17 October 2013
I was grateful to have had a good night’s sleep and woke up feeling refreshed. I had plenty of time to have a shower, sort out my things and write up my diary. Brian and Eke didn’t have a good night so it was a slow start before we headed out to breakfast. There was no breakfast at our Swati so we decided to walk to the other Swati as they had a food court. It took a while for us to find out how it all worked but eventually we tried all sorts of unknown but tasty dishes.
On the way back we saw the driver that had taken B&E around yesterday and arranged that he take us around the city to see some sights. Actually we arranged that his brother would pick us up from the hotel and take us to see the Red Fort but in the usual manner we were taken back to the driver with the car and eventually agreed to being taken to some of the major sights as well but not go in. It was really good to get a much broader feel for the city as it is so varied. Our area seems old and crowded but most of the main roads around the city are wide and tree lined with lovely gardens and parks. The roads are fairly congested and it takes us a long time but the car is air-conditioned and it is very hot outside.
First stop is Hamuyan’s Tomb a world heritage site with beautiful gardens and was the first garden tomb built in 1570AD for a moghul emperor. We satisfied ourselves with a peak through the gates (and a glimpse from the motorway later on) and headed off to Qutub Minar the tallest minar(et) in India – a 72.5m high tower built of red sandstone and marble by a muslim king in 1199AD. The crowds are so bad that we just took photos from the road in passing. Next stop was the Red Fort or so we thought. Yesterday Eke and Brian got taken to various carpet and sari shops and we’d said no carpet shops today but our driver pleads with us for a short stop because he needs the petrol voucher. We offered him petrol money but it was important to his children for him to go to this shop. In the end we agreed to a short stop and did buy some nice silk scarves. We also had a delicious fresh squeezed juice outside which was orange and beetroot.
Then we did head off for the red fort which was right across town so we got to see lots more sights like the commonwealth games stadium and village. Our original intent had been to go inside the red fort but when we got there it was very hot. We walked a long way around its mighty solid battlements in amazing red stone and decided that it was fairly impregnable. There was a big fairground next door with Ferris wheels and other amusements and the route was packed with families immaculately dressed in splendid saris. Some were even picnicking along the way. We reached the ticket queue and decided that we’d rather head home for a rest before meeting the rest of the group. Eke and I try out Raj Kachori at a local street stall – an enormous thin, hollow, crunchy ‘bun’ filled with yoghurt, potato, spices, chutney etc and topped with sweetish crumbs, more yoghurt, sweet chilli sauce and pomegranate seeds. Delicious!!!
At 6.00pm we meet our guide Bhanu and the rest of the group. We have 4 from Canada (including B&E), 3 from UK, 2 from Ireland, 2 from Australia and 1 from NZ (me) ranging in age from 25 to 74. After the meeting we head out for a dinner at a nice restaurant near the hotel (sorry Carmella – I have no record of what I ate that night!).
For this and other similar tours see:
Peregrine Adventures (Comfort tours)
Geckos Adventures (for 18 to 30s)
Note: After people telling me they had booked an Intrepid Tour on my recommendation, I now have affiliate links with the Intrepid Travel group of companies and may receive a commission if you book a tour online within a couple of months after clicking through to these sites. So if you are enjoying my tips and stories and finding them useful in choosing your own travel, please click on these links and help me to bring you more ☺.