• Footloose Hobo

The Delhi Metro

The last few days have been a bit quiet. This normally happens to me when I first get to India. I go mad running around and trying to see and do as much as possible while I'm still acclimatising to the environment. After 2 days of recharging my batteries and feeling a little more refreshed I decided to start to venture out again.

The metro in Delhi has been operating now for around 17 years and over 5 million people use this service every day, I was about to become one of them! So even though I've been to Delhi a number of times, I've never used it. My local station is around a 10 minute ride by rickshaw and is on the magenta line. I decided that I was going to go to the market at Karol Bagh, which is a huge shopping area that sells pretty much everything. This would require travelling on 3 separate lines with two changes to get to my destination.

I bought my token from the machine (straight forward process), went through the security check and auto barriers, and headed down the steps to the platform. There are 2 platforms and I started to feel uneasy as the information boards were all in Hindi and my new found confidence took a hit. Just as I was about to ask which way to go when I noticed further down another board in English showing the direction of the train and the stations, perfect! So I waited for my Train. Looking around I noticed how clean the station and platforms are, even from where you enter in from the road, the whole place is spotless. I didn't have to wait long before the train came rushing in with a whooshing sound and a barrier of air behind it hitting your face. I got on and was instantly cool, air conditioning a bonus. The train was busy with commuters and people going about their daily business.I got the usual stares from fellow passengers (you get use to it after a while) and as we speed along the tracks I counted the stations till it was my stop.

Hauz Chas was my stop, I hopped off, and I quickly looked for signs to follow for the Yellow line to Rajiv Chowk station (The stop for Connaught Place). Instead of looking up at the signs you should look down at the floor where there are yellow footprints to guide you where to go (Magenta footprints coming back) . Hauz Khas station is massive. I think it is one of the newest stations to be built and full of people walking and running along the walkways to their next train. What seemed like an eternity walking, going up escalators, and down steps, I made it to the yellow line platform and again looking at the board for my next stop. This train was a lot busier and the queues to get on the train where big. Now the idea is that you let people off before you get on. I was at the front of the queue as the train pulled in and I waited patiently for the doors to open, as soon as they opened I felt a huge surge behind me as 40 people where pushing to get on combined with the 40 people pushing to get off. It was crazy and you just had to go with the flow. They're where around 8 stops before I got to Rajiv Chowk station. This is one of the main stations on the metro and was bustling with people. I found my platform and got on the train to Karol Bagh which was only a few stops away. The whole journey took around 1 hour and cost 40 rupees, around 45p. Not bad.

I'm really glad that I ventured out and used the metro, it's a great way to get around Delhi, and easy to use.

Commuters at Hauz Khas station

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