Delhi as a city is similar to Rome in more ways than one. A great historic city that has its unmistakable flaws, and yet retains its extreme charm. If you are someone who is a history buff, you are likely to find remnants of a lot of powerful empires spread across the city.
History And Culture Of Delhi
Delhi has been the capital of India for at least the last seven civilizations. One of the earlier mentions of Delhi was as Indraprastha; the kingdom of the Pandavas, in the Mahabharata.
Delhi’s central location to both the western as well as the eastern parts of the subcontinent meant that it would be a strategically favorable place to rule. It would become the most powerful seat of the subcontinent from the 12th century, up until when the British decided Delhi needed a facelift. So, a New Delhi was built.
Speaking of strategic locations, Delhi comprises one of the three cities (Jaipur and Agra) forming the Golden Triangle. This is easily one of the most famous tourist routes, and choosing one of the many tour packages available for it is a must-do!
Delhi is also one of the most culturally diverse cities you’re likely to visit in the country. A clear dichotomy exists here. Once the walled capital of the Mughal empire, the now Old Delhi is full of old houses, mazy lanes, bustling traditional markets and chaos. New Delhi, as the name suggests, is where all the modern infrastructure is. The access to explore different worlds that coexist in Delhi makes it a very special place.
In terms of architecture, The Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb, Chattarpur Temples and Qutub Minar are just a few of the landmark monuments that are frequented by locals and tourists alike, they speak volumes of Delhi fabled history.
Food is a big deal in Delhi! You are almost certain to find excellent food around every nook and corner. Delhi gets a lot of its cuisine from neighboring states, Mughal influences and migrant communities. Being a metropolis means even the distinct international cuisine is extremely easy to find.
Mughlai cuisine (food of the Mughals) has become synonymous with the cuisine that the people of Delhi savor the most. The street-food scene in Delhi is also top-notch, primarily vegetarian with the likes of chhole-bhature, kulche, jalebi, samosas and pakoras, there’s plenty non-vegetarian options as well in kebabs, momos, and Nalli Nihari. Some would argue that you can even find biryani as a street-food option in different parts of Delhi.
The legendary dish, the one dish that Delhi truly revels in, is butter chicken. The Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi takes pride in inventing this utterly scrumptious dish, and it is one dish you are likely to find in most restaurants in Delhi. If you are the foodie who likes to experiment, head to Aslam Butter Chicken for their literal take on butter and chicken.
How To Get To Delhi
By Air – The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the busiest in the country, which makes it extremely likely that whichever city you choose to fly from, you will have at least one option of flying directly into Delhi.
Other metros like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and a few other cities like Lucknow, Varanasi, Cochin and Guwahati also have great connectivity with the capital. Getting to Delhi by air is definitely a reliable option.
By Rail – Delhi has an extremely strong rail connectivity as well. The city has 5 major railway stations. The busiest and the most well connected is the New Delhi Railway Station, which is just under 3 kilometers away from the upmarket Connaught Place.
The Rajdhani Express, which is a daily train that runs between Mumbai and Delhi, is known for its punctuality and convenience of travel.
By Road – You are very likely to be able to take a bus from Delhi to pretty much anywhere in North India. Leh? Yes! Manali? Yes! Rishikesh? Yes! Amritsar? Yes! Varanasi? Also Yes! Delhi is extremely well connected to North India by road. Delhi has 3 state bus terminals at Kashmere Gate, Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar. Your bus to Delhi would in all probability culminate at one of these bus stands.
Best Time To Travel To Delhi
Between October and up until March (or whenever Holi is) is the best time to travel to Delhi. Keep in mind that Delhi has extreme weather – the summers are too hot and the winters can get too cold. There are various festivals and concerts in the city from November onwards, and it is a really nice time to be out and about in Delhi.
Late March to June is when it gets warm and the heat can be quite severe. From August onwards, depending on the severity of the monsoons, the weather in Delhi gets pleasant again.
So we recommend you head to the capital anytime between October to March
Getting Around Delhi
Delhi undoubtedly has the best metro connection in the country. What was built as a prerequisite to host the commonwealth games is today the preferred means of commute for millions, and the network of the transit keeps increasing.
Delhi undoubtedly has the best metro connection in the country. What was built as a prerequisite to host the Commonwealth Games is today the preferred means of commute for millions, and the network of the transit keeps increasing.
The bus system in Delhi is also a very popular mode of transit. The entire fleet of Delhi’s buses are CNG fuelled, which means your next commute on Delhi’s bus transit is easier on the environment. Buses in the Delhi transport corporation network are extremely well connected as well and are definitely an option should you choose to use one.
Taking an Ola or an Uber in Delhi is also an option that is safer and more transparent on costs in comparison to taking rickshaws.
Hiring an auto rickshaw means you are going to be quoted a ridiculous amount, since not following the standard meter charge is the norm here. Ensure you negotiate the asking price down to something that is more reasonable. Although, we have realized once the hurdle of agreeing on a price is out of the way, you can have an interesting conversation with the auto drivers, making the whole hassle of bargaining worth it at times.
Some of the denser neighborhoods in Old Delhi rely on cycle rickshaws. We are always in awe of the strength and tenacity of these rickshaw pullers!
Breaking Stereotypes About Delhi
Scams in Delhi or people here are not helpful. More than a stereotype, this one is a cause for concern that is thankfully changing for the better. Most touristic sites and cities will have touts, people who try to make a quick buck at the expense of the unassuming tourist.
However, the bad rep that Delhi gets is that the people and the authorities aren’t helpful. While this is true to an extent, it doesn’t paint the entire picture.
You are likely to find yourself being scammed outside railway stations, airports, mosques, temples and historic sites. Remember despite the presence of such touts, most people around you are commoners and locals. Dehiites are warm and generous people who are extremely upset with the reputation their city gets. They have nothing to gain from you if you ever find yourself in such a situation. So don’t be afraid to ask for help from a local and you will see them come to your rescue.
Go Check Out
Delhi is obviously famous for its food, architecture and its nightlife. Here are a few things we recommend you check out:
Open Spaces & Parks – Delhi has some of the nicest parks and open spaces, most of these are fused with history. Like for example, The Lodhi Gardens, a sprawling city park which is also home to the tombs of the rulers of the Lodi Dynasty. The Central Park and the Mehrauli Archaeological Park are also great for people who crave open spaces in congested metros.
We also recommend checking out Hauz Khas, The Tomb of Humayun and The Tomb of Safdarjung as they also have pretty little gardens around them.
Art – The Art scene in Delhi is booming and for good reason. If you find yourself relaxing in Lodi Gardens, head to Lodhi Art district, which is India’s first public art district. A definite must visit the next time you’re in Delhi.
Nightlife – If your idea of a holiday involves partying like there’s no tomorrow, then Delhi has it too! Just take a cab (we don’t want you to be drinking and driving!) to Hauz Khas, Connaught Place, Saket and Rajouri Garden to enjoy the best nightclubs and breweries the city has to offer.
With this Delhi travel guide, you now have your Traveling to Delhi 101 done. But the city has a lot to offer. Much, much more! An adventurous spirit and a hunger to explore the not-so-mainstream aspects of the city can surprise you in a pleasant way.
Is Delhi Dangerous For Tourists?
Surely you’re wondering if Delhi is dangerous for tourists. The city does have an unfortunate reputation of being relatively unsafe, especially for women. But as female travelers, you can avoid danger by steering clear of desolate spots and if you want a cab, hire one from a reputable company.
What Should I Wear In Delhi?
For all its historical and architectural marvels, Delhi admittedly has a serious pollution problem. The dust and poor air quality means that packing an extra scarf to use as a rudimentary air filter is a given.
For the hot and dry summers, pack light and loose cotton shirts, and make sure that you have a hat with you too.
The winters can get quite cold. So we recommend light but long-sleeved clothes. Don’t forget to pack a sweater too!
How Many Days Are Enough For Delhi?
If you’re wondering how many days would be enough to explore Delhi, keep aside two-three days for it. A good idea is to dedicate each day to a specific area of the city.
What Should I Not Miss In Delhi?
It’s not a trip to Delhi if you miss the following locations and experiences:
Historical And Architectural Marvels:Delhi is dotted with structures that exude its rich medieval and colonial history. Make sure that you visit the Red Fort, the Qutub Minar and India Gate. While you’re at the India Gate, you can also visit Rashtrapati Bhavan and the adjoining Mughal Gardens.
The Places Of Worship:Those who seek spirituality within the chaos of Delhi can do so by visiting the ISKCON temple, the Jama Masjid and the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
Shopping And Eating Spots:For those with a love for shopping, the Dilli Haat is the perfect place to get some quality souvenirs and handicrafts. Hungry? Head towards Chandni Chowk for some tantalizing street food!
Where Do Tourists Stay In Delhi?
It depends on the type of tourist you are and the budget you have. Check out the best hotels in Delhi that suit your preference from Unstumbled’s curated list!
How Can I Cover Delhi In One Day?
If you’ve a time crunch, you could hop onto Delhi’s HoHo (Hop-On/Hop-Off) bus service, dedicated to tourists and complete with live commentary. Make sure that you visit the Red Fort, India Gate, Parliament House, Humayun’s Tomb, Chandni Chowk and Raj Ghat.
How Far is Delhi From Agra?
Delhi is 233 km away from Agra, and it would take you about 4 hours to reach by road. There are flights connecting both cities too.
What Is Famous In Delhi To Buy?
Those who love souvenirs would love Delhi, as it has a lot of fancy stuff you could take home. Some of them are silver artifacts, embroidered bags, lac bangles, zari dresses and spices.
What Is Famous Food In Delhi?
When you’re in Delhi, you simply can’t miss the parathas, golgappas, chole bhature, kebabs and butter chicken. The ones with a sweet tooth must try the kulfis, rabri faloodas and jalebis.
Which Is The coldest month In Delhi?
January is when Delhi is coldest, with an average temperature of 14.2°C. Don’t forget to pack warm clothes when you’re visiting the city around this time!