap, not very expensive!!!!
Next day was our last stay in Delhi. We arranged to visit the Akshardham temple. A huge temple that we have seen the day we were going to Taj Mahal from the car. It was the most amazing sightseeing we have seen. A MUST VISIT of whoever visits Delhi. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed so I only have a photo I took approaching the temple. This temple is a masterpiece, full of details, it is intricately carved with flora, fauna, dancers, musicians, and deities. A mixture of architectural styles across India. Outside around the temple there are scenes of elephants that show their importance in Hindu religion and India’s history. Inside of the temple there is a huge gold sculpture of the god Swaminarayan. You can check the official site of the temple to explore every corner, click here.
Once more, we had lunch to a restaurant that our German friend recommended. Gulati became popular for its butter chicken recipe, so when we arrived there was a long queue and we had to wait 40 minutes to be seated. We were written in the waiting list so we decided to visit the India Gate which was nearby at a park. The shape of the gate is similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Names of Indian soldiers that fought at the First World War, were carved on the Gate. We also took photos of people having fun in the park.
When the 40 minutes had passed, we went back to the restaurant and after 5 minutes we were seated. We were so hungry that we order buffet. Everything was so delicious. Gulati is also recommended too!!! If not the buffet you MUST try the butter chicken for sure!!!
The rest of the day was spend in different markets for shopping and gifts. We discovered the Dilli Haat market where you have to pay a very small amount at the entrance to get in but it is worth visiting. A big selection of scarves, leather bags and shoes, home accessories and arts. Below I will share a few that i liked. The paintings below are from an artist called M.A.Jafar (firstname.lastname@example.org , www.jafarart.blogspot.in).
This is how the days spend at Delhi!!! We went back to the hotel, we packed and went to the airport to go to Mumbai. So stay tuned to explore the Mumbai experience soon. Moreover, do not forget to read the previous posts about India, the Wedding Experience and the Taj Mahal Experience. Tell me your thoughts about this post and if you have anything to suggest about Delhi like restaurans, shops, sightseeings etc., hit me with a comment.
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