So much assaults the senses on landing in a city teeming with people, auto rickshaws, lying dogs and great contrasts. To say that beauty is everywhere doesn’t do the city or its great mass of humanity justice.
Our on time arrival at 9 pm at the Indira Gandhi International Airport was great. Smooth flight, excellent Indian food on board.
When in the past I thought of India it was always color and super design .
Now after three days in India, I think of it as a special cosmos with beautiful people, exquisite fashion and surprises as with each turn of the kaleidoscope. We mastered the art of arrival with limited difficulty. We mastered how to buy a railroad ticket and how to get a ticket on a train that is fully booked the day before.
Today we mastered the art of buying a metro ticket and riding the metro.
That was some experience. First as we neared the railway station, we were beckoned this way and that way. Please lady, I don’t want to sell you something, just look. Hello. Hello. Come here I make you happy price. Somehow we became the targets or opportunities as we entered the New Delhi Railway Station.
We found we could get to the metro at New Delhi Railway station by going up the escalator, then crossing over the bridge over the rail tracks. Once down into the metro station we encountered a huge crush of people. It was like my former days in France when there were frequent railroad strikes. People squeezed together all over the station. It was hard to make our way thru to get to the machines where you could purchase tickets. Once there it was only to buy a higher value card or add to an existing card. So we found out where to purchase individual tokens for a specific destination based on the distance.
As we were headed to the Lotus Temple, we got a ticket to Kalkaji Mandir. We were to change from one line to another. The trip took us about 30 minutes once we were on the train. The system to pay to enter the platforms is similar to BART’s clipper card. You scan the token as you enter and to exit you drop it in a slot. How you select the correct line and direction is just like the French Metro system. That is you find your direction by finding the last station in the desired direction. You can also check the color. We started out on the yellow line and transferred to the violet line. As a double-check before you go up or down to your platform verify the list of stations to make sure you are correct.
A wonderful thing about the Delhi metro is that each train has a car specifically for women ( called “Ladies” in India). There are special pink markers on the platforms where the “ladies car” stop. All the other cars have some seats designated for Senior Citizens (60+), some for physically challenged and some for
“Ladies”. Most of the train cars are full with about one-third of the people standing. This is pretty much the case round the clock. On occasion, I have been offered a seat. On other occasions, my companion has requested that someone stand to offer me a seat. With the exception of the women’s cars, almost all other riders are men who stare continually at me. I was often the only person of non Indian descent. I took to wearing sunglasses at all times to avoid prying eyes.
Walking in Delhi can be a health hazard as there almost no usable sidewalks. You walk in the streets which have cars, trucks, auto rickshaws, bicycle rickshaws and wandering sacred cows. The streets are full of potholes and it seems more often than not you need to step over piles of something.
Another Phenomenom is where traffic lights exist, stopping for a red light seems more of a suggestion than the law.
Just to let you know, all these possible obstacles, are well worth overcoming to see the sights and people of this incredible nation.
The Lotus Temple is just one example. www.bahaihouseofworship.in
I highly recommend experiencing the Lotus Temple. See following post called “Lotus Temple Delhi”