Travel Week! Part 3- Delhi

On the train

From Dharamsala we headed to Delhi by overnight train. We were surprised to find that despite the fact that it took almost 4 hours to get to Dharamsala it took only just over 2.5 hours to get back down to Pathankot to catch our train. I actually quite enjoyed the train ride. We were in the third AC class, and each had a sleeper bunks. The beds were three high, with the middle one folding down to become a seat during the day. I slept surprisingly well though the night. Our train was about an hour and a half late, which I was told was not bad as they are pretty frequently delayed a lot longer than that. We spent the early afternoon touring around Delhi. We stopped by the college of a friend of mine from high school in CP- Connaught Place, and then took the metro to Old Delhi.

We walked along Chandni Chowk, an old market street that I found rather crowded with a lot of people hassling us as foreigners. We stopped by by a Jain temple, that hosed a bird hospital. It was rather odd walking around the bird hospital without shoes on (you took them off entering the complex) but there were some pretty interesting birds, along with some quite sick birds, that were being housed there.

We saw Jama Masjid which is apparently the largest mosque in India. As it was Friday we were actually there during the call to prayer, and it really reminded me of Cairo seeing hundreds of people bow down to pray.

The crowd exiting the mosque after prayers

The Mosque was huge, but we unfortunately didn’t get to go up the towers since we were carrying cameras and didn’t want to bother getting tickets to take them in. We did get more stares than usual, and people trying to sneak pictures of us which was rather annoying.

From there we went and walked around the Raj-Path, Parliament, Presidents residence and the giant India Gate. We were staying with an American family who are friends of my family’s from Cairo. I must say it was incredibly nice to in some ways step back into an American lifestyle for a couple of days. We had a delicious spaghetti dinner complete with Garlic Bread.

A temple near the metro in Delhi

I was surprised how exciting I found the normal hot shower and really soft beds (as opposed to my usual hot bucket bath and rather hard bed which I have totally gotten used to an haven’t minded). I felt kind like the Peace Corps volunteers we used to have over in Kazakhstan who were sooo thrilled about cheddar cheese, salsa and soft toilette paper- seeing Jiff Peanut butter, Hershey’s chocolate syrup and cranberry juice in the fridge was totally exciting.

Saturday Megan and Harry went to Agra to see the Taj and Red Fort, so I went to the Ghandi Museum, had lunch with my friend in Kahn Market and saw the National Museum.

A cool peace symbol at the Ghandi museum

I really need to read more about Ghandi, I know very little about him but he really was an incredible man. The museum is in the house that he spent his last 140 odd days before he was killed in the back garden. Although there was really too much to read it was a pretty cool museum. There was kind of an odd interactive section on the top floor- but there were guides that led you though and ended up doing most of the inter-active stuff for you which was rather odd. My friend and I had lunch in the upscale Kahn Market, really great Pizza and pasta. I ended the day at the National Museum, which had some cool exhibits along with a few odd Indian touches. There were several main exhibits that you had to walk though empty rooms to get to, and then several exhibits you walked though in succession, and then had to walk back though them all to get out. The third floor also didn’t really have lights turned on in the hallway, but there were some cool exhibits. They had a bunch of old coins and did a good job of explaining the different methods of coin making. There was a massive collection of miniature paintings, some stunningly beautiful crafts and decorations, an exhibit on the history of the maritime force/navy and a cool exhibit on textiles. I was surprised to see a Egyptian statue of a pharaoh from 2,000 bc chilling in the hallway, and some random French and Thai stuff.

Cool chariot outside the National Museum in Delhi

I feel like I am starting to get to know Delhi a little bit- and am still incredibly impressed with the efficiency and wide reach of the Metro. It’s a really great way to get around the City. I don’t know if I’d want to spend a whole lot of time there, but it wasn’t a bad place to visit, and there are still a couple of things I’d like to see there.

Well, that’s it for travel week- although it was a great trip it’s also nice to be back home in Pune. This week I have a couple of final papers and presentations to finish up, as well as starting my internship more full time! It will be busy but interesting. Time has really been flying- it’s hard to believe I’m half done with my time in India.

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