A Travellerspoint blog

Delhi to Tordi Garh Day 6

We had the early start because we had a 6 hour train journey to take us near a village called Tordi Garh. The train station was packed, even at 5.30am on a Sunday. It's a massive place, which is probably much more organised than it looked, there were people sleeping everywhere, and lines of people waiting, groups milling about. But we got to our train without a hitch. The seats were big, and comfortable with loads of leg room, I think the whole group were asleep within minutes of leaving the station. Then a little while later they came round with breakfast, some kind of potato cake type things, with veggies, which were far nicer than I thought they'd be, some bread and butter and a cup of tea or coffee.

It was a very pleasant journey through the countryside of India. The views were spectacular, and changed from almost desert, to rich foliage, to urban and back to desert almost in a blink of an eye. One minute it would be sandy yellow landscapes, and then without noticing we'd be in the middle of a patchwork of fields and trees. Eventually we arrived at our stop, and piled into jeeps waiting to take us on the 2 hour ride to Tordi Garh. This journey was quite something. The jeeps had 2 front seats (driver/passenger), a row of 3 front facing seats behind them, and then 2 bench seats facing inwards behind that. We had 9 people in total to a jeep, so we had enough space in the back. Our driver had some awesome 90's tunes pumping, and even if was a little bumpy, scary and rough going at times, it was a lot of fun.

We pulled into the small, very remote village of Tordi Garh in time for lunch which was a delicious home cooked buffet. The hotel was an old palace used by the royal family, which they are in the process of renovating. Our rooms were small and basic, but lovely. The whole place had a very homely feel to it. We spent the afternoon wandering around the village, playing with the kids, watching them play cricket - of course - and taking in the daily life of the villagers. A local girl then came to the hotel to give us henna tattoos - she was so talented. She just came up with the most intricate designs without even thinking about it. After dinner of another buffet, we all hit the sack pretty quickly after our stupidly early start. Plus we had decided to do a sunrise hike up the hill to watch the sunrise, which meant yet another one!

Posted by RaeRae8183 09:51 Archived in India Comments (0)

Delhi and Tour Day 5

My final day in Delhi was spent with Ringo and his friend Sam, driving around seeing the sights. When you know the places to go, it's is a stunning city. The architecture is incredible, and it's just all so old. After a breakfast of South Indian Samba, 2 bread dumplings in a bowl filled with a delicious yellow, spicy, creamy sauce, (bought from a little street stall, eaten out of real China bowls in the car!) we went to different sites and sights, the names of which I will always struggle to pronounce. But the first place we went, the Qutab Minar, consisted of the tallest tower constructed in the 13th century. It's the 2nd highest Minar in Delhi at 238 ft, and it was incredible. There were so many ruins, and tombs, and a mosque and beautiful structures, all of a sort of pink stone surrounding it. It took my breath away. I could have spent hours wandering around and exploring, but it was so hot, I admitted defeat and went back to the nice air conditioned car!

We then drove to Humayun's Tomb, which was constructed 100 years before the Taj Mahal, but is a smaller, very similar version. It, too, was just amazing to see. There were intricately decorated gates, and recesses into the thick walls surrounding the complex, and again I could have spend far more time there than I did. I just knew we had lots more to see around the city, and by this time the sun was much higher and I was melting! So back again to the comfort of the car, to go for lunch in a little cafe around the corner. It was tiny, but always full of both locals and tourists, there was never an empty table, which is always a good sign. After another shared dish of veggies and bread, we went for more of a driving tour of the buildings you're not allowed in; The government buildings, the Presidential Palace, India Gate, and The Lotus Temple. All of which were stunning, huge and very impressive.

By now it was nearly time for me to meet my tour group. It was sad saying goodbye to Ringo, having had such a great time with him. But it was time for new adventures!

We had our first group meeting, which was very quiet, no one seemed to talk much. I was surprised to see that most of us on the tour had come on our own. We had just 1 couple, 1 pair of friends and 1 trio who came together. The rest of the 15 of us were all solo travellers. This made it much easier for us all to gel, and by the end of the meeting we were chatting away. We were 12 girls, and 3 guys (2 of whom are the couple), 12 Aussies, 2 Brits and 1 American. The ages range from 19 to 37, and almost instantly we all got on really well. We went out for a group dinner, to a restaurant not far away. It's one of the 'tour approved' places and so was not particularly authentic. We had a knife and fork for starters - I haven't used a fork for 4 days! The food was much more expensive and no where near as nice, and the only people in there were 3 tour groups. Still, the food was delicious, and it was nice to chat some more to the group, and to our tour leader Vikash (bee-cash). We had a 5.00am start the next morning, so after dinner it was an early night for us all.

Posted by RaeRae8183 20:46 Archived in India Tagged delhi Comments (0)

Back to Delhi Day 4

The next morning we had some breakfast of stuffed paratha (a meal I would come to eat a whole load more!!), then hit the road back to Delhi. It was actually real sad to leave Rishikesh to come back to the hustle and bustle of the big city. The journey back was easier, with the exception of a huge detour which took us down a complete rubble road for about 30mins. It was hard on the poor car, and really not great for our backs! But it was an adventure which took us through small villages and real rural Indian life.

When we arrived back in Delhi we went straight to my next hotel, which was amazing. By far the nicest place yet. I just dropped my stuff off, then went straight back out to drive around the city with Ringo for a little bit to see some sights. He took me to a street stall for some chai tea, (which has become my new favourite drink). I was slightly worried when we first arrived, as the guy making it was washing the pots in a bucket of water, but I'll tell you something, that tea was the best cup of tea I think ever had! It was sweet, spicy (cinnamon, cardamom and a bunch of other stuff), and watching him make it right in front of me was great! And, I didn't get sick! Woo! We then actually ended up going to Ringo's house for dinner, which his sister had made. Real homemade family food. It was such an incredible experience, and delicious! We had another lentil dish, similar to daal, but a little different, and then a vegetable dish. Neither of which i can remember the names of! They were a little spicier than I had been eating, but not too bad, and with the homemade chipatis, it was no problem. She had also made some sweet chipatis especially for me. They were syrupy and gooey and filled with coconut. Oooh, they were good!! I just don't think you can beat real homemade food - no matter where you are in the world!

It was then time to head back to my amazing hotel for my last night on my own before my tour started.

Posted by RaeRae8183 03:43 Archived in India Comments (0)

Rishikesh Day 3

Today we were supposed to be going to see a couple of temples, but actually we spent the morning and most of the day watching the India v Australia World Cup Cricket Final. It was amazing watching a game which is so beloved here with actual Indian people. It was a shame they lost, but it was fun all the same.

We then just chilled out in the serene surroundings of the hotel for the rest of the day, eventually heading out for some dinner. Guess what we had? Yep - more daal! It's just so tasty, and Ringo wasn't eating meat that week due to a religious festival, so I was happy with the same food. One of the best things about having a local guide is learning the local culture, and history. I am intrigued and fascinated with the Hindu religion, so hear about what it all means and where it all came from from an actual person, rather than books of the internet was amazing! I could listen to his stories all day! It was so nice to be so relaxed and chilled out before what I knew would be a hectic couple of weeks of travelling. I wanted to make the most of the down time, and actually, there isn't really a whole lot to do there. That's why it's the perfect place for a retreat!

Posted by RaeRae8183 03:31 Archived in India Tagged rishikesh Comments (0)

Delhi Day 1

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Namaste from Delhi! This city is unlike any other I've ever been to. It's just constant mayhem. When I arrived at the airport, the cab drive to my hostel was hilarious (to me anyway!). There are road markings down on the streets, but they just drive on the lines, or wherever there's space, and when it comes to traffic lights they all just pile up together, tuk tuks, cars, motorbikes, vans...you just barge your way through, no relenting! I was amazed at the lack of bumps and scrapes. It was brilliant to watch. On a three lane road, there will be a row of 6 cars at the lights. It takes some getting used to! The drivers use their horns instead of their brakes! It's like they'll just take whichever path through the traffic they want to, lay on their horns, to say 'I'm coming through MOVE' and go. You have to have to be utterly ruthless to drive in India.

One thing that surprised me was how green the city is. Once you get out of the hubbub of the middle, there are trees and parks all over the place. I leant that Delhi is one of the greenest cities in India - a conscious effort to try and reduce the effects of the awful pollution. It sure makes for a beautiful city though.

Having arrived at my hostel, to a large 6-bed empty room, I plucked up the courage to venture out on my own. It was scary, but not threatening in any way, just lots of looks and the occasional comment. More intimidating that threatening. I then met a very lovely guy in the street who was kind enough to walk with me, and tell me what not to do, and where not to go. He then hailed a tuk tuk to take me to the tourist office, at the bargain price of 20p! Once there, I was convinced, possibly all too easily(!!) into hiring a driver to take me up to a place called Rishikesh, which is a yoga retreat up in the mountains for a couple of days. It turns out, this would be the best decision. But more on that later.

Heading back to the hostel, I realised I was real hungry, and wanted to explore the area to find some food, but I was so scared about going out on my own!! Eventually, another girl arrived at the hostel, who has just finished a trek to Everest Base Camp, so we went out for some dinner together. Things are far less scary with 2!! My first taste of real Indian food. We had some butter chicken and some aloo gobi, potato in spinach. It tasted much better than it looked! It was bright green, and nothing like the Aloo Gobi I've had at home! But it was food, and after my long flight and stressful day of crazy Delhi exploring it was goooood! After dinner it was back to the room to repack my bag ready for the 8.00am pick up to head to the mountains!

Posted by RaeRae8183 03:14 Archived in India Tagged delhi Comments (0)

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