The democratic capital of India and home to over 25 million people, Delhi is every bit as chaotic as you’d expect. But still, the madness comes as a surprise.
After the quiet order of Amsterdam, in it’s cool European Autumn hitting the hot dusty streets of Delhi turned our world upside-down. Fortunately the city is vastly populated by good natured people – from the security guard at the airport who sorted out our transfer driver to the student from Jaipur who advised us on what not to eat on our first day. It would appear that everybody in this city is up for helping the tourists out. Sometimes it leads to a direct sell to join them in their tuc-tuc but mostly it’s for the self-satisfaction that they did a noble deed.
Beyond the death-defying drivers (our first tuc-tuc driver actually drove the wrong way down a main road at one point), constant smog and inescapable dirt, Delhi has its charms. Like most Indian cities its rich history still shines through historical colonial rule.
We explored Humayan’s Tomb, which has stood for centuries and even influenced the Taj Mahal. Allegedly there are 100 tombs within this beautiful monument, although we could only find 25. It does beg the question, what else is hidden within those ancient walls?
On the way back to Connault Place, Delhi’s answer to Picadilly Circus, we stumbled upon the inspiring Agrasen ki Baoli (more about the Baoli can be read here).
It’s almost ironic that we walked around ancient monuments in ‘New’ Delihi but found the “Old’ Delhi near the Red Fort to be a condensed version of modern India. It is fast paced, hot and loud. Pedestrians take no notice of the traffic, while each car, motorbike and rickshaw is looking out for itself – or the odd tourist to whisk across the city.
Delhi, for all its flaws, has given us the perfect introduction to India. Our senses are ignited and we cannot wait to see what the next town brings.