Going to the land of A LOT of people, and by a lot I mean over 1.3 billion, you’re going to see some incredible street action.
Since we landed in Delhi at about 5 or so in the morning, our first encounter with traffic was actually a pretty pleasant affair. I had prearranged transportation for us from the airport to take out any struggle of finding a ride once we landed. (If you are planning your first trip to India, or to any unfamiliar country for that matter, I highly suggest you do the same…)
It was an easy 40 minute trip to the hotel and once we unpacked, it was time to explore!
If you arrive during the day, get ready to see some street action… but it’s that first outing after the sun goes down that really gets your adrenaline working. (We will get to that in just a bit…)
The first picture was taken not to far from our hotel… a visual overload. And boy were we ready to see more!
The streets of Delhi are a photographers dream… anywhere you point your camera there is a photo ready to be taken. I always say that I do not take the photos, as they are already there just waiting to be captured…
Like this guy who was patiently waiting for his next fare…
The real treasure though is once you get to Old Delhi…
Old Delhi is the heart of Delhi, which is the heart of India.
We were with our tour guide as we set off on what was going to be an absolutely amazing ride. Paul and I shared a rickshaw and she followed behind with her own driver.
Upon getting to Old Delhi, one of the first sights you see is Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in all of India.
These are the main stairs leading up to the entryway…
The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 people. It was built between 1644 and 1656.
But we are talking about India’s streets today… we will be back later to talk all about the incredible architecture…
But before we leave the inside of Jama, here is a photo looking into the streets of Old Delhi… where we were about to go explore!
One of my favorite (I will be honest, I have quite a bit of favorites…) photos is this black and white I took before we began exploring down there.
If you look very close at the end of the street, you can see Jama Masjid.
So let’s get in there…
Here we go!
Everywhere you look… there is basically everything to see.
You are constantly trying to focus on new things, watching not to stick your hand out too far as everything around you is on the move. Taking in all the colors, smells and textures that you never thought could all be in the same place at the same time…
You learn very quickly just to sit back and enjoy the ride as you try to take it all in.
We never stopped once. The flow is constant. You would think with this many people and modes of transportation all in one congested area there would be terrible traffic jams… but there are none. Just one steady stream of chaos.
And then we came to the spice market, Khari Baoli.
Khari Baoli is a street in Old Delhi known for its wholesale grocery and Asia’s largest wholesale spice market, selling everything from spices, nuts, herbs to food products like rice and tea.
See the lady in the purple, she was our tour guide!
Here, many shops are still known by their serial number, e.g., “Chawal Wale 13” or “21 Number Ki Dookan” and are run by ninth or tenth generation of the founders of these establishments dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The photo above is where McCormick started getting her spices, and were we got ours as well!
Here is the view in the exact opposite direction…
And one must always stay on top of social media… even in the heart of this!
And then there are the vendors with the flowers… my favorite.
A true magical experience to say the least… a world all on its own.
I find myself back there some nights in my dreams… and I always awake with a smile.
So after our ride was complete, we set off for a wonderful lunch nearby and then it was time to hit the hotel again for a little down time.
Once the dark took over where the light once was and night was officially upon us, it was time to go exploring again!
The streets become even more alive and everything just seems to intensify… and it’s fantastic!
Food is cooking street side, everyone is trying to get somewhere all at the same time and once again, traffic along with everything else is constantly moving…
There are a lot of manufacturers and distributors here… everything from jeans and fabric to shoes and food. They are bagging and shipping jeans in the picture above.
Everyone has their part, and everything has its place. Like the traffic, these people work in a constant flow, never stopping or slowing. And when it’s time to rest, everyone sits down together to chatter about the happenings of the day.
There’s Paul! Can you see him?
And here’s one last one before we head back for the night… it was a busy day, and we were only just beginning!
Stay tuned, for the adventure will continue with more of Delhi!
There will be more night action too! (Just wait till we get to Agra!)