It may only be day three of my Indus Best of North India tour, but India’s enlightenment and wisdom are already rubbing off on me! Here are six important truths I learned in Delhi…
1. Indian People are Incredibly Patient
The city of Delhi has a population of a population of over 26 million people. Compare that to Canada—a country—which has a population of almost 40 million. That gives you an idea of how densely populated the city of Delhi actually is. As a result, patience is an attribute here. In fact, the locals will happily share with you that you will take two things back to North America with you from India: Patience and a sense of humor!
2. Lightning Does Strike Twice
It’s big and beautiful and it’s the tallest brick minaret in the world… Delhi’s Qutab Minar is a stunning tower that dates back to 1193. This 73-meter-high minaret is surrounded by a gorgeous Indo-Islamic complex, which was the site of the first mosque in India. But it’s a miracle it’s still standing at all. This beautiful monument has been struck by lightning and damaged not once, but twice, over its long history. Proof indeed that lightning DOES strike twice.
3. To Drive in Delhi, You Need Three Things
Forget a good sense of direction of a thorough understanding of the rules of the road, according to the well of knowledge that is our Indus tour guide Balbir, you need just three things to survive the chaos of Delhi’s city streets: “A good horn, good brakes and good luck!”
4. If You’re Looking for Muhammad’s Beard Hair, You’ll Find it in Old Delhi
You’ll find it in the Jama Masjid, to be precise, which is the largest mosque in India. Dating back to 1644, this beautiful mosque was commissioned by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also built the Taj Mahal. The mosque houses a marble block with the Prophet’s footprints, some of his beard hair and one of his sandals.
5. Mind Blowing Art & Architectural Design are Alive and Well in the 21st Century
If you think that the only truly great monuments of civilization were built in the olden days, you’re wrong. Just take a look at the Akshardham in New Delhi. Meaning ‘Divine Abode of God’, this Hindu temple was inaugurated in 2005 and is the breathtaking result of the work of 11,000 devoted artisans and thousands of volunteers. Adorned with countless incredible sculptures and intricate artworks, this temple rivals any older, historical religious monument.
6. There’s Really is No Point Worrying
The greatest tour guides are not only teachers—they’re also philosophers. When faced with the usual small challenges of any travel experience, such as a line-up, our Indus tour guide Balbir always has the words of wisdom to diffuse any worries: “We have a saying in India: Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end,” he smiles.
Vickie Sam Paget is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not creating dynamic travel or tech content, globetrotting or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.