From the moment the plane's wheels hit the tarmac, I knew Delhi was going to be unforgettable. From getting conned and ripped off, to the constant noise of horns and traffic, Delhi was a chaotic and stressful experience.
The juxtaposition between rich and poor was also astonishing, with the homeless lining the side walks next to stunning buildings, whilst everyone just walked past not offering a helping hand.
At night, the city turned from bearable to uncomfortable, as the local women disappeared and groups of men lined the streets. Certainly near where I stayed, a lot of the streets were also poorly lit. The homeless and stray dogs lurked in dark corners, so you felt like eyes were constantly watching you.
Despite this, Delhi was still a fascinating experience and if you can bare the chaos, you will certainly be rewarded.
I started off by getting a pedal powered tour of old Delhi on a cycle Rickshaw. This was a brilliant way to get around, as it was slow enough for me to take pictures and I wasn't breaking (too much) of a sweat. The rickshaw driver showed me numerous tourist spots in old Delhi, along with unrequested stops at his friend's spice and clothes shops.
The most impressive part of the old town was visiting one of India's largest mosques, the Jama Masjid. With a mixture of worshippers and tourists, inside the mosque was fascinating to see and I spend ages just watching people come and go. The views from the 40 meter high minaret tower was also incredible and you could watch the chaos of Delhi below you.
In the afternoon, I visited Humayun's tomb which was my personal highlight in Delhi. The tomb of Emperor Humayun has recently been restored, and the large domed roof with 6ft gold spike and red sandstone walls are impressive to view from all angles. Besides the main tomb, there was also numerous smaller tombs to explore in the beautiful well-kept gardens. I spent hours wandering around and relaxing away from the carnage outside, so the 500 rupee (£6) entrance fee was more than worth it.
Afterwards, I visited Lodi Gardens which had some old ruined temples to look at, and Khan market, the most civilised and upper class of them all. I then finished the day off by watching the sunset over India gate.
With around 12 miles walked, it's fair to say I made the most of my first day!
This day got off to an extremely slow start, as I battled with trying to purchase train tickets at the station which was far more complicated than necessary.
Once this was finally resolved, I headed to Qutb Minar complex. Whilst impressive, I had been spoilt the day before at Humayan's tomb and I was slightly underwhelmed by the few ruins and the Qutb Minar tower, which although is the tallest brick tower in the world, is only 70ish meters tall and you couldn't even climb it!
From here, I visited the Hauz Khas gardens, which was a beautiful array of ruins, a deer park and a lake. I relaxed here for a while as it was a great atmosphere and I watched the locals go about their daily life.
Finally I visited the Lotus temple, a Baha'i house of worship. As well as the stunning structure, their religion was fascinating to learn about. Baha'is study all religious books, taking learnings from each, and believing in the oneness of God instead of looking for differences between faiths.
On my final day in Delhi, I visited the Red Fort, which is an enormous fort made of red sandstone and has defence walls towering up to 33 meters high. Although very impressive from the outside, I was slightly disappointed by the interior. Some of the buildings were shut off to the public, meaning there was little to see, and the grounds and buildings weren't best kept.
As it was my last day, I plucked up the courage to try some street food. Despite it looking incredible and smelling amazing, I was nervous about getting Delhi belly. I tried what I can only describe as a cheese Somosa with curry sauce and I certainly wasn't disappointed!
- Read up online about the most common cons, which should help you spot when you're in the middle of one.
- Haggle for EVERYTHING, as even the service charge on a restaurant bill can be negotiated.
- Trust no one whose being over helpful or friendly, as 99% of the time they want something off you.
- Delhi belly isn't fun, the animals are treated appallingly and the meat at the butchers isn't refrigerated, so go veggie! The food is delicious and I didn't even miss meat once.
Although I won't be returning in too much of a hurry, Delhi was definitely an experience and if you take note of my advice, you will surely have an unforgettable and eye-opening experience.