Day 35: Jess is a Wanderer walked over 16km around Delhi. Despite the heat, sweat and thirst it was a marvellous day seeing so many sights.
Not sure how hot to expect temperatures, we decided to head out early and make the most of the pre-afternoon heat. A wise choice – except we ended up being out all day and into the evening, returning home to discover our sunburnt shoulders and noses. Brilliant! Anyway, let me start at the beginning. We planned to walk from our hotel to the city centre but en route, several men fell in-line with us and walked and talked (on their way to work) about different things we should see and where we should go. We ended up on a tuk-tuk (the driver – seeing my gym kit – asked if I was a wrestler because I have big arm muscles… way to give someone a complex) heading to the tourist information office in search of a city map. A good start.
The first stop on our ‘made-up walking tour of Delhi’ was India Gate. The monument is in the style of France’s Arch de Triomphe and is in memory of India’s fallen soldiers during various wars. A busy spot filled with people selling tat and tourists.
Next, we found ourselves at some sort of military-defence base and were informed that we were at the President’s house, aka Rashtrapati Bhavan, as some army officers swiftly shouted to us that we couldn’t walk through the barrier we had, in fact, just walked through! We also saw a monkey crossing the road (no this isn’t the start to some poor joke), it was as casual as anything, waited for the traffic and just ambled across the tarmac. Of course, we were so shocked to see such a sight, neither of us thought to reach for the camera. Next time, we’ll be prepared.
A long old slog in the midday sun ended up with us being super sweaty and in dire need of a drink outside Safdarjung’s Tomb – a must visit if you’re in the area. There were absolutely no tourists there and we had the place to ourselves. Another stunning bit of architecture to see and only 200 RS (£2.10) to enter. BARGAIN!
Not only sweating, but totally stinking too, we tried to get to Dili Haat – an outdoor bazaar. Unfortunately, we ended up right on the outskirts of the city, in the slums, and made a quick exit before attracting too much attention, shaking the children off us who’d make a beeline straight for us to ask for money.
Unfortunately, we’d totally run out of money at this point – we were in need of an ATM ourselves! Being 15km away from Connaught Place (the centre), we hopped on the metro for 40RS (50p) and travelled the six stops to find ourselves some food. We opted for the popular Veda restaurant that has a million ‘excellent’ reviews on Trip Advisor and specialises in Indian food. And yes, it was delicious!
Now we just need to talk about the metro system: firstly, ALL passengers are subject to body scans and bag checks upon entering… what a fabulous idea! Second, the stations and trains are spotless. Third, the trains have some of the most effective air conditioning we’ve experienced on this whole entire trip. India… you’ve totally surprised me, I’m super impressed. Hopefully we can squeeze in another metro ride tomorrow as it was such an enjoyable experience… Living the dream!