FORGOTTEN ABOUT IN DELHI
I arrived into Delhi airport on time and was expected to be met by G Adventures but there were very few people around. It was around 1am. I waited for a while and started to worry. I eventually found a number for the transfer company and got hold of someone. It took 20 mins to get them to agree to pick me up as they said they didn’t know I was arriving. I had 3% battery and was panicking. All in all it took 1.5 hours for them to get me. I was pretty pissed off and very tired. When I got to the hotel at 3.15am they told me that our leaving time for the first day was 6.30am. OMG!
After two hours sleep we left for Old Delhi. Delhi is separated into territories. At Paharganj area we did the Salam Balak City Walk. It’s where a previous street kid takes you on a walk around the windy streets of Delhi.
The young guy who took us around was called Ashmal and he got stolen from his village but managed to run from his captors. He got taken in but couldn’t return to his family because he was so young he didn’t know where he was from. He’s 17 now, he looks good and is clearly doing well. Ashmal said most kids run away because they think they’re running away to The Promised Land – a place where all their dreams come true. Ashmal told us kids run away because of things like abuse, girls are sold as slaves, girls also get forced to marry as children and some children just think they’re going to get a better life in Delhi. In reality, most kids who end up in Delhi and hate it. Then the charity finds them and tries to get them to go back home. The ones who don’t want to go home get to stay in the charity accommodation and are educated and kept healthy. It’s a tough job. Unfortunately it’s only a tiny proportion of run away or lost kids are helped in this way. It’s a big problem that they’re trying to fix. There are lots of success stories though. Some of the old street kids are respected artists now, dancers, work for companies or have their own businesses.
In Old Delhi we also visited the Jama Mosque. It’s huge and white inside. You have to wear these long dress things and be bare foot, the floor was like an oven. It’s beautiful and hosts around 25,000 Muslim people or visitors at any one time.
There were lots of people, mainly men, out on the streets selling all sorts of things from clothes to fruit drinks. There were also taxis, rickshaws (tuk tuks), bike rickshaws, scooters and lots of stray dogs. It’s was hustle and bustle at its finest.
Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is the Sikh place of worship we arrived at.
It’s is one of the nine historical gurdwaras in Delhi. First constructed in 1783 by Baghel Singh to commemorate the martyrdom site the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. Situated in Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, it marks the site where the ninth Sikh Guru was beheaded on the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb on 11 November 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam
Other than the place of worship, inside there is a karma kitchen where anyone in the world can be served food. From the richest person to the most humble human, it’s open to everyone, everyday. They believe that it’s good karma to help people and hundred of volunteers prepare food with the money and offering they make at the gurdwara.
Later we returned back to the bus via Kinari Bazar Lane. It’s full of gold and silver delights.
AGRA – HOME OF THE TAJ MAHAL
We travelled to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal and the first thing we saw was the Baby Taj…Itimad-Ud-Daulah. It’s named that was because people say it looks like the Taj Mahal but small. Cute.
FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE TAJ MAHAL
We watched the sunset over the big Taj Mahal (affectionately called Taj) that evening – was divine. It was my first taste of seeing the magnificent structure…boy is it beautiful.
To watch it we went to the Mehbt Bagh which is across from the Yanuna river. The Taj changes colour at different points of the sunset because of the different hues of light and the translucent marble of the Taj itself. Those of you who know me know I’m obsessed with sunsets and this is now one of my most memorable ones for sure.
The day after was the big Taj for real.