Thursday, 25 January 2018

Travel: New Delhi

I very briefly recounted last year's India adventure here but a closer look is required and today I'm re-visiting New Dehli, the city where we started and ended our trip. 

I met my parents ten steps off my my 4am flight from Dubai to New Dehli (they'd arrived on a somewhat longer flight from London half an hour before I did) - they had sorted out the logistics by booking Kuoni's Temple, Tiger and Taj Trail, what I like to call a "John Lewis Holiday" (as their nearest Kuoni branch is in John Lewis in Welwyn). With pretty much everything organised for us, I was free to hurriedly debrief my parents on the last two months of my life while in the immigration queue and had just finished horrifying them with my Nikki Beach bar bill when we were whisked through the arrivals hall, into a waiting mini bus and were rattling down a Dehli road punctuated by potholes and monkeys(!) running atop the roadside fences.

Our time in New Dehli was a fast immersion into India - the sites, sounds, smells, the mix of old and new, the peaceful tree-lined Diplomatic Enclave, the dusty and chaotic market in Old Dehli and a fleeting glimpse of royalty (the King and Queen of Belgium were staying at our hotel) made for a whirlwind glimpse of the vast contrasts of India's capital city.

We stayed for two nights at the Taj Hotel in the Diplomatic Enclave, I loved the huge rooftop pool and the cocktails and the coffee were the best on our whole trip (don't judge I'm at least 50% gin and caffeine). 

The tombs of Humayun and Isa Khan were our first stop, situated in peaceful parkland. Here I was approached for the first of many selfies, Instagrams and Snapchats by smartphone-wielding teenagers, always politely and in perfect English.

Next stop, the Jama Masjid mosque. If you are a woman, or a man wearing shorts, you'll be provided with bright robes on entering and everyone is required to remove their shoes at the entrance (general India tip - slip on plimsoles and socks are your best footwear option). The mosque is a still-functioning place of worship and the architecture is truly incredible.

Jama Masjid is atop a steep hill, we ventured down to regular street level and walked through the Old Dehli markets, a bubble of buying and selling of all things imaginable. (India tip number two, look at but do not taste the street food).

During our visit, Delhi was shrouded in a dense grey fog which made the India Gate monument imperceptible from more than a hundred or so metres away. The monument commemorates India's fallen soldiers and has major echoes of Paris's Arc de Triomphe in its design. Walking with the monument behind us, through crowds of domestic and foreign tourists and street-sellers, we headed uphill to the former Viceroy's House before turning to look back at the wide streets and colonial-era architecture.

Fast forward ten days later and the last night of our trip brought us back to New Delhi and to the colonial-era Maidens Hotel. I loved the design and history of this hotel, we left too early to partake of the breakfast buffet but the spread of coffee, fruit and freshly-baked cookies before our 7am taxi back to the airport was much appreciated. 

Next stop...Agra and the Taj Mahal... 


  1. Those buildings just look so unreal! I'd love to see for myself one day.

  2. India is on my list of places i'd love to visit - I've only been on city breaks in Europe for the past few years so i'd love to go on a bit of an adventure further away! Great photos Lily!
    Caz |

  3. It does look like an incredble place - I would love to visit there one day!

  4. Ahh it looks amazing. It does sound like a trip I'd like to do (the John Lewis version)... I'm not sure I could do a raw India trip on my own.


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