October Delhi Trip (Part 1 of 2)
We arrived in Delhi on the 30th September, and crashed in our hotel room. If you’re good with budget and not-the-fanciest, RAK International (just off the main bazaar in Paharganj) is great for the price, quality, and what a budge hotel should be. Clean sheets, clean rooms, AC if you ask for an AC room (otherwise ceiling fans), and just off the main bazaar so a little quieter than some other options. Saturday, we went down to the government shopping emporium, which is nice (lots of variety, and some fairly reasonable prices… on certain things); we then went to the National Museum and to Jantar Mantar.
The National Museum is a definite thing to see: it wasn’t very crowded, has an excellent collection, and was worth the value. Do NOT, however, eat there… the buffet can cost as much as the tickets in, for foreigners! That aside — we got to see some Mughal paintings, a coin collection (basically samples from the very first coinage up through modern times), textiles, Harappan Civilisation stuff (including the famous little Harappan Dancer) and a travelling exhibition of artistic interpretations of myths and folklore.
We were going to walk up to Jantar Mantar (which is an old set of astronomical instruments just south of Connaught) but were interrupted by Rajpath being closed – we ended up taking a rickshaw up to Jantar Mantar. Rajpath was lined with some spectators, and all we could see was cars zipping up and down… Turns out it was some prep for the F1 race coming up, and Red Bull was sponsoring a race down a stretch of Rajpath. We spent about half an hour at Jantar Mantar, and came to the conclusion that it was neat… but definitely could do with some more updates as far as the actual uses of things, and cleaned up, perhaps, to show the declinations and make it more comprehensible (and/or relevant).
Sunday we went to Safdarjung’s Tomb and Lodi Gardens; we spent about 3 hours at Safdarjung’s, tucked up in a bench beneath a tree, reading and watching the falcons trying to catch squirrels, and enjoying the day. We also managed to get in for local rate (Rs5 per person, rather than Rs100) because we showed Adam’s PAN card… and the guys working the booking office were from Uttarakhand! The tomb itself was beautiful, if a bit run-down; I can only think how gorgeous it could be with some upkeep (which they seemed to be working on). More restoration would certainly help to continue to draw it as a tourist site and thus a better income location.
After Safdarjang’s & Lodi Gardens, we went down to Dilli Haat and INA Market, and shopped for a bit. From there, we went to Saket to the Hard Rock Cafe. We know we’ve adjusted to local prices when dinner costs the same (almost) as a t-shirt, and we have a heart attack over that fact. I *wanted* a Hard Rock Delhi shirt, but… not for Rs1067, when dinner was Rs1600!!! (Also, yes. Adam had a burger for Rs415, and I had a steak for the same price. We indulged and ate beef… and I felt guilty!).