I made another trip to Delhi recently, sepia-tinted memories of which are framed in the imaginary photo frames of my mind, waiting to be pulled out of those recesses and recounted. The trip was memorable as almost all my trips to Delhi are. I did try a couple of new things as Delhi has so much to offer and I always end up gorging at new eateries and discovering new adventures.
On this trip, I did a few very interesting things in Delhi. I ate at the only revolving restaurant in Delhi – Parikrama – at Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place. It is something worth witnessing once in your life, not just for the food, but certainly for the vistas it offers from the 24th floor, taking a full Parikrama (revolution) in one and half hour, giving a view of all the famous landmarks of central Delhi. I also visited the ISKCON temple at Greater Kailash and attended the aarti there.
The other interesting highpoint of my trip was a cycling tour I took with some cousins, organized by a company called DelhiByCycle. It was a tour on bikes from 6.30 am in the morning until 10.30 am, where we rode in the bylanes and alleys of Old Delhi for four hours, making stops at the famous historical landmarks. We were accompanied by two tour guides, one at the front and another at the back of all the cyclists, guiding us through the lanes and giving us a lowdown on the history of those landmarks.
The tour started at the old Delhi Stock Exchange and Turkman Gate, and the guide took us through Chawree Bazaar, into the bylanes that house the 200-year old magnificent havelis, leading up to the Spice Market, Flower Market, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort and Jama Masjid. Each milestone opened up a new facet to an interesting history of this part of Delhi, with havelis and monuments inspiring awe and wonder. Along the way, the guide narrated interesting escapades of men and women in Chawree Bazaar during the colonial times and stories about historical monuments, temples, mosques and buildings that have existed for the past many centuries.
Not only was it interesting to discover Old Delhi in this new light but it was exciting to do it riding on a cycle along with family and, although a bit tiring by the end, it was immensely pleasurable. The tour concluded with breakfast and a ride back to the starting point. The cycling tours of DelhiByCycle are a huge hit amongst foreigners, who enjoy this unique way of exploring the streets of Delhi. These tours are the brainchild of Dutchman Jack Leenaars, who is a passionate and avid cyclist. At the moment, they are running tours in Old Delhi, offering tourists and locals a flavour of Delhi along with narration of history, though inadvertently mostly Mughal history.
All in all, I had an interesting trip to Delhi, exploring old alleys and streets atop a cycle, sharing giggles and mirth with family, some of whom I was meeting after many years, and doing what we did best as children – cycled our ways from a misty yesterday into the uncharted passages of tomorrow. For every trip in life opens up a new chapter – and we tiptoed (cycled!) our way into a new horizon.