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eirekay Delhi - A travel report by Eire
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Delhi,  India - flag India -  Delhi
7224 readers

eirekay's travel reports

Relax - Delhi can be Delectable!

  24 votes
Page: 1 2
Think of Delhi as a Thali – a rich, spicy presentation of the best Indian delicacies, all on one well rounded plate. Too much for one meal but more than enough to leave you satisfied for days, this is a dish to be savored! report of the month contest
Dec 2006

India's Presidential Palace at the end of Rajpath
India's Presidential Palace at the end of Rajpath
Delhi surprised and delighted at every turn. Smoggy? Very! Crowded? Forget about personal space! Traffic? Worse than Rome! Loud? Every car horn is blaring! Delhi is all that, Delhi is also an amazing melting pot of cherished old (Red Fort) and sparkling new (Lotus Temple), traditions held fast (Chandni Chowk) and new identities (Connaught Place), inspirations for the ages (Humayun’s Tomb) and the new age (National Science Center). Choices are so many, public transportation so poor and the whole mass so overwhelming that this is the one city for which a car and driver, cheaply had, and a little over planning are essential.

Not 2 km from the airport, we encountered our first cow in the road, soon followed by a peacock sighting and, within minutes of our hotel, a troupe of monkeys marching down the sidewalk. A drive through the quiet tree lined streets of the Embassy District, British in both design and air, belied the rush of buses, cars, auto rickshaws and motorcycles that soon followed. Young men with trays of sliced coconut or cups of sweet limetta Mousambi juice, for sale walk between cars in the midst of rush hour traffic. This crush of opposites is a theme throughout Delhi, Old and New. Cricket in the park, played in white trousers, while fans sway to Pop Fusion blared on a boom box. The loud squawking of a nearby chicken stall strangely falls into beat.

RAJPATH: Arriving on a Sunday, we took in Rajpath, India Gate and Connaught Place first, to avoid weekday hustle. Rajpath, which translates to Kings Way, is comprised of the Parliament, and Secretariat buildings with the Presidential Palace atop Raisini Hill on one end and India Gate on the other, with marvelous lawned parks lining the way. Mostly of British design, the buildings are a marvelous meld of Mughal and Rajput influences, trimmed in delicate carved stone and crowned by elephants. The view from the Presidential Palace down through India Gate, and the National Stadium beyond, is majestic!

Favourite spots:
Humayun's Tomb, said to be an inspiration for the Taj Mahal
Humayun's Tomb, said to be an inspiration for the Taj Mahal
HUMAYUN’S TOMB: Built in the 16th century, it is easy to see how this tomb inspired the design of the Taj Mahal a century later. Made of red sandstone, elaborately inlaid with marble, the tomb and grounds are perfectly balanced. Detailed carvings and filleted domes line the interiors. A walk through the abandoned mosque to the right, with its stunning tile work, and then along the outer walls as parrots fly overhead conjures up bygone days.

QUTAB MINAR: At 72 mtrs, Qutab Minar is the tallest minaret in the world. Construction started in 1199, as a victory tower, and stories are told that the materials for the tower and attendant mosques and tombs came from 27 pillaged Hindi and Jain temples, accounting for the differences in stone and style. Imposing as the Minar is, the tomb ruins are a marvel of intricacy. The beautiful calligraphy lining the walls is still clearly visible in stunning detail. Close by sits Chattarpur Mandir, a cluster of Hindi temples dedicated to the Goddess Durga

What's really great:
Jama Masjid - the Friday Mosque - had a wonderful spirituallity
Jama Masjid - the Friday Mosque - had a wonderful spirituallity
LOTUS TEMPLE: The Bahai Temple, completed in 1986, is a testament to modern Indian architecture. While the gardens and pools are beautiful, the time to visit is at night when the Temple is lit. The Lotus Temple is to Delhi what the Opera Hall is to Sydney, Australia.

JAMA MASJID: One of my most powerful memories of Delhi, the Friday Mosque, located within the Red Fort, has a spiritual force that is felt from the moment you climb the stairs up to the Fort Entrance. Shoes are shed at the gate and Lila was offered a floor length robe before entering. Walking (actually hopping – the stone floor is burning HOT) into the plaza, pigeons rise overhead and chanting echoes through the walls. Quietly walking into the Mosque, men are kneeling, each in their own rectangle, with the Koran before them, deep in prayer. Lila walked up to a tower of Koran, curious to handle one first hand. When I stopped her, a young man quietly rose and taking his well worn copy, showed us the beautiful calligraphy.

The simple tomb of Mahatma Ghandi
The simple tomb of Mahatma Ghandi
CHANDNI CHOWK: Just outside the Red Fort, this medieval market, the largest in Asia, is a maze of streets, each with its own specialty. Over the objections of our driver, we hired a bicycle rickshaw to tour us through. Fireworks share a street with antiques, cameras with jewelry, marigolds with chickens. Noisy, bustling, and colorful, rickshaw is the perfect way to experience Old Delhi.

GHANDI’S TOMB: Raj Ghat, the gardens in which Mahatma Ghandi’s tomb lies, is a monument to the grace and humility that Ghandi represented.The tomb is a simple onyx box, each corner bearing a burning light. Lily ponds meander through the simple gardens creating a place of quiet solitude amidst the bustling city. Close by sit two museums dedicated to Ghandi, and Shanti Vana, where India first Prime Minister, Nehru, was cremated.

NATIONAL SCIENCE CENTER: Hands-on displays invite both young and old to partake in the modern age at this amazing testament to India’s emerging technology base (open til 9pm!)

Rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, the largest market in Asia
Rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, the largest market in Asia
OBEROI MAIDENS: Tucked away in a quiet district of Old Delhi, this turn of the century English building once housed the architects and master builders that laid out New Delhi. It is on the lower end of the Oberoi scale, both in price and quality but was perfect for us – still jet lagged and after tiring days of touring, the quiet suited us. The restaurant was small but pleasant, if limited menu wise, and served a terrific breakfast buffet and great soups. The room was nicely furnished and the grounds had lovely gardens, tennis court and a large pool. Affordable internet access is provided onsite.

Lila with our Rickshaw Driver
Lila with our Rickshaw Driver
SEARCH FOR MONKEYS: Upon arrival, we had seen monkeys trouping along the street minutes from our hotel. With an hour to kill before our driver arrived, we decided to venture out on our own, to find the monkeys. In broken English, with no mention or right or left, the doorman gave us directions. In a mad dash, we ran across four lanes of traffic (no pedestrian right of way here!) and walked through a charming residential district. Quickly lost, we asked a Policeman for directions. This time we got hand gestures and pointing fingers. A couple of blocks later, we passed a bicycle rickshaw stand and were given still more directions. We found the monkeys but quickly realized we had lost the hotel - we had no idea which direction to go. Back to the rickshaw stand where they drew lots over our fare. The ride that followed was a white knuckle slalom course around buses and motorcycles and back across that four lane road that elevated my heart rate for days!

Our Kishmiri Palua on the right and my favorite, nann on the left!
Our Kishmiri Palua on the right and my favorite, nann on the left!
DASTAR KHAWANE KARIM: Near the Red Fort, although I understand they have several Delhi locations. At our drivers suggestion, we ordered the Kashmiri Palau – what an incredible blend of dried fruits, cherries and vegetables in rice. The fare is tradition Mughal style – we had stewed mutton and chicken tikka, both very good!

SAGAR FOOD HOME: In Defense Colony Market. Serving wonderful Southern Indian Vegetarian food, this inexpensive restaurant serves great dosa - thin pancakes with spicy coconut salsa and terrific kofta - vegetable meat balls.

Other recommendations:
Words of the Koran carved in Qutab Minar ruins.
Words of the Koran carved in Qutab Minar ruins.
MUSEUMS: Delhi has some wonderful museums. I would bypass the Crafts Museum – these are things you will be able to see elsewhere and buy cheaper, but the National Gallery of Modern Art is fabulous, the Doll Museum fascinating, and the Rail Museum incredible (and open late!). In fact, it is worth checking the closing times of any attractions you are considering - we found a lot of things, including shops, were open quite late.

We were surprised by the number of westerners in skimpy tops or shorts. We saw one woman at several location who was being consistently harassed, either sexually or by older people who felt she was disrespectful. Many of the most memorable sites in Delhi are either Temples or National Buildings of great pride to Indians. Many Indians travel great distances to visit these monuments. It might be best, for both genders, to cover shoulders and knees.

Published on Monday January 8th, 2007

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Thu, Mar 22 2007 - 09:07 PM rating by biya67

A fantastic report an a great example of a thorough, entertaining and well written report with great pictures! I'm looking forward to enjoying your other reports just as much!

Wed, Mar 21 2007 - 11:33 PM rating by sajjanka

nice informative

Sun, Mar 04 2007 - 12:43 PM rating by travler

Fabulous report and interesting pictures.

Sun, Feb 04 2007 - 05:24 AM rating by esfahani

congratulation - great report! - I feel like homesick... I need to go back there again

Sat, Jan 20 2007 - 02:43 AM rating by hieronyma

Oh Eire, this report brought all the wonderful memories of my stay in Delhi. it is a fascinating town, so much to see, and so much to enjoy and to learn. Hieronyma

Mon, Jan 15 2007 - 04:12 AM rating by adisidh

nice report.. I live in Delhi.. I like yr report. keep reporting maa'm

Fri, Jan 12 2007 - 06:17 AM rating by britman

Great report with sound sensible advice

Thu, Jan 11 2007 - 08:15 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

very very nice and realistic report

Tue, Jan 09 2007 - 05:48 PM rating by mistybleu

The opening is so colourful, I could almost taste Delhi. Thanks for the useful information.


Tue, Jan 09 2007 - 05:47 AM rating by rangutan

A lot exiting tips, a pleasure to read and an eye-opener. Well done, first class again.

Tue, Jan 09 2007 - 05:24 AM rating by marianne

What a joy to read this again. I think you read what I wrote previously, only praise

Tue, Jan 09 2007 - 03:52 AM rating by downundergal

Up to your high level as always - full of great travel tips and personal anecdotes. Well done!

Tue, Jan 09 2007 - 02:52 AM rating by barcelona

I give 5 points for good report and 5 points for good person you are. You example give. You help Andres, administrator. You write again and no complain. Good!

Mon, Jan 08 2007 - 10:46 PM rating by akhila

I'm glad you got this back. What a pleasure to read!! *****

Mon, Jan 08 2007 - 05:49 PM rating by mrscanada

You would think when people travel they would find out what is appropriate to wear.

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