Thirdeyemom

Riding a rickshaw through the streets of Old Delhi

There is no better way of seeing and understanding India’s capital than by taking a ride on back a rickshaw through the streets of Old Delhi. Built in 1639 as the Mughal capital Shahjahanabad ( شاه جهان آباد) the intensely crowded and dilapidated streets of Old Delhi remain the heart and soul of the city and are a sight to see.  For the narrow, shadowy streets of Old Delhi offer a glimpse into what life was once like and still is for millions of Indians.

On back of a rickshaw, be prepared to be thrust into humanity and taken away by all one’s senses. The sights, smells, sounds, feel and taste of the place is enough to put any reasonable person over the edge. It is an overwhelming experience especially in the midst of Delhi’s infamous summer heat with highs reaching the unbearable 120 degrees. Yet it is an experience of a lifetime that will shed light onto this vibrant country filled with complexity and contradictions in every aspect of life.

Here are the photos taken from the bumpy ride on back of a rickshaw through the narrow streets of Old Delhi ( I was unable to stop so all these photos were taken in motion).  I left the ones of my driver in this set so you can see how incredibly narrow these streets are to manage on a rickshaw. Sadly, most rickshaw drivers barely make ends meet and oftentimes live on the street next to their rickshaw fighting to survive. Another tragedy of Old Delhi is the state of the buildings. Many are falling apart and recently one collapsed to the ground in the middle of the night while 35 people slept right through their death. It is one of many sad realities of life on the streets of India. 

Climbing on board. Note I am wearing a scarf over my head to keep the intense sun off.

Climbing on board. Note I am wearing a scarf over my head to keep the intense sun off.

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And then emerging once again back into the heart of Delhi, rubbing my eyes to make sure what I just saw was actually real.

40 comments

    • Yes so true. Even in the slums. Yet on close examination many of the young children were dirty but not as dirty as some of the children I’d seen in rural Nepal.

  1. There seems to be an abundance of food, Nicole, but so many mouths to feed!
    That tangle of overhead wires is horrifying. We really can’t imagine a life like this.

    • Yes indeed! Especially given the fact it was 120 degrees out. Just got back from TBEX, a travel bloggers conference. It was in Toronto and was very interesting. I learned a lot and also did a lot of networking. Their next one is this October in Dublin. I think you should look into it as it is great for finding out how to get paid travel work! Always a bonus!

  2. These are great photos. Now, I finally got a chance to see what you saw. I hate that I missed it, but am so happy you were able to go through Old Delhi!

    • I wish you could have come too Jennifer but it was very hot and extremely bumpy. I can only imagine what that would have done to you! 🙂 What a trip! Now I’ve got to get back in and finish the story. Still Save the Children and the girls school to write about!

  3. Thanks for the travelogue–I cannot imagine the mixture of emotions that you are feeling with such a profoundly disturbing reality of life in another world. You will be forever touched and motivated by this experience. But it is a difficult one.

    • Thanks so much. Yes, it was one of those trips that is certainly going to take me some time to digest it all. Yet somehow it makes me compelled to do even more. I love this work and seeing how I can help! A life’s work I’ve found with endless amount of ups and downs.

    • Thanks Madhu! It was so hot. Is Chennai hot now too? Wow, that was the most heat I’ve ever experienced! Wish I could have come by your town! Would love to meet you!

  4. SM

    Wonderful blog, I chanced upon when I clicked on “Delhi”.. Very relateable since I have written several posts on this topic, ‘Delhi’ =)

    • Yes it is CRAZY! Even worse is the state of the buildings. They are all in varying degrees of collapsing and the government doesn’t do a thing. My guide told me one building collapsed at night and 35 people died during their sleep! Awful.

  5. Pingback: Wild rickshaw ride thru the Big Mango | observations of a canary

  6. Pingback: The tilted view of the streets of Delhi | Thirdeyemom

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