New Delhi, India

It was with great excitement that we were about to arrive in New Delhi, India.  Our flight on the 17th October 2014 from Qatar to Delhi went quickly.

We are now three and a half hours ahead of our home time in Cape Town, South Africa.

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The Ebola Virus Disease was currently an issue.  All passengers on the flight had to fill out a form stating where they’d recently travelled to and warning one of the dangers of this life-threatening disease.  They had officials checking everyone as we made our way through to customs.  Pulling a few people over to check their temperatures and to ensure that they were healthy before allowing them to enter into India.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in India’s capital, New Delhi.

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The Indira Gandhi International Airport

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After passing through customs, we made our way to Deneb & Pollux Tours & Travels which have a kiosk near the exit.  There are a few car hire/taxi businesses next to each other, all happy to help get you from A to B.  Our taxi drive cost us INR 1600 which we paid for in advance.

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The Toyota we found ourselves in was nothing we’d come across at home.  The rear seat is raised, giving the passengers a lovely, clear view of the road ahead.  I’m not too sure if this is wise in India as my senses were on edge already, after a few kilometres on the road, seeing how commuters get around in India.  It was our first taste of traffic issues to overcome.

Not far from the airport, we came across a car, parked in the middle of the highway, in one of its lanes.  The passengers were casually chatting without a care in the world of another vehicle crashing into them.

There were plenty of three-wheeled Rickshaw/tuk-tuk cars, horses with carts behind and motorbikes with a whole family riding together (helmet free).  Ladies riding side-saddle on the backs of bikes as their beautiful dresses drape over the side.

We found that the individual lanes on the road didn’t mean that there’ll be only 4 or 5 cars abreast each other.  Cars will squeeze alongside with only an inch of room to spare.  They hoot to warn each other that they’re pushing through the traffic. Nudging themselves forward leaving no free space on the road between them.  The motorbikes hop on and off the pavement, weaving in between the pedestrians, using the pavement as if it’s another lane. Pedestrians freely walk amongst the congested traffic.

We came to the conclusion at the end of our months stay in India, that we would never attempt to drive ourselves around.  We deserve the t-shirt with the slogan “I survived the roads of India!”  Somehow, it all works, in sync with each other:  pedestrians, cyclists, buses and cars all making their way as naturally as can be within all the chaos and noise on the road ahead.  Indians are used to it.  I think I would be the same if I’d been brought up with it.

We saw a lady had fallen off a motorbike while everyone around her was pointing at each other, accusing one another.

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The petrol price at a service station we stopped at where they charged Ian a fortune for his small bottle of water he bought inside the shop.

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We drove past India Gate that stands 42m high in honour of all the soldiers who lost their lives during World War 1 and the third Afghan War.  The hexagon shaped area it stands on has an estimated diameter of 625 metres and is very close to our hotel.

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India Gate

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There were lots of street vendors around this area, selling lemons and their homemade lemon juice.

The Oberoi, New Delhi, India

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It is one of the most exclusive hotels in the capital of India, centrally situated with just a 10 minutes drive to the commercial centre and 30 minutes from the airport, overlooking the Delhi Golf Club.  Its facilities include 24-hour personalised butler service, room service, executive centre, a Spa and Fitness Centre, swimming pool, banqueting and conference facilities, International boutiques and wireless broadband internet access in the rooms.  It has three restaurants, Travertino with its Italian Fine Dining, Threesixty with the best of world cuisine and Taipan which is purely Chinese cuisine.  In the Club Bar, you will be welcomed into its quiet haven that hosts a selection of fine spirits and cigars.  The Business Centre has four private offices and six meeting rooms.

This traditionally dressed gentleman below welcomed us to the hotel.

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Our bags went through the scanner and we walked through the security check into the beautiful hotel with the gentle sound of running water coming from the water feature in the middle of the entrance hall.

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The tranquil swimming pool and garden of The Oberoi that’s meticulously maintained and a haven of peacefulness.

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Janice, a friend of a friend, sent us up a complimentary bottle of wine to enjoy.  It was delicious.  We went down to the three sixty restaurant and feasted on some delicious tempura prawns and Ian had a juicy hamburger.

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We had a wonderful stay here, with fantastic food, a calm and peaceful ambience and the quality of service you’d expect from an exclusive hotel.  At the time, we were there our room rates were INR 13,000.  A luxury room tax of INR 2,350, service tax for the room, Vat at 12.5%, laundry, food at the three-sixty restaurant, internet and service tax for the internet were all charged with the bill totalling INR 21,957.94.  It was our treat to ourselves and our way of introductory to New Delhi, India.

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Janice kindly organised some bottled water and a padkos lunchbox for our road trip to Agra.

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This kind gentleman above had seen me looking at the curio shop in the foyer.  I had picked up a wallet and they asked me if I liked it.  I said I did and that I was browsing further, taking everything in that they had on their shelves.  The next moment, he comes up to me and hands me a gift.  It’s the wallet I had picked up earlier and he says it’s now mine and wishes me a good stay in India.  How absolutely kind.  That’s the general nature of every Indian we came across on our journeys around India.  Thank you to each and every one of you who made our vacation just that much more special due to all your ways and blessings bestowed.

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We left New Delhi and were on our way to Agra as seeing the magnificent Taj Mahal was high up on our bucket list.

Our friends from India had arranged for their cousin and his friend to drive us from New Delhi to Agra.

Deneb & Pollux Tours & Travels Taxi – Tel:  0124 3005663 Email: Website:

The Oberoi, New Delhi, India – Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg.  Tel:  91 11 2436  3030  Email:  Website: 

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