Dwelling in Delhi
It was a long awaited moment when the plane finally touched down in New Delhi. My Durga Puja vacation had just begun, and I would be enjoying with my friends for the next two weeks in Delhi and Manali. This article is all about my experiences in New Delhi, and I have a lot to tell you, so let’s begin!
The capital city of India was a completely different sight compared to what I had seen living here for the past two years. It was glamorous, bustling and buzzing. The whole environment was titillating our senses; there was so much to see, hear and smell, not to mention the heavenly taste of different Indian dishes cooking in different stalls and restaurants.
Over the next few days, we would meet some interesting and wonderful people living in and around Delhi. There was the occasional aggressive rickshaw driver having a bad day from all the traffic of course. There were also the shopkeepers in the market areas who hassled and badgered to do some business with them. And yes, it was unsettling. Then again, we had interesting conversations with different people, from street vendors to waiters who told us their stories of day to day lives, and dreams and aspirations for the future.
Let me tell you that this wasn’t a very luxurious touristy trip; we didn’t visit many of the local attractions. Rather, we roamed around in the different neighborhoods and streets of Old Delhi and New Delhi. While actually travelling through the place, I realized that I have had a misconception about the whole Delhi area being very unclean and dirty. During our strolls, we found that for the most part, New Delhi is well maintained and tidy, although some older areas were littered and abandoned by the government.
Another place we spent a lot of time was in the major market areas of the city. You can get almost anything you need from nearby flea markets, be it a quick snack or a small tent for camping. The prices of commodities are very cheap, and the most of the vendors are open to bargaining. The options available are generic, but you get decent quality worth the price. So if you are in the mood for a shopping spree, don’t hesitate to check out the stalls and shamelessly bargain for what you want.
If you are travelling to Delhi for a week or more, here’s another great idea for you to consider; travel to Jaipur and Agra, and complete the famed Golden Triangle tourist circuit. Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is a shopper’s dream come true, with different handicrafts, jewellery and fabrics available for purchase. In Agra, you can visit the world famous Taj Mahal, which was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is very affordable to kill these three birds with one stone. The cities are about eight hours away from each other by bus, and a ticket costs around 1500 Rupees.
Delhi is a huge city, and it would be very difficult and costly to move between different districts if it were not for the highly established metro railway system. There were five metro lines established at the time of our trip, including one to and from the airport. Ticket prices vary from about 10 to 30 Rupees depending on how far you are going.
Although there seemed to be a network of buses established within the city, it was hard to get our heads around the system. Moreover, most of the buses we saw were very crowded, so we decided to avoid travelling by bus. Instead, we mostly used Uber taxis to travel around and get to places. If you want to minimize your spending, you might want to stick with the buses.
During the course of our travels, we enjoyed eating from roadside stalls and small dhaba stalls, experiencing the authentic North Indian foods such as Puri, butter naan and Paneer butter masala. Due to the religious festival of Durga Puja, meat was mostly unavailable throughout the city. Because of that, we weren’t able to try the famous non-vegetarian dishes in the North Indian region. However we did try a lot of vegetarian dishes, most of which I don’t recall the names of. Wherever you go in India, there is always a ton of great food to be had, and New Delhi is no exception.
During this trip, my friends and I did end up spending a little more than we planned, but we didn’t break the bank. We spent about 10 days in Delhi, and exhausted a little over 300 USD during this period. The majority of the expenditure funded the accommodation, which cost us about 1300 Rupees a night. Split among the three of us, it was great value value for money.
Another big expense was food. While we did eat most of the meals cheaply, there were instances when we decided to splurge and go for something fancy. During the trip, we ended up eating at McDonald’s, Nando’s, Subway and Keventers, among other places. Considering how we were not trying to exactly cut down the spending on this trip, it was a decent budget.
I have been living in India for a couple of years now, and it is not what one would describe as an absolutely perfect place. But India opens your eyes to a new world. It gives you a level of perspective you cannot achieve elsewhere on the planet. And what’s more, it is exciting. There is something new, something different at every turn. And while it is the capital and the heart of India, New Delhi only gives a small glimpse of what India has to offer to travelers.
In the next post, I will tell you about our getaway to Manali. If you love to travel, and if you are looking to visit India in the future, stay tuned!