Delhicious vibes

Delhi's street life with Photodyssee author Flo wandering through the picture

Delhicious vibes

Though Delhi is a rather crowded place with some air pollution issues this city got something special about it. A charme that settled in our hearts and did not let go of us until we come back. One could say the city twisted us around her little finger.

So what is so special about Delhi?

The people

According to worldpopulationreview.com Delhi is the fifth most populous city in the world and the second largest Indian city. So you expect to meet many many different people there.

A rickshawallah as seen eating on the streets of Delhi

An Indian vendor selling fruits on the streets of Delhi

Street scene in Delhi... some people carrying around heavy bags on their heads and a woman absorbed into her thoughts wandering right next to them

A person plucking something out of his teeth amongst lots of other people on a street in Delhi

Besides the masses on the streets, there was Amit. We are really glad that we can call Amit a friend of ours now. He is a really nice dude, who got his heart at the right place and always gets me with his unique humor.

Our friend Amit on top of a small house in his hometown Koyala in Rajasthan, India

We met him way back in Chennai and kept the friendship alive until now. Actually, we met him again in his parents’ village close to Jaipur. You can read more about this experience in the rural area of Rajasthan in our last post.

Besides the fact that we got along with him and his friends really well, we encountered a special hospitality on Delhis streets. It was just insane. The people were so friendly (well apart from a few black sheeps trying to rip us off) and were nearly always smiling at us.

An old man smiling through the curtains of his store directly looking at the photographer in the cloth market in Delhi, India

Beggar sitting in front of the Masjid in Delhi, India

The colors of a rickshaw driver and his cart exactly matching the colors of the tuk-tuks standing in the background

One of my favorite memories to illustrate this point was a really long chat with one of the many vendors. I actually just bought my souvenir spices there. But I asked for the use of every single spice he offered and with an extraordinary stoical patience, he explained… In the end, we even had some chai together and it did not feel like I had talked to a vendor. It felt like I had won a new friend.

Photodyssee author Flo talking to a spice vendor in the streets of Delhi, India

A spice salesman in Delhi, India picking some spices out of his huge collection

Hopefully we can find him again, when we go back to Delhi… I am somehow sure, that he will still remember us.

The spirit

When you go to Delhi make sure you visit Old-Delhi, the heart of the city. And when I say so, I mean it. You can not understand the Indian mentality fully until you wandered around the narrow streets of its heart. There is this special spirit that seems to run not only this busy city but India as a whole.  Just get off the metro close to Chandni Chowk or Jama Masjid and dive into this very own world of Old Delhi. Swim along the streams of the crowded little streets and get inspired by the several bazaars and little shops. Wherever you go you will find the spirit that runs this place. This spirit is the boiled down essence of India and somehow the thing that makes it possible for so many people to get along well.

Man riding on one of the many bicycle rickshaws

A crowded street in the old part of Delhi - many people, doing their different daily business

A man looking straight at me while walking through the streets of Delhi

The electricity wires were something most remarkable. They hang over the crowds’ heads in a confusing huddle. For me, it is the symbol of the Indian mentality for somehow making things work. Makeshift solutions. Or “Jugaad!” as they use to say in Hindi. We think India itself is Jugaad at its very core.

A man standing on top of a balcony watching over the street life in Delhis old city

The food

Delhi is well known for its variety of food. You can basically get whatever you want, not just the Indian cuisine, which already is really diverse, but also every other cuisine. One just needs to know the right places. This is yet another reason why I am pretty happy we knew Amit. He showed us some of the really nice spots. The richness of food is sometimes so overwhelming in Delhi, that one does not know what to try first. But make sure you do not miss out on a crispy butter chicken. That is a must try!

The secret spots

Delhi’s history is rich and one can actually witness that when walking through the streets. There are Forts and Masjids (mosques) at every corner and especially in Old Delhi, you will find some beautiful places, secret hidden spots, without any special names… Hidden to most tourists, because they simply are not likely to be seen in those areas, but nonetheless beautiful.

A view behind the first house fronts shows how poor parts of Delhi really are...

View on the Jama Masjid from a rooftop in Old Delhi

The biggest mosque of India, sitting right in the heart of old Delhi

One of the entrances leading into the area of Jama Masjids, Delhis and Indias biggest mosque

People walking under the doorways of Jama Masjid, Indias biggest mosque

Street shops opening their doors in the evening in Delhi

But those little, narrow streets are perfect for a little bit of wandering around. It’s fascinating to see the all-day life, how the people make their living. I do not want to whitewash it. To see the poverty, the countless numbers of beggars at nearly every corner gives the whole thing a little muffler.

These last days in India were some of the best. Even though it is hard to say that, because every place we visited had its own beauty, it still feels true. When we left the city on a bus to Nepal, I was sure that I would come back. Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, a famous Indian poet, once said: “The world is the body and Delhi is its life.” I think he has a good point with it.

Flo

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