Hello, and Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend and are ready for the week ahead. Today I am beyond excited to be sharing with you photos of my recent visit to Delhi, India back in December.
Travel during covid
I visited Delhi, the capital city of India a few weeks ago in early December of last year. Now if your’e wondering what about covid? I am happy to report we traveled way before the omicorn wave took hold. When we went to Delhi it was early December and life in India in general was “normal” – as in “pandemic normal”. People were wearing masks indoors, already vaccinated or getting vaccinated, and in general trying to live their lives as best they could given the current circumstances.
As for me, I was fully vaccinated and boosted before I traveled and got tested before, during and after my return. I also wore a mask everywhere we went. I’m happy to report I felt safe all the time and came home safe and sound and COVID-free.
Meeting friends Old and New
By sheer coincidence my sister’s in-laws were staying in Delhi for a few months and taking a break from their home in Philly when we visited. So naturally when they invited us for a home cooked meal, of course our answer was a YES!
We also met Soham our new friend for the first time in Delhi. He is actually the childhood friend of Pranav – my daughter’s fiance. Soham divides his time between the Bay Area and Delhi while working on a tech startup that involves working with musicians from both the U.S. and India. So when Soham asked us if we could join him and his family for dinner one night our answer was of course YES! Meet a new friend and his family over a delicious meal? Absolutely! What we didn’t know is that Soham would become our new best friend!
Soham’s Grandma, Grandpa, aunty, uncle and cousin were all the most amazing hosts! We had such a wonderful time spending the evening with them over delicious meal and very entertaining conversation. This was an awesome way to start our Delhi visit!
Soham, Soham, Soham – our new best friend 💙
We were in Delhi for a week and while here got to shop at some beautiful boutiques, malls and shopping centers, and on most evenings Soham would join us for dinner. By the third day we felt like we had known Soham our entire lives!
Soham is the sweetest, friendly, smart, and full of knowledge about Delhi – the city where he spent his summer vacations growing up. In fact he knows so much about this city – all the fancy restaurants, the best hole in the wall joints for good safe food, where the cool concerts are held, where the in-the-know boutiques are, where celebrities hang out, he knew so much about Delhi, that Hitesh nicknamed Soham “The Mayor of Delhi.” Soham is the one who kept encouraging us to visit the street markets of Delhi. He finally convinced us and Soham became our street markets tour guide.
The street markets of Delhi
In India street markets are a staple in e every city. Mostly selling produce and dried goods and everyday items that the masses need. But what is truly unique to Delhi is that there’s not just one or two or even three or four markets but in this city there are numerous doted all over town. Each one catering to the neighborhoods that surround them, and each one offering everything under the sun for sale.
An adventure like no other
Exploring the street markets in Delhi despite the cautious warnings of locals was truly an eye-opening and beautiful experience and we can thank Soham for this amazing adventure. Chandni Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Khan Market, Janpath- these are just a few of the markets that we got to explore.
Glimpse into the everyday shopping of locals
These markets are a glimpse into the everyday shopping experience of locals who can rarely afford the marked-up offerings at fancy malls and shopping centers.
Small alleys, street vendors, mom and pop shops
The small alleys and streets, mom and pop shops that line them, where you can also find street side vendors – all offer anything and everything you can imagine.
Everything under the sun can be found at these markets. Chandi Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Janpath and more
Purses, shoes, bangles, jewelry, clothing, spices, meats, produce, dried goods, gold, silver, even suitcases and auto parts and wedding cards! One can find everything! And I mean everything!
Folks, in this market called Sarojini Nagar I saw a row of seamsters sewing away right off the street! I bet you can’t see that anywhere else in the world!
Eating at local “hole in the wall”
Eating at a local joint known for their kabobs was a must on our street market agenda at Chandni Chowk. These guys were making fresh naan and chapatis in a giant clay oven at the restaurant.
Like Samosas? Freshly made just for you
Want sweets in clay pots? Got those too
Back in the day when I was living in India I remember my Mom boiling water every morning, bringing it down to room temperature and then filling giant clay pot with it. The clay pot cooled the water to a deliciously cold temperature – not too cold, not too warm – just right.
Storing in clay pots is the way folks who don’t have refrigerators keep water, milk and sweets that require to be chilled- in disposable clay pots. Once the street vendors serve their drinks or sweets, after customers are done eating or drinking, they just throw the clay pots away. And you know what? These clay pots just biodegrade into the earth right where they came from.
A beautiful and unique experience
A huge shout out and thank you to our new found friend Soham! Truly Soham, you showed us a glimpse of Delhi that we would have been too cautious to venture into – the street markets of Delhi.
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the street markets of Delhi. I encourage you to explore the local markets at your next travel destination, or even at home at your local farmer’s markets and art festivals.
Have a good week everyone and spend time with someone fabulous!