The capital of India is bulging with over 18 million people; visiting Delhi is an experience in itself.
Unlike the exotic and colourful Indian cities like Jodphur or Jaipur, Delhi is a crowded mess of concrete and traffic. The begging street children, open sewers and ‘kamakaze-like’ drivers winding through the dusty streets can overwhelm even a seasoned traveller.
Break down your sightseeing into areas and allow plenty of time to get there via rickshaw or train. Delhi is vast and the sights are dotted across the city.
Three days in Delhi is the ideal amount of time, though there are plenty of sights to visit that could see your visit extend to four or five days.
Personally, I would only stay in the capital longer if you had a lot of time to spare in India.
Delhi is not my favourite city, but it is a perfect base city to use as an entry and/or exit point for your trip through Rajasthan.
BED & CHAI GUESTHOUSE
Situated in GK1 in South Delhi, this hostel is clean, comforting and modern—a rarity for India.
This is the perfect calm oasis you need when visiting India’s intense capital.
I have no affiliation with this hotel, I just loved staying there!
WHERE TO STAY?
There are three main areas where most tourists stay in Delhi:
OLD DELHI, PAHARGANJ & KAROL BAGH
In the northern section of the city, these areas offer budget friendly hotels, travel agents and street stalls. Situated very close to the New Delhi Train Station, it is an ideal area for those arriving by train. Certainly a dirty and ugly part of town, be prepared for some discomfort if you are paying bottom dollar for your stay.
Nearby Attractions: Red Fort, Jama Masjid
NEW DELHI (Connaught Place)
Connaught Place boasts tree lined boulevards, roundabouts and upmarket hotels. The business district of Delhi, Connaught Place is in the centre of the city with modern business hotels and is a good base from which to see the sights north and south.
Nearby Attractions: India Gate, Gandhi Museum
GREATER KAILASH & HAUZ KHAS
South of this great city lies many tourist sights and a great selection of restaurants to explore. Greater Kailash is broken into two neighbourhoods GK1 & GK2. Between Hauz Khas and GK, all your shopping and food needs will be met. The south is connected to Old Delhi by two metro lines.
Nearby Attractions: Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas Village, Humayun’s Tomb
A UNESCO Heritage Site, Humayun’s Tomb, in eastern Delhi, is the resting place of the last Mughal Emperor. This breathtaking mausoleum inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal.
Visiting at sunset offers you the best light for photos and far less people in them. When you first enter the complex, on your right is Isa Khan’s tomb, this smaller tomb was my favourite area to visit and photograph. It was a more majestic and peaceful setting to soak up the afternoon sun than the busier and bigger tomb of Khan-i-Khanan.
Situated in New Delhi, the Lotus temple is the house of worship for the Bahá’í Faith, a religion whose ‘’purpose is to unite all races and peoples in one universal cause and one common Faith’’.
There are seven Bahá’í houses of worship across the world; Western Somoa, Australia, Uganda, Panama, Germany, USA and this beautiful temple in Delhi.
Not only architecturally breathtaking, this temple has incredible acoustics. I would suggest staying for a service, which involves many languages and singing that bounces of the curved roof evoking a unique spiritual experience.
Click here to visit the official website of the Delhi Lotus Temple.
PETE INDIA is a non-profit organisation that runs walking tours and other volunteer programs in Delhi’s largest slum.
It felt like a ‘privileged experience’ rather than a tour, meeting and interacting with the slum families in this maze of a city within a city. Pete’s Walks were the highlight of my time in Delhi and a tour I will repeat every time I return to Delhi.
This was my favourite market in Delhi, I visited multiple times.
This is one of the few markets you need to pay a few rupees to enter but the market stalls have a huge variety of items from all over India and home wares, linens, clothing, artwork and knick knacks I haven’t come across in any other Indian cities.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Gandhi
The face and leader of India’s Civil Independence movement, Mahatma Ganhdi is a man everyone needs to know about. The museum in Old Delhi houses personal items, a thorough life story of this world leader and the trials and tribulations he faced before his assassination on 30th January 1948 in New Delhi.
MY BEST ADVICE…
The train system is orderly and logical and much safer than I had imagined.
Riding the trains is an easy way to get from A to B in congested Delhi sometimes a tuk tuk across the city takes over an hour.
At some point, you will get sick, it seems to be inevitable and almost a rite of passage when travelling India.
Be as smart as you can about where you eat, but enjoy the delicious food, drink the sweet spiced chai on the overnight trains – your trip will be richer for it.
Pack a small medical kit with probiotics, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoea and anti-vomitting drugs.
Although it seems there is only total chaos to the observing traveller, Delhi and India as a whole, runs efficiently with a hidden but ordered way of life.
Everyone is trying to make their way among the billion-plus people and you will be ripped off constantly. It’s inevitable and something you just need to embrace and shrug off. Nothing makes sense and the challenge when visiting is to be swept up in the beauty of it with an open mind.
Delhi is one of the few cities in the North where alcohol is available. Unless you are in a big group, I would avoid wandering around at night, especially women.
Be smart about what you do at all times and be firm. Hold your head high, tell people to leave you alone or blatantly ignore anyone hassling you.
There are plenty of scams in most countries out there but you don’t need to fall prey to them if you have your own back and pretend like you know what you’re doing.
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So who am I…? Hi! My name is India.
I am a nomadic Australian who has wandered the world full time exploring over 60 countries and 5/7 continents.
After ten years on the road, I have launched my own website – Travelling Notebook – to share the knowledge I have gained on the road and the images I have collected over the years with fellow adventurers. Keep reading…
I am a freelance travel writer, photography and videographer, based in London. If you need specific travel advice or would like to collaborate please send an email my way!
Always say yes to adventure!
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