Monday, March 16, 2015

New Delhi vs. Old Delhi

Those who have ever been to Delhi would not say they had been to New Delhi. They will only say they have been to Delhi or in the words of the locals, DEH-Lee. Here's how New Delhi is pronounced -

How old is Delhi can be gauged by the so many ruins you can find peppered around Delhi if you take time to explore it. Without needing to be too specific, there are New Delhi and Old Delhi. Both are totally different like night and day. The feelings that you have when you walk around Old Delhi and New Delhi will be different.

In Old Delhi, there are the old monuments of the Red Fort and Jama' Masjid. It is good to note, most mosques which are used as prayer places by the Muslims are labelled as Jama' Masjid. There's a few others Jama' Masjid in Delhi and in order for Muslims to go to a mosque they can pray in, it is easier to mention Jama' Masjid even what you meant is not the Jama' Masjid in Old Delhi.

Old Delhi can be reached by using cars and tour buses but adventurous me convinced my reluctant wife to try the packed Mass Rapid Transfer (MRT) train system from New Delhi Railway Station's MRT stop to take a ride and stop at Chandni Chowk. We didn't expect the MRT stop to be as crowded as the crowd we found and we didn't expect to go through security to be as tight as the airport. So, it was a new experience to go through a crowded MRT stop which we found was more daunting than what we found at Shinjuku's train station in Tokyo.

The entrance to New Delhi Metro station

The crowd queuing for tickets
We actually joined the crowd before realising that the 3-day passes we planned to buy were sold at a customer service couter by the side with no one lining up there.
When we arrived at the Chandni Chowk station, we were disoriented and couldn't find our way that we decided to hire a rickshaw to take us around. Here are some sights in Old Delhi.

The final picture is Karim's, a place in Old Delhi famous for its dishes and a great place to have lunch.

Here is the Jama' Masjid, where we prayed Zuhur and Asar. My wife was conned into going to another part of the mosque which the conman said was reserved Malaysian's women and when she finished praying he asked for some money. She refused and luckily managed to escape unscatched. At that time I was at the front of the mosque joining other jemaah as Zuhur prayer time was announced by the muazzin.

Before we went off, we went to the Red Fort and then we walked to the Metro station again against the advice of the rickshaw's peddler. He said we should take a cab or an autorickshaw to our next destination which was Pragmati Maidan where the Delhi Book Fair was held. We survived that walked and even bought some stuff from the street vendors along the way.

Here's a glimpse of modern New Delhi which is just like any other city in the world :

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The serenity of Lodhi Garden, Delhi

They say Delhi is noisy, especially the Old Delhi where there are tricycles, autorickshaws, bicycles, cars, motorbikes, buses and let's not forget the people. It cannot be denied it is noisy and if you read my previous post, you can see a glimpse of it.

One other thing about Delhi, it is said to be dangerous to go out at night and there is no safe place at all. I beg to differ as although it is prudent to make sure you do not venture into unknown territory in Delhi, it is as safe or unsafe as any other city in the world.

There is this one garden in Delhi which I was quite amazed to exist in such a city. Lodhi Garden which is near where most embassies are in Delhi. It is on the way to the southern part of Delhi. It has ruins (there's so many of them in Delhi) which consist of a mosques, a few tombs and you can roam around freely without having to pay any entrance fee. It is not a world's haritage site but the ruins there are old. I don't know why there are so many tombs lying around in Delhi but it just shows how old India actually is. 

I was in Lodhi Garden during dusk while waiting for the time to go to the airport to catch my flight back to Malaysia at 11pm. The light was beautiful and as they were going to close the gates to the park at 8pm, they were still joggers, couples walking around, chai sellers offering drinks (I was tempted to have a drink but didn't dare to), cricket players, those who used it as a short-cut and you can see that it was a favorite place for people to laze around.

Here's the review of Lodhi Garden on Trip Advisor : Lodi Gardens, New Delhi review