A day in Old Delhi

Old Delhi is a fascinating place. One evening we accidentally were standing still with our motorcycle in the busy traffic of Old Delhi. Wow, what a crowd! What is going on here? What are all these people doing? It took a while to get out of the traffic which gave us the opportunity to look around. We were somewhat accustomed to in India and Nepal, but what we saw here, still surprised us. The next day we returned.


Old Delhi is a neighborhood in the city of Delhi, the capital of India. As the name suggests, Old Delhi is the old part of the cosmopolitan city. The Old Delhi market, or Chandni Chowk, forms the biggest part of the territory of Old Delhi. Nowadays Old Delhi is mainly a (wholesale) market, with many shops and stalls, but also the symbolic heart of the city.

Old Delhi is overwhelming for your senses. The suffocating feeling by the huge crowds. For these crowds, in Netherlands we have the saying ‘as herrings in a barrel’. Crossing the street is like a roller coaster experience along push carts, rickshaws, street vendors and motorcycles. The smells on the spice market are so strong that everyone is crying and sneezing there. Take your time to see colourful and vibrant India while enjoying the street food and local tea (chai).


In the middle of Old Delhi lies the largest mosque of India: Jaa Masjid. The mosque and its surrounding area is a haven of relative tranquility in Old Delhi. A beautiful mosque where the faithful come to pray, and others come here with children or family. The place has a bit of the vibe as we know in the Netherlands from a park, but without the church.


By nightfall, the light is beautiful in Old Delhi. The brilliant glow that comes over the streets and the dust illuminated by the lights. It gives a very special and beautiful atmosphere. Even if it’s late, the bustling continues as the market is stocked. The provisioning is done with old-fashioned push carts. The streets are full of men with these huge overloaded pushcarts that are unstoppable. Next to the late activity, the tired men are sleeping on the street or in their cycle rickshaw. How people can sleep here, you wonder?


One day in Old Delhi is too short, but it was an intriguing day, where we got a small glimpse of the fascinating life of this special part of Delhi.

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