Exploring India - Three things you must experience
when staying in New Delhi or Old Delhi
There are many things to experience and see around New Delhi, India with around seven days in the city we saw as much as we could but still only barely touched the tip of the iceberg that is Delhi (population of 16.3 million see Wiki stats here). The red fort is an intimidating experience set just outside of Old Delhi, India. Majestic in size, built with walls of red sandstone, bring your camera along as there are many sights to see in and around the Red Fort.
Intimidating because it was difficult to understand where to enter, where to purchase tickets but as soon as we asked a few questions to some other tourists we were directed to the 'Foreigner Ticket Line' which had no line - bought tickets and proceeded to enter the fort (in comparison the other ticket lines were hours long, lookout for foreigner ticket counters at different attractions across India). Read some history about the Red Fort here - built in 1648
The people visiting the Red Fort at the same time as us were from all over the entire country of India - villages large and small and some very remote places because instead of being entertained by the fort we turned into the attraction. Some people in India have never seen a group of Americans like us: tall, small, pale skin and our one friend was born in Delhi but has lived in America most her life. It was one of the biggest culture shocks we have ever experienced - at first difficult to understand because of the many stares and wandering eyes but once we understood that these people come from far away places to visit the Red Fort during their holiday Diwali we began to understand a little better.
We warmed up to letting people take pictures with us and of us as I was able to shoot photographs of them as well - we traded snaps and smiles as they asked us 'Where are you from... Oh the United States really?! What a beautiful place..' I would respond with a happy smile 'and you? You're from India but this is a beautiful place as well'. We walked around the Red Fort exploring the many different areas and spending some time relaxing on the green grass trying to digest the culture shock that had overcome us. A snowball effect started after we let one group take pictures of us it seemed many more people wanted photos as well - Roshni (our Hindi speaking friend) politely told them no more pictures please let us enjoy our time.
After the Red Fort we hopped in a couple Tuk Tuks and sped off to see Old Delhi and the Jama Masjid Mosque. The culture shock only continued at this mosque - ladies and gents be prepared to cover your shoulders and legs if your wearing shorts or any type of revealing clothing - they operate on a strict dress code here. Leave your shoes at the entrance - we recommend catching the sunset at the Jama Masjid mosque a beautiful place to capture some magical images (see below).
Here are a few excited children of India who asked kindly if I would take their picture... some captive moments indeed.
Out the mosque are the streets of Old Delhi, India - nothing can prepare you mentally for this place. Old Delhi is something like the New York City of India times a thousand plus cows, a million Tuk-Tuks and scooters, tangled power lines and literally no room for even walking.
I took a GoPro video of crossing the street in Old Delhi which you can see here and also some photos that barely capture the chaos that exists here... [coming soon]
Holy shit Old Delhi - was all I kept thinking pardon my language but curse words can only begin to describe how crazy this place really is. We stopped in at one of the most popular kebab places directly across from the mosque (a place where Anthony Bourdain has definitely visit). The food (be prepared to eat with your hands) was outstanding, even as you walk into this joint you can see busy Indian men making naan with their hands in these crazy ovens. See below
After our meal we hired two seperate bike powered Tuk-Tuks to show us the spice markets that are here in Old Delhi. This is a great and inexpensive way to quickly get whipped around these crazily entertaining alleyways of Old Delhi - in addition walking can be very overwhelming in the old city so save your legs and your mind a little bit while snapping photos in the back of bike carriage. We checked out the spice markets and a few different markets before stopping to grab a street side Lassi fruit shake.
Words can't fully describe this place - I will let the following few images speak for themselves - also you can see more of my India travel images on our Meet You There Facebook page (click here) and also my photography page - FrankieboyPhotography Travel (India) click here to view a compilation of photography from all of my India travels.
I highly recommend checking out Old Delhi - you might not love it, or spend much time here but this is a must-see during your travels to India. I don't recommend staying in Old Delhi as it's far too chaotic, crazy and you may never feel settled, safe or secure here. The reason it is a must see in my opinion is that somehow life continues to move, function and operate thru all this craziness and madness. Somehow it works and somehow people operate businesses here, restaurants and hotels - but all I can say is holy shit Old Delhi... Be prepared for one hell of a trip (mentally and physically) when you venture into the old town. Check out Part II of things to do in Delhi coming soon - including riding the overcrowded India metro, Akshardham, Diwali Festival 2015 and more must-see places. Thanks for reading - Meet You There.