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