DELHI

Our Indigo flight landed at the huge, modern Indira Gandhi International airport and we took a prepaid taxi to our hotel, Bloomrooms at Jangupura. The hotel was a small, bright, yellow and white box. It had a modern, efficient feel; like Easyhotel but a bit nicer. We checked in and got something to eat at the pleasant Bloomrooms cafe. We wondered around the corner to try to find a supermarket but all we found was McDonald’s and a few food kiosks.

Mama Masjid Mosque and Karim's RestaurantNext day we went down to the cafe for our complimentary breakfast of cereal, eggs and toast. Then we walked to the metro station to have a look at it and see whether I would feel comfortable to get the train. I felt fine, there were many ladies around and women only carriages. We went to Chawri Bazar station in order to go and see the Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi. After getting of the train we met two French couples who told us about the famous Karim’s restaurant, which was just a few minutes from the mosque so we tried it out. I had the best nan ever! The curry was delicious too. The mosque and restaurant were about 10min walk from the station, we asked the locals for directions. At the mosque I took my shoes off and was allowed in but Mark was stopped as he was wearing shorts which weren’t long enough to cover his knees. Entrance was free (certain times only) and Mark could have walked round to the gate on the other side to borrow something to wrap round his legs but he didn’t bother. It was a quite nice, red-brick building, but you could see almost all of it without having to enter the courtyard.

Red FortNext we walked down a long road to the famous Red Fort. We turned the corner and had another long trek alongside the walls to find the entrance (about 30min walk in total). It was a nice walk. On the way there was a big and very cheap street market where Mark got some colourful t-shirts for £1.50 each, which he was very pleased with. The fort was unimaginably vast with dozens of small shops lining the thoroughfare after the gatehouse. Inside we saw red sandstone temples and white marble palaces laid out amongst large lawns. It was quite a sight!

Despite our full day we pressed on with the sightseeing and took a tuk-tuk to the south of the city to see the beautiful Lotus Temple (Baha’i House of Worship) (free entry). There was an enormous queue to enter but it moved pretty quickly and we were inside the grounds before long. The approach allows you to enjoy the modern, flower-shaped masterpiece. We stowed our shoes and were taken inside in groups to enjoy the multi-faith hall and learn a little about the structure. Yet another amazing site! I absolutely loved it!

Lotus Temple

The day after we took the Bloomrooms free shuttle to the Khan Market shopping centre, but the driver stopped in a couple of large tourist shops for us. I bought a small picture and some hand bags for gifts (and for myself too). The driver even stopped at a pharmacist for us. The shopping centre was not what we were expecting. It was outdoors and there wasn’t a food court or restaurants nearby. We found a café which was very good though.

We then got a tuk-tuk to Connaught Place, a large circular colonial set of buildings in order to find our Golden Triangle tour office. We had previously booked the bus tour online so we wanted to confirm the booking and find out where we should get the bus. After a couple of tries we eventually found it. They told us that as it was just us going they would put us in a private car with air con, for no extra charge, which was a boon. Nearby I found a street-seller with some good cushion covers, so I snapped them up. We then found a nice restaurant for lunch, where I had a chicken tikka masala, but the nans weren’t up to Karim’s standard. After eating we made our way to an open-air street market full oHanuman's Tombf tiny narrow stalls just south of Connaught place where I was able o find many more trousers, tops and more cushion covers. We then got a tuk-tuk to Hanuman’s tomb. This was an older, red sandstone version of the Taj Mahal with an exquisite gate leading you to the raised, glorious mausoleum and the marble tombs. As agreed our driver then took us back to our hotel.

The following morning we rose early to get an unofficial taxi ride from the hotel security staff to the Golden Triangle tour office, as the official taxi booked through Bloomrooms was too expensive that early in the morning. We arrived at the office and were picked up by our friendly driver, MK Choudry in a air-conditioned estate and we embarked on our drive to the city of Agra (see Agra page).

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Travel, history, tourism and entertainment.

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