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India Survival Guide Success! Police Arrest 4 in Connaught Place!

Success! Police Arrest 4 Scammers in Connaught Place, New Delhi

Good news! After my report with Zee News on scammers in Connaught Place, New Delhi the Delhi Police began a crackdown on people ripping off foreigners and taking them around to overpriced stores.

I never expected this to happen, but the Delhi Police have listened. Good work Delhi Police. I hope this continues during tourist season this year. Here’s the full news report translated from Hindi:

A gang of fraudster rickshaw drivers were arrested by Delhi Police. This gang used to scam foreigner tourists by fooling them in the name of taking them to shops selling jewellery and clothing.

Manoj Kumar aka Bobby (50, Geeta colony), Ritesh (36, Nabi Karim), and Jitendra Kumar (41, West Karaval), were arrested by Delhi Police.

Their rickshaws have been taken in custody as they were being used for the crime.

According to DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma, they were receiving complaints for quite some time that some auto drivers were scamming foreign tourists. The auto drivers used to take them to particular shops, which they said, sold traditional clothing, jewellery and decorative items of which they charged a huge amount. The auto drivers used to get fixed commission for this. Many tourists were being fooled by this gang.

To arrest these auto drivers, district police of Delhi had formed two special teams. One of them arrested Manoj and Ritesh opposite Royal Plaza on Ashok road. The other team arrested Jitendra and Amit at Jantar Mantar Road opposite MTNL building. Two FIR’s were launched at Sansad Marg Police station.

Delhi Police is now investigating further about how many other gangs like this are active in New Delhi.

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Towads the Pakistan border. Photo © Karl Rock.

The Differences Between India & Pakistan

Everyone I met in Pakistan was very curious about India. Their top question was, “What’s the difference between India and Pakistan? Are they similar?” The answer is, yes, there is a familiarity between India and Pakistan. After all, they used to be the same country. But at the same time, there are a few differences.

Here’s what I noticed from a traveller’s perspective.

Food: Pakistan = non-veg, India = veg

I love to eat. So the first thing I noticed upon arriving in Lahore was the fantastic meat dishes. The meat is always freshly killed and cooked, and I think that has something to with why Pakistani meat dishes are always juicy. Try a seekh kebab in Pakistan and India, and you’ll see the difference straight away, the Pakistani ones are juicier.

Pakistanis are massive meat eaters, they consume 3 times more meat than all of India. So it makes sense that they’re experts in cooking it.

India, on the other hand, knows how to cook vegetables like nobody else in the world. You’ll struggle to find vegetable dishes at restaurants in Pakistan unless it’s breakfast. India’s variety of veg dishes is absolutely endless. Even a meat eater like me has become far less reliant on meat and consumer a lot more vegetables in India.

Language: Urdu & Devanagari Script

Hindi and Urdu are nearly identical languages except they have different scripts. In Pakistan, all you see is Urdu script everywhere whereas India is dominated by Devanagari.

Just looking at a photo from each country you can immediately tell which street is in India and which is in Pakistan.

Difference between Devanagari in India and Urdu script in Pakistan

Difference between Devanagari (top) and Urdu script in Pakistan. Photos by Wasif Malik andrajkumar1220.

City Design

Walking around Lahore and Islamabad, I found them similar to big Mughal influenced cities in North India like Delhi, Ajmer, and Lucknow. Clearly, South Indian design is nothing like Pakistani, but North India and Pakistan are similar. After all, both areas at one time were ruled by the same rulers. For example, Jama Masjid in Delhi and Badshahi Mosque in Lahore are nearly identical and built by the same emperor.

Jama Masjid, Delhi. Photo by Peter Rivera.

Jama Masjid, Delhi. Photo by Peter Rivera.

Badshahi Mosque, Lahore. Photo © Karl Rock.

Badshahi Mosque, Lahore. Photo © Karl Rock.

People & Hospitality

I found people on the street in Pakistan to be helpful but wary of a foreigner. Overall I found them less warm than Indians. I think this has something to do with their distrust and dislike of America. They probably assume I’m from there.

Usually, a local’s first question to you will be, “Where are you from?” I’d love to know what their reaction would be if I told them, “America.” I’m assuming it’s going to be different from New Zealand which has a cricket team that I found many Pakistani’s complimenting me on.

I find Indians warmer to foreigners in general. There’s no hatred of America there.

When it comes to meeting local friends in Pakistan and India, I found hospitality to be the same. Both my Pakistani and Indian friends show fantastic hospitality and a passion for showing you their country and making sure you are comfortable and enjoying. It was just the common man on the streets in Pakistan I found less warm than India.

All for me. The spread put on by my friends in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo © Karl Rock.

All for me. The spread put on by my friends in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo © Karl Rock.

Friends & Foes: Pakistan China

Arriving in Lahore, I was greeted with the Pakistan-China Friendship Underpass and a massive reef of flowers celebrating the China and Pakistan friendship elsewhere in the city. They even have a China Chowk (street). There’s no doubt about it, Pakistan China.

In India, you’ll see the same for different countries, but I can’t pinpoint any one country they love, unlike all the tributes to China I saw in Pakistan.

Religion

This one is obvious whether you’ve visited or not. Pakistan is dominated by Islam. Multiple times a day you’ll hear the prayer ceremony broadcast out across the city. You’ll hear the same in Muslim majority areas in India too.

India, on the other hand, is more visibly diverse. In India, you’ll see Churches, Gurudwaras, Hindu temples, Jain temples, and Mosques everywhere.

A Few More Differences

  • There seemed to be less poverty in Pakistan.
  • Very few stray animals in Pakistan.
  • Driving on motorways in Pakistan is much safer because the Police are very strict with fines. If people speed, don’t stay in their lane or don’t use their indicators when changing lanes, they get a fine.
  • There are no liquor stores in Pakistan.
  • More women out and about on the streets in India.

Overall Impression

Pakistan reminds me of walking into a Muslim area of Delhi like West Nizamuddin. You’ve got Urdu, butchers, mosques, and the colour green everywhere. Coming from India, Pakistan is a familiar sight. But the above difference constantly remind you where you are.

The Best Restaurants in Unappetising Paharganj Delhi. Photo by Prateek Rungta (https://flic.kr/p/a6CCCZ).

Where to Eat in Unappetising Paharganj, Delhi

The best way to describe Pahargunj is “hell on earth.” Along with the rest of Old Delhi, it’s the worst place you can possibly stay in India. It features drug addicts shooting up on the side of the road, prostitution, thieves, scammers, rats, and every other nasty you can imagine.

Such a negative description is honest, but during my latest stay in Paharganj, I’ve really made an effort to try and find some beauty in this place.

I went out looking for the best food, and on those walks, I made a point to stay off the main road and take the back streets. The backstreets, away from the hawkers, traffic jams, and madness is where I found the real Paharganj.

While you make your way to these restaurants make an effort to take the back streets. You’ll see kids doing their homework, young men working out in outdoor gyms hidden from the main road, kids going to school, the rear kitchens of the restaurants on the main street, and so much more. Paharganj has beauty if you seek it.

Darbar – $

Outside Darbar Restaurant, Paharganj. Photo by Darbar.

This is the tastiest and cleanest place I’ve found to eat in Paharganj. I surprisingly never see tourists eating there though, it’s usually just filled with Indian businessmen.

Darbar is perfect for breakfast. They serve all the traditional Delhi dishes such as Chole Bhature and Aloo Paratha. All for very reasonable prices considering the cleanliness of this restaurant.

Flavours – $

When I stayed in Paharganj for a month straight once, Flavours was my morning go to. I’d order two aloo paratha, chai, and 2 boiled eggs. They serve authentic and delicious food but just check their cleanliness is up to your standards first. I never had an issue with the food, but more weary travellers may be put off by the roadside kitchen setup (although they have an indoor dining area).

Sita Ram Diwan Chand – $

Chole Bhature

Sita Ram Diwan Chand has achieved legendary status across Delhi as the best place to eat the Delhi breakfast staple Chole Bhature (chickpea curry and deep fried bread). While it’s definitely not the best Chole Bhature in Delhi, it’s certainly decent and a good place to eat in Paharganj. I’ve written previously about where the tastiest and most authentic Chole Bhature is in Delhi.

Sam’s Cafe – $$

Pizza from Sams Cafe, Paharganj. Photo by Zomato.

Sam’s Cafe is a favourite rooftop hangout above the Vivek Hotel in the main bazaar. The food here is a little overpriced and bland (that tends to be the case when a restaurant has a menu that serves every cuisine possible), but the rooftop setting is nicely lit up at night.

Re Cafe – $$

Situated below the bright white and yellow Bloomrooms hotel, Re Cafe serves up good continental and Indian food. They serve fish too which is harder to find in Delhi, being so far from the sea (and a reason I don’t eat it often here). It’s also a good choice for breakfast, with their egg paratha being a standout.

Al-Sameer – $$

I’d been walking past Al-Sameer every time I’d come to Paharganj. It never looked that clean to me, but you can see their chef cooking their Mughal dishes as you walk past. Every time I’d look at what he was cooking, and every time it looked amazing.

So I finally gave Al-Sameer try. Turns out it was clean enough and the food was as it looks – traditional tasty Mughal food. Forget about eating vegetarian here, they specialise in non-vegetarian.

Make your own food

Healthy breakfast food isn’t Paharganj’s speciality. After too many days eating oily Indian food, it tends to make you feel very bloated. That’s when it’s time to go back to basics. In my case, I visit the Mother Dairy store and pick up yoghurt and plain chaach (unsweetened yoghurt drink) and have that with muesli which can be found at Patanjali stores and larger grocery stores.

The Bad

Rituraj: bland and overpriced and there was an insect baked into my naan bread!

How to Avoid Air Pollution in India With a Mask. Photo © Karl Rock.

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A street in Old Delhi

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