Apr 16, 2010

Delhi Observations

A lot can change in a city in three years and Delhi, with a population of 14 million, is no exception. The central part of the city is in the midst of a revamp in the run up to the Commonwealth Games.

Connaught Place is getting a facelift. The iconic white facades and columns are being peeled back and restored.

The Metro is on track to be completed in time for the Games including a line that will take you to the airport. I didn’t get a chance to ride the metro this trip but look forward to doing so next time. It is no easy feat building an above and below ground train system in an ancient city.

A new, much needed state of the art Airport Terminal is also slated to be finished in time for the Games. Once completed Terminal 3 will be the third largest in the world after Dubai and Beijing.

All of the above is a tall order to be completed in time for the Games which will be held in October, a more climate friendly time of the year. April is the start of the hot season and temperatures reached 110 Fahrenheit when we were there.

Shopping mall culture has fully arrived. Massive malls the size of small cities feature U.S. and U.K. chain stores as well as well as coffee shop franchises with prices to match the West.

More cars, in particular Smart Cars, are on the road instead of motorbikes. The drivers of said Smart Cars still handle them as though they were motorbikes, weaving in between large trucks and all forms of traffic from four wheels to four legs. Auto rickshaws are still plentiful.

The cost of living has increased substantially. My husband noted that the price of food in the local market near where our family lives has tripled in the last three years.

Whenever I return from cities such as Delhi, Tokyo or Shanghai New York seems empty and calm by comparison. When this perception starts to wear no doubt I’ll book a flight. Do you perceive your home differently when returning from an overseas journey?


Nisha said...

Are you back already ? Yes, my Delhi has changed a lot in these years. :)

Which part of Delhi were you staying if I may ask?

I have also just returned from my solo backpacking to Malaysia & Thailand. :)

Lakshmi said...

I havent seen too many big cities..but yes, Delhi has changed.After visitg NYC, I felt that it has an energy similar to Bombay..

Wendy said...

Nisha, Back already. We could only get away for 2 weeks. We were in South Delhi. Welcome back!

Lakshmi, I also think Bombay and NYC have some similarities energy wise.

Fly Girl said...

Shopping mall culture? Yech. I don't go near malls here and would be highly upset at a shopping mall taking over traditional Indian shops and tailors. Whnever I caome back home from another place, I just notice how the pace of living is different. It usually takes me at least a week to get back on track.

Photo Cache said...

I haven't traveled too much but I do see my city with fresh eyes. I learn to appreciate it more and sometimes try to picture it as as tourist/traveler/passer-by and take in all it's beauty. The same way I looked at the city I just got back from.

One of my biggest dream destination is India.

Wendy said...

Fly Girl,

The good news is the traditional markets were still bustling.