A couple of days ago I’ve come back from Delhi. It was my third visit to this city, and actually I hadn’t been planning to see much – the main purpose of my trip was to renew my passport in the Ukrainian embassy. To be honest, I expected this job to be complicated and boring, but everything turned out to be much easier – it was just a question of putting a quick stamp. So, I had two and a half days in Delhi to look around and explore the city. I decided to take it easy – June is the hottest time of the year in the Indian capital, so exerting too much won’t be a vise thing to do.
I stayed in Paharganj – a very peculiar neighborhood just at the New Delhi Railway Station. There are hundreds of affordable hotels in Paharganj (my room was only $ 8 a day, for example), and that’s why this place is full of backpackers and those who travel on budget. The danger of Paharganj is a false impression of a newcomer that the whole city is just like that – noisy, chaotic, dusty, with narrow curvy lanes and bunches of entangled electrical wires over one’s head. But it’s not true. Just step out of this area and you’ll see how multifaceted Delhi actually is.
Delhi metro offers a comfortable way to move around the city – it’s fast, clean, efficient and cheap. To be honest, I was a bit traumatized by how good it was – how am I going to travel by the infamous Mumbai local train after that? Are we going to have a reasonable metro here (yes, Mumbai officials, I am talking to you 🙂 )?
So, the first day after my visit to the Ukrainian embassy I went to Qutub Minar – it was just on the way. I’ve already been to this place 7 years ago, but at that time I was so overwhelmed with general cultural shock that it was hard to pay attention to the details. This time everything was different – I took my time to explore the majestic domes, elegant arches and intricate designs of the stonework. People still wanted to take photos of/with me, and schoolchildren kept coming to shake my hand 🙂 I even tried to joke saying that it was not me who built that place, but someone else 🙂
Next day I went to observatory Jantar Mantar and National Museum. Jantar Mantar was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century and it consists of thirteen architectural astronomy instruments. Make sure to read some info about this place before visiting, otherwise it’s hard to make out the purpose of those architectural forms, though they do look rather picturesque and unusual anyway.
A bus journey from Jantar Mantar to the National Museum unfolds a lot of interesting sights in this part of the city. Getting to the museum in Delhi was a bit challenging – first time I was taken to the national stadium instead, second – to the gallery of modern arts 🙂 But finally I made my way and it was totally worth it. I spent half a day there – there is really quite a lot to see, right from the fabulous chariot near the entrance and through all the exhibition halls. There were interesting exhibits of Harappan civilizations, decorative arts, jewelry, weaponry, ivory, Indian paintings, coins and so on. And in the museum canteen I had the cheapest lunch in my life, so if you get hungry after walking around just make sure to drop in 🙂
And the last day I checked out of the hotel, left my bags in a tea shop round the corner (the guy there was really friendly and trustworthy) and went to Lodhi Gardens. I was planning to see Safdarjung’s Tomb, but, firstly, the gardens were so splendid that I just didn’t want to leave, and secondly, there were enough tombs in the gardens as well. Thousands of shady trees, beautiful flowers, ancient ruins, a pond with fish to feed, many varieties of exotic birds, squirrels and geese – it’s all about the Lodhi Gardens.
Delhi was pleasant and really inviting this time, and it’s a pity I had just a couple of days. On the other side, all through the journey I couldn’t help missing my kids, so coming back to our rainy Mumbai was a joy 🙂
What other bloggers have to say about things to see and do in Delhi:
11 Things You Must Do in Delhi, India (By a Local) by the Savvy Globetrotter