President’s Estate [Rashtrapati Bhavan], New Delhi, designed by Edwin Lutyens
From Chandigarh, it was a six-hour bus ride south to Delhi. On the way, we passed through a blinding rainstorm, but Delhi was relatively dry, after days of rain, flooding, and horrifying traffic pile-ups that had been all over the news.
On arriving at the Delhi bus terminal, I headed straight for the Metro, and took the train to my favorite stop, Ramakrishna Ashram Marg (try saying it 3 times while clicking your heels together). My last three nights in India were spent at the Hotel Krishna Cottage, close to the Snow White where I’d stayed the last time, but nicer and less expensive. The Krishna was practically perfect – almost clean, and with an air conditioner that was neither too hot nor too cold, and didn’t blow directly on me. It also had a great television mounted on the wall directly in front of the bed, so I could watch hours and hours of the Travel and Living Channel when it was raining outside.
Pahar Ganj district – a street near my hotel
Thursday was spent slogging through the mud and construction sites at Connaught Place, where I hung out at the air-conditioned Barista Lavazza coffee house, then went shopping for spices and bottles of lime pickle to bring home. The good book shop that I’d found on the previous trip was closed, and the area was too dirty and hard to walk through to look for other shops.
I never saw much of “monumental” Delhi, but on my final night I decided to go to the Sound and Light Show at the Red Fort, the focal point of Old Delhi. The show was moderately impressive, but was in Hindi, so I didn’t understand any of the story. Afterward, I had a late dinner at Cafe Festa near my hotel, ordering their deluxe vegetarian thali combination.
Above and below: street scenes, Pahar Ganj district
The rest of the story is already history. Back in Chengdu, I find myself missing India, with all its insanity, chaos, muddy streets, rain, and damp heat. There’s something vibrant and life-filled about the country that stays with you long afterward. Then, there was the food….
Red Fort, entrance
Red Fort, Audience Hall
Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), view from entrance steps
The flight is ready for boarding – goodbye, India!