Purani Dilli ki Sair (SightSeeing in Old Delhi)

We started our first day with a visit to the Jama Masjid at Purani Dilli or Old Delhi. The Jama Masjid is one of the most famous mosques of old Delhi and was built by Shah Jahan. After taking a rickshaw to Chawri bazaar from the nearest metro station, we walked up to the south gate of the Jama Masjid. The picture on the right is the south entrance of the Jama Masjid. To reach the soth entrance, we had to walk a looooong way under a covered bazaar that was quite crowded. It was a sunday and maybe that was the reason. There were shops on either side selling a variety of goods and most folks were either bargaining or fighting. 

When we finally crossed the bazaar, I looked up to realize that I was the only woman in the place. The few women I did notice were in a burqa or had their duppatta over their head. I was tense until I spotted a few foreigners at the entrance. The Arien stopped to take a picture of the bazaar that we had walked past. You can see the Red Fort or Lal Quila towards your left. The Arien was intent on taking more pictures while I stuck to the foreigners. 

The foreigners wanted to enter the mosque and I followed them when they stopped abruptly. We were asked to remove our footwear in a very rude manner and I decided I did not want to go in. The Arien also decided not to go inside for sm reason and mentioned maybe we should visit Chandini Chowk and shop for a while.  I was in total agreement only I was not sure how we could get out but we decided to follow a group and soon we were on our way out without visiting the bazaar once again.

At Chandini Chowk, we shopped like crazy and the prices were  honestly dirt-cheap. We purchased two bed spreads for the extended family after walking in and out of a dozen stores. The variety was good and the price was – as mentioned- shockingly cheap. I actually enjoyed shopping here though I was aghast at the filth everywhere. As we walked the length and breadth of the place, I came across a big outlet of HaldiRams and decided that we must halt here for a snack or late lunch. It was a veg place and so the Arien was not too happy. The place was bustling with people going ’bout the business of eating, gossiping, and ordering more food while others were involved in serving food and cleaning up the place. We had a lazy, relaxed lunch-cum-snack. I asked if we were allowed to take a picture of their outlet and was refused. So, you have a picture from across the road 🙂

The last stop for the day was the Indian Gate. It was quite dark by the time we reached there. I was worried that we will not be able to shoot nice pictures but I was mistaken. The Arien shot quite a few pictures here. We also snacked on the local chaat items and the ice-cream as it was still quite humid. We also took pictures from the photographers available there. The snaps came out pretty bad. We looked drenched in sweat with a beeg smile on our faces. I did not realize that we were perspiring that badly. I mean, ya, we felt it but did not realize how bad that wud look 😛

Did I share that Delhi was so humid, it was honestly terrible. I somehow thought Delhi during September would be great and we paid for our mistake. Plus, it was also drizzling continously. With all the humidity, AC, shopping, general excitement – it was but natural that I would lose my voice and I did. I was only surprised that it happened so quickly – within two days of arriving in Delhi 😦 My cousin informed us that it takes two months to get used to Delhi climate and its humidity after which all izz well 😀


Delhi Metro – A Great Experience

Any trip without our car is usually disastrous for us because of the impending travel cost. In Delhi, that was one of my prime concerns. However, I needn’t have worried. The Delhi metro is simply superb. First of all, the location we had picked to stay in, was well-connected. (Thanks to my cousin, who lived in Noida, and who had helped us identify the perfect location) Second, we had these feeder services to the metro, the tongawallahs. They would happily drop us off at the metro station. Seeing the poor scrawny man pull his tonga stuffed with two well-built folks such as yours truly and the Arien,  made us feel so guilty that we were ready to part with whatever amount he asked us. Surprisingly, he was happy with 30 bucks! (Compare that to Bengaluru Autowallahs and naturally you feel you have reached commuter heaven) I digress. Anyway, after having travelled in the Mumbai local trains, the Chennai local train, I found the Delhi Metro, quite sophisticated, well-connected, and the crowning glory was of course the air-conditioned coaches!

The Delhi metro has a number of lines: Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Violet. We used the blue line frequently as we usually travelled from Karol Bagh to Rajiv Chowk and then onwards. We were not allowed to take photographs of the metro but we were tourists. We managed to take exactly 2 pictures after we alighted from the metro.(Both are included here.) The first time we travelled, we purchased these tokens that would enable us to get on the train. The Arien enquired if we can avail of the card that we had seen others use. That would save us time because we need not stand in the Q to buy tokens. The person at the enquiry was very helpful and provided us with a tourist card worth Rs. 100/- each. We had to pay Rs.50/- each as part of a refundable deposit. I was concerned that we may not use the entire amount and the card may not be that useful but person at the counter said that we must return the card back to them, and any balance amount would be given to us + the refundable amount. I was impressed. This made the entire experience even more worthwhile, if that was possible.

Golden Triangle Trip — (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur)

This trip was on our mind for a loooong time. In September, we grabbed the opportunity and took the morning flight to Delhi on 5th. We reached Karol Bagh and checked in to our hotel, one that we had booked online, which totally did not match our expectations. At the Reception, we were asked to either provide PAN cards or other forms of identification. We were not aware that that was the norm. When we were finally allowed to go to our room, both of us were sorely disappointed. Anyway, we planned to spent most of our time outside and so we decided not to make a fuss. 

The Arien was hungry and so we decided to head out for lunch. There were a number of hotels but none of them were willing to serve lunch to non-guests. As we roamed arnd aimlessly, one guy followed us and offered to take us to a restuarant. I was very sure this was going to be one of those “I told you so” episodes that we would come to regret. So, I was pleasantly surprised when he took us straight to a place called Alfa S.P.I.C.E. He pocketed 20 bucks and was gone before we could say thanks. The restuarant was nice. Food was yummy though slightly expensive. I was determined to visit this place every day for the rest of the trip and the Arien was equally determined not to. So yes, this was the only time we had food at this place.
Image Courtesy: Virtual Tourist

After lunch was out of the way, we decided to check the metro out and visit Rajiv Chowk and then Palika bazaar, is possible. Palika Bazaar is more like an underground market. It was under renovation of some sort and so there was lot of sparks flying (electrical work going on), water leaking frm the roof etc. etc. but it was cooler inside. Delhi climate was surprisingly humid. Palika Bazaar is a shopaholic’s paradise. Outfits were quite cheap and for a shopaholic like me it was pure bliss. Because we could easily get lost in the maze that was the bazaar, we shopped together. I found some very cute skirts for the arien’s niece(s) at an unbelievably low price. The Arien meanwhile got bored and we decided to call it a day. He had already enquired ’bout the metro lines and so we found our way back quickly. Everything was great except for the weather. Apart from being terribly humid, it would also start drizzling suddenly. But, it was not at all like the rains @ Bengaluru which was good for us.


First off, the Arien did not believe that there was a place called Chunambar in Pondicherry. Now, I had researched this on the Internet and was a little Grr.. when he kept scoffing everytime I said we ought to visit Chunambar. Finally, he relented but we were unable to find the place 😦 Both of us were ready to give up when someone told us that we had been driving past the place for a while now. Grrr..

We purchased the tickets to get on the boat that would take us to Chunambar. It seemed like an island. I was wearing one of those sandal-type footwear and the moment we hit the beach sand – I was yelling and jumping as the hot sand was painful on my feet. The Arien was wearing shoes and so was grinning at my predicament. I was not too amused. I rushed ahead to find some shade and found to my suprise that almost all the huts (Ok – Shacks) were occupied or reserved. To add to this, we saw folks carrying banana leaves and basket loads of food. We were the only folks who were struggling to find a shack and did not have a picnic basket. It was a very warm day and I could feel the sand on my feet and it was not pleasant. The Arien was not amused when we reached an almost empty shack only to be told by an old lady that the boys were out swimming and would be back soon and so we should find another shack. Grr..

This trip was a total disaster. We waited for the boat so we could get back. I am sure that it was a right place, wrong time issue for us. I am sure it is a lovely place to visit. On our way back, we saw this huge boat and wished we had taken that. We may have enjoyed the trip better.