New Delhi … and a little bit of Old Delhi

<p>There hovers the sun, a distinctly massive glowing orb in the Delhi sky - diffused by layers of thick grey haze. It hovers silently lighting the city’s cracks and alleys, both shining light and throwing darkness onto the people of New Delhi. I stepped into a world of scintillating smells, endless alleys and indescribable social extremes. All at once, I saw massive wealth and horrible poverty, echoes of historical magnificence juxtaposed with the mechanized impersonal modern world… and most importantly, life - in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours, creeds; life on the streets, life in the alleys, life on the sidewalks and in the tuk tuks, life crammed into a bus and life spread across massive green parks - life looking at me with wonder and life barely hanging on. It was all kinds of awesome, all contained in one breathtaking glimpse.

The plan was simple - we flew into Delhi primarily to go see the Taj Mahal, which is located in the city of Agra about 4 hours away. Our flight to Chennai was leaving in a few days so we only had a little bit of time to soak up the Delhi ways. We figured we’d check out a few historical monuments and let India soak into us in preparation of the weeks to come. What to do, and what to see? Every time you go somewhere with thousands years of monumental history it gets a little difficult to decide what to do for a few days. So we decided on a few things - check out some historical sites and get down and dirty in the iconic bazaars of Old Delhi.

This isn’t going to be a history lesson - you can wikipedia any stuff that’s interesting - but … we went to check out Humayun’s Tomb first because, why not? The Mughal’s had an empire around India in the 1500’s onwards and they left some epic architecture. It’s so epic that photos can’t do it justice. There’s something about touching the red orifices and witnessing the sheer magnitude of grounds within the tomb’s complex that imparts a sense of historical connectivity. If you stand there long enough you can imagine the world as it was 500 years prior, where these structures served as the pride, power, might and identity of a nation of people. Like we look up at the CN Tower and the International Space Station, Humayun’s Tomb (and other Mughal architecture of course) served as the definition of generations. Meghan and I plopped down on the grass in the grounds of the Tomb and just enjoyed the wispy hot air and gently breeze, the tranquility and harmony of history and nature - a break from the onslaught of senses that New Delhi forces onto you.

Light seeping through one of the archways that permit entrence into various tombs.

Looking onward at one of the surrounding tombs around Hamayun.

The inside architecture and shaping of the tombs, this carries over into lots of Mughal architecture.

A couple having an engagement shoot in the temple grounds.

A shot of the bride through the temple architecture.

The landscapes and tranquility make for a beautiful scene encompassing love and engagement.

A crowd of people ascend the stairs into the main Tomb complex

Meghan looking onwards from the top of the tomb.

A silhouette behind the intricate walls of the tomb’s interior.

Looking through the staircase gates onto the massive grounds of the tomb.

The lush and beautiful vegetation streams through the grounds providing shade and clean air.

Humayun’s tomb from a distance.

As the day wore on, and the sun started cooking a little more we decided to break away from the tranquility of Humayun’s rest and dive into the perilous and entirely uncertain world of bazaars nearby. One of the most exciting elements of India for us has always been the food. How sweet it would be to have that Masala and Naan edging close to our lips and nourishing us with that succulent, complicated flavour we so desperately ached for. After wandering around for 30 minutes through unmarked alleys and endless invites to go for tuk tuk rides, we found Karim’s Place, stashed up against an intersection in the depths of the bazaar we were circling.

Shy women staring from a distance

Get your … everything here!

The spices - oh man the spices. Even the locals couldn’t deal.

When the food hits your mouth in comes in waves. The first wave is the warm inviting heat that runs through your body. The second wave hits just as you bite into the succulent and densely marinated chicken simmering in a delightfully creamy broth, causing the flavour to explode in your mouth. The glistening butter naan fills any empty spaces in your mouth just as the third wave comes in the form of complicated and aromatic spices. This particular dish had a tang of orange and lime.

The colours of food probably could fit into the rainbow.

Spices, spices and more spices. Every flavour - every scent.

After a full day of walking around and recovering from a 30 hour flight we decided to go back to our hostel and veg out. We would soon be going to Old Delhi the next day and needed to pick up some fine threads we’d been eyeing since before the trip - t-shirts can’t really cut it in India.

The start of a new day brings us to a massive historical site called Red Fort. It would have been nice had we known how to get in - and after spending 30 - 40 minutes walking around this massive 18m high fort, ourhearts weren’t in it anymore and we were aching to get to Old Delhi and start haggling our way to sweet threads. There we met Akbar the great (I know, hilarious name) who befriended us and showed us to some super cool spots around Delhi. We ended the day on a rooftop perched above the city as the sun set. The people endlessly bustling under us - caught in the flow of life that is Delhi.

The colour and smell of a 1000 spices.

A kid looks at the entrance of a 1000 year old Jain temple.

Baby Sows and I ripping through different locations in a Tuk Tuk

Beautiful Sari fabric stretched out by the owner of this shop nestled into bazaar.

Meghan getting the royal treatment,

Fine fabrics are plentiful and widespread in the bazaars of Old Delhi

The embroidery was hand stitched and excellently crafted.

Spice delivery through the winding staircases in Old Delhi

A group shot of Akbar the Great with his two traveller friends.

The view of Old Delhi over the rooftops.

The sun sets behind massive mughal domes.

A kid plays on the rooftop of a hazy Old Delhi

Controlled Chaos constantly erupts below us.

It seems like everything is happening, all at once.

A wonderful city, and a place I would love to explore more. The landscape and the architecture is only a home though, and what it houses is even more marvelous than all of the tombs and forts in the world: the Humans of New Delhi. But that’s for next time…

Peace and Love
Sandro

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