Delhi, starting point for visiting North India

Our journey to discover North India began with a quick tour of Delhi.

Latest edition : 27 January 2020

When you live in a city of 200,000 people, disembarking in Delhi is a culture shock. The capital of India has at least 25 million inhabitants... that's a lot of noise (you can't drive without honking your horns), a lot of pollution (my handkerchief is black!), A lot of traffic jams. Cars, bicycles, rickshaws, touc toucs, circulate in an improbable tangle! To move forward despite traffic jams, scooters and other mopeds roll on the sidewalk.

As we had only planned one day for the visit, our guide prepared a little "best of" for us. In the south, New Delhi is relatively airy, with wide avenues, parks and residential areas. The red sandstone India Gate stands in memory of tens of thousands of Indian soldiers who fell in World War I fighting for the British Army. The main buildings are the work of English architects.

We took a tour of India's largest mosque, Jama Masjid. Its plaza can accommodate up to 25,000 people. It is located in Old Delhi. A monumental staircase provides access to the gate. The whole is quite pretty, the buildings are in red sandstone. You have to take off your shoes. Fortunately we can keep the socks on because the ground is quite dirty since people feed the pigeons.




Afterwards we hung out for a bit in the alleys of the Chawri bazaar all around, observed the merchants, the hairdressers who work in the street as well as the ironers, inhale the perfumes of the dishes which are cooking, admire the vegetable stalls. The tangle of electric wires and telephones leaves one wondering ...

When passing through Delhi, we will see the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, a simple black marble plaque that marks the site of Gandhi’s cremation. What we liked was the calm that reigns in the Raj Ghat, a peaceful park far from noise and pollution.

I also enjoyed reading Gandhi's mottos which can be read on plaques. Again, you have to go barefoot, but here the ground was clean! Other than that, there isn't much to see. There are obviously a lot of Indians who come to this park and this is the start of requests for selfies with European tourists.

The site that we really liked is the Qutub Minar. It is here that stands the tallest minaret in India, and the third in the world. The tower is built in red sandstone, the top floors in white marble with calligraphy verses from the Koran and pretty decorative motifs. There are many other buildings on the site such as the remains of the oldest mosque in the country.





There is still a lot to see in Delhi, but the schedule for our trek through North India is dense. The Golden Temple in Amritsar awaits us. To save time, we take a plane.