India: Half a Day in Delhi | Lady & her Sweet Escapes

Nov 1, 2014

India: Half a Day in Delhi

"Don't ride the train." That advice from an Indian colleague lingered in my thoughts while I was planning for a short trip to India. With safety as my top priority, I drifted away from what could possibly be craziest train ride I'd ever experience. I made settlements with a travel agency that promised to tour us around India's Golden Triangle on board a private van.

Keeping true to their promise, an innova van waited for us outside our hotel in Delhi Aerocity right after breakfast. Mr. Bije, our driver/tour captain, discussed about our schedule as he drove through the streets of New Delhi.

Then, I found myself inside a tourist bubble.

India Golden Triangle Tour in Delhi
Golden Triangle destination #1: Delhi

The Monuments in Modern Delhi
On our first morning in India, Mr. Bije was assigned to take us to the landmarks of Old Delhi. But upon travelling down the wide road lined with lush trees and impressive buildings in New Delhi, we asked him to do a quick stop. Although not included in our schedule, he delightfully pulled over.

And we, silly tourists, giddily hopped in the crowd-free Rajpath.

Rajpath or the King's Way is a special road where important ceremonies and parades are held. City guards stood in every corner as it is where government offices are located. We were not permitted to stay that long, hence we made a quick photo stop near Rashtrapati Bhavan, the residence of the President of India.

Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi India
Rashtrapati Bhavan: home of the President of India
Secretariat Building along Rajpath New Delhi
Secretariat Building along Rajpath

Located at the end of the King's Way is the India Gate. Again, we persuaded Mr. Bije to park the van near the monument although it's not in the plan! Stubborn eh! Well, who can resist not to see a significant landmark also know to many as The Heart of Delhi up close?

India Gate is a memorial arch built in honour of the Indian soldiers who died during the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. 

India Gate in New Delhi
India Gate: The Heart of Delhi

The Cultural Side of Delhi
After the spontaneous stopovers, we finally made our way to our real destination, Old Delhi. Then, the vibe immediately changed. Our tour vehicle ran in a congested narrow road lined with worn-out buildings, crowded sidewalks and food stalls, overtaking speedy tuktuks and stray cows. It was like a scene from the travel documentaries. The only difference is, I wasn't watching it on TV! I was there!

Just when I thought that the tv shows were enough to prepare me for everything that India is, I was still shocked... culture shocked.

a view of Meena Bazaar from the steps of Jama Masjid
Old Delhi: a view of Meena Bazaar from the steps of Jama Masjid

Our van parked in front of Jama Masjid. It is the largest mosque in India built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan; the same person behind the majestic Taj Mahal! We stood at the entrance gate admiring the beauty of the red sandstone facade and its intricate details, and at the same time, contemplating if we should go in or not. With certain reasons that made sense to someone who's experiencing culture shock, I agreed not to go in. So, there I was, virtually creating a wall between myself and the incredible culture that I thought I was ready to experience.

Lady in Jama Masjid Old Delhi
Jama Masjid: the great mosque of Old Delhi
largest mosque in India
Jama Masjid: built of red sandstone by the Mughal emperor Shan Jahan 

Next attraction on our list was The Red Fort. The astounding fort with red sandstone walls is the largest monument in Delhi. We were only able to see it along the road though. This time it wasn't our choice. Our driver said we don't have to go in because it's just like Agra Fort which we are scheduled to visit on the 3rd day of our trip. So, as our private tour vehicle ran down the busy lanes along the perimeter of Red Fort, I wondered what's beyond.

Red Fort in Old Delhi India
a glimpse of the famous Red Fort

At noon, it was time to bid Delhi goodbye! As I did, I listened to Mr. Bije talk about India's great history and modern mysteries, along with Numerology, religion and spirituality. There was no room for silence. Our 4-hour road trip to Jaipur were filled with sensible conversations on the culture that I was trying to understand, the chaos that I have yet to appreciate and the peace that I have yet to find.

And so, I pondered if I'm brave enough to burst the tourist bubble I was in.

road trip from Delhi To Jaipur
from Delhi to Jaipur
Delhi, India

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