Delhi City Guide


Introduction
Arriving & Departing
Weather
What to do here
Foods to eat
Where to stay
Getting around
Currency
Map
Is it safe
Conclusion



Introduction

Delhi is a humongous fast paced city filled with culture, history, religion, food and people of course.

Before you visit, remember one thing; ‘you will love and hate India‘. What I mean by this is that you will for the majority part love and enjoy your time in Delhi and India in general, however, don’t expect everything to go smoothly. There will be times when things may not go your way. There may be frustrating situations and there are crowds in many places. BUT, if you’re up for an adventure, want to explore, get lost and step into history, you will definitely not regret coming here.

I will mention a few things you need to know about Delhi as well as give you tips and ideas on what to do there. I will also give you tips on where to stay, transportation and what to eat here.

There is a lot to do in Delhi, so take your time and do not rush. Every site possesses its own qualities and beauty.

Chandni Chowk, Delhi, India

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Arriving & Departing

If you’re arriving by plane, you will arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Once you arrive, you have a number of options open to you in order to get to the city.

  • Prepaid Taxi – this is the popular choice. We did not go for this as we did not know about it until we bought our tickets for a different type of cab called MeruCab which I’ll explain about below. Prepaid taxi stands are available as you come through arrivals; you will find counters for this inside and outside. It will cost you around 400-500 Rupees to the city centre. If you are taking a taxi between 11PM – 5AM there is an extra surcharge of 25%. There is no AC in these taxis.
  • Metered Taxi – this is the option we went with. We landed at the domestic terminal, came out and went with the first counter we saw. We took a Metered taxi called MeruCabs. There are other companies such as MegaCabs & EasyCabs. There are counters at the domestic and international terminals. These are more expensive and have AC. It is metered so the fare is 69 Rupees for the first 3 KM and then 23 Rupees for every additional KM. We paid around 800 Rupees to our hotel located near Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station.
  • Train – There is a train from the airport [Terminal 3] called the Delhi Metro Airport Express Train Line. It runs from 5AM-11.30PM. It takes 20 mins to get to New Delhi Metro Station which is the last stop and will cost you 60 Rupees. Unless your hotel is located close to the New Delhi station, you will further have to take a rickshaw once you exit the Metro Station. They are readily available outside.
  • Bus – There is a bus that leaves every 10-20 minutes from Terminals 1, 2 & 3. Not sure about costs but wouldn’t expect it to be expensive at all. As far as I know the bus stops at New Delhi Railway Station.

If its your first time here, and you can afford it, go for a prepaid taxi. It’s safe as it’s overseen by Delhi Traffic Police. It will take you directly to your hotel and you won’t have to drag your luggage around. However, if you like, you can go for the other options above.

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Weather

The best time to visit Delhi would be February – March and October – November. When I say best, I mean somewhat bearable heat. Temperatures range between 23-28 Degrees Celsius throughout the day in Feb-March and 11-15 degrees celsius in the evening. Throughout Oct-Nov temperatures range between 31-37 degrees celsius throughout the day and 13-19 degrees celsius throughout the evening. June through to September can be quite hot and also is the monsoon season so you will see a lot of rainfall and will experience humidity.

We were there in December; the day temperature would reach around 21 degrees celsius and in the evening it would range between 4-6 degrees celsius. Really cold!

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What To Do Here

Jama Masjid

This is the largest mosque in India which has a courtyard that can hold up to 25000 people. The building of this great mosque began in 1644 by Shah Jahan, the same person who ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal. The Mosque has three gates, four towers and two minarets. All this was constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. A lot of intricate work went into the construction of this mosque which is the reason why we were taken aback when entering into the courtyard. Dress modestly and remember that you will have to take your shoes off when entering the courtyard so bring a bag with you as they are not readily available there. 

  • Getting Here: Take the metro to Chawri Bazaar and it is a 10-15 minutes walk from there. If you want, just jump into an rickshaw to get there.
  • Hours: 7am to Noon, 1.30pm to 6.30pm
  • Entry Fee: Free


Chandni Chowk

This is located right outside the Jama Masjid. It would be a good idea to visit this place before or after visiting the Jama Masjid. Filled with life, hustle and bustle, this is a great place to stop, look around, buy, eat and converse with the locals. Traffic, people and a range of noises fills the place and you’ll often see yourself walking through interesting narrow lanes. From here you can also take a walk and visit the Red Fort.

  • Getting Here: Take the metro to Chawri Bazaar and it is a 10-15 minutes walk from there. If you want, just jump into an rickshaw to get there.
  • Hours: No closing time. Come throughout the day or evening
  • Entry Fee: Free

Jantar Mantar

Jantar comes from the Hindi word Yantra which means instruments and Mantar comes from the Hindi word Mantra which means formulae. This complex was constructed in 1724 by Maharaja Jai Singh with the purpose of taking correct astronomical measurements. It really was quite fascinating to see so many constructions that were used in the past to measure time, days, months and years. You can also go to Jaipur where the Jantar Mantar is bigger and better.

  • Getting Here: Take the metro to Patel Chowk and it is a 10-15 minutes walk from there. If you want, just jump into a rickshaw to get there.
  • Hours: Open everyday throughout the day time only.
  • Entry Fee: 100 Rupees

Lodhi Gardens

If you are in Delhi, I would highly recommend visiting Lodhi Gardens. This is a park located within the city in a convenient location visited by locals and tourists. It’s a place where you’ll see history, nature and a mix of people from school children on a school trip to families having a picnic and artists drawing their impressions of the place. Because of all the trees surrounding you and all the greenery, you really do get a breath of fresh air and it is a massive change from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Delhi.

One of the unique sites in this park that took us aback was the 500 year old Mosque. Still standing, you can even see Qur’anic inscriptions with so much detail like they were inscribed just yesterday.

  • Getting Here: You can get here by getting a metro to Khan Market. From there, it is a 30 minute walk to Lodhi Gardens. If you’re not up for walking, grab an auto rickshaw which should cost you around 30-40 Rupees.
  • Hours: Open all days throughout the day time only.
  • Entry Fee: 100 Rupees

Red Fort

Built in the 1600s, this fort also known as ‘Lal Qila’ was constructed using red sandstone and was used as a residence for Mughal Emperors from the 1600s to the 1800s. It was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and is a great place to visit for some time out.

  • Getting Here: Take a metro to Chandni Chowk metro station and then walk for about 20 minutes until you reach the fort. If you want, you can take a rickshaw from the metro station.
  • Hours: Open everyday throughout the day time only except for Monday.
  • Entry Fee: 250 Rupees

India Gate

Standing 42 metres high, this gate commemorates the 70,000 soldiers who died fighting for the British Army during World War 1. There is a flame that burns under the arch day and night which we found quite fascinating. The place is busy so be cautious.

  • Getting Here: You can get here by getting a metro to Central Secretariat. From there, it is a 30 minute walk to the gate. If you’re not up for walking, jump into a rickshaw.
  • Hours: Any time, any day.
  • Entry Fee: Free

Connaught Place

This place was quite different. Less busier, less people, quite modern, organised streets and not many street food options like in Chandni Chowk. This kind of reminded me of being in downtown Mumbai. It is worth a visit as you can definitely see a contrast from other parts of Delhi when you come here. It’s a massive round about with so much to do and see and close by you have the famous and beautiful central park where you can sit and relax.

  • Getting Here: You can get here by getting a metro to Rajiv Chowk metro station.
  • Hours: Open everyday from around 11AM.

Try Street Food

If you’re visiting the famous sites and attractions, chances are that you’ll run into street food almost everywhere you go. Don’t just stick to finding a restaurant, sitting inside and dining. Explore the streets of India, thats why they are there. Plus street food is ridiculously cheap. With so much to try and eat, you will definitely find something you like. One thing I picked up is this; go where you see a lot of locals. That way you can kind of guarantee that their food is good. Go to my food section below to see some foods you can try on the streets.

Qutub Minar

Within New Delhi, there is an 800 year old minaret, the foundation of which was built around the year 1193 [589 AH]. This minaret was of course built alongside a mosque – known as Quwwat al-Islam – with a minaret being one of the most important part of the Mosque. It is a minaret that forms part of the entire Qutab complex and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was started by Qutb al-Din Aibak, the founder of the Mamluk Dynasty and the first Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate.

Some have actually claimed that this minaret was from one of the first Islamic structures built by Muslims in India. This minaret is known to be the tallest minaret in India and one of the tallest in the world with Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain beating it. Qutub Minar stands at a staggering 72.5m height with Giralda Tower being 100m. When visiting the complex you will notice many ruins as well as beautiful gardens. It is a place where history manifests itself.

Getting Here: Take a metro to the station called Qutub Minar and then take an auto rickshaw for 30 – 40 INR to the entrance.
Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily [although it we were there after 6PM and were also told its open till 9PM. Its just that the ticket office and luggage storage closes around 6PM]
Entry Fee: 500 Rupees

Humayun’s Tomb

To be honest, this is the one place we wanted to go to but did not get a chance to. One thing led to another and time did not permit. Next time I visit, this is definitely a place I would visit. Jaw dropping architecture, a beautiful environment and full of history, this is one place you have to visit if in Delhi.

This tomb is the tomb of Humayun, one of the Mughal Emperors of Delhi. It was commissioned by his wife in the 1500s. Alongside his tomb, there are tombs of other Mughal Emperors and family members within this place.

  • Getting Here: The best way to get here is by taking a rickshaw from wherever you are. If you are close by to Lodhi Gardens then you can take a rickshaw from there. It is not far from Lodhi Gardens.
  • Hours: Daylight hours
  • Entry Fee: 250 Rupees

Click here for a map with location markers of all the above places

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Foods To Eat

When it comes to food in India, you will find before you a very wide range of options. When walking around the streets of Delhi, we found restaurants, street food, tea vendors and dessert stops everywhere. One thing that took us aback was the fact that there is a lot of vegetarian options. Indians are known to make something great out of nothing without using meat, chicken and fish. Below are some of the recommended foods to try when in Delhi.

  • Parathas – these can be ordered from a street food stall as well as a restaurant. These are great options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I personally loved having tea with plain paratha. Its simple yet so delicious and very satisfying for a breakfast. Ofcourse if you like, you can get stuffing such as eggs, radish, potatoes and even banana.
  • Tea! – I had to put this separately as the tea in India is something else. The taste of tea here is like no other. Costing 10-20pence, I saw myself drinking tea several times a day. The cup they serve it in, is not usually too big and its made up of milk for the main part, a little water, sugar and cardamom. Ofcourse, you can ask for plain tea if you prefer. You can get tea from anywhere in India – you’ll find it in big and small restaurants and also street food vendors.
  • Chaatchaat is a savoury snack which is basically boiled vegetables or lentils such as chickpeas with spices and yoghurt. You can get this from restaurants as well as from street food vendors. Full of flavour, you’ll feel a thousand flavours in your mouth once you try one of these.
  • Biryani – this is a must try anywhere you are in India. Infused with different flavours and spices, you can get this with meat, chicken, fish or plain. One of the more rich foods that will awaken your taste buds and keep you satisfied.
  • Chole Bature – this is a very simple dish. Great in taste but simple. You find people in India having this for breakfast. Its basically the name for a chickpea masala that is accompanied by a fried flatbread i.e. a puri. Have this on an empty stomach as it is quite rich and spicy.
  • Desserts – there are too many options for desserts in the capital of India. From Jalebis to Kulfi to Falooda and flavoured shaved ice, there’s definitely something you’ll find to suit your sweet taste buds.
Flavoured Shaved Ice – Bit Like Slush

Note: just something to remember. In India many restaurants are called Hotels. This confused me at first because I saw so many hotels but was later informed that in India the restaurants are called Hotels.

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Where To Stay

FabHotel The Daffodils Connaught Place

This all depends on where you’d like to visit.

We stayed near the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station because we wanted to be able to get there early morning to take a train to Agra [to see the Taj Mahal]. You can stay around this station, but we had to take a bus or metro to get to places.

Having said that, below are some hotels I would recommend staying in if you want to be in the centre with attractions and sites at an easily reachable distance:

These are hotels I would recommend:

  • FabHotel The Daffodils Connaught Place [Luxury] – with great facilities and a modern touch as well as boasting a perfect location, this hotel will make it easy for you to get around. The breakfast here is lovely and is included within the price. I have to stress again, the location is so convenient, with metro stations, buses and rickshaws at your disposal. Close by to the hotel you have the Central Park which is a great place to either start or finish your day by unwinding, relaxing and taking some time out. You’ll find a mix of locals and tourists here. The rate for this hotel ranges between £43-£47
  • The Prime Balaji Deluxe [Standard] – located very close [100 yards] to the New Delhi Train station & Metro Station, this hotel is a great option. You can use the metro to reach most sites around Delhi. The hotel is located in an area called Paharganj which is one of the best areas for tourists. Here you’ll find a lot of street markets and street food. This hotel will cost you around £34 for a deluxe double room which includes airport pickup and breakfast. For a solo traveller all this will cost around £29.
  • ATLANTA @ New Delhi Train Station [Budget] – located very close to New Delhi station. Again, a superb location and the rate includes breakfast. Prices vary around £17-£20 a night with breakfast included.

If you want to search for hotels in general in Delhi, head over to Booking.com. The above links are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and book a hotel, booking.com will pay me a commission without any extra charges to you. Thanks for the support.

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Getting Around

Delhi is the capital city of India. Therefore, transportation is pretty great here. Buses, trains, metro and rickshaws are all affordable and easily available. We used a combination of buses, trains, metros and rickshaws to get around. Plan your journey before hand and use Google Maps to see public transport options to get to your destination. Buses are very cheap here but the downside is that sometimes they are packed!

Regarding buses, when you do get on, its not always easy to understand where to pay for your ticket. Just remember, atleast in Delhi, when you do get onto buses, there will usually be someone sat towards the back of the bus selling tickets. To recognise him, look out for the man dealing with tickets and money who also will have a ticket machine on him.

Rickshaws are great vehicles for getting around. In-expensive and safe, if you cannot make it to a metro, this is your best option. The good thing about using rickshaws is that you do not have to go to a bus stop or metro station to get to your destination. Saying that though, metros and buses are of course cheaper.

A good tip; use google maps. Being the capital city, timings of buses and locations of metro stations are up to date on Google Maps app and online.

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Currency

Indian Rupee [INR]

To find the latest exchange rates, click here.

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Map

Below is a map with markers of places that you could visit when in Delhi.

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Is It Safe?

Just a few words here; be careful with your belongings. Plan before you go out. Avoid walking off into unknown areas and always make sure you count your change because you can be shorthanded change. Avoid staying out till too late. We used to be back for around 10.30PM and start the day off early. Delhi in general is safe and we did not experience anything we would consider unsafe. However, just remember the above pointers and you should be fine hopefully.

Oh yes, one more thing. This may not necessarily be related to matters of safety. Ensure that you always have small change on you because many times rickshaw drivers, places to eat and local vendors may not have change for big notes. Without smaller notes, it could elongate matters.

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Conclusion

Delhi is a city full of rich history and culture. It’s a vibrant place brimming with people, vehicles and sounds.

What I enjoyed the most is the beautiful marination of present day and history. On one side you can explore the modern side of Delhi with its tall buildings, shopping malls with designer boutiques and lavish parks. However, at the same time you can soak up the rich beautiful history of this place whilst walking down aroma filled streets with vibrant bazaars and food stalls that take you back in time.

There’s a lot you can learn whilst in Delhi and one thing that stood out to me was the rich Islamic history in abundance throughout this place. With so much to see and do, I would definitely recommend Delhi as a place to visit if you’re travelling to India.

If you’ve been to Delhi, comment below. If you have any tips or comments, please comment below. Thanks for reading this and please subscribe to our site.

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