The trip back to Delhi was by two trains, both trains were excellent and the train from Kalka to Delhi served breakfast and a great view of Northern India at daybreak and early morning. However, we broke the overnight journey at a government run hotel in Kalka where we had 6 hours. This was easily the worst hotel we had ever stayed in (and we’ve stayed in some awful places). They hadn’t got our reservation, when we sorted that out and we were shown to our room, you could only describe it as grotty and filthy, cockroaches and other assorted insects I couldn’t begin to name had made it there home. We slept on top of our bed and kept our clothes on, hopefully that will be the worst of our accomodation on our travels, the memory still makes me shudder!
On Thursday we went to see the Lodi Garden, Dawn had mentioned it and as she was doing the planning I said fine. This has to be my favourite site in Delhi, not because it was the most spectacular, but because the gardens were beautiful and there were 2 large tombs which you could walk around and explore yourself. We had a cup of Chai from a man who carried his own kettle with a burner underneath, watched eagles, parrots and assorted other birds I can’t name, but best of all you could wander around the tombs and ruins to your hearts content. The last half hour the park became more busy when hundreds of school girls ran around on a field trip. As mentioned before, they love photo with a westerner so we had to deal with groups of girls, shaking Dawns hand (never mine), asking questions and requesting photographs, then smiling and laughing as they went off. It took us half an hour to get out of the park, as they were more or less queueing to get our photograph, and they were all so polite it seemed rude to say no.
That evening we went to India Gate and saw the memorial to the Indian soldiers who fell in World War One. A very popular place with the locals in the evenings, full of families, food stalls and hawkers selling toys (though this may have been because of the run up to Diwali).
Our last day in India we went in the morning to the Akshardham temple, completed in 2005 this is an amazing complex to the south of the river in Delhi, easy enough to get to, but take my advice, dont take the cycle rickshaw from the metro to the temple as you spend 2 minutes going the wrong way down a 4 lane motorway!
Sadly (but undestandably for security reasons) you cannot take a camera or phone into the complex, so I only have a long shot taken through the Delhi haze to show you. It is well worth checking out. What’s most amazing it that there are still people with the skills to build something as spectacular as this today (and it’s free to enter), so do check it out on the web.
And so that’s it for India, we only really covered the highlights here in the blog. It’s been a busy 3 weeks, travelling by train, plane and automobiles,. If I get time I will write a few travel tips and thoughts, but for now it’s Namaste India and Konnichiwa Japan.