India Gate, New Delhi

walking towards India Gate

How to get there: Take Metro to Central Secretariat station (from Chadni Chowk station, it’s Rs 12) and walk 1.5 km towards India Gate. 
Entrance fee: none, it’s a public area.
Way back: we took Metro to AIIMS station, Rs.20 and bought Coke for Rs.20

I cant remember how India Gate fell into our visit list, we were aware that it’s only some kind of arch structure looking like one in France (I said this because I have French postcards with it and in fact I knew Paris Gate (or whatever it’s called) before India Gate). Nothing much to see around. Then again maybe because there’s nothing much to see, we put India Gate as add-on after our main course, Red Fort and Jama Masjid on Day 1. Plus, it’s located on the same Metro line (Yellow one).

We were told by the officer at the Metro station that we should stop at Central Secretariat station, and followed by some walks. You can get a rickshaw but we thought we wouldnt mind some more walking. Only after half an hour walk and we hadnt yet seen sight of India Gate, then we started to curse ourselves. It felt like we have walked 3km towards the India Gate, you have to cross 3 super huge recreational fields. I guess only after the first field you get to see sight of India Gate from far away.

Okay, we really NEED a rest. Thankfully the field grass here look clean and we could lay down. Seen everywhere were people hanging out in the nice-weathered evening, mostly family. Also, people selling snacks, drinks and toys are everywhere too. When we were rested, suddenly came two young guys approaching us, and greeted us in a friendly way. Although looking suspicious, we didnt mind some chats with them, until the minute they said they were looking for donation. It seems, seeking donation in a friendly way. They said it’s for charity for poor people. Okay, we have seen alot of beggars all over Delhi and if we didnt manage to donate to those poor people, why should we give money to these guys in clean shirt and shoes? Feeling awkward (since we were sitting and couldnt move or run away as we would when being approached by beggars), I grabbed some coins from our Metro change and handed them to one of the guys. Instead of being thankful, they giggled a little and showed to us a small booklet with handwritten list of some Westener’s names claimed to be tourists who had given donation to them, complete with the figure they have donated. Seriously, are they expecting us to believe that these people really gave them money just based on this little booklet? And seriously again, someone would donate Rs1000 to these suspicious strangers?? So they turned down our coins and gave them back to our hands. Right, if it’s really for poor people, I bet they would receive no matter it’s only coins. They’re obviously seeking money for they *own* pocket by fooling the tourists. They can get lost. We then got up and walked away.

Ah, finally, reaching India Gate. Maybe 50 steps to go. When we were crossing the 3rd road, some girls approaching me asking if I want to get henna. I said no, and to my surprise, she grabbed my hand anyway and fiercely put the henna on my forearm! Oi!! Get off my hands! Am I looking someone so desperately needing a henna that you can put henna to me while crossing the road? They’re totally making me sick that I had to run away even faster and wiped away the henna off my hands.

india gate

We are in the front of India Gate finally. Although my mood has been spoiled by now because of the henna girls incident. So. Tell me what’s so special that we had to walk THAT FAR to come all the way to here? =,=

Side note: We only found out later that Delhi has got this hop-on-hop-off bus which stops at a number of tourist places in Delhi (India Gate is included, so I guess it’s a better way to visit this place without hurting your feet too much). 

Delhi: Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid Delhi

How to get there: It’s located nearby (walking distance 1km) from the Red Fort (refer to here to get to the Red Fort)
Entrance: None, but camera will be charged Rs 200 (expensive!). I guess video camera was more expensive, so we decided to pay for camera only while I hide my DVD camcorder inside bag, and only take it out when nobody’s watching :P

It was Zuhur prayer time when we arrived in Jama Masjid, so I was hoping to see crowds of people praying. But there wasnt as many people as expected, and about half of them are actually tourists like us. There’s a large pond in the center of the mosque yard where you can take the wudu, but I cannot guarantee if you like the color of the water :P I let Az go inside to join the jamaan prayer, while I sit at the waiting area with our backpacks where many women are waiting with their little kids.

The Jama Masjid isn’t actually as big as we had expected. Maybe it’s claimed to be among the largest mosques in India (or at least, Delhi) if you count the yard – which is yes, very big. The interior part was only enough for at most 3 saf (lines).

The courtyard isn’t always full for prayers, probably only during Eid prayers (I think I’ve seen photos of Jama Masjid overloaded with people praying) while other time it’s a place for tourists hanging out, take pictures, and local people trying to sell souvenir.

Oh ya, you can see loads of pigeons inside, and they’re even being fed here. It can be fun, but at minus point, you’ll hardly see any area in the large yard free from birds poop, so watch out where you walk.

Photos above are taken using my super zoom lens, right from where I sat at the waiting area. Left: crowds at a typical street nearby in Old Delhi with insanely lots electric cables hanging. Middle: men sitting at the stairs towards the mosque. Right: The Red Fort seen from far away.

delhi jama masjid

After prayer we went to wander around the old town and find a place for lunch.

Accommodation in Delhi

We stayed in a guest house next to Mr.Bashir’s place. It was a simple but neat apartment. We were supposed to CouchSurf at Mr Bashir (whatever it might mean) but the least we thought that we would be given a complete hotel room! There was a girl called Sushma who’s managing the guest house. She’s a very chatty girl and loves to talk to us, and she’s speaking Hindi with us all times as if we understand her :) Ya this is Susma in the picture.

The location is in the South Extention II, less than 1km away from AIIMS Metro Station (AIIMS stands for All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, which is located next to the station, also with a hospital.) It’s still very convenient if you want a place near Metro station to get to almost everywhere in Delhi. If you’re too lazy to walk, rickshaws are available everywhere and it’s cheap if you bargain.

The guest house is a tall apartment, I think has around 5-6 floors.  It doesnt come with elevator, but not bad as stairs are clean and well kept, only once we had to give emergency call to Mr Bashir as a huge dog was sitting in the middle of stair when we were going down. The room rate as Sushma’s was Rs.1000, as pictured below.

The room doesnt come with attached bathroom, rather in every floor there’s a shared bathroom (looking posh though, with a small fan inside!) and a pantry (with kitchenette) shared by guests in two rooms every floor. So in every floor there are only two rooms (not crowded). I met a guest from Afghanistan staying here for about a month in the room the next door.

The apartment has a balcony, from where we loved stand to get early morning breeze and sunrise, while watching nearby buildings and people passing by the street.

This small car is India’s cheapest card produced, at Rs.100,000 and we get to see alot of them around!

A lovely sunrise in our first morning in Delhi :) We’ll be visiting many places today and tomorrow.

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