Ever since I got henna’ed and wore a sari to celebrate my friend Farah, I’ve been fascinated with culture of the Indian subcontinent. Sprinkle in some music from the Panjabi MCs and Bollywood films, and I’m hooked. Being in India—and experiencing this culture of juxtaposition—was incredible. Delhi…both old and new parts…is metropolitan and historic, with cars honking and bikes and rickshaws driving in every which way, people (and animals like wild boars, Brahma cows, and monkeys) everywhere, and seeing absolutely every walk of life out and about.
I was in New Delhi over a weekend in 2011, in between meetings in Australia and India. Saturday, I saw most of old and new Delhi, including Gandhi’s tomb, the Jama Masjid, and the India Gate. If you are traveling in Delhi by yourself, I highly recommend hiring a private tour guide and driver, as I was able to personalize what I saw. Another tip? I put my blonde hair into a cap, and I was not approached by anyone. (The next day at the Taj Mahal in Agra, I wore it loose, and one would have thought that I was a Disney character to pose with for pictures!) I’m so proud of the fact that I went for it alone…touring and meeting new friends while visiting.
I greatly enjoyed my time in this exciting, colorful country. India’s government has come up with the advertising slogan Incredible India!, which I find to be very much the case. The people were kind and happy, the contrast between the British-designed New Delhi and the older parts of the city were fascinating, and the delicious meals that I ventured out and tried for the first time made this a must-visit place. Incredible India, indeed!