Brrr Delhi is cold! It was 6 degrees this morning when we braved it out onto our hotels rooftop for breakfast. Fortunately the food wasn’t actually served outside but the 10 second walk out there was enough of a reminder that we really don’t have enough warm clothes packed. We haven’t been this cold since July when temperatures reached freezing overnight in Banff National Park. I won’t describe breakfast as it’ll turn into a long moan but to sum it up we won’t be going back tomorrow and had to go to McDonalds afterwards.
You can’t walk more than a few minutes in Delhi without somebody trying to con you. I don’t think Nick’s white skin and blonde hair helps matters 🙂 Our walk to the metro station was full of different creepy men trying to latch on to us. Each one had the same story, as if they had reversed their lines together. The basic gist was we shouldn’t be walking, this area is dangerous, we need to get in a tuk tuk and go to the government office. After hearing this numerous times we were getting quite fed up and it was nice to finally get some peace once we reached the metro. I can only assume these men get commission from the tuk tuk driver and as for the ‘government office’ they were all going on about I need to look this up but it must be some kind of scam.
Our first stop on the metro (which was surprisingly clean and well maintained) was Akshardham temple. This Hindu temple received the Guinness World Record for ‘World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple’. It was constructed by 7,000 artisans who were helped by a further 3,000 volunteers. Different parts of the temple were made in various villages across India and then transported to Delhi for the final construction. The completed temple sits on 90 acres of land overlooking the Yamuna river.
I was really impressed with this temple, the intricate detail and hand carving was magnificent. We must have visited 100 temples by now and I have to say this one is high on my list of favourites. The whole building is made from just Italian marble and pink sandstone, from top to bottom inside and out the entirety of the walls are carved into various figures, gods and animals. It’s unbelievable that the whole place was put together in just 5 years considering it was all hand carved and many parts, such as the 148 elephants surrounding the temple, were created from single pieces of stone. It’s such a shame that camera’s aren’t allowed into the grounds (security is very tight, you’re not even allowed to take a bag) as we missed out on some amazing shots. Here’s a few from Google to give you an idea though:
The Akshardham temple took longer than planned but we managed to dash over to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple with a couple of hours of daylight to spare. This temple is open 24 hours a day and is the most prominent and well known sikh place of worship in Delhi. Interestingly it has an association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan as he lived here during his stay in Delhi in 1664. Upon entrance to the gold domed mosque we had to give up our shoes and cover our heads with scarves. Dad looked particular colourful in his bright pink headscarf 🙂
This was the first Sikh temple we had ever visited so it was interesting to see the difference compared to the Buddhist temples that have been the norm across Japan, China and Thailand. It certainly had a different feel to it, at most temples we’ve been to you can tell that maybe 20% of people are genuinely there to pray whilst 80% are probably tourists there to experience the culture. Here though, I would say it was the opposite, there were very few tourists and it was apparent that the majority of people were there purely to pray, join in with the ongoing service and pay their respects. It was also a noticeably younger crowd than we would normally see so deep into their faith at temples.
With the night drawing in we headed over the Connaught Place for a quick look around the market. Hundreds of stalls had goods piled high and you couldn’t walk anywhere without a shirt, pair of jeans or something else you really didn’t want being pushed in your face. They really need their marketing as I must have been offered mens jeans a 100 times. Everything was quite obviously fake, ‘Nike’ trainers were £4, ‘Levi’s’ Jeans £3.50 and ‘Armani’ belts £3. But if you don’t mind a wonky Nike tick and slightly suspect Gucci font you can come away with bags full for a few pounds 🙂
With Dominos a 5 minute walk from our hotel, choosing what to have for dinner was a no brainer. We spent the evening chomping on pizza whilst watching a film at the hotel.