DAY 7: LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi, India
After almost a week of Tibetan monasteries and arid Himalayan highlands, our brief Indian journey was almost coming to an end, and it was time to say goodbye to Lakadh. It was a fine morning. Tashi came to pick us up at around 6am. It was only a short ride from Ladakh Greens Hotel to Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport. At about 3200m above sea level, the airport is India’s highest commercial airport. We waved goodbye to Tashi and entered the small highland airport. It was chaotic at the Leh Airport. The x-ray machine broke down for a bit and there were two long queues, one for men and the other women, at the security check. After a bit of the hassle, at last we were off in the Ladakhi sky. From above, Leh and its surrounding desert landscape looked spectacular. Our plane flew south, passed over the mountains south of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Himachal Pradesh. After about 1.5 hour, we returned to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport once more.
We stored our big backpacks at the airport, and took the airport express train out to the city. From the airport the train took about half an hour to reach New Delhi. At New Delhi, we switched to the metro and rode for two more stops until we reached the stop of Chandni Chowk. Famous for its centuries-old business as Old Delhi’s high street, Chandni Chowk is close to Red Fort, the former residence of the Mughal royalty from the 17th to 19th century. After exiting the metro station, we were immediately overwhelmed by the people, colours, odour and sounds of the street in Old Delhi. It was awfully hot at about 40 degrees, and extremely crowded. We followed a crowd of people exiting the station, tried to find our way to the Red Fort, but were soon followed by two bicycle ricksaw drivers. We asked the first driver going to the Red Fort. He tried to trick us by saying 10. We asked him once more before we got on whether he meant rupees or not. He then clarified it was 10 USD. We decided to ignore him and continued to find our way. The second driver, a young man in his early twenties, followed us and tried to convince us to get on his ricksaw by saying it was very dangerous in Old Delhi. We kept on walking aimlessly on the street thinking he would eventually give up, but he didn’t. On the hot and crowded street of Old Delhi, he followed us for over 20 minutes. At the end, we didn’t bother to find where we actually were, and jumped onto an empty tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuk driver was more than happy to take us to the Red Fort. After some sweat we finally reached the iconic Lahori Gate of the mighty Red Fort.
We had a morning flight back to Delhi. By the time we arrived at the airport, there was a long queue outside of the airport for security check.
At about 3200m above sea level, the airport is India’s highest commercial airport.
A Jet Airway plane landed on the runway. It reminds us of our landing one week ago.
View from the plane to down below.
Our plane flew south, passed over the mountains south of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Himachal Pradesh.
From above, Leh and its surrounding desert landscape looked spectacular.
Spectacular view over the mountain view from the plane.
It was over 40 degree Celsius outside. We were overwhelmed by the heat and the crowd once we stepped out of the metro station of Chandni Chowk. Without a proper map, We found ourselves disorientated in this old city quarter. It was a great relief to have found a reliable tuk-tuk to take us to our first destination, the Red Fort. Below are some snapshots that we took along the way to the Red Fort.
After some sweat we finally reached the iconic Lahori Gate of the mighty Red Fort.
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Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi