"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Posts tagged “Old Delhi

Table For Two At Karim’s


We had arranged with our rickshaw-cyclist that the tour of Chandni Chowk would include stopping off for lunch at Karim’s – a famous Delhi restaurant.

At first sight, Karim’s is not so much a restaurant as a puzzling low-level building-complex.
Entering into a blind alley, you are met by a confused group of eating-rooms and open-fronted kitchens.
They all form part of Karim’s Restaurant.

Karim’s is so popular that at peak hours there are usually long and hungry queues waiting to be seated.
Pre-warned, we opted to eat early.

I chose a simple chicken curry, served with freshly baked naan bread: it was utterly delicious. I have been eating curries since early childhood but this was the best I have ever tasted!
Robin, my good friend and travel buddy, expressed due remorse : he had chosen something a little fancier – but not half as wonderful as my chicken curry.
I showed commendable virtue and let him dunk his naan bread in my gravy.
Never let it be said that I lack magnanimity!

True to form, by the time we left the restaurant, people were queuing outside to take our place.

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We had urged our young cyclist-guide to join us as a guest for lunch. But he politely declined.
I am not sure if he was a Hindu who couldn’t face a non-vegetarian meal, or if he worried lest we deduct the cost of his meal from a possible cash tip, which might be far more important to his family’s survival..

Taking A Closer Look


After breakfast we met up again with Mukesh, the driver who had waited patiently for us at Delhi airport.

Although Delhi was just our stop-over and we have both been there before, as with any vast and ancient city there is always plenty more to see.  We had decided to spend the first day of our holiday just enjoying the pleasures of exploring the capital.

Our plan was to begin by visiting Chandni Chowk, the centuries-old market area, based around a very narrow and bustling street from which countless shop-lined alleyways and bazaars emerge.

But as Mukesh explained, during market hours the road was practically impassable by car. It was better that he take us to the Red Fort from where we could hire a bicycle-rickshaw, which could more easily navigate this byzantine maze of shopping opportunities.

Our first task was to find a suitable rickshaw cyclist and negotiate the rate.
Between us, Robin and I must weigh a combined total of about 150 kg (330 lbs). Many of the drivers looked far too old or frail to pedal such a load.
Mukesh carefully selected a younger cyclist: slight in build but with extremely hefty thighs which, despite his being very modestly dressed, visibly bulged through the legs of his trousers.

Just as carefully, to avoid distressing any reader of a sensitive disposition, I have cropped this picture to save you from the unnerving sight of such rippling leg muscles..

Our cyclist-driver also acted as a guide, pointing out buildings of interest, while gently guiding his rickshaw through the narrow streets, passing shop-keepers, tea-rooms and a small army of fellow cycle-rickshaws

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It’s an amazing and exhilarating way to take a closer look at the city.


Aspiring To Altitude: Base-Camp Logistics

Chandni Chowk market, Delhi.