After one 14 hour flight to Doha, Qatar, a 3 hour layover, and a 3 hour flight to Delhi, I arrived in India at 2AM. After clearling customs and grabbing my bag, I found my driver and headed to our first hotel to meet Amanda – where I quickly passed out.
Our first day in India was overwhelming. We saw a lot in a short period of time. After an amazing breakfast (potato crepes and masala chai) we headed out on our private tour. First stop was at the Qutb Minar, a tower built by the Muslim Sultinate rulers of India. Each ruler added another portion to the tower, which stands at around 80 meters today.
Next, we visited one of the largest Hindu temples in the world, and the flat out most beautiful temple I’ve ever seen. Swaminarayan Akshardham was built in 2005 so it’s a modern temple, constructed entirely of volunteers 45 years under schedule. The attention to detail was amazing. No pictures are allowed inside or around the temple, so I pulled one from Wikipedia below.
For the last part of the day, we had an a great lunch of butter chicken and aloo phujia. Then we headed to the spice market via tuk tuk, which was one of the most intense experiences of my life. It compares with skydiving honestly. We spent about an hour driving the streets of old Delhi, which were packed – and I mean packed. Countless motorcycles, cars, bikes, rick shaws and tuk tuks made up the street, while thousands of people crammed the side walks and market place. We felt the eyes of everyone, had the fumes of all the cars around us blowing in our lungs, and were less than a centimeter away from too many vehicles to count. It was truly unbelievable that it was all working, but the traffic just seems to ebb and flow in a beautiful way. I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire trip – it was my first taste of culture shock in a long time.
We ended our day after Amanda bought some scarves at a local shop. I came away from the market empty handed. My brain was spinning from what I’d just experienced. We both fell asleep at 6pm and missed our arranged dinner – Delhi is certainly an overwhelming, and intense city.