Destination Delhi


Day 04 (1-4) - Thursday, October 31, 2019 - Explore Old Delhi; Rickshaw Ride; Jama Masjid Mosque; Welcome Dinner

We woke up about 4:30 am – our internal clocks are getting a little closer to Delhi time. We checked our mail and looked at the weather in Monument, burrrr – still so cold and snowy in Colorado!

The temperature in Delhi was 70 degrees when we went down to breakfast with a high of 88 expected during the afternoon. Most of the locals told us it was very pleasant as they have had days over 100 degrees this fall.

We gathered in the hotel lobby at 9 am and set out on the bus for Old Delhi. Founded by the Mughals in 1648, the city was home to Hindus and then the British.

On our way to the old city, Balbir explained the intricacies of driving in the city. In the time of the proper British, there were wide streets with actual working traffic lights. Now the buses, motorbikes, Tuk-Tuks and bicycle rickshaws, trucks, and private vehicles crowd the motorways. Honking seems to be the national pastime and no one signals for a turn.

Balbir also opened a discussion of the ethnic minorities and the religious freedoms that India is noted for to this day. Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Bahia, and Romas or Gypsies seem to all live in harmony. The territorial conflicts in Kashmir with Pakistan are forcing many immigrants to flee to the heart of India.

We drove through the narrow streets and could see the impressive Red Fort also built in the Shah Jahan era. The side street markets offered fruits, vegetables, hardware, tires, and even pots and pans.

At the Jama Masjid Mosque, also built by Shah Jahan, in 1650, we were asked to take off our shoes and the ladies were required to wear a floor length gown for modesty. Vic bought a permit to take photos; the cost was 300 rupees. We had about 30 minutes to explore on our own.

At 10:20 we met again, recovered our shoes, and Balbir held a short Bus Bazaar. Instead of all of us being accosted by the street vendors, the sellers allowed Balbir to show us their wares while we were on the cool bus. Several people did buy a few things but this time Gennie showed extreme restraint and kept her rupees in her pocket.

Our next life threatening adventure was a 30-minute bicycle rickshaw ride through the Chandni Chowk Bazaar. We had a speeding glance at the Hindu area of the city and saw the various markets of fruits and vegetables, bakeries, goldsmiths, carpets and prayer rugs, wedding apparel, and auto parts.

Winding our way back to the Muslim quarter, we thanked our driver, and then we met our Muslim host, Mr. Kahan. He led us through the narrow alleyways to his home for a learning and discovery with the five members of the Kahan family.

Three of the young women in the family told us of their family’s background in 1947 at the time of the Partition of India. Mr. Kahan and his brother were not as comfortable speaking English, but they could understand our questions and the discussions.

The short version of a long and tragic history was that during the Indian Independence Act of 1947, the British arbitrarily divided the region once known as British India into India and East and West Pakistan. The lines drawn on a map divided families and mass migrations took place because of the differences in the Muslim and Hindu populations.

The Kahan Family, being Muslims decided to stay in Delhi and started a business selling fruits and vegetables to other remaining Muslim families. Now the family owns markets and a thriving restaurant. Only 14% of Indians are Muslim so we learned much about the struggles of the family to be true to their faith in a majority Hindu country.

We discussed their education, the challenges of women in the Muslim society, and the recent political issues with Prime Minister Modi and his dealings with both the Hindus and Muslims.

As part of the poverty program and to show compassion to the poor of India, soup kitchens are operated in Old Delhi. Those that are able to help give money and the hungry are fed daily.

Each of us gave 100 rupees that provided a hot meal to 3 people. Today this act of generosity helped almost 50 street men and each of us to garner a bit more Karma for this good work.

We continued on our walk and Balbir took us all to a renowned Muslim restaurant called Al Jawahar. Many of our new friends had a light lunch, but we opted for a fruit drink and ate a parathas (puffy bread).

By 2:30 we were back on the bus and we made our way through the incredible traffic jam to the city center of New Delhi. Several people went to an artisan center to learn more about hand woven carpets and unique jewelry.

We hired a Tuk-Tuk to take us back to the hotel and started our journal writing and the task of choosing photographs that illustrated our day. There were about two hours of free time before we all met again at 6:45 for our included dinner.

The bus driver took us to the Punjab Grill, where we had an ample variety of foods from the Punjab Region of India. It was almost 8:30 when we got back from dinner. We completed the journal and were ready for a good night’s sleep.

Meals included: B & D

Accommodations: The LaLit New Delhi

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Overseas Adventure Travel:
Brief Exploration of Delhi, India
BalBir Singhb
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Bhutan Hidden Kingdom
Phuntsho Wangdi



  Comments

It's so fun to follow along with you on your adventures. The snow has stopped here, and the school district was open today - just in time for Halloween!

Susan Phillips   October 31, 2019 - 4:05pm

I remember the rickshaw ride through those streets. It looks like there aren't as many wires overhead as I remember! It is amazing how anyone can get through all the people and vehicles! Enjoy the warm weather!

Carol Larson   October 31, 2019 - 10:34am

Good memories from about 10 years ago. We loved it. But didn't go to Nepal or Bhutan. Included many other places in India and the south. You probably went on that tour too.

Carolyn Moon   October 31, 2019 - 10:34am
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Balbir, at Jama Masjid Mosque

Balbir, at Jama Masjid Mosque

Rickshaw Riders

Rickshaw Riders

Chandni Chowk Bazaar

Chandni Chowk Bazaar

Waiting For A Ride

Waiting For A Ride

Kahan Sisters

Kahan Sisters

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