Delhi, India: An end to our Indian dalliance

View all our photos of Delhi here

When we arrived back at the place where we began our Indian travels, Delhi, we mopped up the remaining sightseeing activities. Top of our list was a city tour led by former street kids with an organisation that provides health, housing and education to thousands of kids living on the street in the capital. They showed us the makeshift school at New Delhi Station where kids get an hour or two of education each day on a voluntary basis. If they want more help they need to go to a shelter. The shelters are practical concrete buildings with dormitory accommodation, a kitchen and classrooms, and daily schedules posted on the notice boards which include regular meditation sessions in between other more expected activities.

The shelters and organisation provide a great service but we still found it heart-breaking, meeting little kids estranged from their families, through being orphaned, abandoned, escaping abuse or even just because they became separated from their parents while visiting the big city and don’t know where they live. The other interesting part of the tour was when they showed us a wall in an alley with religious figures painted on it from all the main world religions. These figures are not there to be worshipped but are a successful effort to stop people pissing on the wall, India being such a religious country that no-one would dare offend the Gods like that. Apparently they tried signs (like we saw in Africa) saying ‘Please do not urinate on this wall’ but to naught. The religious iconography is much more effective.

We went to Qutb Minar in southern Delhi which has ruins from the first city of Delhi (there are seven) in the Islamic Mughul style. The geometric beauty is as elegant as the other amazing sights in the area. There is a truly enormous tower which has to be seen to comprehend. The other ruins did not captivate us for long on this broiling hot day so after posing for a few more photos with domestic tourists we were off again. The other sight we stopped in to see was the old observatory built in 1724 which is massive in scale and no doubt was more useful when Delhi skies were pollution-free.

Our last great Indian adventure was going to the post office to lighten our packs by mailing our accumulated souvenirs and gifts home. A seemingly simple task, this was made more difficult by the post office not having any boxes for sale. We had to take our taxi to a market area where a gentlemen helped us get some boxes from an off licence. When Sarah offered him a small payment he said “What do you think I am, a beggar? Give me double that!”. Driving back to the post office there were women in saris riding side-saddle on scooters and people drinking from bottles without letting it touch their lips as saliva is considered polluting in the Hindi faith. The post office is so old school that they have staff members to sew up your parcel for security. They take a large piece of muslin cloth, wrap your parcel in it, then literally take a needle and thick thread to sew it up tight along all the seams while you watch, making it look like a delivery for Dr Frankenstein. We got stuck behind another traveller with two huge bags he was sending home to France after a year studying Hindi in Delhi, so he could brief us on the bureaucratic steps required but still the whole process took a couple of hours.

And with that we escaped on the red-eye to Hong Kong, but not before an ill-judged pineapple juice with ice at the airport gave me a kick in the guts and a bad fever for the next few days.

View all our photos of Delhi here

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>