Old Delhi on a Rickshaw

The only form of transportation allowed in Old Delhi are bicycle rickshaws. For decades cycling used to be the most popular way of getting around in Indian cities. However, the rapid modernization of the subcontinent turns out to pose a threat to the beloved two-wheelers. In 1960 around 60 percent of all commuting trips were done by bicycle, 50 years later the number had fallen to 4 percent. Meanwhile, higher incomes lead to a rise in scooters, motorcycles and cars, bringing with them noise, traffic and massive air pollution. In addition, the low income jobs of rickshaw drivers are challenged by the growing number of taxis and motorized rickshaws in the city. To battle this trend, some initiatives aim to bring back bicycles to Delhi’s streets. The colourful markets and ancient alleys of the Chandni Chowk area are among the best places in Delhi to explore by bike or rickshaw. A ride through Old Delhi takes visitors back in time and far away from the crowded and traffic laden streets that otherwise shape India’s capital. Furthermore generous tips from tourists can offer an important assistance for the often struggling rickshaw drivers.