New Delhi, India (Capital)

New Delhi, India (2/12-13/2013) – New Delhi, India’s capital city, is a culture shock that assaults most of the human senses. India is land of contrasts and incredible beauty if you look past the blatant poverty of a developing-world country.

Choatic Streets Old Delhi India
Choatic Streets of Old Delhi, India
The sights, crazy horn honking traffic, vendors calling you into their shops, overcrowding, extreme contrasts between rich and poor, and smells can at first lead to sensory overload. Life is lived differently in India with its huge population of 1.2 billion people. If you approach your visit to New Delhi with an open mind, you can’t help question what is normal and come away with a life-changing experience.

Gypsy Tents Street New Delhi India
Gypsy Tents on Street - New Delhi, India
We had a brief visit to New Delhi and here are our impressions. When driving around the crazy horn-honking polluted traffic in New Delhi, you would readily conclude that the buildings, roads, and even main sights suffer from neglect and much of the city looks like a developing country. Watching cows walk down the main streets of a large city is a bit strange but its part learning experience available from the culture of India.

Indian School Girls New Delhi India
Indian School Girls - New Delhi, India
In the mist of all this, the colors of India are marvelous – the women in their colorful clothing, flowers, richly painted buildings, and even the trucks. Color is everywhere and the food is wonderful.

Obviously apparent, India is a young country with a large amount of it population below the age of 30. Hinduism is the religion of about 90% of New Delhi's population. There are also large communities of Muslims. With the vast differences in geography, culture, languages, and ethnicity, India is proud of being the largest democracy on Earth.

High Rise Condos New Delhi India
High Rise Building - New Delhi, India
Streets Old Delhi India
Streets of Old Delhi, India
There are vast differences between New Delhi and Old Delhi. Build by the British, New Delhi, with its wide boulevards, was declared India’s capital in 1911, but Old Delhi still is the center of commerce and religion. Demonstrating Old Delhi’s Islamic past and initiating you to your new world, the largest and principal mosque in India is in the heart of Old Delhi having been built in 1656. It can hold an amazing 25,000 people. The streets of Old Delhi are narrow and twisted, and all the streets have snarled clumps of electrical wires.

Qutub Minar Old Delhi India
Qutub Minar - Old Delhi, India
Old Delhi’s Islamic history is shown when visiting several famous sites. As a display of the Mughal’s splendor, the massive Red Fort is worth visiting (see photo). It is a 17th century fort complex and palace for the powerful Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. He moved his capital here from Agra and it served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857. Also, Qutub Minar, an UNESCO World Heritage Site built in 1192, is India’s tallest minaret. While in Old Delhi, a visit to the Chandni Chowk market area, located near the Red Fort, is an Indian bargain-finders and people-watching delight. The ambiance is exciting pandemonium with constant activity and stores selling a large variety of merchandise.

Laxminarayan Temple New Delhi India Birla Mandir
Laxminarayan Temple - New Delhi, India
The Laxminarayan Temple (also known as the Birla Mandir) is a Hindu temple. The temple spread over 7.5 acres, is adorned with many shrines, fountains, and a large garden (see photo). Located west of Connaught Place, the Laxminarayan Temple is an interesting introduction to the Hindu religion.

India Gate New Delhi India
India Gate - New Delhi, India
The India Gate (see photo) is the national monument of India built in 1931 commemorating the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. India’s leaders supported Great Britain in hopes of greater support for their independence that came in 1947.

Some very brief history about New Delhi... New Delhi was founded in 1911 and now has almost 14 million population in the metropolitan area. It is the capital of the India and home of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the government of India.

Last Steps Gandhi New Delhi India
Last Steps of Gandhi - New Delhi, India
Old Delhi, originally called Shahjahanabad, was a walled city built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan starting in 1638. Old Delhi was the capital of the mighty Mughal Empire until 1857 when the British moved India’s capital to Calcutta.

Indian Parliament New Delhi India
Indian Parliament - New Delhi, India
Travel tips... India has three main seasons - hot and humid Summer (March to May), Monsoon (June to September), and Winter (milder summer). The best time to visit is during the winter between November and February – February with some of the best weather. Locals in New Delhi can manage to speak in broken English and those working in hotels, many restaurants, businesses, and belonging to middle and upper class can speak fluent English.

Food Vendor New Delhi India
Food Vendor - New Delhi, India
Staying healthy in India... Most visitors choose bottled water that can be purchased reasonable cheaply – many hotels supply bottled water. When buying water from street vendors, make sure the lid is sealed and not refilled with tap water. Make sure you rinse your toothbrush with bottled water and keep your mouth closed when showering. It is also wise to be careful what you eat. Outside of major tourist hotels and restaurants, particularly risky things to stay away from are raw leafy vegetables and egg-based dressings like mayonnaise, and minced meat. To be safe, you should stick to boiled, baked, fried, or peeled goods.

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