While Nadja was living it up in Mauritius last week, I reckoned it’s time to play some catchup on one of my solo trips. Now as she normally does the writing, be gentle with me. I’ll try and let the photos do the talking.
Part 1 of my Indian odyssey
In January this year I was fortunate enough to attend a 5 week course in India on Urban planning. Being an architect and photographer this was like a dream come true. I was mainly based in Delhi but got around quite a bit, we’ll get to that in future posts.
Delhi is a little more stiff than some other Indian cities but having enough time to become a louwkul, I discovered a few gems that are off the beaten tourist path and forced me to slow down and take it all in.
As one of the original villages in Delhi, it has a similar density and confusing street system to Venice but it’s so much more vibrant. The famous Delhi ST+ART graffiti festival was based here in 2015 and hunting down murals make for good fun. The best is just to walk and marvel at the range of things on offer, from hidden yoga studios to fresh fish. The village also boasts with a famous street for wedding gown boutiques.
Main Bazar Road
Situated in the Paharganj neighbourhood, just a little rickshaw ride from the obvious tourist stricken Connaught place, this market street date back to the Mughal era and is an authentic alternative. A definite local hippy vibe can be felt but it has become increasingly popular so hold your ground and you’ll get some bargains. (I think a post on bargaining prices in India might be due) Shopping, food and accommodation is very reasonable here. It’s very well located within walking distance of Delhi station.
This historically rich area is home to the much visited Humayun’s Tomb but the really interesting part is exploring the old village. The winding streets are packed with small shops, all of the street food, monuments and historic sites but a must visit is the Nizamuddin Dargah. Especially on Thursday nights as this area turns into a spiritual hub for locals doing devotional singing. The Nizamuddin Ki Baoli is very close to the Dargah and makes for awesome photos at sunset. If you’re wondering; baoli is a stepwell bath and dargah is a shrine/mausoleum.
India is famous for step-wells this is another really interesting one in Delhi, close to Connaught place.
Agrasen ki Baoli is dried up which makes for a impromptu amphitheatre. The locals told me there has been some crazy parties here.
True to form the best is left for last. Old Delhi is perhaps a bit of an acquired taste to some but this area is the most culturally rich section of Delhi. I recall my first visit, being in rush hour, I had to climb over a cycle rickshaw just to cross the road. The obvious sites to visit are Jama Masjid and the Red Fort but similar to the previous areas the best is just stroll and immerse yourself in everything on offer.
Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India, capable of holding 25 000 devotees
This is a lot to take in and I’m sure you’re thinking what about the food… all in due time. India shouldn’t be rushed.