So things are going much better than we expected. Delhi usually starts travellers off on a torrent of horror stories, but we’ve found a guide and we’re very happy.
We stayed for the last two nights near Connaught Place, central New Delhi and had the great luxury of an air con room (Lucy!). In the morning we were met by our driver (Mr Singh) and our (opinionated) guide.
First stop was Lakshminarayan Temple, a modern Hindu shrine, painted in traditional yellows and oranges and beautifully decorated in marbles. We found this was a reoccuring theme around the city. The next stop was India’s largest mosque which again was sandstone and marble construction. It’s hard to express how impressive this building is but in the 37 degree heat of Delhi in the morning and with a pale yellow sky the whole thing is stunning.
Next up was a drive past the Red Fort and bustling Chadni Chowk (like Delhi’s Oxford Street) before heading to Humyans Tomb. This incredibley impressive (awesome in the true sense of the word) was the inspiration for the later built Taj Mahal. Being ‘off-season’, we have had most of these attractions to ourselves. Next were the cremation sites of the major players in India’s history, starting with Ghandi and Nerhu in a beautiful green park. After a drive up to the very colonial presidential palace (past all the shining white ‘Ambassador’ cars which are still diplomatic vehicles) and quick view of India Gate and the administrative district we took lunch before getting back on with the tour.
In the afternoon we visited Qutub Minar, a massive hindi-muslim co-operation in the form of a huge tower that is nearly 1000 years old and set in amongst various other ruins from the time of the Afgan occupation. Finally we were taken around the obligatory Indian export bazaar, but after taking the free drinks and deciding there was nothing we wanted, we ended back at the hotel.
This morning was an early start for the six hour drive out to Pushkar. This holy town is home to the largest camel fair in the world (5000 camels descend upon the towjn in November to be traded) as well as the only Hindu temple in the world dedicated to Lord Brahma. Our hotel has more than exceeded expecations we have a pool, and whatsmore, it’s a pool with a bar in it (shame the town is dry and vegetarian due to the religious significance).
We took an afternoon walk around the holy lake edge and recieved a ritual (expensive) blessing from a holy man. We were warned about this in Lonely Planet, but they really don’t give you much option to refuse. After a little bit of shopping we’re now back at the hotel and contending with power blackouts every five minutes.
This is not a bother to me as the food here (in India) is exquisite and it’s dinner time. I really am loving it all.