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Chandni Chowk, The Moonlight Square

It was eight months ago since my last visit to India, but this time it was no longer the Silicon Valley on the south, but the mass wilderness of winter Ladakh on the north. There is a huge reason why we decided for the trip during the coldest time of the year here, will share the experience slowly. First thing I am glad with was the Visa that I already obtained which was still valid for this trip, saving me some cash and also time. It will be my coldest travel ever, hence I did spend a lot of effort in my packing, hope I did not miss out anything crucial in my luggage.

I took a flight together with Hybrid and Fabian from Penang, meeting Mandy and Andrew while transit in Kuala Lumpur, before all 5 of us board the same flight to New Delhi. The only option that we observe to reach our final destination, Leh, was by flight during the winter season, and since it was first time for few of us in India, we reserve one full day for some exploration in New Delhi before depart to Leh. Glad with the arrangement!

It was late when we reach New Delhi, and immediately board the taxi to fetch us over to our accommodation, Jugaad Hostel. The taxi seem to bring us to very outskirt area and messy area, initially I thought we are not in the correct way. However, after entering the hostel which is on the 4th floor of an old building, the environment change immediately as the interior was very clean and well maintained! Since this is a hostel, so there is sharing area such as living hall, terrace room a.k.a the balcony zone, as well as kitchen area. It was only around 900 rupee per bed, great deal for a quick transit here in New Delhi, further more it was quite close to the airport.

Hallway inside Jugaad Hostel.

The living hall, Fabian looked so tired there.

Our favorite spot, the terrace a.k.a balcony zone.

Messy parking lots just next to our hostel.

Our rooms.

After fill up our self with complimentary breakfast from the hostel, we negotiate with the local to fetch us over to Jama Masjid using 2 rickshaw, with 200 rupee for each car. 15 KM was not that close, hence it was a fair price in my opinion. The drivers stop us at Meena Bazaar, which we will walk through to bring us to Jama Masjid. The bazaar was very happening, which you can see the locals selling varieties of stuff along the way, and it was fairly crowded. Interesting fact here, lots of local cross-path will approach you and ask you to take a photo for them. Not sure what was the purpose, but I find it interesting and happy to help.

Simple breakfast to boost our day.

Fun ride with rickshaw, on our way to Jama Masjid.

Exploring Meena Bazaar.

Varieties of clothing item in the bazaar.

Random local folk asking me to take a photo of him. Sure do!

Interaction with local always bring out lots of joy.

Approaching main entrance of Jama Masjid.

Fabian and Mandy on the Meena Bazaar that we just done exploring.

My favorite Briyani on the street! Still full so I will have a try later.

We try to enter Jama Masjid from the main entrance and there come some so call 'ticketing agent' asking us to purchasing the entry ticket before we are allowed to go in. Funny fact was they are charging 300 rupee if you are in with your camera, but if you did not carry a camera with you, you still need to pay the same amount, not sure what was the need of differentiation here. Further more I was charged additional 100 rupee to rent sarong to cover my legs since shorts was not allowed. Make sure you keep your ticket with you as during the visit, there are more and more agents keep approaching you to show the ticket again to them, which I believe if you lost it, they will force you to pay for it again, so watch out! Oh ya, back to Jama Masjid, it was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 at a cost of 1 million rupees, and one of the largest mosque in India. The mosque was built with best mixture of marble and limestone, along with the carving and color, looked very beautiful, and peaceful.

First peak into the interior from the main entrance.

Look on the main entrance from the courtyard.

Main facade of Jama Masjid.

The prayer area.

Beautiful arcs design close to prayer area.

This courtyard was said to be able to accommodate 25,000 peoples.

Symmetric shot was my favorite.

Another view on the main facade.

The crowd resting on Gate 1.

After spending some time inside Jama Masjid, we then decide to have our lunch via Connaught Place, which was like 4 KM walk. The distance was all right, but it seem the best route was to walk through the old Delhi street of Chandni Chowk. There are some rickshaw guy warned us that it was dangerous for tourists to walk through that path due to massive pick pockets on the streets. Well, all of us was quite adventurous, decided to keep our important stuff in alerts, and there goes the adventure. Thanks god for this decision, as this was our best experience of the day, the small lane was full of local Indian peoples in their daily life, moving around, selling goods, bargaining on price, and smiling brightly to us when our eye sight was in contact! This was the best way for us to feel the real India by far!

The looks toward super crowded Matia Mahal road from Gate 1 stairs.

Nothing to worry, let's go!

Everyone got attracted to the surrounding environment very often on the street.

A really small two way street, there are even cars squeezing into this street!

Messy but peaceful.

Friendly folks asking for a photo, sure do!

Wander like a local.

Great way to hang your clothes with limited space.

Love of a man for his family.

Trashes at a random corner of the street.

Friendly boss smiling for the shot.

Local Indian barber shop.

Sincere smile from the local.

Moving over to Connaught Place using the divider.

While in Connaught Place wandering about what to eat, a local approach me and asking if I need some help. Worried that it was some trick hence I just say thanks and walk away, but he keep insist to offer his sincere help. Hence I ask for a good place for lunch nearby, and he bring us to a vegetarian restaurant called Sapur Ratna. The food was really good and we enjoy it so much, especially the Briyani for me! Thanks to the stranger and I am sorry for being curious on his motive at first. We have slight time left before the sunset, hence we also try to board the local Metro over to Rajpath, which was a famous ceremonial boulevard in New Delhi, and one of the most important road in India. The walkway was 2.5 KM in length with Rashtrapati Bhavan, a federal government office on the western most end, while India Gate on the most eastern part of the road. We decide to only walk a side hence we chosen the east, toward India Gate, which was a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War.

This conclude our day trip around New Delhi, and time to get some rest and get ready for the flight to Leh early morning tomorrow.

A taste on the local ice cream at Cremeborne.

Deciding on the meal.

Our sharing platter!

Thanks for the recommendation, stranger!

Inside Central Park metro station.

Queuing for tickets.

We with the one way token.

Relax walk on Rajpath, towards India Gate on the east side.

Another end far west was the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a federal government building.

Close up view on India Gate memorial.

Hybrid and his fans!

Taste of local delicacies close to our hostel.

Great sunset to conclude our day trip!

Chandni Chowk - India

January 2018

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