I’ve been been in Delhi, actually outside in the open air, for about 8 hours in total and already I’ve been scammed!
After a mammoth 15 hour sleep (I was obviously very tired and I’m still suffering Delhi belly) I decided to brave the 46’C heat and head out for a bit of exploring. My first stop was Humayun’s Tomb, a mausoleum built in the mid 16th century. Humayun was an Emperor and after his death his wife commissioned the building of this magnificent building. It was only a few minute journey from the hostel.
As I entered the complex I paid 250 rupee (about $4.50) and was given a ticket and the security guard pointed me in the direction of the tomb. “Oh this is lovely” I though as I walked through the brick archways and looked upon a pretty white washed building. I wandered around the green grassy park and looked inside the tomb. However something told me this wasn’t the actual tomb of Humayun. Thats okay I thought, I’ll keep walking further down the path and check things out there. However the security guard at the gate waved me back so I walked back to him. He asked if I enjoyed my tour and asked for the ticket back. I was a little confused – is that Humayun’s Tomb I asked him. Yes, yes thats the tomb. Well I thought, okay, no worries, smaller then what I expected but okay. I gave him back the ticket and walked out. However something just didn’t seem right and I got my Lonely Planet book out and had a quick flick through – it said that Isa Khan’s tomb is the first building on the right hand side – the one I had walked in to. So I turned around and walked back to the ticket counter and asked the man who sold me the ticket if that was Humayun’s Tomb. Yes, yes he told me. I questioned him – is it Isa Khan’s tomb? No, he lied to me. I challenged him – what is further down that path – why can’t I go down there? No, no that area is closed off. Luckily for me a tour guide walked up behind me and gave me a hand – he confirmed that Isa Khan’s tomb was the one I went into and Humayun’s Tomb was further down. I said I was going back in and I wanted my ticket back. Sourly he gave me another ticket and let me back in.
As I walked further down the path and yes Humayun’s Tomb was open and was there! The tour guide explained the ticket counter man and security guard sell the tickets for the full price, trick the tourists into looking at only one tomb, ask for the ticket back and then re-sell the ticket over and over again making the profit!
The “real” tomb is beautiful with a large white dome and a pretty orange shade that stands out behind the hot blue Delhi sky. The tomb is located on the roof of the building which also provides a view of the grounds.
The gardens surrounding the Tomb are green and leafy and a nice place to enjoy, especially with the ponds and channels of water.
As I came back through the gates I walked over to the security guard – oh he thought he was so funny and gave me a big smile.
On the way to the Tomb I had been dropped off by the hostel but now I had to get a taxi or auto rickshaw back to the hotel. Easy enough as there are always hundreds around waiting to pounce. It was my first time however so I was interested to see what the deal was. The first man at the exit nabbed me and I showed him on my map where I wanted to go – he offered a fair price (about $1) so I said yes and jumped in the back of his auto rickshaw. Well…then it started. Maybe he could take me to a few shops before I go back to the hotel. Maybe I was hungry and needed to go to a nice restaurant to eat. Or what about he pick me up in two hours time and he take me on a city tour, he does do a cheap price. Normally a friendly no does the trick but he was very was persistent. I actually had to be extremely firm with him and tell him to take me to the hotel only – no detours and I was no interested in anything else.
Later on this afternoon (I spent the heat of day in the hostel and went back out about 5pm) I went to Connaught Place to walk around. A man followed me for blocks trying to talk to me and all I can do is ignore him even though his pleads “Miss, miss, I only want to talk”. Delhi is just full of men and they all stare, the trick I have found is to avoid all eye contact and keep my sunglasses on.
I went and had an drink at a Starbucks. I was enjoying people watching when two gentlemen sat beside me. They started up a conversation…where was I from…have I been to India before and the biggie are you travelling by yourself. My responses were I was from England (they didn’t pick up on the accent!), yes this is my second trip to Delhi and my friend was sick back in the hotel room. The conversation was getting a bit too cosy for my liking – which hotel was I staying out, where was I going tomorrow. I sucked down the last of my drink and excused myself. They also decided they need to leave so I pretended to check my phone while they left and I watched them walk to the right. I gave it a minute and walked to the left. But there is no rest for the wicked. The older man came up behind me and let me know ever so kindly that he had an art gallery just this way and he would really like to show me around, I don’t have to buy anything. I told him no and kept walking while he followed behind. The younger man then called out and followed after me while I kept walking. Maybe we could catch up for a drink and he gave me his card while introducing himself.
Ah India. My poor Mum is going to have a break down reading this.
Isa Khan’s Tomb
From the roof of Humayun’s Tomb
Roof of Humayun’s Tomb