This summer, while temperatures soared to 44 degrees in some parts of India, and any sane person would prefer running off to cooler states, and countries. I took myself on a ride, right to the heart of India. I went to Delhi, where the temperature at that time was recorded somewhere between 40-42 degrees topped with dust storms now and then, and no chances of rainfall or relief.
The hot sun and the constant warnings that ‘North India is a living furnace’ didn’t stop me from running about in the burning city. As a tourist, also hailing from a city known for its extreme humid weathers during summers, Kolkata. The Delhi heat wasn’t too unbearable for me.
Delhi isn’t a travelers paradise around this time, and I learned it the hard way when the only thing I was surviving upon was ORS solution and sunscreen lotions, needless to say, none of those things worked like they were supposed to. I ended up with a tan, that’d take ages to cleanse.
My first tourist attraction in Delhi was The Qutub Minar. The entire trip had lot’s of detours, and so I decided to select Paharganj for my hourly stay after I reached Delhi. For those who have not been to Delhi before, here’s a tip- The metro routes are a little complicated, so If you can bear to sit through a bit of traffic instead of getting lost at metro stations, you should take a cab.
Travelers Tip: Stocking up your cab applications with payment options other than cash works wonders. That being said, I’m an Ola-girl so, Ola Money helped me throughout the trip.
Qutub Minar at this time is not very busy, that’s obvious because afternoon’s at Delhi are tough to go out in.
Delhi is a city sprawling with History. Afterall a little History lesson never hurt anyone.
The Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage site was made by Qutab-Ud-Din-Aibak, founder of the then Delhi Sultanate. It was later completed by his son Iltutmish in 1220. The minar is surrounded by various other complexes and magnificent corridors along with the Iron Pillar of Delhi, which is now sealed off.
The corridors and the overall space served as a great canvas for some really good images. The carvings on the pillar and the entire structure is in Arabic scriptures.
Travelers Tip: For summers I would suggest the best time to visit would be somewhere around 12 pm-1 pm since that was also the time I went there and found the complex to be comparatively less crowded. There is no such dress code involved and, you can wear short dresses. You should carry a face mask since the area has a lot of dust.
The complex stays open from 7 AM-5 PM on all days.
The ticket will cost you 10 INR if you’re an Indian National and 250 INR if you’re a foreign tourist. Photography is not prohibited anywhere inside or around the complex area.
None of the main attractions are close to each other and you will have to travel a little in order to cover at least three in a day. Next stop in our list was The India Gate.
The India Gate is a war memorial, located in Rajpath, also home to the Parliament House. India Gate is the memorial that honors those 70,000 British-Indian soldiers who died in the First World War between 1914-21. The walls of the 138-foot long arch are inscribed with the names of 13,300 servicemen. The top of the arch holds the inscription- “TO THE DEAD OF THE INDIAN ARMIES WHO FELL AND ARE HONOURED IN FRANCE AND FLANDERS MESOPOTAMIA AND PERSIA EAST AFRICA GALLIPOLI AND ELSEWHERE IN THE NEAR AND THE FAR-EAST AND IN SACRED MEMORY ALSO OF THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE HERE RECORDED AND WHO FELL IN INDIA OR THE NORTH-WEST FRONTIER AND DURING THE THIRD AFGHAN WAR.”. Under the dome of the arch, lies the Amar Jawan Jyoti, or the eternal flame to commemorate the death of the soldiers who died protecting India.
Travelers Tip: The best time to visit The India Gate in all its glory is during summer evenings, and is open at all times.
Our final few stops at Delhi were the Jama Masjid, and the paranthe wali gali in Chandni Chowk.
The Jama Masjid has three main entrances; I chose the second entrance since it goes through the market area.
Travelers Tip: Don’t miss the Indian Fantail pigeon while you’re in the market. You’d find it familiar if you watched the movie Delhi 6.
The Jama Masjid garners praises for being one of the largest mosques in India. The structure has a total of 72 stairs that lead to the main entrance of the mosque.
There is a strict dress code that you need to be followed while you’re in the complex. Unfortunately, owing to the heat, I chose to wear something that only covered up till my knees and thus I was not allowed to go inside the main mosque.
Travelers Tip: Pick pocketing in the area is common, and it’s best to keep an eye out on your belongings at all time.
Wear decent clothes, that covers your arms and legs completely.
If you’re traveling by the metro route, the nearest metro stop would be Chawri Bazar.
The mosque is open to the public from 7 AM to Noon, and from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM.
The Paranthe Wali Gali, in Chandni Chowk, is within walk-able distance from the Masjid. The Paranthe Wali Gali, as locals say is famous for Paranthas of all kinds. However, I would personally not recommend anything from their menu, especially if you’re travelling. The Paranthe Wali Gali has a Bollywood connection to the 2009 Indian Martial Arts film ‘Chandni Chowk to China,’ as most of the scenes have been shot in the lanes of the Paranthe Wali Gali.
The next part of the trip heads up towards the hills of Uttarakhand and into Nainital.