India is a country of contrasts, and Delhi certainly has those contrasts in abundance. Modern New Delhi, with wide avenues, modern buildings, squares filled with sharply dressed Indians and traffic consisting of flashy cars, and Old Delhi which cannot have looked much different centuries ago. When I boarded a modern and clean subway in New Delhi, it only took me a few stops to reach my destination Chawri Bazaar. I walked up the stairs and right back in time. I had to carefully step around a cow; instead of the cars prevalent elsewhere in Delhi, lots of bicycle rickshaws and people walking. The contrast could not have been bigger.
I walked into Lal Kuan Bazaar Road and soon stopped to just soak in the atmosphere. Around me, in front of my eyes, a constant parade of Indians of many colours and creeds, hawkers and horses, carts and cycles, school uniforms and saris. A feast for the eye; I stayed much longer than I had planned. I was watching the stream and dynamism with fascination. My eyes were drawn towards small scenes, like a key maker talking to a boy while kneeling down next to his humble business, or a horse-drawn cart overloaded with boxes, a bony man pulling a seemingly very heavy load on a cart, or a man arranging his potatoes on a small bowl. Some people wearing fashionable clothes, some saris or chadors, while others had turbans and respectable white beards.
I tried to imagine how different this must have been a century ago; apart from the electricity cables hanging in the air, the plastic bags and the passers-by with their cell phones, I could not immediately think of much more. The air was filled with the tinkling of bicycle rickshaws, the shouts of drivers trying to avoid a collision, the simple sound of feet moving on the street. After thoroughly enjoying the scenes in front of my eyes, I moved on and walked around the area for a long time. Walking often is the best way to go, as traffic jams with bicycle rickshaws are common. I ended up on Chawri Bazaar Road, full of paper shops and leading up to Jama Masjid, the famous mosque.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Chawri Bazaar (India). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Chawri Bazaar. Read more about this site.