Delhi, the capital of India has a strong historical background. It was ruled by some of the most powerful emperors in Indian history.
The history of the city is as old as the epic Mahabharata. The town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live. In due course eight more cities came alive adjacent to Indraprastha: Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad.
Delhi has been a witness to the political turmoil for over five centuries. It was ruled by the Mughals in succession to Khiljis and Tughlaqs. (Excerpts from Delhi Tourism)
How did I get there? From Kuala Lumpur, I flew to New Delhi via Air Asia X. I arrived in Indira Gandhi International Airport by 1 AM. It took me less than 30 minutes at IGI Immigration counters. It was a long queue. No interrogations, my passport is stamped! It is official, I am in India!
To learn how I applied for my Indian E-Visa, click here.
I forgot to research on how I will get from airport to my hostel. No clues at all.
From my past experiences in traveling abroad, I always arrived by midnight. This time, I was more cautious on how to travel from airport to my hostel. I booked a prepaid taxi at IGI airport. Cabs are operated by New Delhi Police Station.
As expected, travel time from airport to city center was more than an hour. I also expected that my driver was not fluent in English and I was correct. I noticed that he was not familiar where my hostel is. In one corner, he was trying to say that I already arrived in my destination but I can’t seem to find my hostel in any locations I turned into. I looked around; I showed him again the hostel name and address where I am going to. We drove in circles. In another street, he went down to ask locals for the direction. A man riding in motorcycle was giving signs that we should follow him.
After another 10 minutes of driving, we reached my hostel! I was very thankful to this man! Thank you God for arriving safe at my hostel! 😀
When I got all bags, my driver asked for tip. A bit irritated since I already paid, I still gave him some Rupees. I don’t have time to argue, I was exhausted. I was just thankful that I arrived safe.
Where did I stay? I booked Boribista Hostel on Booking. Com. I was greeted by hostel staff at around 2 AM. I found my hostel with very comfortable vibe.
Breakfast is good. Wi-Fi is fast! The staff are very accommodating. Though the location of this hostel is far from the main attractions of New Delhi.
How did I get around the city? After a short sleep and breakfast at my hostel, I asked the reception to book me a taxi going to my first destination in New Delhi. Autos or what we know as Tuktuk are everywhere in the city. Rickshaw is famous too in getting around the city. It is a bicycle with two seats at the back. These are cheaper than hiring a tax.
I actually planned to just walk across New Delhi. This is what I have done in Ho Chi Minh and Yangon but New Delhi is massive! Walking will exhaust you. The temperature also rises every hour! You will be toasted if you will just walk. I also had this fear of pick-pockets and kidnappings. Remember, I was in India. Anything can happen. 🙂
Where I have been? Despite all the fears, I still made my DIY tour in these places in New Delhi,
Saint Mother Teresa Church
After many prayers, it was rightful to visit Mother Teresa. One of my first plans in going to India was to visit Calcutta – Mother Teresa’s hometown. But since I have more than a week only in India, traveling to Calcutta was excluded in my plans. It will be a 2 day travel from New Delhi. Flights from IGI airport to Calcutta is also an option but not for my budget. 😕
It was about an hour from my hostel to the Church via taxi. Upon arriving, I expected that the Church might be close since it was a weekday. The Church is nearby a school and tenement houses. A bit teary eye, I spoke to Mother Teresa in a prayer. Thank you for letting me visit your country. Please make me safe and my family back home.
The Church was indeed closed. There was a caretaker outside. I asked him if he can let me in since I traveled far enough to visit the Church. He insisted no. I was contented outside. Maybe stepping on this ground is better. 🙂
From Mother Teresa Church, I hired an auto to see Red Fort. Forts in India are like Castles in the West. Red Fort was constructed by the famous Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan on 1628 to 1658 AD. It was the seat of power of the Mughal Empire and use now as the venue for the Prime Minister’s speech on India’s Independence Day.
Now, Red Fort was one of the visited places in New Delhi. Red Fort is massive and consisted of halls, gardens and rooms.
I spent more than an hour in Red Fort. The temperature of New Delhi was very exhausting! I know the heat of a tropical country because I live in the Philippines but India was different!
I hired another Auto to pay respect to one of the historical landmarks in India. India Gate is dedicated to all Indian Armies who fell and fought in France, Mesopotamia (Turkey), Persia, East Africa, North West Frontier, Far East and during the 3rd Afghan War. It commemorates all the unsung heroes of their nation.
This was one of the best places for me in New Delhi. Not just because of the history but is also free! 😀
After visiting India Gate, I thought of going to Jama Masjid. It is the largest mosque in New Delhi. Even I am a Catholic, I also recognize this religion as I have friends who are Muslims. But since I got nothing to do there and temperature exhausted me, I returned to my hostel. I also need to rest for a while to have energy going to Jaipur! To know about my travel in Jaipur, click here.
It was silly of me! I listed that morning the places where will I go but I forgot to visit the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi! As you read, I am big fan of history and visiting his remains will check off my bucket list. Since I will fly again from New Delhi to Malaysia, I still have time to visit Gandhi and other places in the capital before heading to airport.
Click here to read my journey in Agra City.
Last Day in New Delhi
After completing my Golden Triangle tour in India, I head back from Agra to New Delhi. It was my last chance to visit the places I forgot when I arrived on my first day in India. Sun is up and scorching when I left Agra and still Agra captured my heart until leaving.
How did I get there? After 2 days in Agra City, I returned to New Delhi via train. I asked my hostel in Agra if they can let me rent another auto to book my train ticket at the station. My wonderful hostel owner suggested that he will just book me a train online. It was a time saver but I wanted to pay in cash. I avoid using my credit card as much as possible. My hostel owner offered to use his own credit card. I was extremely happy then. I just paid him in cash!
On the next day, I went to Agra Cantt Train Station. It was my first time to ride a train in India. As expected, the train station was crowded. There were many people from different ages, men and women and with different luggage.
There were also people seating on the floor. This was one of the places where I saw almost hundreds of flies! Agra was full of discoveries.
My booking reservation was on a 3rd class AC couch of the train. The couches on the train are for standard fares and sleepers. I met a German group who were traveling in India for more than 3 weeks. Their master of sous helped to find my couch.
When I jumped in, I asked myself “What have I done?” My couch is full of people! It seemed they stay there for more than 3 days! Pillows and blankets are everywhere! I developed a bit claustrophobic experience while finding my seat. I imagined that I can sit comfortably for 4 hours. I was very conscious.
The train is old and I am sitting with people I don’t know whom I thought sitting there for days! I admit, I felt unsafe and uncomfortable. We left Agra by 11 AM.
Hours passed by and I gained some comfort after talking to a woman. She is with her husband and daughter. I asked them why they have huge luggage; she told that they were on vacation from Kerala and will return to work at the Northern part of India. They are missionaries and were riding the train for 3 days! I was very happy to meet them and know their stories. We arrived in New Delhi by 2 PM.
How did I get around the city? I rented another prepaid taxi at the New Delhi train station. This is also managed by New Delhi Police. The drivers are arguing where are the locations of the places I wanted to see. I asked them to stop arguing. Good thing, all calm down.
Where I have been? On my last day in New Delhi and India, I visited these places,
Built at the banks of Yamuna River is where Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial. He was cremated on January 31, 1948. This memorial is built to pay homage to the Father of Nation.
A stone footpath from the main gate leads to the enclosure that houses Gandhi’s remains which is a black marble platform. It is left open to the sky. On one side, there is an eternal flame that burns. A script is inscribed “Hey, Ram” meaning “Oh, God”.
Some of his famous quotes are exhibited in this memorial.
This memorial reflects the simplicity of the Mahatma Gandhi’s life.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
The biggest Catholic Cathedral in New Delhi. His Holiness and now Saint Pope John Paul II visited this Cathedral twice. His first visit was on February 1986 for His Pastoral visit in India. The second was on November 1999 to sign the Post Synodal Exhortation in His Ecclesia in Asia.
It was a joy to visit another Church before leaving India. God never failed me to make my dreams come true. With His help and Mother Teresa, I enjoyed India to the fullest!
A day in New Delhi is possible. You just need to strategize and don’t forget anything on your list (just like what I did HAHAHA). There are more places to visit in New Delhi like museums, Humayun’s Tomb, Lodhi Gardens, Qutub Minar, Akshardam Temple and Connaught Place and Lotus Temple. Each corners and streets are filled with culture and diversity.
Here was my expenses for my entry and exit day in New Delhi,
It was a fun to see New Delhi on my entry and exit day in India. It was chaotic but enjoyable. This city is a perfect appetizer to see India. New Delhi opens my mind and heart of how Indians live their lives. Afar from other Asian cities, it has this different vibe. It will let you doubt of why you were there but it also answers the question where should you be elsewhere? Thank you, New Delhi! Until we meet again! ❤