Below the mountainous extremes to the north lay a wide and fertile plain with a history of thousands of years. Delhi, ancient Indraprastha, lies in this region and has served as a crossroads, even to this very day.
A symphony of smells and sights greats the weary traveler as soon as you walk the streets of Delhi, quite unlike anything you have seen on your journey thus far. Mosques, forts and grand buildings dominate the skyline as bazaars line the perimeter, selling every trinket imaginable with a wild assortment of characters. The foods are full of spice and flavor, warming your body from the ice-stricken days that came before. The folk are friendly, but it’s the too friendly that should kept with a close watch as they try to scam you of your money. But let not the stimulation overwhelm you, as Delhi holds many wonders, both ancient and modern.
Delhi, which was known as Indraprastha from long ago, stands in a strategic position with the wide Gangetic plain to the west, the vast south India, and the mountains to the north. Merchants, missionaries and pilgrims alike used these routes through India, stopping off at this very spot. And it’s the religious aspect that perhaps is of greater value than the Silk, as Buddhism and Hinduism found its beginning here with Islam expanding. Architectural wonders abound here as well, leaving one speechless. A thirteenth century minaret, Qutb Minar, rises 238 feet in the center of Lol Kot, Delhi’s oldest fortified city. A 16th century tomb, the Mughal emperor Humayan’s, sits beautifully on the banks of the Yamuna River. It was also India’s first garden-tomb constructed. One of India’s largest mosques, the Jama Masjid, stands proudly in the center of Old Delhi, a symbol of the Islamic power that swept across India from the 17th through 19th centuries. All these world class sites, now protected as world heritage sites, forms an image of Delhi that is hard to forget. But at the same time, the dirtiness and poverty in regions reminds you that not all times are well for the people who live here. But after even just a couple days in India, you wonder why it took so long for you to get here in the first place, and soon waiting eagerly for a return.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here:
By plane from Kathmandu, Nepal. Delhi is the capitol of India and one of the largest cities in the world, with flights to almost anywhere in the world.
Walking around Humayun's tomb, our first introduction to the architectural wonders of India. It did not disappoint and prepared us for what's to come.
Simply experiencing India for the first time - whether tasting new foods, observing the locals, or zooming by the streets on tuktuk.