hot, hot, hot...
12.04.2010 - 15.04.2010 42 °C
I read the guide books, watched the documentaries, yet nothing truly prepared me for Delhi in flesh. It’s quite simply an assault on the senses, not to mention on your social conscience: the sweltering heat, the acrid pollution, the squalor, the stench of raw sewage, the noise, the frenetic pace, the chaos, the overcrowding and the sheer poverty. Of course, I knew to expect dire living conditions but the reality of being in a country where nearly 40% of people live below the poverty line still shocks. It’s a far cry from our sanitised, tarmacked western world and not for the faint hearted.
But then again, there’s the colour, the vibrance, the buzz, the beating pulse of the 18 million people who call Delhi home. Sacred cows meander alongside graceful women in beautifully vivid saris. Auto rickshaws battle their way through Delhi’s incessantly honking traffic, And my favourite thing of all, the food.... I’ve decided to go veggie for the most part but I promise you this is no sacrifice, India is a vegetarian’s dream: Okra, aloo, gobi, dhal, saag, palak, paneer, chickpeas, samosas, koftas, naan, roti, chapati, puris, dosas, thali...the list is endless... all cooked a hundred different ways in a magical combination of spices. I can’t wait to do a cookery course!
My favourite Delhi sound bite:
“Please lady, I just want to be your friend – not your sleep friend – just your good friend”
Where we stayed:
Wood Castle, Karol Bagh. Double rooms from £35 a night with breakfast and pick up. Simple, clean and friendly staff. The posher hotels are in Connaught place and lots of backpackers stay in Paharganj (but be warned, it’s pretty squalid). Delhi accommodation is expensive compared to the rest of India
Where to eat:
Alpha Spice, Karol Bagh (about £5 per head with beer): Delicious north Indian cuisine with live music on Wednesdays. Saravana Bavan, Connaught Place and Karol Bagh
Old Delhi, Connaught Square (currently a building site as they are renovating for the commonwealth games in October 2010), a trip on the Delhi metro, a ride on an auto-rickshaw, countless shopping bazaars
Get used to:
The heat, the smell, the dirt, being stared at, saying no