My first of 2 Delhi Photo Tours was a walking tour of Old Delhi. It was hot, noisy, chaotic and utterly fascinating.
Our first stop was the Daryaganj Sunday book market. Held only once a week, vendors set up their books for sale on the sidewalk. The books include novels, textbooks, comics, manuals and more; some books are new, but most are previously enjoyed. Some of the vendors pile their books up neatly; others just dump them in a pile.
The market goes on seemingly forever; it’s about 1 km in length.
These fairy tales and comic books were very neatly displayed.
It was very hot and many people were resting in the shade – I think some were actually fast asleep. How they could tune out all the honking and sleep is beyond me, but they seemed to be doing a good job of it!
This young man was doing an interview for a local radio stations using his cell phone.
I think what surprised me the most was the number of people actually making purchases. My guide even bought himself a book!
I noticed this figure on top of a building and the swastikas on either side. I asked my guide about them and learned that the symbol has been used in the Hindu religion since ancient times. This particular one (with the arms pointing in a clockwise direction) symbolizes the sun, prosperity and good luck.
After the book market, we headed to the Chandni Chowk area and just wandered the colourful and vibrant streets.
The walled city of Old Delhi was built from 1638 to 1649. While the wall is now gone and only a few of the 14 gates remain you can feel the history around every corner.
Here are just a few of the many colourful and interesting doors scattered around Old Delhi.
There a wires everywhere. Keep in mind that most of these buildings pre-date electricity…
It’s like stepping back in time – when was the last time you saw someone actually using a coal fired iron?
It was Sunday, so a lot of the shops were closed. The corrugated steel of the closed doors made for some interesting lines…
It’s amazing how many people they can get into a tuk-tuk!
Where else can you find multiple people having a shave (with a straight razor) at the side of the road?
Need a large pot for your next event? This is one of many places in this area that can help you out.
Our next stop was the area with the Spice Market (Khari Baoli). It was a little farther away, so we hopped in a rickshaw for the short journey through the busy streets. Hats off to the rickshaw drivers – most of them are not young men and it’s not an easy job in that traffic and heat!
This is Phool Mahkana (puffed lotus seeds) – they look similar to popcorn but the taste is different. They’re for sale everywhere in the spice market area…
Although they call it the Spice Market, you can buy almost anything you need to cook, including pots & pans. The vendors actually set up on the road!
Next up we visited the flower market. These birds were happily eating the bugs on the flowers.
This market sells local loose flowers – marigolds and roses. They are without the stems, so I’m guessing they are used mainly in making garlands.
The roses that aren’t sold are taken up to the roof top where the petals are dried in the hot sun.
Colourful pasta & dried vegetables for sale.
The wholesale spice market in Khari Baoli is reputed to be the largest in Asia. Unfortunately for me, it was a Sunday, and although many smaller shops were open the wholesale market was not.
Making the bread on the wall of a hot oven in the ground. The man in the back is making the balls of dough while the one in the front flattens them out and sticks them to the side of the oven.
These ovens used to be heated with wood, but these days they use propane.
The sheer number of wires running overhead always amazes me…
The last area we visited was the street known for selling ceremonial saris (think weddings). There were many shops selling beautiful, colourful fabrics. Notice there is no counter – the customers leave their shoes at the door and sit on the floor where the staff present the fabrics to them.
Back at the hotel they had these lovely fans – they had a water tank on the bottom so they sprayed a cooling mist. Very nice after a hot day in the city!