Archive for the ‘Delhi’ Category

  • Back in Delhi

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    The reason to go back to Delhi was more a necessity to sort out certain things than a real desire to visit the city, although it was nice to be hosted at our friends’ place and spend time with them again. They are real travelers and it was good to exchange travel experiences with them. Our stay it’s been longer than planned this time and it helped us to get to know some “off the beaten track” places in the city that more tourist don’t get to visit, although we have left the most touristy routes for another time (if there’s a third one). We have been able to rest properly, watch films and satellite TV, go out, eat and also to update the Smartnest backpackers travel blog… we even cooked again after 2 months dreaming about it!!! Our spanish omelette and spaghetti were our friend’s delight. After a week we finally succeeded to get a train ticket to Agra and left Delhi early in the morning.

  • India Gate and the city bazaars

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    Bearing in mind that we prefer to get in contact with locals, learn from their culture and get to know their traditions rather than spend our time admiring old stones and commemorative buildings, we decide to visit some of the bustling bazaars in which you can find everything from leather work to jewelery, carpets, textiles, electronics, spices and tea. Getting lost in the old city’s colorful and convoluted bazaars is half the fun of shopping here. Connaught Place, Paharganj (where most of the backpackers stay due to the big number of budget hostels) and Chandni Chowk, which is best navigated by cycle-rickshaw. Near the Fatehpuri Masjid, on Khari Baoli, is the aromatic Spice Market, full of fiery-red chili powders and burnt-orange turmeric among other spices, as well as pickles, tea and nuts.

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    We end up the day at India Gate, a huge stone memorial arch for all the Indian army soldiers who died in WWI. Indian families and groups of friends gather here to spend the afternoon in the surrounding gardens. Lay on the grass and just count the seconds until an Indian gets closer to you just to fulfill his curiosity and ask you countless questions or simply stare at you, be patient!!

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  • Red Fort (Lal Qila)

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    The Red Fort is a fortress built in red sandstone between 1638 and 1648 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan  (the same Mughal emperor that built the famous Taj Mahal) and was after used as the head quarters by the British army. The walls extend for 2 km and vary in height depending on its orientation: towards the holy Yamuna river or towards the city. The main gate (Lahore Gate) is now the Indian police check point. Women on one side, men on the other. You go through a metal detector, they check your bag… Et voila!!! Our Swiss knife passed the control unnoticed. High security!!! You enter the fort through here and immediately access to a courtyard (Chatta Chowk) full of souvenir shops which used to sell fancy goods to the palace inhabitants such as gold, silk or jewellery. Few steps further there is a huge area consisting in well maintained gardens and monumental buildings, including the royal baths (hammam), the emperors private palace, a private little mosque made of white marble and the halls of private and public audiences.

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    It has an amazing architecture with very fine details, the restaurant’s food is tasty and cheap and the palace gardens are a good place to relax and play with the squirrels. Notice that while Indian citizens pay 10 rupees, foreigners pay 10 times more for the entrance ticket, which may be not much for our pocket but sounds funny.

  • Delhi

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    India’s capital and metropolis with huge economic and cultural differences between its inhabitants. The city has attracted a big number of immigrants, converting it in an overcrowded city (12,8 million people), in an overpopulated country. Delhi has loads to offer, from the narrow and intricate streets of Old Delhi to the spacious and planned New Delhi, although its huge dimensions and its urban chaos make it almost impossible to explore it all.

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    Expecting to return to the city again, either on another visit or as the gateway of another trip, we decide to take it easy and just explore a tiny bit of Delhi’s treasures: Red Fort, India Gate, Old Delhi and some of the most important city bazaars. We also explored our friends’ neighborhood, Kalkaji, which hasn’t much to offer but it was one of the most interesting things that we did freshly arrived from Europe. During our three days visit to the city we spent the most of the time getting in contact with India’s diversity.

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