Considering it was our first internal flight in India, the journey from Goa to Delhi went pretty well. We didn’t quite realise how many queues we would have to stand in, first to have baggage scanned, then to check in, then to scan hand luggage and finally to get a body scan before we got through to departures. Men and women are checked and scanned separately here too so you can’t just line up together.
Whereas coming into Mumbai felt all about people living on the street, first impressions of Delhi are that it is much more modern; and in fact the “highways” around the airport felt very similar to coming out of Heathrow. In addition it was growing dark and there were thousands of beautiful, sparkly lights all over public buildings, shops and houses for Diwalli, so the city looked very pretty.
It was only when we started sightseeing on the following day that we realised that visibility and indeed the sun, are noticeably impaired by the heavy blanket of air pollution and smog that hangs over the city. It gets into everything and feels filthy when you’re out in it; we’ve both had sore throats the last couple of days.
On our first full day we went to the stunning, modern Lotus Temple. It celebrates the Baha’i faith which teaches unity and equality for all religions and peoples, and is quite inspiring. There were many thousands of Indian tourists there as well as a good handful of foreigners.
Delhi has a great metro system and we got a 3 day pass for only around £5 each for unlimited travel. In the afternoon we bombed off to the famous Qutub Minar, built in 1193 and for many centuries the tallest brick construction in the world. Lovely parkland and important monuments around it as well, but we’re starting to realise that we’re going to see quite a few of those on our journey!
Lunchtime that day one of us was stupid enough to order a fresh lime juice and soda, and then drink half of it without really thinking about the fact it was half full of crushed ice – no prizes for guessing which one of us that was! Inevitably by the middle of the night I was dashing for the toilet and spent the next 24 hours sleeping, in between more dashing and bouts of sickness. Poor Paul was forced to walk out to get himself takeaway noodles that night. I didn’t have anything that day except for water with rehydration salts!
We were so pleased that by the following morning I was up, eating breakfast and feeling more or less ok. By mid morning we were off on the metro again to visit some other famous sites in Delhi – Hanuman’s Tomb complex, India Gate and Connaught Place, built by Edward Lutyens during the era of the British Raj.
Sadly the next day I had passed the lurghi on to Paul, which necessitated another day spent in the room with one of us dashing off every few minutes. I only got cashew nuts and biscuits for my dinner that day which probably servers me right!
So in conclusion, Delhi was a bit of a crock for us and we didn’t even get to visit the Old Delhi bazaars and restaurants which would probably have been the highlight. Perhaps we’ll come back and give it another go sometime.
Anyway, upwards and onwards with our Rajasthan tour next so we’re putting Delhi behind us and looking forward to the next adventure!