Delhi India in 4.5 days: A personal story – Part Two

My first ever trip to Delhi was the least favourite part of my India trip, however, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. In the latter half of my stay in Delhi, I encountered the most challenging and interesting situations, hands down. The following story picks up where Delhi, Part One, left off.

DAY THREE

I had stayed in contact with Ravi, the manager of the guesthouse I had stayed at in Jaipur. He was visiting Delhi, so we decided to be tourists together, and visit the Red Fort and the famous India Gate.

My foreigner ticket to enter Delhi’s UNESCO heritage Red Fort cost 500 rupees, while locals paid 30 rupees. Foreigners and Indians were separated into different lines, each with different prices paid for entry tickets. While my line to get in was short, Ravi’s was long.

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Entrance to the Red Fort

We were funneled through a picturesque walkway entrance, flanked by souvenir shops which opened up into the fort grounds. The entrance has a museum above, the Indian War Memorial, which Ravi and I visited on our way out. We immediately went to the colonnaded audience hall where the king received guests and heard their petitions. I sneakily listened to a nearby tour guide who was instructing her group in Italian. Her group, it seemed, could hardly hear what she was saying or were too busy taking photos to care.

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Ravi standing in front of the royal Audience Hall

We meandered through the grounds, encountering pretty bath houses, rooms and gardens. Some marble structures were very ornate and gorgeous to photograph, however most of them seemed neglected and were sectioned off, preventing visitors from accessing them. Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur, I thought, seemed significantly better maintained!

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Beautiful white marble structures

 

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Intricate detailing incised into the decorative marble panels

Returning to the entrance gate, we headed up the narrow stair case to the Indian War Memorial Museum. The museum was packed, and we were fascinated by the colonial rifles, revolvers, swords and other weapons used by Indians to help the British during the First World War.

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The Red Fort grounds

 

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In front of the Indian War Memorial Museum

Chadni Chowk, the famous massive market, was close by, so exiting the Red Fort, we headed in that direction. A cyclist rickshaw encountered us, and agreed to take us there for 50 rupees. Actually, the minute we hopped onto his rickshaw, we were already within the market as it was only across the street.

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Jame Masjid mosque

 

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Jame Masjid mosque
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Jame Masjid mosque; Ravi posing like a model. For once, I was behind the camera!

I wanted to see Jame Masjid, so he took us through the market up to the mosque so we could take photos there! It was lunch time, so since Karim’s restaurant was nearby, we decided to end our little tour there. The cyclist convinced us to continue with his services for 100 rupees total, with the agreement that he’d resume the market tour after we ate.

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Karim’s, Chadni Chowk

Karim’s looked exactly like the photos and videos I had seen from vlogs on the internet, however the restaurant complex was larger than I had expected! In addition to the kitchens, there was a vegetarian restaurant section, and several buildings for client dining. We ordered a mutton stew, dahl (lentils), rice and roti (local bread). The dining environment was casual and laidback and many local families appeared to frequent this restaurant.

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Karim’s

 

As we stepped out of Karim’s, the cycle rickshaw fella waved us over, and we hopped back onto his seat for our tour of Chadni Chowk. We recorded a video while admiring the saris and clothing embellishments as we slowly progressed through narrow market lanes.

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Chadni Chowk tour

A most curious thing happened when I wanted to pay. Firstly, the rickshaw driver assumed that Ravi was not a friend, but a tour guide. When I went to pay, the cyclist driver began screaming and shouting that we had agreed to 500 rupees payment, and that I was cheating him. In my previous experience, I paid about 500 rupees to have a rickshaw driver’s service for about 5 hours, driving me between tourist destinations which were considerably far apart, so I was surprised at this cycle rickshaw guy. His loud performance drew a crowd around us and made the situation into a spectacle.

Ravi talked to him calmly, while the guy screamed and shouted. The situation made me feel frustrated because I knew this fella was doing this because I’m a white foreigner, and I was embarrassed because about twenty Indian men were all gathered around in a circle, which gave this guy an audience and seemed to validate his accusations directed at me. Also, I felt that if Ravi hadn’t been there, the rickshaw guy would never had behaved like this toward me alone.

I threatened that we’d call the police, and have them intervene, and Ravi, to my surprise, called them up immediately. He spoke to them, and then placed the shouting fella on the phone with them. Ravi later told me that the policeman had told the guy to calm down and accept the payment agreed at the beginning. This didn’t seem to have any effect.

While the guy continued shouting, Ravi and other random men approached me, saying, why don’t you just give the driver half of what he is asking. I felt somewhat ganged up on. I retorted to the driver that his dishonesty makes me feel like never returning to Delhi with my tourist money, and he retorted something (apparently vulgar) in Hindi to me. Ravi became very angry at what the cyclist had said to me, and suddenly shouted at the rickshaw driver. The driver suddenly seemed to calm down, and I finally paid the him double of what we had initially agreed. I walked away feeling frustrated and disappointed.

We then meandered through Chadni Chowk, and I picked up some delicious local cakes. I still felt shaken up by the drama from the cycle rickshaw guy. We cautiously grabbed another rickshaw, and headed out to India Gate.

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India Gate!

 

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Night time approached at India Gate

The gate towers in the center of a plaza, and Indian tourists, particularly families, crowded around, taking selfies, while sellers approached tourists with all kinds of random knick knacks. We began walking toward the president’s house, and after resting on the grass that flanked the walkway, we decided to abandon the walk and get dinner instead.

We grabbed a rickshaw that dropped us off at restaurant in Paharganj. We ordered overpriced, mediocre Indian fare, ate and parted ways.

Stand by for Part Three.

 

What was your experience of Delhi? Have you visited the Red Fort, Chadni Chowk, Karim’s restaurant or India Gate and had similar experiences? What about these locations inspire you to visit Delhi?

Please like, comment, and share this blog!

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13 thoughts on “Delhi India in 4.5 days: A personal story – Part Two”

  1. Goodness, the situation with the rickshaw driver doesn’t sound pleasant.. one of the things that puts me off going there..
    what happened with the German fella from the first one??????
    Is this in part 3?
    Have I missed any other India blogs of what happened before Deli?

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    1. It wasn’t pleasant! The German fella got on his flight and went home, I presume… I haven’t made contact with him since returning to Korea. I’m about to publish Part Three, Viv… but yes, you’re right, something is missing. All the rest of my India trip. I began writing in a funny sequence. I started with Delhi, and now, i’m backtracking and starting from the beginning.

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  2. Rickshaw scams the world over! Just the same! It still seems like you had a great time at the fort. That place looks phenomenal. It’s like something out of a fantasy novel or tv show like game of thrones! More food pics!

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    1. Yes, the scam wasn’t much fun, but these things are to be expected, unfortunately. The fort was huge. Honestly, the weather was too hot, and I really needed to have hired a tour guide or have read some of the history before visiting it. It’s incredible how complacent we become while traveling, lol. Yes, I should include more food pix. I will in the next few blogs for sure.

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  3. Ugh…that sounds really stressful. And it does happen all over the world, but in India, I find it particularly difficult, because as you said, a crowd forms quickly and gets involved, which only escalates any situation. I read that if you’re involved in a car accident, you should get away from it as fast as possible because tempers can flare up so fast, and people can get so aggressive that people have been killed by bystanders. We didn’t have any problems when we visited Delhi, but unfortunately I think this was more because everyone was on their best behaviour due to the horrifying gang rape on the bus in 2012. We ended up there just after it happened and the police presence was really strong. 😦

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    1. That’s pretty crazy about having to flee an accident scene out of necessity! I was surprised how quickly this rickshaw fella’s temper flared up, but I thought it was all an act cause we had agreed to a price at the outset. I think it was simply a case that he was poor or needed more cash that the fare would get him, so he thought he’d try his luck by trying to intimidate me.

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  4. So bummed to hear your story in Delhi. I dunno India is one of those countries I wanna check out but I have so many reservations about visiting alone because I’m a woman and I just hear it’s not a country for the faint of heart (which I’m not necessarily, but still). Props to you for going and enjoying your stay despite this little incident.

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  5. Delhi is one amazing place. India is really. We did have a couple times where our driver ushered us to get in and wait for crowds to disperse though. You just never know what’s going to happen.
    … PS, is that Karim staring at you in that pic wondering why your hand is out? hahahah love that.

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  6. Here I was admiring your photos and your courage to travel alone in India when I started to read about your unfortunate dealings with the locals. How frustrating it must be to be overpriced 30rupees vs 500?!?! a yelling rickshaw driver with a crowd of 20??!?!?! oh my, I wonder how I would have reacted….stay safe!

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    1. You never really know what will happen next in India. I guess that’s part of the excitement of being there. Every day can have so much packed into it, and you just have to deal with whatever it is. But yeah, the rickshaw guy really came as a surprise…

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  7. I love your photos and you seem to have had a good time. I felt nervous for you when I started reading about the screaming and the growing crowd. It must have been really stressful. But kudos to you for moving on and still managed to enjoy the rest of the sights. Be careful and take care.

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  8. You have some great photos – we loved wandering around the red fort when we visited a few years back. Your situation with the rickshaw driver sounds scary, I just hate it when people try to con you, I’m glad it didn’t ruin your day though.

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