Full disclosure: I am entering into this India trip with a whole lot of preconceptions about what I’ll find here. Overwhelming amounts of people, unbearable heat, strange smells, and warnings about “Delhi belly” are the highlights of what I was told to prepare for. After collapsing into bed Thursday night, we woke up Friday morning to enjoy a lovely breakfast at the hotel and to plan our first day taking in the city. As we started to discuss over breakfast, we got to chatting with a woman from California who has been living in India for years. She runs an orphanage in Haridwar and was gracious enough to give us some tips on what to see, how to get around, and a contact number in case we ran into trouble. It was helpful information! Our plan for the day became: Humanyun’s Tomb, Lodi Gardens, and Dilli Haat.
We decided to start the day here, and since we were feeling rested and ambitious, we walked! Google maps claims it is about 25 minutes from our hotel: add in the heat, plus the hectic roads, plus our completely lack of knowledge about where we were going, and it actually took closer to 45 minutes to get there, but who’s counting…(thanks for your map screenshots and direction skills, Paulina!)
Built in 1573, the tomb is magnificent. It pre-dates the Taj Mahal by more than 70 years and served as a model of Mughal architecture. Humayun was the second Mughal Emperor who ruled from 1531-1540 and again from 1555-1556, first coming to power at the age of 23. He died at the age of 47 by an unfortunate incident of tripping on his robes while kneeling to pray and tumbling down several steps before hitting his head on a stone edge. His son and successor, Akbar, commissioned Humayuns tomb along with Humayun’s wife. It took over 8 years to build, and the building really was amazing to see. I also loved how peaceful this area felt.
After walking the grounds of Humayun’s tomb for most of the morning, we decided to head over to Lodhi Gardens for lunch and some rest. This is a large park located in New Delhi that stretches over 90-acres. It includes several tombs and a beautiful lake. There wasn’t much here for food, so we just wandered through and rested on the grass for a bit before moving on to Dilli Haat for food and shopping! This park was peaceful and relaxing. We are all looking forward to spending another afternoon here and maybe bring in a picnic to enjoy.
By this point we were all hot, tired, and very hungry. Luckily, Dilli Haat is perfect for that! This large bizarre is full of all kinds of food and has shops selling local goods. It was a great place to sit down and recharge before tackling a bit of shopping. You are required to pay a small entry fee, but it was worth it for the atmosphere.
We ended up back at the hotel that evening just as exhausted as we had been the first night. We ordered dinner from a delivery service provided by our hotel and promptly fell asleep after polishing off our food. Another day well spent!