Ahhh Delhi! It is good to be back.
We arrived into our hotel after over 24 hours in transit. All of us too excited to sleep! For most of our group it is the first time here in Delhi and there is much to see. Driving from the airport to our almost 4am arrival at our hotel it is hard to believe that this is the quietest time of the day here. We witnessed people gathered around small fires created roadside for warmth, myriads of trucks moving supplies for the day ahead prior to the onslaught of daytime traffic, small shanties set up for sleeping tucked into any available space, workers going about their tasks and the ever present sounds of car horns alerting one another of their presence. This is Delhi!
I marvel now as I did the first time I arrived in this city of 18.5 million at the abundance of green surrounding us. It is not what I expected to see. But in Delhi trees are highly regarded. It is not permitted to cut down a tree and if you do you must plant 5 in its place. So in this perpetually moving city there is an abundance of spectacularly large trees each doing its part to absorb the sounds, smells and smog that a city of this size creates. The trees provide a haven for the profusion of birds here, shade for the ever present intense sun and a welcome visual reprieve from the vast sea of buildings.
Our first day finished off with a rickshaw ride through old Delhi. The sheer cacophony of people, sounds, smells and sights create a surreal atmosphere that leaves you simply giddy! We all stepped off our rickshaws giggling like school girls and almost everyone said there is no way to explain what it was like. It is just something that you must experience.
Our second day in Delhi, along with seeing the must see monuments and important areas of the city, we enjoyed a fabulous cooking class at Nita Mehta cooking school. Nita is as famous in India as Martha Stewart is to us in the west. The resulting traditional Indian dishes were by far the best we have had so far this trip. One cannot help but marvel at the hours of preparation and the long list of ingredients that a traditional Indian meal takes. Everything is made from scratch, by hand and with much pride and care. The result is absolutely amazing! Chicken Tikka, Rogan Josh (apparently fabulous but mutton is not a food I personally indulge in), Gobhi Matar Aloo, Vegetable Pulloa, Dal Tadka, Shahi Paneer, Chappati and Saada Parantha were the dishes we devoured. Hard to pronounce, hard to make but very easy to enjoy!
Tomorrow we are off to Varanasi…Stay tuned!