Today was well top! All our doubts about Delhi, mainly confounded by hearsay from fellow travellers, were a load of crap. Delhi rocks my socks off! Weeks of apprehension about returning to chaotic, smelly Delhi dissolved to nothing thanks to a combination of beautiful people, even more beautiful sights and the most beautiful of cashmere three piece suits.
So...we arrived in old Delhi yesterday off a 31 hour bus from Kathmandu. Apart from a woman with an obsession of tapping my head just as I was nodding off, and a very angry French man who had the runs, it wasn't all that bad. With lots of sleep and many chapters of a storm of swords, we made it...and so did Frenchy, just!
This morning we left the hotel and ran straight into Bunty the rickshaw driver. After a bit of necessary haggling he agreed to show us the best of Delhi for a tenner. So the next eight hours of our life included this:
• a mosque which was inaugurated by the man himself...Mahatma!
• India Ghandi museum where we were mobbed by a gaggle of school girls!
• Mahatma Gandhi museum.
• Samosies and chaana for lunch.
• Lodi garden for a beautiful walk around old tombs which would be the highlight of any city but probably a second thought in a city awash with 'ancientness'!
• Hamuyans tomb next which was just utterly incredible. The inspiration for the Taj Mahal we wandered around here in awe at its perfection. The locals were more interested in a movie being shot in the gardens with 'very famous actor'...Sulman Khan??
• A very Muslim mosque.
• Lotus temple... A modern place that was more like Sydney opera house than a Muslim prayer house.
• Then for the masterpiece of the day - sunset at Qutb Minar, a 73mtr 900 year old Afghan tower. It's hard to describe this building without doing it an injustice, but as the sun set behind the walls of old ruins and turned the red brick of the minar a radiant saffron, it was utterly beautiful!
• One last stop at a tailors and I treated myself, not to mention blowing the budget in quite a big way, on a super suave three piece cashmere wool suit.
Day two in Delhi took us on another 'Buntian' escapade, this time we started at the post office. Final parcel of our trip in the post, we moved onto more exciting sights and with more space in the backpack...more shops :/
We started the sightseeing at a Sikh temple which was more than we bargained for. Turbans donned and feet washed, we wandered the white marbled domes listening to Indian drums and silent prayer. Down to the kitchens where we witnessed food production on a mass scale, enough Bombay spuds to feed the 5000! Invited to eat we gladly accepted trays of chapatti and dahl and munched our way through a free lunch. We learnt today that Sikhism promotes free stuff, for once I liked the sound of a religion! Sadly I don't look good with a scarf wrapped around my head.
Red fort we went to next, to find out that the outside of the place is the highlight. Massive 40mtr high red sandstone walls stretch forever to create this gargantuan sight. We paid 250rps to see the inside (the locals paid 10), and had an hour sat amongst Mughal remnants.
Tired from our day we headed to the tailors to pick up my sweet ass suit!
One more day to explore Delhi, and we spent it pottering the streets, eating lots more gorgeous veggie curries, soaking up the Indian vibe and getting hennered up. Sadly I don't think it'll last the month it'll take to get home! :-(