Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience. – Paulo Coelho
Sooo… finally it was time for me to leave for my first solo-travel through India, counting in total twelve days, six trains (five of them Sleeper class), three flights and one bus. Only five nights I would spend in hostels/hotels, one under the Milky Way in the desert and all the remaining ones at least partially in public transport. I chose to explore seven different destinations, whose choice was the most difficult task during the whole planning process, which in turn involved an extensive amount of research. One person – Dustin – would support me during the preparation stage, while the majority chose to point out dangers and risks involved, trying to convince me not to go.
Now, being back in Pune safe and sound, I am glad that I took this chance to push my boundaries, and to leave my safe and familiar haven. I appreciate the fact that there are so many people caring about me and my wellbeing, but the story I want to tell is a tribute to all the amazing people I met on my way during these twelve days. About never being alone despite travelling on my own. About finding new friends, receiving support and help from complete strangers and learning more about myself.
Already in the metro from Delhi airport to the train station I met my first companions for the next few days – as it turned out, Joshua and Noah were on a trip around the world and got quite badly scammed the day before by their cab driver. Without any place to stay, they were looking for some hotel recommendations. I convinced them to take the same one as me – and this is how our new travel group emerged: Me being the tour guide, we started with a walk around Old Delhi in the afternoon. Impressed by the narrow streets around Chadni Chowk in which vendors would try to sell fabrics and other beautiful stuff, we gazed at the items that were displayed there. Frequently, rickshaws and scooters would make their way through the crowded alleys, making us jumping to the side of the street various times.
Sightseeing-wise, we covered the most important parts of the quarter: The Red Fort and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Furthermore we tried Seekh Kabab (a dish consisting of goat meet) in a traditional restaurant called Karim’s nearby.
In the evening, our group was extended by one more member – Sonja, who came to India as a solo-traveler that day. The four of us would visit some of the main attractions in New Delhi the following day: Starting with the Humayun’s Tomb, a precedent for future Mughal architecture of royal mausolea, which reached its peak with the famous Taj Mahal.
This was followed by the Lotus Temple, a Bahá’í House of Worship in the shape of a lotus flower. The temple is open for everyone regardless religion or any other distinction.
Third stop was Hauz Khas, where we had an awful lunch after we took a walk through the park area with its beautiful ruins and plenty of young people lazing around. Another quick stop included the India Gate as well as the parliament, which we saw only from far. With public transport (metro) reaching the rush hour, transportation became more and more difficult. However, due to the help of some locals we managed to end our day with the light and water show at Akshardham, a Hindu temple. The presentation seemed magical, bewitching us with a mixture of music, fountains and light effects… The perfect finish of two great days in Delhi, a city I actually didn’t expect to like a lot, but that still captured me with its variety of faces – ranging from quiet parks to busy shopping streets, Delhi offers something for every taste and found a place in my heart! 🙂
Bisous from home sweet home Pune,
PS: Next stop – Agra. Following soon! 😉