Delhi was a thrill -- and an assault. The traffic was perhaps even more intense than Mumbai, with many more cows wandering the streets, the occasional temple elephant, horse cart with goats in tow, bicycle rickshaws, and people pulling sledges on top of the usual buses, rickshaws, scooters, motorcycles, and cars. There are no traffic lights to speak of, and one of us was once escorted across 12 lanes of blazing traffic by a helpful local, like a little old lady. The touts can be relentless and inventive, but Delhi is chock-a-block with history and endlessly fascinating. For example, Old and New Delhi really do feel worlds apart, even though it’s only about a 15-minute walk between the two. When we were there, it was cold and foggy, and weather conditions, coupled with fires people burned for warmth, made the pollution the worst any of us had ever experienced. It grounded planes for a couple of weeks as well, but shortly thereafter, we heard it was beautiful. (Initials after the photos indicate photo credit: Daniela Rible, Michael McCrystal, Erica Gies.)
The Red Fort, built by the Islamic Moghuls in 1556. (EG)
Red Fort. (EG)
The Red Fort. (EG)
Cow and calf hang at Lovely Store, Pahar Gange. (EG)
Fruit store with perfect piles (!) in Pahar Gange. (EG)
barcode bar and restaurant in New Delhi. (EG)
Detail at the Taj. (DR)
Erica at a building in the Taj complex. (MM)
First glimpse of the Taj. (EG)
Taj. (EG)
Taj. (DR)
Taj. (EG)
Taj. (MM)
Taj. (MM)
Sikh man in front of Dosa Corner. (MM)
Michael and Erica at Agra Fort. (DR)
Agra Fort. (EG)
Agra Fort. (MM)
Agra Fort. (MM)
Artistic vendor on the streets of Agra. (EG)
Menu at the Agra train station. (MM)
Qutab complex. (EG)
Qutab complex. (EG)
Band at a wedding. (EG)
Delhi street scene. (DR)
Delhi traffic. (EG)
Erica with friends at Jama Masjid. (DR)
Man nodding off on the steps of Jama Masjid. (EG)
Posh beer at a 5-star hotel. (DR)
Ganesh, Hindu god of prosperity outside our hotel. (EG)
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Built between 1632 and 1644 by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. (EG)
Daniela and Erica, howling in front of the Red Fort at a guy who wanted to sell us faux beard-and-moustaches for Rs150 ($4). A few hours later, he was ready to let them go for Rs10 (25 cents). We declined. (MM)
Our ‘hood in Old Delhi, Pahar Gange. Touristy but colorful, its skinny dirt streets were filled with wandering cows and the occasional temple elephant. (EG)
Saravana Bhavan, a great restaurant, is based in Tamil Nadu but has an outlet in Santa Clara, CA, where we have come to love it. So we were excited to visit our first Indian outlet in Delhi. (MM)
Bicycle rickshaw, Pahar Gange. The ‘hood is starkly different than the wide paved avenues of Connaught Circus, New Delhi, nearby. (EG)
In India, many household chores go streetside, such as this man ironing outside our hotel in Pahar Gange. (EG)
Getting a shave can also be a walk-by experience, although Michael usually patronized barbers with shops. (EG)
Great appetizer halfway between Pahar Gange and Connaught Circus. Mmmm ... (EG)
Lady and her sweatered dog on the train platform in Delhi. Most dogs we saw in India were mongrels, but we did see a few pampered pets. (EG)
Erica attempts a classic Bollywood move at Agra Fort. (MM)
Ceiling fans on the train to Agra. It was December and chilly when we were there, but Agra can reach 130 degrees, and fans are required to make it bearable. (EG)
Many Indians wanted to take photos with us, but this group actually thrust their baby into Erica’s arms for a solo portrait with the Taj. The poor child took one look at this weird foreigner and started crying. (EG)
In Agra, we stopped at Lakshmi's Villas for a shocking surprise: A FOUR-FOOT DOSA! Oh, happy day! (EG)
Qutab Minar, a 239-foot tower, was begun in 1199 to proclaim the victory of Islam after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom in Delhi. (EG)
The Qutab complex contains several important monuments. (EG)
Rose-ringed parakeets were at many temple and monument sites. (EG)
Alai Minar, intended to be bigger than Qutab Minar, but never finished. (EG)
Michael and his friend Radha and her son at her house in Delhi. She had us over for a delicious dinner. (EG)
Crowded Delhi street scene with Jama Masjid mosque barely visible through the fog/smog. (DR)
Street dentist awaiting customers in front of Jama Masjid. (EG)
Man selling samosa molds in front of Jama Masjid. Our buying a few was the subject of huge curiosity, and a large crowd gathered. (EG)
Man selling snake oil goo complete with silver leaf in front of Jama Masjid. (DR)
A lobby at the 5-star Le Meridien Hotel in Delhi featured this lovely sculpture. Ahem. (EG)
Michael at the Delhi airport, where we waited for a few hours for our chance to depart in the fog. The airport was in chaos due to the weather because many domestic planes and pilots are not cleared to fly in such weather, and the airport has no infrastructure to support any kind of delays -- no extra seating, only one restaurant. We witnessed several fights and shouting matches. (DR)