Not your average day tours…
Sorry for the hold up – this is probably the most detailed blog post I’ve ever written! What a few days it’s been!
Day 318 – Wednesday 5th April 2017
Today we joined a group of around 20 other Madpackers to take on the Delhi Belly Day Tour, a trip organised by staff at our hostel which promised to offer a chance to live like a local and experience what they call ‘the real Delhi’. It cost ₹1500 per person which seemed a bit pricey, but was all inclusive so included all food, drink and transportation along the way. It was recommended by just about every single person who we spoke to throughout the day yesterday too, so sounded like it was worth the money.
I’m not usually one for lists, but we done so much that I’ve no choice really. Stops throughout the day included:
Chandni Chowk – The oldest and busiest market in Old Delhi,
Town Hall – The now derelict headquarters of the municipal corporation of Delhi between 1866 and 2009,
Fatehpuri – A mosque built by Fatehpuri Queen of the 5th Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1650, where we wandered through the spice market then climbed onto the rooftop for a great view of the city,
Nau Ghar – Home of Jain Temple, where we met a guy who claims that his father was a friend of Ghandi, and even showed us (what he claimed to be) a pair of Ghandi’s glasses,
Kinari bazar – A wholesale retail market recognised as the busiest and most vibrant market in Delhi,
Red Fort – A red sandstone fort constructed back in 1648,
I know that might seem like a lot, but honestly, sightseeing was only half the story. We stopped several times along the way for food and drink as well. Get a load of this:
Chole Kulche – Chickpeas and leavened bread, arguably India’s favourite street food,
Bedmi Pure – A deep fried fluffy bread made of lentils and wheat flour, usually served with potato curry and pickled carrots
Masala Chai – Indian style tea with milk and infused with a mix of spices,
Paranthe – Fried bread made of wheat flour, often stuffed with potato, cottage cheese and cauliflower, served with potato curry, pumpkin curry, tamarind sauce or mint and coriander sauce.
Lassi – A yogurt based drink prepared by blending yogurt and sugar together, sometimes infused with different flavours such as Mango, Strawberry, Chocolate or Masala,
Paan – A preparation which combines a betel leaf with areca nut and rose petal jam and acts as a traditional Indian mouth freshener,
The trip was due to finish at around 15:30 but nobody was in a rush and in the end we didn’t get back to the hostel until around 19:00. I don’t think anybody ordered dinner this evening either because we were all so full from the tour, but we did grab a few beers each and take to the rooftop for some down time.
It had only been one or two days but we felt like we’d known everybody for ages yet and were starting to feel like a little community already. Some places just win you over don’t they? Madpackers is definitely one of them.
Day 319 – Thursday 6th April 2017
Today we had to be up and out by 05:00 for our day trip to Agra, home of India’s #1 tourist destination, the Taj Mahal.
Transportation was quite pricey at ₹1500 per person, and we had to pay entry fees on top of that too, but it was so worth it!
We arrived in Agra at around 08:30 and headed straight for the Taj Mahal where we had two and a half hours to take our time wandering around:
The Taj Mahal was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World initiative (along with Machu Picchu and Christ the Redeemer, which we visited earlier this trip) back in 2007, and is often referred to as ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India, and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. It’s a shame that there was some scaffolding which kind of ruined the picturesque image that we all had in mind, but it was breathtaking nonetheless. I’m sure there’s a few group photos around too which I’ll add once I’ve tracked them down!
Before the return trip to Delhi we stopped at Agra Fort, the Taj Mahal’s less famous sister monument. I guess if we had the chance we’d have visited Agra Fort first, because seeing anything immediately after the Taj Mahal was always going to be a little underwhelming, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t a nice place to visit:
We had the option to stick around to watch the sunset after visiting Agra Fort but that would’ve meant staying the night in Agra, which (in our opinion) wasn’t worth the time or money, so we made our way back to Madpackers instead. Funnily enough we slept all the way, then went straight to bed. It was another incredibly long day, but a spectacular one at that!
PHOTO CREDIT: Abbie Parkes, Jamie Chang, Gemma Richterich and Hannah Summa. Thank you all so much guys!