Sunday, 12 August 2007

An Old Friend and Old Delhi

This is Peter, an old friend from University in Denmark. He came to India to celebrate finishing his thesis (well, almost finishing it - I'm not the only one struggling to get it over with). I offered him to stay with me and Nitoli, and one of the first days I took him to Old Delhi. Here he is enjoying some delicious street food, as it is customary in Old Delhi. You might notice two Muslim girls in the background - Old Delhi is home to a very large share of Delhi's Muslims.

Old Delhi is generally fairly run down, crowded and gritty but it also has plenty of character and history. Here it an really nice old colonial building, which must have been quiet impressive back in its day.

Old Delhi has a few broad avenues, but is dominated by small lanes, which can be packed so tight in between the houses that you sometimes feel more like you are walking around indoor than outdoor. It is a labyrinthine place filled with dead ends, gates, stairs and tiny pathways which suddenly leave standing in someone's house. It is definitely worth spending an hour or two getting lost in the amazing neighbourhoods. here we found a particular area selling these gold embroidered red textiles, which are apparently used for wedding. I'm not sure of their exact use, but Peter seems to think it's supposed to be used as a cape.

Some local men - at least two of them Muslim - enjoying a cup of coffee.

Gear wheels handing in front of a small mechanics shop.

Peter at the great Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), the principal Muslim place of worship in Delhi. It is a very grand place with stunning architecture and room for 25,000 worshippers in the courtyard.

The best thing about the Jama Masjid is that you climb the South Tower for a great view of all Delhi. This is the view to the north west showing the mosque's large central dome and the compact neighbourhoods of Old Delhi. you can really see how close the buildings are put together.

A view to the roof tops across from the south tower. Notice all the kites in the sky. Old Delhi is famous for it's kite flyers, who go to the rooftop and compete trying to cut down each other's kites.

View to the north east, showing the mosque's courtyard and the mighty Red Fort in the background.

The principal entrance to the fort, Lahore Gate, seen through my zoom lens.

And finally Peter on the ground in front of the very same Lahore Gate. After the trip he told me, that he is now a big fan of Old Delhi.

11 comments:

traveller one said...

Once again you've taken some great photos and shared a very interesting piece of your world!

joan said...

Love the gear shot!

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Hi Esben – have just read your blog start to end. Love it! You obviously are passionate about Delhi and have convinced me to vivt the place in October or December/

I’m going to be passing through there on my return from Nepal…that is if I can actually find a flight to Nepal. It impossible to locate anything that does not cost £1,000+ at the moment !!

This probably sound silly to you but where would you recommend I stay and what can you achieve in a week? Is it worth escaping to some of the places nearby?

Also if you have any suggestion of how to get from London to Nepal Id appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.

Ben

oreneta said...

Happy independence day!!! Any photos of the party upcoming?

NellieGwynne said...

Keeping up with you photos here and can't wait for Jan.
Tell Ben we are flying from London to Delhi, and I think the flight to Nepal has to be booked from there. I think, that is what we are doing

Esben said...

@traveller one and Joan: Thank you for your kind words.

@Ben: Glad you like my blog. As NellieGwynne already mentioned the best way to get to Nepal is to fly to Delhi (should be possible for about 400GBP return) and then take one of the Indian airlines to Kathmandu (Jet Lite, Jet Airways, Indian or perhaps Royal Nepal). All in all you can the whole trip for less than 600GBP - beats 1000 GBP.

Make sure to get a double or multiple entry visa to India. I believe you can't transfer in India with a visa - and that counts both ways.

You can see a lot of Delhi in a week, but it might be recommendable taking one or two trips to nearby places of interest. Obvious destinations would be Agra (Taj Mahal), Jaipur (The Pink City), Varanasi (Ghats on the river Ganges), Jodhpur (The Blue City and amazing Fort), Ranthambore (National Park with good chances of spotting wild tigers) and Amritsar (Golden Temple and Wagah Border Ceremony). All of these are reachable from night train (or shorter) from Delhi.

As for accommodations I can't help you much, since I haven't used the hotel scene myself. However one of my friends recently stayed at the Grand Godwin and was quite happy with it, so perhaps that is an option? http://www.godwinhotels.com/index1.html

Rooms start at 22USD, so I don't know if that is within your budget. If you need cheaper then go to Paharganj where all the budget accommodation is.

Enjoy your travels.

@oreneta: Thank you. Unfortunately no pictures of celebrations, since I stayed home this year. With my thesis needing some work I am not going out very much (although an exciting event is coming up tomorrow - more about that later).

@Nellie, I understand your excitement. Looking forward to meeting up for coffee.

Oxhomiya Jeet said...

Absolutely agree with Joan... that gear shot is a killer...

Jeet

r.s said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nonontech said...

Hi... I really appreciate and love your blog....:-) You are amazing blogger... I've tweeted one of your latest post on Twitter: raingam1

I wish I can do the same.. you are awesome.. Good luck..

Esben said...

Hi nonontech,

Thanks for the comment and thanks for the tweet. Have a nice diwali! :)