Most visitors to India enter and exit through Delhi. Most of the flights arrive in the middle of the night and it is normally a tiring experience negotiating your way through the airport and into a taxi or shuttle to your hotel after a long flight.
But just when you think… this is all a bit overwhelming, the next morning you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of years of history. Architecture. Culture. Indian Cuisine. People. Life!
Your trip has started!
I always love to visit Delhi and after arriving I can’t wait to head out to the busy streets of chaotic Old Delhi which was once the magnificent walled city of Shahjahanabad in the 17th century.
This area might be your first Indian experience of culture shock, with so many sights and sounds and smells to absorb… all at once. We visited here just a few days before Diwali when everyone was in full shopping mode so it was crowded and crazy busy.
New Delhi was created by the British when they decided to build a new capital in India. So this part has stately buildings, government structures, and wide boulevards.
South Delhi is an upmarket residential neighbourhood where you will find it is calmer, quieter, and leafier than the rest of the city.
THINGS TO DO
Paharganj Main Market– described as backpacker central, there is an assortment of budget hotels, souvenir shops and interesting eating joints.
Old Delhi walk- Join a guided walk through the streets and bazaars of Old Delhi, visit the Jama Masjid mosque, Red Fort and the Chandni Chowk market. Taste some famous snacks, and enjoy a short ride by rickshaw to the spice market.
This market was the first place we visited early in the morning day1 of our tour of India and we felt submerged in the history of old Delhi, surrounded by traders excitedly preparing for Diwali sales. The incredible noise, chaos, smells and atmosphere were everything we had envisaged when planning for this trip.
Here we also visited the spice shop that Karena and Kasey Te Awa-Bird, New Zealand MasterChef winners also visited.
- Chandni Chowk Street Food Walk (Old Delhi)
- Lonely Planet Experiences Delhi Neighbourhood Walk & Food Tour
- Old Delhi Food Tour with a Local Chef
Qutub Minar – Dating from 1197, Qutub Minar is one of Delhi’s oldest monuments, with a beautiful red sandstone tower that is 73m high.
President’s Palace– Rashtrapati Bhavan, built as the British Viceroy’s residence, is now home to the President of the world’s largest democracy. Located in an area of 130 hectar, the building was completed in 1929 with the palace having 340 rooms. The most magnificent room in the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the Durbar Hall, which is the ceremonial hall for all official functions of the President of India.
Humayun’s Tomb– Tomb to the Mughal Emperor of Delhi, Humayun, this tomb is a beautiful UNESCO heritage sight, and one of the best examples of Persian influenced architecture in Delhi. Spend an hour or two here wandering the grounds and enjoying the structure – for fewer crowds & better photos come early in the morning.
Lotus Temple– Built in the shape of a gigantic lotus, the Bahai Lotus Temple is a serene stopover, the temple is shaped like a lotus flower with 27 white marble petals. There are nine doors that open into a central hall that is approximately 40 m high and has a capacity to host 2,500 people. I found this place to be serene and beautiful.
WHERE TO STAY
- Le Meridian, Delhi luxury
- Dharampura Haveli, Old Delhi midrange
- Madpackers Hostel, South Delhi budget
To read about my full India trip experience including itinerary, attractions, tips etc please click here