India: Bright colours, strong smells, fast-moving traffic, and blindingly obvious stares.
Ah, what a country is India!
Delhi is often the first place visitors to the country visit, and what an introduction to India it is.
A widely spread city with 10 million people living within it, Delhi is crazy busy and bustling.
But don’t let the busy streets put you off – Delhi has so much character, and so much to offer.
Of course, there is a lot of history and culture – and therefore a lot of tourist sites – in Delhi.
A great way to see all of these big attractions quickly and safely is to hire a taxi for the day.
Speak to your hotel/accommodation reception about this, you’ll find most places have a system for this.
Basically, they will organise a taxi to come and pick you up, take you around to all of the different sites and wait while you explore, before delivering you back to your hotel at the end of the day.
It also gives the chance to get some local knowledge (depending on how talkative your driver is) from someone on the ground in your location.
One of the essential things to see is the India Gate – a fabulous ‘Arc de Triomphe’ style War Memorial.
Standing boldly in the middle of the Kingsway, the India Gate carves an impressive shape on the horizon.
Get there early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
Another must-see in Delhi is the Qutab (or Qutb) Minar at the Qutab Complex.
At 120 metres tall, the Qutab Minar is the tallest brick minarety in the world, and the second tallest minar in India.
An important site for Muslims, this site (especially out the front where hagglers will attempt to sell you items) will be busy – but, as I said before, don’t let that put you off – this is such an incredible site to explore.
By the way, as a female traveller in India you will often come across this sight (See bottom right of the photo):
This will become more frustrating by the day. By the end of my trip, I’m a little ashamed to say I was being quite rude to those who tried to photograph us without our consent… I may have flicked a few birds and uttered a number of “Fuck offs” to these “budding photographers”.
And, of course, you can’t pass up a visit to the Red Fort, which is exactly what it sounds like: A red fort.
Ok, so it’s not just that – it was the residence of the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years.
Now, it contains a number of museums with a whole lot of history.
Outside the Red Fort, our taxi driver for the day organised for us to take a rickshaw ride.
Not to be confused with auto-rickshaws, or tuk tuks, rickshaws are cycle-operated. And incredibly scary.
Cycling into the hectic, oncoming traffic of Delhi, dodging children and other pedestrians, feeling my hair swept back by the wind of a passing bus – it was a bit of a scary experience.
But of course, we were laughing the whole time and the hilarity and fun of the situation outweighed the terrifying nature of the ride.
Lesson: Say yes, even when it scares you. Let go, and try to embrace the fear.
By the way, I spent the entire day exploring Delhi with a wonderful girl I’d literally just met that morning in our hotel lobby, Clare from England.
We knew we were set to be on the same G Adventures tour when it started that night, but we didn’t know when we met on a whim and agreed to share a taxi and explore the city together for an entire day, that we were actually set to be roommates for the trip (and would go on to become awesome friends).
Travel – How awesome is it for meeting extraordinary people??