Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Wild Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi, India

Today we were going into Old Delhi, taking a flight to Mumbai and touring the city, and then heading back to the ship.

This is what Bus No. 5 looked like after an unfortunate brush with a truck yesterday in all the crazy traffic. I asked how it got resolved and the answer was both parties saying “Sorry, sorry, sorry.” I don’t know how they would ever figure out who was at fault.

One of our stops would be the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, and then taking a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi.

Look at these unique melons!

Isn't she beautiful? Even when you don't have a store to work with,  you can still show your produce with an appealing presentation...

Here is Old Delhi with its narrow streets and abundance of wires.

Our first stop was the Jama Masjid mosque, which is the principal mosque of Old Delhi. It was commissioned by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal, in 1644 AD. The courtyard of the mosque can hold up to 25,000 worshippers.

We had to be appropriately covered before entering. Aren’t we cute? The dresses were free and the socks really added to the look for only $1 extra. Phoebe (who was in the cabin next to ours on the ship) is on the left, followed by Margaret from Seattle, me, and Alex from Australia.

They love to feed the pigeons…

A group photo, which some of the local children ran over and got into. Notice the “skirts” on the men who were wearing shorts.

Ed and his harem...Barb was still not feeling that well and opted to stay on the bus. Margaret was travelling solo, so we were calling ourselves Barb's sister wives!

And then it was time for our rickshaw ride! Everyone jumped on board…

Margaret and I partnered up…

And we were off through the narrow streets of Old Delhi. What a ride! We passed a cow…

You can see how narrow and chaotic the streets are...

This guy with a load of bricks got temporarily stuck between our rickshaw and the one in front of us. We had all stopped, and the rickshaw ahead of us rolled back as he was trying to pass between us. Like he didn’t have enough problems...

We passed people, motorcycles passed us…all with no room to spare, but they worked it out!

Ooh! A jewellery store!

Another cow…

Loads of something…you had to watch your arms because sometimes there was little room to spare.

I took a movie while holding onto a water bottle and the rickshaw with one hand and holding my camera in the other. Needless to say, it's a bit shaky!

This lady was selling cucumbers…

Just after we went by, the little boy scooted out into the street. I cringed and looked behind as the mother rescued him.

A perfect representation of Old Delhi...

Karen and her mom ahead of us. She looked like she was enjoying the ride as much as we were!

And then we burst out of the narrow streets and onto a wider one. The drivers were so fast…next thing we knew we were passing people.

I wonder if they were unloading sarees?

The cow had fallen in love with these packages…or he was just plain tired!

Our driver was flying now. We passed Karen and her mom and were zooming down the street.

And with that our wild and wonderful ride ended. I wanted to do it again! It was so much fun!

We stopped at the Red Fort, which was also built by Shah Jahan, and served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857 when the British stepped in.

It was mainly a residence for the military during the British period. After independence, the Indian army used it for the same purpose until 2003.

Once again we were the subject of curiosity. They took our picture; we took theirs.

Busy streets…

It was so hot and these limes looked very refreshing.

Some of these people work extremely hard.

Our next stop was Raj Ghat, the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.

Cool tree!

It was a long walk up to the top and it was blazing hot.

Beautiful flowers…

The marble platform in the middle of the photo has an eternal flame and marks where he was cremated. I wondered about the carpet runners. You have to take your shoes off to enter this part of the site, and the pavement would be too hot. I could see now why Ash only took us to the overlook.

Beautiful…

Back on the bus, we toured New Delhi passing the many embassies and parks. I think we were killing time before lunch!

Gorgeous! The many faces of India.

The area with the embassies…

Oh Canada!

Our next stop was the Taj Hotel for lunch. The Taj is one of the best chain hotels in India.

They were setting up for a wedding that night. An Indian wedding is big affair often lasting 4 or 5 days.

Lovely flower arrangement in the lobby. They quickly ushered us downstairs. We must look like a bunch of vagabonds sometimes!

The lunch was amazing.

And then our tour ended at the New Delhi airport. Love the statues!

Different yoga poses to do as you salute the sun.

Comfy chairs!

Yeah, it was hot…and humid! Jim made a wise, but sad, choice to stay on the ship.

Ed bought some stamps from one of the hawkers. Somehow I didn’t think this was a typo!

We landed in Mumbai, where we did a quick tour. This is Dhobi Ghat, an open air laundry. Each pen has its own flogging stone for beating the clothing. It's also a communal bathing area.

Our tour guide, Douglas, was so proud of his city, which he still refers to as Bombay although the name changed in 1997. Some of the slums…

The Colaba causeway…this area is great for shopping, restaurants, and galleries.

This photo is very grainy as by now it was dark, and we were on a moving bus. But this is the Haji Ali Dargah mosque. There is a causeway leading to the mosque, but it can become submerged at high tide, so it's best to visit only at low tide.

There were many of these brightly lit and decorated carriages for tourists. It would have been really nice to spend more time in Mumbai.


The Gateway of India was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.

This Taj Hotel was the site of a 2008 bombing, one of a series of 11 bombings and attacks by terrorists from Pakistan. During the three days that the attacks lasted, 164 people were killed and at least 308 people were injured.

The Mumbai International Cruise Terminal…not much to look at, but I could see Jim waving to me from our balcony on the ship. I was so glad to see him!

India was an amazing experience. I would love to go back...

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