After the countries Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia, our trip was going on to India. To get from Denpasar in Bali to New Delhi, we had 2 flights ahead. First it was around lunchtime with Malindo Air from Denpasar to Kuala Lumpur. Here we deliberately did not put in a stopover, as we have already seen the city with the impressive Petrona Towers 2 times. So we went on to Delhi 2 hours later with the next flight, where we arrived around 9 p.m.
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The visa for entry to India
Delhi International Airport is Indira Gandhi International Airport, located about 10 miles west of Downtown New Delhi. The state-of-the-art Terminal 3 is one of the largest building complexes in the world. Germans need a visa to enter India, which is usually required to apply in advance to the relevant consulate in Germany. Since November 2014, however, there is the possibility of an electronic tourist visa. The e-Tourist Visa must be applied for no later than 4 days before the planned entry date and entitles you to one-time entry for up to 30 days. So perfect for us, as we only planned a stay of six days for India. We filled in the application online without any problems, had to pay 60 US dollars online and 24 hours later we had the confirmation by e-mail. An information board for the new Tourist Visa on Arrival can also be found at the arrivals terminal.
Our Hotel New Delhi
At the airport, a shuttle was waiting for us, which took us to our Hotel City Star. The hotel is located near New Delhi Railway Station in the Paharganj district, which is considered one of the city’s hotel and restaurant districts. Hotel names flash everywhere in illuminated advertisements and there is a bustle on the really dirty streets – whether that’s nice, everyone has to judge for themselves.
We spent three nights in the hotel. The free pick-up service at the airport worked fine – we just had to cover the parking costs. The location is ok, the airport takes 30 to 40 minutes and the New Delhi Railway Station is only 5 minutes away. The area around the hotel is not very nice, but dirty and noisy. However, we didn’t notice anything about it in our room, as it went out at the back. A small supermarket is about a 10-minute walk away. Just go out to the right of the hotel and then on the right after about 700 meters comes the shop “Reliance Fresh”. Our room was very nice – spacious, modern and clean. We felt very comfortable. As a welcome, there was a welcome fruit juice and a small fruit bowl in the room. Every day there were two bottles of water for free. The breakfast room is at the top – you can also sit out on the terrace. The breakfast offer is good – from hot things, to toast, muffins, doughnuts to fruit, everything is there. The wifi basically worked well, sometimes it stalled a bit. We booked a day time tour through the hotel and had our own driver for 8 hours, who took us everywhere and showed us the highlights of the city. The price for the tour is reasonable and perfectly fine compared to other providers. The staff were friendly. Particularly noteworthy here, however, is the security staff at the door, who greeted us with a beaming smile every time.
The difference between Delhi and New Delhi
One reads more often about the different spellings of the city, but in fact there is only the metropolis Delhi (“National Capital Territory Of Delhi”), which is divided into 11 individual districts. One of them is the Mughal city of Old Delhi (walled Old Town) and the government quarter of New Delhi,built by the British colonial rulers. Often the names “Delhi” and “New Delhi” are therefore completely interchangeable.
New Delhi is now the capital of India,home to the Indian government, parliament and supreme courts, and with nearly 14 million inhabitants, it is the second largest city in the country after Mumbai.
The Red Ford Fortress
In the morning at 9 o’clock we were picked up by our private driver at the hotel. The first stop of our city tour through Delhi was the Red Fort, completed in 1648. The Red Fort Complex is a fortress and palace complex from the period of the Mughal Empire and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Sitesince 2007.
The Ghandi Monument Raj Ghat
The next stop was Raj Ghat – the Ghandi Monument. After the assassination of Mahatma Ghandi in 1948, he was cremated and his ashes scattered in the sacred river, the Ganges. A monument was later erected at the site where his remains burned: a simple black marble slab on which an eternal flame burns. Every Friday there is a solemn ceremony here because Gandhi was killed on a Friday.
The India Gate
Then we came to India Gate. The 42-metre-high Arc de Triomphe was designed on the model of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The monument commemorates the 90,000 british Indian soldiers who lost their lives for the British Empire in World War I. The India Gate should not be confused with the Gate of India, which is located in Mumbai.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan
The headquarters and residence of the Indian President (Rashtrapati Bhavan) is located west of India Gate and comprises 340 rooms on four floors.
The Safdarjung Mausoleum
The mausoleum for Mirza Muqim Abul Mansur Khan (Safdarjung’s Tomb) who was born in Persia and emigrated to India is the last large tomb of Mughal architecture.
The Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple in Delhi is the youngest of the world’s seven Bahai temples. The Bahai religion is a worldwide religion with about five million followers. Like all sacred buildings of the Bahai, the Lotus Temple is open to followers of all religions. The name derives from the shape of the building, which is meant to resemble a lotus flower.
The Hindu Laxminarayan Temple
The Hindu Laxminarayan Temple was inaugurated in 1939 by Mahatma Gandhi, on the condition that it must be accessible to all castes. Admission is free,but photography within the temple is not allowed (for whatever reason).
In the late afternoon we arrived at the hotel again after our sightseeing program, relaxed a bit and went to bed early, as the alarm clock will ring tomorrow at 4.30 am for our tour to Agra to the Taj Mahal.