One Day In Delhi

on Saturday, 20 March 2010

So, after our nightmare of a train journey and being completely lost in Delhi at night, in what must have been the roughest parts of the city. We have a bit of a lye in, in the worst room we have stayed in to date, and the worst shower ever. We have decided to have a chilled out day in Delhi and see the sights on our return trip to Delhi from Amritsar, so decide to just go chill in an internet cafe, as we have all our bags after having to check out. Walking down the street, which is the very traveller orientated area of Delhi, we get the constant drug offers as we walk down the street, with the usual introductory question of “Where are you from?”, except for one blokes introduction, which was “Nice beard”! After an hour of sitting in the internet cafe we get bored and decide to go book our ticket from Amritsar back to Delhi. We get to the station and at first somebody tells us to go inside, but then are told we have to go to a reservation centre 2km away. Straight away I am wondering what is going on here and have read that scams are quite common taking you to tour offices to book the trains. The bloke is quite forceful in trying to get us to go in the rickshaw which makes me even more suspicious, and I tell him to leave us alone. We start to leave and meet the first bloke again and he asks whether we have booked the ticket or not, it seems there was a bit of a misunderstanding and the booking office inside only takes bookings for the next day, and you have to go elsewhere for bookings further ahead than that. He convinces us to go in the rickshaw to the apparent booking office for Delhi tourism or Incredible India. We get there and it is a small shop, the bloke inside speaks very good English and says that there is no available trains from Amritsar to Delhi for at least a week and also that our ticket to Amritsar is not a sleeper ticket but a seat ticket. There is no way we are going to do what we did last night for 12 hours. I am really unsure of what is happening anyway and think it is just a big scam to get us to book something different. He offers us a itinerary which involves, one night in a luxury hotel in Delhi including breakfast and a half day tour of the city, a flight to Srinagar, right up north in Kashmir, with 3 nights staying on a house boat on the lake, then a jeep ride to Jammu City and a train to Amritsar, then trains from Amritsar to Agra and Agra to Varanasi. This for £170, I am very cynical of what he is saying and he keeps bringing out testimonials and photos and even offers to ring somebody on one of the tours, which if anything starts to make me even more suspicious. Eventually we book the tour but I am still unsure whether it is kosher or not. We are driven to the hotel, to drop off our stuff before starting the tour, the hotel is much better than we are used to and has wifi, so first thing first I try and get some information on the tour company we have booked with, I only find one blog from somebody who says they were equally cynical but had booked a £1000 tour of India through the same company and had, had a great time. This puts my mind at ease a bit, but we will just have to see if we have any problems.

Our tour of the city starts with a trip to the place where Ghandi was living when he was assassinated.



It has been turned into a museum and amazingly it was free. Next was India Gate and the parliament building.





Lastly we visited yet again another temple, this was a huge place and we had something to eat while a young Indian boy practiced his English on us and was actually better than most people we have met.



That was our half day tour finished, unfortunately we were not able to visit the Red Fort as it was too far away and in the opposite direction. We are dropped off back at our hotel and are going to be picked up at 9am for our flight to Srinagar with Jet Airways, we wait to see whether we will be picked up. We chill out in the room and catch up on uploading some photos for the evening. Sitting in the room I have just checked the foreign and commonwealth travel advice for India, which states only essential travel to Srinagar and generally steer clear of Kashmir. I am not sure what we are doing but what’s the worst that can happen, apart from being blown up.