Posted by: Mary | August 17, 2012

Last Day in Delhi

Originally published on my private blog on March 15, 2010. 

Our whirlwind trip to Delhi ended with a day on our own. D met us at the India Gate (The All India War Memorial – a national monument inspired by the Arc de Triomphe) in the morning, but had some business to attend to, so M and I spent the rest of the day exploring more of Delhi on our own.

India Gate

We spent an hour or so at the Qutab Minar, the world’s tallest brick minaret at almost 238 feet tall. The minaret is surrounded by a large complex of ruins with more amazing examples of the detailed tile work. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should not be missed.

Qutab Minar (Qutb Minar) in New Delhi

We then went to the Lodi Gardens, a 90 acre park in the middle of Delhi that houses several tombs.  We spent about an hour in the park, walking around and exploring the ruins. The day was a low key, relaxing day to this point.

Lodi Gardens in Delhi

We attempted to visit a temple in our guide book, but it was closed mid-day when we arrived. We really wanted to see the largest spice market in Asia, so we decided to give up the temple to do this, as there wouldn’t be time to return. The Old Delhi Spice Market was a bit difficult to get to with all of the traffic and there was no place to park, but our driver, who didn’t really speak English, wanted to make sure that we were able to do this. I think he could tell how much we wanted to see it. When he found parking a few blocks away, he was afraid we wouldn’t find our way back to the car (he underestimated us!), so he insisted on showing us the way to (and around) the spice market. The only problem was that he was going too quick!

Delhi Spice Market

We kept walking past stalls and couldn’t stop to look at anything or take any photos. At the end of each street, he would stop and look back to make sure we were still behind him.  After several blocks, I finally suggested to M that we just stop and take our time on the way back, so we waited where we were and he came back for us. We explained that we wanted to head back to take photos and shop, but I don’t think he understood more than we wanted to head back. Somewhere on the way back, he lost us in the crowd. We were fine and knew where the car was, so we weren’t worried, but we later found out how worried he was. I’m surprised he had a hard time finding us, as there were no tourists in the market so we certainly stood out (one blonde and one redhead).

Delhi Spice Market

We spent about a half hour shopping and taking some photos, dodging big burlap sacks coming toward us on people’s heads and choking uncontrollably as large bags were thrown down and the spices came out. It was an amazing experience! Some of the shop keepers invited us into their stalls to taste or smell some of the spices and we each came home with several at far cheaper prices than we pay at home. When we were finished and still hadn’t located our driver, we retraced our steps to the car. We found him almost at the car and he was visibly relieved. He insisted on buying us tea from a street vendor and we accepted, even though we had not planned to have any “street food” to avoid possible food poisoning. We reasoned that it was boiled, so we should be fine and fortunately, we were. It was a great ending to a great day and the end of my trip.

We headed back to the bed and breakfast for dinner and a shower before I headed to the airport for the most thorough security screening and a red-eye flight back to the U.S. I left India looking forward to returning again someday soon.

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