After a restless nights sleep (thanks to a freezing cold bedroom, dogs barking outside, and spending half the night wondering if we had locked the bedroom door, but being too cold and tired to get out to check!), it was time to get up, and get to grips with Delhi.
Our first stop was breakfast. We took a short stroll around the corner from our hotel to a restaurant which had opened up especially to cater for us. We had a buffet breakfast which served everything from omelettes to curry, sandwiches to pasta, and portions of fruit. A fairly random combination but it did the job, and before long we were on our way to the metro, where we would be getting the train to Old Delhi to start our first walking tour of the trip.
The first stop on our walking tour was the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Whilst there was no charge to enter the mosque, we had to remove our shoes before entering, and had to pay a camera charge (whether you used your camera or not!). Women also had to wear a gown over their clothing regardless of what we were wearing underneath.
In order to reach our next destination, we walked through the colourful, chaotically, enchanting Chandni Chowk Area. This is Old Delhi’s main street . It’s full of quirky old bazaars, narrow streets, cars, motorcycles, rickshaws and local people going about their daily business.
From here, it was onto our first Sikh temple, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib. I didn’t know too much about the Sikh way of life, but I love the fact that there is so much focus on helping the community. Whilst visiting the temple, we also got the opportunity to watch them cook for the locals, which includes the homeless, as well as to sit with some of the volunteers to help them roll out chapatis.
From the Sikh temple, our group split into two smaller groups, as we headed off to our optional activities with Urban Adventures. This involved getting on a cycle rickshaw for the first time! Still not sure how we survived that journey!
First up on our Delhi Urban Adventures Tour was a visit to Agrasen ki Baoli, a 14th century step-well which is more famous these days for being featured in a number of Bollywood movies.
We then jumped into taxis as we headed off to see India Gate (which sadly I didn’t manage to get any photos of, due to the recent protests which have been taking place in the area).
From India Gate, we moved onto the Presidents House.
From here, we were supposed to go to Humayun’s Tomb. However, as our guide had now realised this was our last day in Delhi, he decided to extend our tour to take in Lodi Gardens, as well as the street art in Lodi Colony.
Lodi Colony is the home to Central Government Officers. It’s also the first ever public art district in India. Last year, over 25 artists came together from India and around the world to paint the walls of Lodi Colony. The aim of the project was to make art accessible to all.
From Lodi Colony, it was time to move onto Humayun’s Tomb. Humayun’s Tomb is thought to have been the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal. The Tomb was created for the Mughal emperor in the mid 16th century by his (Humayun’s) Persian born wife, Haji Begum. The surrounding tombs contain Haji Begum, as well as Humayun’s favourite barber, and that of Isa Khan (a Muslim Rajput chieftain).
After an epic day of sightseeing, it was time to head back towards Central Delhi, to finish our time in Delhi with a street food tour in the Kamla Nagar neighbourhood. We sampled shawarma, momo’s, dahi puri, bhel puri, pay bhaji (bread & curry), aloo tikki (deep fried potato patty), paneer tikka, masala potato, kulfi (pistachio ice cream), cashew cake, ras malai, laddu, jalebi, and gulag jamun.
With full belly’s and tired legs, it was time to head back to the hotel for our last night’s sleep in Delhi, before moving on to Agra the following day.