For two days, our tour jump off in New Delhi was always started at 9:30am and ended at 5:30pm. It was considerably the best time to escape peak hours of jammed and impenetrable streets. There were so many tourist sites in Delhi but sad to say that times didn’t permit us to visit all of them.
Location: New Delhi, India
Where I stayed: Hotel Clarks Inn
Buddies: Group (3+)
Day One – First Taste of New Delhi
Jama Masjid. Reaching this site shows the real situation in India. The narrow street was filled with all kinds of vendors and poverty exists normally. There is no entrance fee but INR300 was collected from us for each camera and mobile which are to be used for taking photos. It’s a mosque so removal of foot wears and wearing rented long dresses for women are required.
Red Fort Delhi. The first site in Delhi which we were almost knocking on its front door but was refrained by an Indian local whose offering to us a different tour. “They (gate guards) will ask you to pay INR500 but there is nothing inside…only a park!”. His word of discouragement opted us to choose none of the given options.
Akshardham Temple. The entrance security was so strict as there were metal detectors and scanner at the entrance. No big bags, cameras, and mobiles are allowed. It is a Hindu temple complex consecrated in 2005 with a magnificent landscaped gardens. In the middle is the impressive temple built from marbles and decorated with gold, precious gems and stones. Entering the temples on barefoot enlightened us the cooling effect of a marble-made floor against the surging noontime temperature.
Lotus Temple. The queue to this site was blockbuster. The crowd was unstoppable and patiently waiting for chances to enter the flower shaped temple. Like any other temples, everyone needs to remove foot wears and mobiles to switch off. The temple is open for all religions as it looks more like an empty cathedral. Once inside, a few minutes of solemn prayer conveyed on different languages and beliefs.
DAY TWO – New Delhi’s Landmarks
Qutub Minar. Another site which has an entrance fee but was said not worth for sightseeing. Looking at the inaccessible tower from the main gate was the only memory I captured after we decided to skip this UNESCO site.
Rashtrapati Bhavan. The current residence of the Indian government. Most buildings inside the complex has classical architectures. There was no parking space available for public or tourist car so our time upon dropping elapsed so quickly.
India Gate. It is an open space landmark and supposedly free but was asked for INR100 by the old woman who pinned a tiny Indian flag on my shirt. India Gate is the monument built in memory of all Indian armies died from the previous battles since the First World War.
Birla Mandir. A Hindu temple with splendid architectural design. Cameras and bags are strictly not allowed and must be kept in the provided locker. There was no entrance fee but a small offering was collected.
Tourist sites hopping in New Delhi was indeed time consuming. Aside from moderate to heavy traffic, each site requires a minimum of one hour to enjoy its charming beauty and absorb its visible information. Hiring a local guide will surely guarantee an extended hours. However, it will be assured to give satisfaction and receive a bouquet of knowledge about the visited historical spot upon leaving. Taking lunch break was also another time draining as we required to stop in a restaurant to order meals and dining. Fast foods location from sites are not so convenient.
( Day 5 and 6 of my customized tour to the Golden Triangle of India last August 25 to 30, 2017. )