The day started off with a short trip via an auto rickshaw to Pune airport and then a two hour flight to Delhi in the North of India.
Delhi airport was massive! It seemed like we were walking for at least 20 minutes before we got to the baggage carousel. In the arrivals hall, there was an amazing display on the wall. There were 9 large metallic hands that depicted various hand gestures called Mudras surrounded by large copper discs that were either concave or convex.
Mudras are common vocabulary widely used in classical Indian dance. Each hand gesture has a meaning, Tripatāka Mudrā (pictured below) represents the ‘three corner flag’ and can symbolise journey, travel, arrival, welcome and victory.
It was really strikingly beautiful and apparently it is the largest piece of art installation in the airport. Other art pieces include a large sculpture of a Buddha head and large Indian painting.
When we came out of arrivals, the heat hit us! It was just after 1.30pm and the heat was intense. It was like being in an oven! I’d never experienced heat like it. I did then begin to worry how we’d all cope sightseeing in the heat.
We were greeted by a Go India Heritage Tours representative who introduced us to our driver Sanjay, led us to our car for the trip (a Toyota Innova) and drove us to our Hotel.
The Hotel was called Star Rocks and was based about 30 minutes drive from the airport in the South of New Delhi city. Once we were all settled in, we went up to the bar/restaurant on the roof and had our first bottle of holiday Kingfisher beer. We spent about an hour there whilst we waited until 4 pm when Sanjay (our driver) was to pick us up for some sightseeing around some local markets.
The first market we went to wasn’t too dissimilar to any market in the UK, apart from the whole way round, we were hounded by street sellers offering us knocked off Oakley sunglasses and children’s toys. They wouldn’t take no for an answer! In the end, we just had to totally ignore that they existed and hope that they would eventually get the hint and leave us alone, which they did.
The second market was very similar to the first but there were lots of saree stalls which were so colourful and beautiful. It was quite an experience walking in and out of the small alleys in between each row of stalls; it was cramped, hot and swarming with black flies! At one point, we went past a fruit and vegetable stall and there were so many black current-like flies, you could hardly see what produce they were selling! It was disgusting! There were also a few meat stalls that blatantly didn’t have refrigerators and stank so bad that it made us want to run out of the area holding our breath in order not to breathe the stench in!
The final market that we went to was a food and craft bazaar called Dilli Haat where we had to pay 20 rupees each to get in. This was my favourite market. It was all set out really well; each stall had a proper covered area. It was really clean and lacking in flies. It reminded me of a food and shopping area at a theme park.
|Dilli Haat. Bangles galore!|
We weren't really intending on buying anything there but as we walked around, I spotted a stall that sold real pearls. As I was looking at them the vendor kept lowering and lowering his prices to a stage where it was becoming silly to walk away empty handed, so I didn't and Tom bought me an amazing string of pearls long enough to wrap around my neck twice! I love them! I wish I’d taken a photo of the stall and vendor but I was too excited with my pearls that I forgot to take a picture!
After we were all totally ‘marketed out’, we got Sanjay to drive us to a nice restaurant for dinner. He took us to a small area in a nice housing estate where there were about five restaurants. We decided on an Indian restaurant called Havemore. The meal we had was really lovely but the atmosphere in the restaurant was a bit strange as they kept playing ‘I’m sorry mama’ by Eminem over and over again. It was all a bit bazaar!
|Me and Tom|