Sunday, April 9, 2017

Traveling to India. New Delhi

Before getting into “my list” of spiritual places I have visited, I will provide a short introduction to New Delhi, the capital of India.

New Delhi
All roads in India go to New Delhi, the city where most people probably land.

Indira Gandhi airport
You are arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. It’s a relatively new airport, organized like any major airport in Europe or the USA.
After getting your luggage, you will go to passport control. There are no extra security procedures, such as fingerprints or head-shot photos, so it should go pretty fast.

New Delhi airport
There will be frequent money exchange points on your way, starting from the “luggage hall” and continuing in the arriving hall of the airport. You will need cash to pay for a taxi or metro, so you must exchange some money. As in any other city in the world, the rate of exchange in the airport is not the best compared to the options outside, so I would advise you to not exchange here all the cash you have brought with you.

Telecommunication
Communication is extremely important in India. People widely use mobile phones and even the rickshaw driver will have a cellular phone in his hand. A SIM card is recommended, especially if you will be staying in India for several weeks or months. For example, having a telephone number will give you an advantage when booking train or airline tickets online, which will help you save time and avoid stress.
I bought a prepaid SIM card with call and 3G mobile data in the airport. The service there is fast and painless – you are getting an activated SIM card after just a few minutes of waiting. The service providers know what they are doing and are well prepared; for example, they have a camera to take your headshot photograph if you don’t have a photo with you. They will open your phone using the right tools. (For example, I had the latest model of the Samsung Galaxy 7, which required a special key to open the cover, and they had that key.)
The best cellular operator in India in autumn 2016 was AIRTEL (don’t confuse this with AIRCEL, which has less coverage and lower quality). I bought the lowest amount of call minutes and data, which cost around 15 euro (17 USD), and that was more than enough for a two-month trip.

AIRCELL
From airport to city
The airport has a connection to the city itself by a fast – and I’d even say luxurious – express train, which is smoothly connected to a modern subway. As an option, you can take a taxi from the airport, which might be faster (not necessarily during rush hour), but will also be more expensive. Both the express train and the taxi have air-conditioning systems. 

Express train

As an alternative, you can take tuk-tuk, which is exotic and relatively cheap, but you might be surprised by the air pollution. This is one of the reasons why I try to avoid tuk-tuks in big Indian cities.

Tuk-tuk

Air pollution is a problem not only in Delhi, but also for all bigger cities in India.
Traveling in the subway in Delhi is easy and relatively inexpensive. For your convenience, print the New Delhi metro map in color before your trip and take it with you. The tokens for the metro are sold at the counter inside the station. Please remember to save the token until the end of your journey – you’ll need it at the exit point. There are security checks like those at the departure premises at the airport. They will scan you and your luggage. There are isolated security check cabins for women.

New Delhi subway

The New Delhi subway is relatively new and well-organized. The interval between arrival trains is just a few minutes. The subway transports a huge number of people. Ninety-nine percent of metro travelers are male and one percent (maybe even less) are female. I haven’t seen a single child in the metro and mostly I was the only woman in a long underground carriage. There are some emergency phone numbers for females, and I would recommend saving them if you are a solo traveler.

Help phone numbers
In the next Article: Accommodation in Delhi

1 comment:

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