I arrived in Delhi the day before my G Adventures tour started, and checked-in to Hotel Sunstar Heritage located in Karol Bagh. I booked this through Booking.com, and cost about £45.00 for one night in an executive double room with breakfast. I chose this hotel as it wasn’t far from the meeting point the following day, but it had much better reviews than the one G Adventures chose for us.
I pre-booked the airport pick-up with Hotel Sunstar Heritage, and it cost 550 Indian Rupees for a 4 seater car. The journey took approximately 45 minutes, and it was my first experience of seeing how crazy the roads in India are!
My room was nice and clean. The hotel had a rooftop restaurant where I ate for lunch and dinner – I was too scared to venture out for food!
The second night in Delhi was spent at C Park Inn. This was our G Adventures meeting point and our home for one night. Personally I wouldn’t recommend this hotel; the bed sheets and pillows were dirty, plus it was very noisy throughout the night. That being said, it was okay for one night and we didn’t have much choice!
The first word I think of when I think of Delhi is crazy. It was a massive culture shock to me, which surprised me because I’ve visited other crazy cities before; I thought that because I could handle Bangkok, I could handle Delhi. How wrong was I. Some places aren’t for everyone and I really couldn’t wait to leave Delhi. That being said, I think if I would’ve visited Delhi at the end of my three weeks in India rather than at the beginning, I would’ve been able to handle it better.
The drive from Delhi airport to Sunstar Heritage Hotel was an experience in itself! There were cars and scooters EVERYWHERE, with constant beeping, trying to merge into 3 lanes. If that wasn’t enough chaos, lets throw a few cows, stray dogs and homeless people who were knocking on the windows of cars stuck in traffic begging for money into the mix. I was relieved when I finally made it to the hotel, and was able to check-in to my room early. After a quick nap and a shower, I had lunch at the hotel on the rooftop restaurant terrace. One of the things I was most looking forward to in India was trying the local food, and my first meal was a chicken biryani. It didn’t disappoint.
After lunch, I plucked up the courage to leave the hotel to explore Delhi. I walked to Karol Bagh metro station and made my way to Chandni Chowk station via Rajiv Chowk station. This journey was supposed to cost me INR 30 for 1 single, but I made the mistake of just putting a bank note down without confirming how much I’d put down, so I got short changed.
Outside of Chandni Chowk station was absolutely crazy. There were tuk tuks, people, cars and cows EVERYWHERE. I couldn’t get over the sheer volume of people in one area. It was hard for me to accept the constant staring from local people too, despite dressing respectfully. I couldn’t walk more than 5 steps without a tuk tuk driver hassling me to take his tuk tuk to wherever I wanted to go as well.
I finally made my way to the Red Fort and I walked around the outside of it. The Red Fort was built in 1648 for the main residence of Mughal emperors, and it gets its name from the red coloured sandstone.
I then walked along to Jama Masjid, which is one of the largest mosques in India. My Lonely Planet Guidebook told me that I could climb the steps for a view over Delhi, but unfortunately Lloyd was wearing shorts so we wasn’t allowed inside. We did have some man chasing us around outside the mosque trying to get us to hire a long skirt for him to put over his shorts, but by this point I had enough of people hassling us and ripping us off. After a little meltdown, I decided it would be best to head back to the hotel so we took the metro back to Karol Bagh and chilled out in the hotel room before dinner.
I decided to have dinner back at the hotel, on the rooftop terrace, because in all honesty I don’t think I could’ve dealt with anymore harassing and stares so I thought it would be the safest option. For dinner I tried Dal Tadka which are lentils with cumin seeds and garlic asafoetida, with steamed rice and a naan. After dinner, I had an early night and hoped that I would enjoy Delhi a lot more the next day after I’d had a decent sleep.
I had an amazing sleep, and started Friday off with the breakfast buffet at the hotel. I then checked out from Sunstar Heritage Hotel and took a taxi to C Park Inn, which is where I’d be meeting my G-Adventures group. After leaving my luggage at my new hotel, I embraced Delhi and went in search of the Qutub Minar. I walked 10 minutes to the nearest metro station called Jhandewalan station and took the blue line for 2 stops to Raviv Chowk, and then 11 stops on the yellow line to Saket. The walk from Saket metro station to the Qutub Minar was approximately 40 minutes, which was hard in the heat, but I was too scared to ask for a tuk tuk and even more scared of being ripped off, again!
The Qutub Minar was beautiful and well worth a visit. Built in 1193, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower is 73 metres high and was built to celebrate Muslim dominance in Delhi after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu ruler.
The queues for tokens were crazy busy! Luckily, the ‘foreigners’ queue was empty so I paid INR 600 for my token, and made my way to the entrance. Inside it was so pretty, and I was so glad I visited.
I wish I could say that the hassling had stopped when we got inside, but it didn’t. It seemed that I was more of a tourist attraction than the beautiful Qutub Minar; I was being asked for selfies and asked to feature in family photos. At first I thought it was quite funny that people wanted me to be in their family group photos, but after a while it got quite tiring. It was bizarre that people thought it was okay to take a photo with me because my skin was a different colour to theirs.
After spending a couple of hours looking around, I got a tuk tuk from outside Qutub Minar back to the metro station and it only cost INR 50 – bargain! Wish I’d got one on the way there too.
I made it back to the hotel, via a stop-off at the Hard Rock Café for my pin badge, and had a quick freshen up before my G-Adventures welcome meeting at 6pm. I met the rest of the group and everyone seemed so lovely. There were 9 of us in total and we were all from the U.K. plus our local tour guide, Jaideep, but we could call him JD for short. The group went for dinner at a restaurant called Kitchen With a Cause, which was just a short walk from the hotel. I had the butter chicken with a garlic naan and the flavours were amazing!
After getting to know the rest of the group over delicious food, we went back to the hotel for an early night as we had to meet at 4:50am the next morning for our journey to Agra!
Next up: Agra
How was your experience in Delhi? Please leave your comments below.