“The highlight of the day was escaping an annoying stalker trying to ‘guide’ us through the market by inserting ourselves into a full blown Hindi street festival.”

We had been in India for less than 12 hours and we were already covered in fluorescent coloured powders, with bellies full of Delhi street snacks and memory cards full of Forts and Palaces.

I glanced around at Oli and saw the shock and wonder in his face that I’m sure was mirrored on mine, our somewhat jet-lagged minds unable to process so much life and sound and colour. Having had slightly more sleep MJ was engrossed in a dance off with what looked like all the men in the jubilant throng, and definitely holding his own considering the huge grins plastered on their faces.

Limbs and moustaches were everywhere.

The girls, beautiful saris drenched in even more colour than usual, smiled shyly at me and whispered guidance about the festival that I could barely hear above the echoing drums and shouts of joy. We are pretty sure it had something to do with Ganesh and statues of him were being lovingly pushed or carried along by devotees.

The crowd pulsed around us, slowly making their way as one colourful unit along Chadni Chowk, which is more typically congested with traffic than parties. No one seemed to have told the huge numbers of honking taxis and auto-rickshaws who were obviously trying to make it somewhere, but stood at a standstill either end of the procession. Onlookers lined the pavements too and some locals looked as clueless as we felt.

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Before we knew it 3 hours had passed and our feet were aching like crazy. We hadn’t eaten since the mouth-wateringly sweet and still warm Jalebis from further up the street and we suddenly realised we were incredibly dirty. We headed back to our hostel, showered and came down from the high.

Courtney and Kevin’s first impressions of India were equally memorable when it happened all over again 3 days later, only a few hours after they’d flown in from Singapore.

With double the amount of foreigners, the crowd went crazy and the scene was complete with a couple of decorated cows and a trailer full of smiling, waving children.

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

Indian festival

 

As first impressions of India go, Delhi gave us all a pretty incredible welcome. We were well and truly blown away and it sure helped us to love Delhi, a city that is sadly usually seen as an annoying stopover on the way elsewhere.

We were lucky, having been in exactly the right place at the right time and that is the beauty of travel. 

What were your first impressions of India? Have you ever been caught in an amazing event you had no clue about? And does anyone know what this festival in India in late September really is?

 

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