India, New Delhi, A Brief Stop over

Unfortunately there is only one  flight a day from Istanbul to New Delhi. And that flight, very, very unfortunately, doesn’t arrive in New Delhi until shortly after 03.00. But there to meet us, at that ungodly hour of the day, was the friendly, smiling Sanjeev whom we had met before in Delhi. The airport was very busy (it never sleeps) but thankfully the streets, usually choked with traffic, were not and we had an easy drive into the centre of the city through streets that had been lined with paved edges and gardens for the Commonwealth games. Very pleasant.

JT and our wonderful Indian Travel Agent, Vishal, had booked us in for an early arrival at the LaLit Hotel.

(Anyone wanting to visit India?   We recommend Vishal of Indian Excursion:   contact websites links are:       and   )

What a good idea that early hotel booking turned out to be as we were both more than a bit tired after the wonderful Turkey tour and needed rest.

The LaLit was delightful after some of the rather small rooms we had experienced in Turkey. We didn’t leave its portals for 28 hours until we headed back to the airport for our flight to Srinagar. One interesting thing I noticed in the “24/7” ground floor restaurant was that every supporting pillar contained a row of four power points. Now, why would you want four? Well this is India, and perhaps three of them don’t work. And that could very well be the reason as only one light out of six worked in our bathroom.  It was a bit gloomy, particularly for shaving.  But I’m not complaining.

One very impressive feature of the ‘The LaLit’ is its staff. What a friendly, well educated and personable group of young people they are, from the doorman and concierge to the reception and dining room and catering staff. They couldn’t have been better prepared or presented and were so attentive without being bothersome. We can recommend it highly.

Another impressive feature was the buffet. Now we are not big on buffets as the food usually sits around in large containers for hours, lukewarm, and is difficult to ‘plate up’ attractively. But not at The LaLit! The food is in small containers constantly being renewed with freshly cooked food as required. We know this because it is an open kitchen and we enjoyed watching all the efficient and skilful action. And the variety of food offered is quite unbelievable – from Indian to Chinese to Japanese to Western and deserts to die for – all attractively presented – and notice is given as to the contents such as egg, sugar, nuts etc. Interestingly, there were many sugarless choices, even in some deserts. We had a good chat to a very friendly head waiter and we look forward to learning more from him about their food choice policies when we return from Kashmir. I might just get a head start on my cooking tour of India. I’ve already had a cooking class in Turkey which was very informative and a lot of fun.

The newspapers were delivered to the door – always an interesting read in another country. The Times, a New Delhi daily, reported on 30 September 2011 that, in an IBM survey of 20 major cities, New Delhi ranked as the worst city in the world for parking. Apart from having virtually no parking places to begin with, of the 41 new multi-level parking lots planned over the last 5 years, only 24 are under construction and only one has been completed – and it has only 90 spaces. That hasn’t had much impact on a situation in which nearly 900 new cars hit the streets of the city every day! But, we noted, as we watched from our 14th story window, the air is much cleaner now due, in great part, to the change over from petrol to gas for buses and for most tuk tuks.

And so to Kashmir – an experience we had been looking forward to for a long time.

DY for “jtdytravels”

Our Indian Tour Agent  is Vishal of ” Indian Excursion”

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