Sunday 6th Dec 2009 – New Delhi, India
Feeling much better we hired a taxi for the day, going rate is Rs1500 for 8-9 hours, which works out to be about £20 and 80kms inc. We wanted to see Old Delhi and Pappu drove us into the centre where we had to get cycle rickshaws to drive around the narrow streets, some places no wider than 9 feet.
It was a blessed relief to escape the noise and traffic of the main streets and explore the lanes of the original parts of Old Delhi the city of the Mughals created by Shah Jahan dating back to 17th century.
As it was Sunday the lanes were quiet as most shops were closed, we visited a Jain temple and saw monkeys dicing with death above our heads running through the maze of overhead wiring. The contrast between these biblical lanes and overhanging dilapidated havelis and the frenetic world outside was welcome.
Eventually, the rickshaw drivers dropped us off at the red and white Jana Masjid India’s largest mosque that can accommodate 25,000 prostrate worshippers, a huge complex that when entering all women even if dressed modestly have to don a gaudily coloured gown that covers from neck down (see below).
Once inside, your eyes are drawn to the three bulbous domes that crown the main prayer hall where the light was beautiful and I managed to snap some of the atmosphere.
Lunch was a real veggie treat at www.saravanabhavan.com which serves the most amazing South Indian veggie food for a very reasonable price and extremely popular.
The dosas were to die for and iddli’s melted in your mouth, a two course lunch for two and shakes cost the grand sum of £4. You can even visit them in London at two locations one being East Ham! We timed it well as when we left the restaurant at 130pm there were over 30 people queuing to get in.
We walked off lunch circumnavigating Connaught Place, Delhi’s commercial hub known as CP with its classical colonnades it would not out of place in Bath. It takes the form of a circle with radiating roads of three ring roads and it is full of very expensive shops but is in such a sad state of repair the juxtaposing of the crumbing architecture and flash shops was bizarre.