Delhi, the national capital of India, will never cease to amaze you. It happens to be the only city in the world with a unique distinction of having not one but three UNESCO World Heritage sites within its boundaries.
Places to Visit
Delhi’s most famous monument, the Red Fort, stands not only as a powerful reminder of the Mughal era India but also a symbol of India’s struggle for freedom. It was build by fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, when he decided to shift his capital there from Agra in 1638. The fort’s turbulent history includes being captured by the Sikhs and the British. To take your imagination back to the ancient era, a one hour sound and light of the fort’s history is held each evening.
Jama Masjid is another marvelous treasure of the Old City, and it’s one of the largest mosque in India. Its courtyard can hold an incredible 25,000 devotees. The mosque took 12 years to build, and was completed in 1656. A strenuous climb to the top of its southern tower will reward you with a stunning view (albeit obscured by metal security grills) across the rooftops of Delhi. Be sure to dress appropriately when visiting the mosque or you won’t be allowed in. This means covering your head, legs and shoulders. Attire is available there.
Chandni Chowk, the main street of old Delhi, is a shocking contrast to the wide, orderly streets of New Delhi. Cars, cycle rickshaws, hand-pulled carts, pedestrians, and animals all compete for space. It’s chaotic, crumbling and congested, but completely captivating as well. As one of the oldest and busiest markets in India, its narrow winding lanes are full of inexpensive jewelry, fabrics, and electronics. For the more adventurous, Chandni Chowk is an excellent place to sample some of Delhi’s street food. The renowned Karim Hotel, a Delhi dining institution, is also located there.
A relatively new attraction, this massive temple complex was built by the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha spiritual organization and opened in 2005. It’s dedicated to showcasing Indian culture. As well as the astonishing architecture of the pink stone and white marble shrine, the complex includes sprawling garden, sculptures, and boat ride. Allow plenty of time to explore it thoroughly — at least half a day. Do note that cell phones and cameras are not permitted inside.
Humayun’s Tomb looks a bit like the Taj Mahal in Agra, that’s because it was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal’s creation. The tomb was built in 1570, and houses the body of the second Mughal emperor, Humayun. It was the first of this type of Mughal architecture to be built in India, and the Mughal rulers followed it up with an extensive period of construction all over the country. The tomb is part of a greater complex that’s set among beautiful gardens.
Lodhi Gardens provides a serene retreat from city life, and is the place to come if you’re feeling tired and worn out. The vast Gardens were built by the British in 1936 around the tombs of 15th and 16th century rulers. Joggers, yoga practitioners, and young couples all enjoy this park.
Qutab Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world, is an incredible example of early Indo–Islamic architecture. It was built in 1193, but the reason remains a mystery. Some believe that it was made to signify victory and the beginning of Muslim rule in India, while others say it was used to call the faithful to prayer. The tower has five distinct stories, and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Quran. There are also a number of other historic monuments on the site.
Gandhi Smriti & Rajghat
A visit to Gandhi Smriti will show you the exact spot where Mahatma Gandhi, affectionately referred to as the Father of the Nation, was assassinated on January 30, 1948. He lived in the house for 144 days up until the time of his death. The room that he slept in, kept exactly how he left it, and the prayer ground where he held a mass congregation every evening are both open to the public. Plenty of photos, sculptures, paintings, and inscriptions are also on display. You can also visit his memorial at Raj Ghat.
The towering archway of India Gate at the center of New Delhi is a war memorial, built in memory of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army in World War I. At night it glows warmly under floodlights, and the gardens that line its boulevard are a popular place to enjoy a warm summer’s evening.
The Bahai Temple is commonly called the Lotus Temple, as it’s shaped like a lotus flower. It’s particularly pretty at night, when it’s attractively lit up. Made out of concrete covered in white marble, the temple belongs to the Bahai Faith, which proclaims the unity of all people and religions. Everybody is welcome there.
Must Try Food in Delhi
- Paranthas in Paranthe wali Gulley in Chandni Chowk
- Chaat in UPSC building, Shahjahan Road
- Bittu Tikki Wala, Karol Bagh
- Daulat ki Chaat, Chandni Chowk
- Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala, Chandni Chowk
- Butter Chicken in Moti Mahal, Daryaganj; Havemore, Pandara Road
- Kebabs in Alkakori Alkauser, R K Puram;
- Ustad Moinuddin Kebabs, Lal Kuan;
- Ghalib Kebab Corner, Nizamuddin;
- Salim’s Kebabs, Khan Market;
- Aap Ki Khatir, SDA
- Chole Bhature in Sitaram Diwan Chand, Paharganj;
- Chache Di Hatti Kamla Nagar
- Biryani in Dum Pukht in ITC Maurya;
- Al Kakori Al Kauser, R K Puram, Deez Biryani & Kebabs, Defence Colony
- Nihari in Bara Hindu Rao area; Karim’s near Jama Masjid
- Rolls in Nizam’s, Connaught Place; Khan Chacha, Khan Market;
- Qureshi’s Kabab Corner, South Extension-II
- Momos in Kamla Nagar Market;
- Nagaland Food Stall in Dilli Haat;
- Sikkim House, Panchsheel Marg;
- Cafe Brown Sugar, GK market;
- Yashwant Complex, Chanakya Puri, Majnu ka Tilla, North Campus.
- Desserts in Giani di Hatti, Chandni Chowk;
- Old and Famous Jalebiwala in Chandni Chowk who has served celebrities like Late Raj Kapoor and Indira Gandhi;
- Kuremal Mohan Lal Kulfiwala, Chandni Chowk;
- Big Chill Cafe, Khan Market;
- Ghantewala Halwai, Chandni Chowk
How To Get Here
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) in Delhi serves both domestic and international flights, making it one of the busiest airports in the country. There are frequent flights to Delhi from metro cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. The airport has two main terminals—Terminal 1D and Terminal 3, where Terminal 1D serves domestic flights like IndiGo and Go Air, to name a few while Terminal 3 caters to international carriers. Situated in Palam, the airport covers a huge area of about 5,106 acres and is about 20 kilometers away from the New Delhi city centre. While there are regular Delhi Transport Corporation buses (DTC) plying from outside the airport, a new metro line also links the city centre with the airport and trains are available in every 10 minutes. Government registered pre-paid taxis can also be hired from the taxi counters at the airport to reach the city centre.
Delhi has good connectivity by road to major tourist cities like Agra, Jaipur, Shimla, Manali and Dehradun, among others. Major bus terminals serving the city include Interstate Bus Terminals (ISBT) at Anand Vihar, Kashmiri Gate and Sarai Kale Khan. Besides, regular aair-conditioned buses ply from Himachal Bhawan in Mandi House to prominent hill stations like Shimla and Manali. Similarly, buses for Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur are available from Bikaner House on Pandara Road. Delhi also has a network of highways that connects the city with other part of the country. One can enjoy a comfortable drive to Jaipur and Agra by NH 8 and NH 2, respectively.
The capital city Delhi is primarily served by four railway stations—New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS), Old Delhi Railway Station (DLI), Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station (NZM) and Anand Vihar Railway Terminal (ANVT). Among these, NDLS in Paharganj is the largest and busiest with 16 platforms and serves more than 500,000 passengers on a daily basis. Travellers can hire taxis from the pre-paid taxi booth situated outside the station to reach anywhere in the city. The Delhi metro also connects all these railway stations to other parts of the city.