Portfolio: exploring Delhi by bicycle
On our first day in Delhi, we woke up at 6am to avoid the heat and heavy traffic in order to see the Indian capital from a different viewpoint by cycling through its Mehrauli District. Equipped with sturdy bicycles and helmets, we were taken off the beaten track to unknown temples teeming with cheeky monkeys, deserted tombs, colourful markets, rose gardens and much more.
Our guide, Dalip, was a graduate from the Salaam Baalak Trust, an orphanage in Delhi that specialises in giving opportunities to children under the age of 18 living and working in the streets. This non-profit organisation provides care and protection to those who have nothing – giving them health, hope, education and training so they can fulfil their dreams. The Delhi cycling tours are a wonderful and worthwhile initiative that we highly recommend to our clients.
The beauty of the morning was that there was hardly another tourist in sight. Our first stop was Adam Khan’s Tomb, built in the 15th century. Mehrauli, in South Delhi, is much older than Old Delhi and here you can find some of the region’s best architecture.
We then came across an ancient stepwell, where locals were washing their clothes. It is remarkable how clean the garments come out considering how polluted and littered the water seemed.
We were taken to the Summer Palace – it felt like loads of tourists should have been here, as it was such fascinating architecture with a very interesting history, but once again, we were the only people there.
We also stumbled upon a chaotic vegetable market – the sights, sounds and smells were somewhat overwhelming but the friendliness and enthusiasm of the vendors added to the excitement.
We finished at the colourful Dadabari Jain Temple, which for me, was Delhi’s most peaceful spot. The building has been immaculately preserved and maintained, and the extensive mirror tiling was extraordinary.
I have been to Delhi on a number of occasions, but I never knew what was beyond all of the main tourist sites until we embarked on this wonderful adventure.