India: Delhi to Bikaner


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June 20th 2017
Published: June 20th 2017
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Namaste from India! Home to 1.2 billion people and currently experiencing temperatures of 40+ degrees! We had read before arriving that you don't come to India for a holiday; you come to experience it. And one week in to our two week adventure here, we would have to agree although we are hoping to avoid experiencing the infamous Delhi Belly!

Driving here is insane and anyone taking to the streets are known as the Triple D's - Delhi Dare Devils! Drivers have one hand on the horn at all times. The rules of the road appear optional. Indicators - what are they for? Roundabouts - if we're taking the last exit, why go the whole way around when you can just turn right? Dual carriageways - one way traffic? Think again. Cows. Dogs. Goats. Bikes. Rickshaws. Tuc tucs. Motorbikes with 4/5 people aboard. Hand / cattle / horse / camel drawn carts.

Our Indian adventure started in Delhi where we visited the India gate, parliament buildings and some local temples/memorials.Venturing into Old Delhi on a rickshaw, we had an amazing experience navigating Chandni Chowk Marketplace. It boasts thousands of little stalls and shops, organised and located according to what they sell e.g. an entire street dedicated to the spice market, another to shoes, etc.

Whilst it came as a shock initially, we have grown accustomed to our celebrity status in India. We are often asked to pose for photos and selfies with the locals. Donal now fancies himself as a young Brad Pitt! We haven't been asked for autographs yet but we're practicing up our signatures just in case!

Our next stop was the city of Agra, home to the iconic white marble Taj Mahal. It was commissioned in 1632 by the emperor, Shan Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife. She was his third wife (which wasn't many by all accords) who died giving birth to his 14th child. On her death bed, she asked that he wouldn't marry again and that he prove his love for her to the public.

We visited the Taj Mahal at sunrise however we enjoyed our best views away from the crowds, at a less visited viewing point across the river. This viewing point was the King's intended location for a black marble Taj Mahal, to be his own tomb. However it never materialised as his son stopped him from building it due to the enormous cost to the public (sometimes the auld lads get it wrong!). And so the King is also buried beside his wife in the Taj Mahal.

Our third stop took us to the Pink City and the final stage of India's popular Golden Triangle - Jaipur. It has been given the nickname the Pink City as all the buildings have a pink colour since the British era. Visiting Amber Fort and Palaces was a major highlight. We were carried up like royalty by elephant to the fort, which we now feel we are due to the amount of people asking for photos!! The fort and palaces are built into the mountains which makes for a beautiful setting. The fort boasts a seperate military base higher up the mountain. Jaipur is also renowned for its pearls and diamonds but when Donal didn't know the diference between white gold and silver we were wasting our time!

Onto Bikaner we went. As is commonplace, the city has developed around a fort that could no longer house the growing population - Junagarh Fort. We enjoyed a tuc tuc tour of the of city in
Delhi temples and monuments    Delhi temples and monuments    Delhi temples and monuments

Clockwise from top left: Mau outside the Jama Mosque (Donal out of shot wearing a skirt); Lakshmi Narayen Mandir Hindu Temple; Donal at India Gate; Sikh Temple; Ghandi Memorial.
Bikaner which included the market place. The market places are a constant hive of chaos and life - how fights don't break out is hard to understand, especially in this heat! Bikaner is also famous for its Rat Temple......yes Rat! With approx 20,000 rats we politely declined the offer to visit!

One week in, we are really enjoying our Indian adventure. It has been hot, humid and hairy on the roads at times. The food has been really good and now we have left Delhi we cannot get Delhi Belly...right?


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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Enjoying a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk Market, Old DelhiEnjoying a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk Market, Old Delhi
Enjoying a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk Market, Old Delhi

The rules of the road are: There are no rules of the road
Karol Bagh Market - A 2km market in Delhi Karol Bagh Market - A 2km market in Delhi
Karol Bagh Market - A 2km market in Delhi

There wasn't room to swing a cat!
Spice market in Chandni Chowk Market, Old DelhiSpice market in Chandni Chowk Market, Old Delhi
Spice market in Chandni Chowk Market, Old Delhi

We had to hold handkerchiefs over our faces to prevent us from sneezing / coughing
Some crazy wiring in Old DelhiSome crazy wiring in Old Delhi
Some crazy wiring in Old Delhi

God help the electricians!
Delhi highlights Delhi highlights
Delhi highlights

Clockwise from top right: Lotus Temple for Bahai religion; Ugrasen ki Baoli Stepwell; Qutub Minar monument built by the Mughal Empire after they defeated the Indian Kings to rule India
Family photo. With Mau.Family photo. With Mau.
Family photo. With Mau.

"Of course I'll hold your child for the photo"
Smiles all around at the Taj MahalSmiles all around at the Taj Mahal
Smiles all around at the Taj Mahal

Although Donal was not happy about the scaffolding!
A mosque on one side of the Taj MahalA mosque on one side of the Taj Mahal
A mosque on one side of the Taj Mahal

Built by the king for the builders of the Taj to increase efficiency
Hawa Mahal in DelhiHawa Mahal in Delhi
Hawa Mahal in Delhi

A building used by the Queens to watch parades etc. but designed in such a way as to ensure that the public could not see their faces
The elephant ride up to Amber FortThe elephant ride up to Amber Fort
The elephant ride up to Amber Fort

Probably wouldn't have been able to get up without the lift due to the lack of fitness!
Views from Amber FortViews from Amber Fort
Views from Amber Fort

Including the 18km wall that encompasses the palacesame and Fort, known locally as the "little wall of China"
Views from Amber FortViews from Amber Fort
Views from Amber Fort

Difficult to sneak up without being spotted.
Amber Fort PalacesAmber Fort Palaces
Amber Fort Palaces

Clockwise from top left: Palace entrance; meeting place of King and his 12 wives; place where King used to meet and listen to concerns of the public; Mau in the secret tunnel used by the king to visit his wives.
Amber Fort, Jaipur Amber Fort, Jaipur
Amber Fort, Jaipur

Pedestals where the King and Queen used to sit overlooking the courtyard below
Junagarh Fort, BikanerJunagarh Fort, Bikaner
Junagarh Fort, Bikaner

In the middle of a sandstorm! One of the undefeated forts of India


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