Delhi, is India’s capital territory, and is a huge metropolis area in the country’s north. In Old Delhi, a neighborhood dating to the 1600s, stands the imposing Mughal-era Red Fort, a symbol of India, and the vast Jama Masjid mosque, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people. Nearby is Chandni Chowk, a vibrant bazaar filled with food carts, sweets shops and spice stalls as well as Asia’s oldest spice market. Dehli is filled with history, art, color, smells and is overwhelmingly an assault on the senses. The rush and bustle of the city cannot be matched and it is a unique experience by far of any country I have been to since.
How to get there
Airport to City Center Transportation
If you’re reaching Delhi by flight, then I recommend using Delhi Metro’s Airport Express line which starts from the Terminal 3 (T3) International Airport till New Delhi Railway Station Metro. If you are landing at the domestic airport, then you’ll have to take a cab or autorickshaw to the Delhi Aerocity metro station. The metro from the airport to the city center for New Dehli takes around 1 hour.
**Delhi Metro’s Pink Line now connect to the Domestic Airport, and the station is called Aerocity.
Train to Dehli
If you’re traveling to Delhi by trains, there are a number of railway stations in Delhi. The main station is New Delhi Railway station which is the largest one. Then comes the Old Delhi Railway Station which is the second most used station in Delhi. One railway station also opened recently is the Anand Vihar one which connects to mainly Uttar Pradesh and nearby Northen states. If you’re coming or heading to Udaipur in Rajasthan, you might use the Sarai Rohilla station which is a very small station compared to the others. All these stations are well connected through Delhi Metro with stations in close proximity. From the train stations there are many rickshaws to take you to your destination.
Bus to Dehli
If you are coming to Delhi via buses from Agra or Chandigarh, then in most probability you’ll reach Kashmere Gate which again is another major interchange station of Delhi Metro. From here you can take the metro which is cheap and fastest access to all other parts of the city.
Dehli is admittedly a busy and overcrowded city that is overwhelming to visit and can be hectic for foreigners. This city was almost too much for me to handle at first entering. Luckily this wasn’t my first entrance into India and I had some time to adjust coming from smaller village areas in the Northeast. There are lots of transportation options and ways to enjoy getting around to see the city in a more livable manner. The metro is the main way to get somewhere fast and budget anywhere in the city for longer distances. Rickshaws can be handy services for shorter distances in the heat and dangerous crossings.
Rickshaws are all over the city bicycling and are a convenient way to go shorter distances in the city in the heat instead of walking and navigating some of the most intense roads and crossways in the city. This is a safe way to get short distances that you would not take a metro. They can be a cheap way to get somewhere however you need to know how to barter and get the right price for your ride depending on the distance.
Tips for Taking a Rickshaw:
- Walk up to the driver & say “how much to go to X location.” They will tell you to get in without giving you a rate. NEVER get in without establishing a rate! This is how they get tourists.
- Ask again and they will respond with a number (its higher than any local would pay)
- This is where the bartering begins with a smile and a laugh. Start with half of what they asked you as a safe number
- They will for a short distance maybe quote you 250 rupees and you can get it down to 40 rupees if you are willing to barter and be firm
- A local in Delhi I heard said that a cycle rickshaw should cost around 15 rupees per distance that would take 10 minutes to walk.
- You don’t tip a rickshaw driver it is unneccessary
Metro – short for Delhi Metro – are the trains which run in Delhi NCR including all major areas in Delhi and Noida, Ghaziabad & Gurgaon. The Metro is the best & most efficient way to move around in the capital because of the quick service and fast speed. The trains connect all areas in the city now and is expanding quickly to the remaining parts. Another major reason to use the Delhi Metro is that it is one of the cheapest modest of travel in the city.
Price: 150 INR or $2.16 USD for a metro card
– There’s an all women’s coach to travel safely and some dedicated seats available for women in all other coaches.
– Metro card comes to your rescue from the long line for tokens. Buy a card from any ticket counter at as cheap as 150 INR and recharge it later from the ticket kiosks which are now at most stations.
– Use Paytm to recharge metro card remotely without even going to a kiosk. Sometimes, the card doesn’t work post recharge, simply head to ticket counter stating you used Paytm for recharge, they’ll fix it in a minute.
– Use metro stations to cross major road junctions. I know traffic is a mess here, and nobody really follows zebra crossing, so why not use metro stations to cross the road safely.
– There are various lines – Red, Blue, Yellow, Violet, Orange and many more. Most crowded routes are now being upgraded from 4 to 6 or 8 coaches. If traveling on the Yellow line for Gurgaon there is a maximum of 8 coaches. The rest are also catching up except the ones which don’t require (i.e. the Red Line).
When to Visit
Winters (November – February) are the most pleasant time to visit the city as it is the coolest and you have more time during the day to see and explore more. However, winter is the higher peak season for visitors. Summers (Ideally rest of the year) are the hottest and yet there are less travelers during this season and so it makes your experience easier to navigate. The rest of the year are prone to monsoon season as well which is lots of rain which many people try to avoid in traveling to India. Monsoon season is July to Mid-September for Dehli. If you travel during summer it is best to start the day early and catch the metro before 7 am to beat the morning traffic rush and the heat. It is only in the months of February, March, October or November is when you won’t be uncomfortably hot or cold. The best time to visit is February, March, October or November.
Always Dress appropriately and covered no matter how hot it is! This is so important when you are visiting a different culture with different values. It is important to respect the people and culture and not offend anyone. This applies everywhere even outside of temples and holy sites.
- If you want to avoid getting stared at, followed for theft, or publicly shamed or kicked out anywhere in New Delhi, DRESS APPROPRIATELY. Be respectful of the culture and religions there that require women to cover their legs and shoulders. Attracting unwanted attention to yourself as a foreigner is not in your best interest and you will feel very uncomfortable on your trip and end up feeling stupid in public.
- It’s also a safety measure; showing your skin can be like an open invitation to men for better or worse. This doesn’t mean it is your fault or they should target you because of that, however especially as a foreigner this will happen. You also will not be allowed to enter mosques or temples if you aren’t dressed appropriately, unless they offer cover-up robes, which I can guarantee you will smell and never be washed (I had to wear one at Jama Masjid, a Muslim mosque).
- I mostly wore leggings under long tunic shirts that cover your but also shirt dresses called curtas in India. I wore t- shirts or sweaters and kimonos over any top that showed shoulders. Also baggy or harem pants (loose-pants that get tight around the ankle) and scarfs are great every day items, even if it was 100 degrees outside.
- For guys, it doesn’t really matter what you wear unless you’re going into a mosque or temple (no shorts or hats).
When exchanging money in Dehli it is best to go to an official bank for safety and security of your card and identity. I had trouble after using an ATM on a side street and the last thing you want to be dealing with is a shut down card or money being stolen. The bank should give the best rate as well to get you a good deal. India is a cash culture so it is best to budget in advance and pull out large amounts at once to get the best deal or travel with a card with no international rates for pulling out money.
- Dress appropriately at all times for the culture and religion of the country! See my section above on dress code for ideas and specifics.
- You need to pack toilet paper with you everywhere you go! Toilet paper is not in public. Put it in the trash bin not the toilet.
- There is a lot of theft in Dehli, make sure to keep a bag or purse on the front of you and hold it at all times in the crowd. It is probably best to use a hidden money belt or a theft proof bag that can’t be slashed and cut off you.
- There are lots of beggar children in street scams that men use to try to get money off you in the city. The men normally take all the money off the poor children. It is best not to contribute to this and give in. People will try to sell you things all around and hassle you, you can say in hindi “nai” which means no.
- Always establish a price for a taxi or rickshack BEFORE you get in
- If a driver recommends a place for you to go or see or a specific restaurant or market it is because he gets a commission on that place. Be wary of scams for tours and going places.
- Carry cash because it is a cash culture and barter for everything. There is hardly anywhere that accepts credit or debit card. Also big bills are bad and not many locals will have change when you try to buy things and will try to rip you off. Be wary of atms and pulling out money anywhere. I had fraud on my card that happened in India and the international rates are bad.
- The street food is delicious just use good judgement when deciding which stands to eat at and the overall condition of the cleanliness so as to avoid getting sick.
- You need to be updated on your Hep A shots before going! I got giardhea by living in India and it was miserable.
- Do not drink the tap water or use it for brushing your teeth or anything!
- Lassi is a yoghurt probiotic drink in India that you can get on the street alot of places that is good for your tummy and keeps you from living in diarrhea from the spice your whole trip
- Remember an adapter for the plugs!
- If you’re not from India, you will most likely develop a case of “Delhi Belly” in the first week of your visit to Delhi. Make sure you carry your diarrhea medicine. It usually lasts for just a day but can last for 2 or 3 in total. Rice and bananas will help and drink lassi the probiotic drink.
- Be careful with public displays of affection to be polite. Other than holding hands most people don’t show affection in public.
- Ola Cabs is cheaper than tuk tuks often. It’s because it can be stressful to sometimes find a tuk tuk and negotiate to a decent price.
- You will get stared at a lot, prepare for that and the lack of personal space and boundaries when in public
Things to do
The Taj Mahal Day Trip
The Taj Mahal, one of the 7 wonders of the new world and a UNESCO world heritage site is in Agra, India only 3 hours outside of the city. This makes for an amazing day trip from Dehli that is worth the drive to behold the white mausoleum in all its glory personally. Watching the sunset or sunrise over the temple is an amazing experience to have while you visit India! If you are in Dehli you must make the trip over to see this beauty.
Chandi Chowk Market /Old Dehli
Chandi Chowk Market is a historic busy bazaar in Old Dehli the north eastern side of the city. The market sells clothing, housewares & hardware shops, plus has restaurants & snack stalls. This whole area includes several bazaars that are for specific products as well as a spice market nearby. The bazaar is one of the most overwhelming parts of experiencing India and comes alive in its fullest of people, colors, flavors, scents and all kinds of textures and patterns. The shopping is done in a loud crowd of a never ending sea of moving people. One of my favorite parts of India was walking around the markets and especially looking at all the beautiful saris, fabric and curta dresses and patterns.
Market Hours: open daily 10:30am-9pm, closed on Sundays
Jama Masjid Mosque
This is a 17th-century, red sandstone Mughal-style mosque with a 25,000 person capacity & 40m high minarets. This is one of the top landmarks and tourist attractions of Dehli city. The courtyard is filled with red carpets and a reflection pool. This is a beautiful famous mosque to explore and observe prayer and devotees all day long. Jama Masjid sits across the road from the Red Fort at the end of Chandni Chowk, the once-grand but now chaotic thoroughfare of crumbling yet characterful Old Delhi. Delhi’s Jama Masjid is one of the most beautiful examples of Mughal architecture in India. After all, it was made by Emperor Shah Jahan, who also commissioned the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Hours: The mosque is open daily from sunrise until sunset, except from noon until 1.30 p.m. when prayers are held. The ideal time to go is early in the morning, before the crowds arrive. Fridays are communal prayer for devotees also making this a crowded day to visit.
Price: 500 rupees for foreigners
How to get there: You can take the Dehli Metro train there. It’s an underground extension of the Violet Line and the Jama Masjid Metro Station provides direct access to the mosque’s main eastern Gate 2 (through Chor Bazaar street market). Such an extreme contrast between modern and ancient!
Visit the Spice Market
Asia’s largest spice market is in Old Dehli called Khari Baoli , in the Chandi Chowk bazaar area connected. It started during the 17th century, dating back to the Mughal era. Baoli, literally means a step well, and ‘Khari’ or ‘Khara’ translates to salty, thereby translating the meaning of Khari Baoli to a salty water step well. This is one of the most crowded parts of the old city and is a beast to navigate but is such a unique experience. Walking through the market there are burlap sacks filled with different chilis, herbs and spices that are so strong your nose is assaulted with a multitude of scents. I found myself struggling to breathe actually and coughing almost uncontrollably. The colors and textures and scents are beautiful. Bring a scarf to cover your nose and mouth. There is a huge selection of local and exotic spices
Hours: 10am-9pm daily
How to get there: To reach this place, the closest metro station will be Chawri Bazaar and Chandni Chowk. From there, you can walk till the spice market.
- Location: Near Red Fort, Delhi 6
- Nearest metro station: Chandni Chowk
The India Gate
This historical landmark is a massive 137 foot Arc de Triumph style gate commemorating the Indian soldiers killed in the First World War. This arc is right on the way into the city and you can ask your driver to pass by it on your way from the airport into the city. Timings of light show at India Gate are from 7 PM to 9.30 PM.
Hours: Open all day to the public
Price: Free entry
How to get there:
- Location of India Gate: Rajpath
- Nearest Metro Station: Central Secretariat
- Address: Rajpath, India Gate, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
Lodhi Garden & Lodhi Colony
The Lodhi gardens are a British-era public park featuring ancient tombs, rose & herb gardens, bonsai trees and a lake. This is arguably the most beautiful park in the city and the most tranquil oasis from the overwhelming bustle of the city. This is the place where many Lodhi rulers were buried. This is one of my favorite spots in the city to rest, have a picnic, read a book and just take in the surrounding beauty.
Hours: Open daily 6 am-7:30pm
Price: No fee is charged for foreigners
How to get there: The nearest metro station is called the JLN.
Take a Rikshaw Ride in the city
There are rickshaws all around in the city hovering at roads, markets and other main thoroughfares to take you to your next destination. They are a fun experience of the city and how locals travel. There are bicycle rickshaws and the motorized rickshaws or tuk tuks. Both are fun and interesting to experience on your trip to India. They are not great for longer transportation needs but to take a short fun ride and escape the heat and walking in the afternoon. See my rickshaw tips in the section up above.
Price: A ride should average 25 rupees for the first mile and 8 rupees for each additional half mile. You’ll be charged 25% extra at night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Waiting charges are 30 rupees per hour. There’s also a luggage charge of 7.50 rupees for extra luggage (large bags). you really shouldn’t pay much more than 100 rupees to travel to most tourist places in Delhi. New Delhi Railway Station (Paharganj) to Khan Market is 60 rupees, New Delhi Railway Station to Nizamuddin Railway Station is around 75 rupees, New Delhi Railway Station to Connaught Place is 35 rupees, Connaught Place to Karol Bagh is 35 rupees, and Connaught Place to Old Delhi and the Red Fort is 35 rupees.
Tip: there is a Prepaid Auto Rickshaw and Taxi Stand at New Delhi Railway Station, inside the parking lot in front of it on the Paharganj side. Using it will save you stress. Just ignore the drivers who will accost you on the way to the booth.
The Red Fort is a historical landmark from the 17th-century. It is a Mughal fortress built in towering red sandstone, that is now a complex of museums. This fort is right near the Chandi Chowk and spice markets as well as the famous Jama Masjid mosque and make for a great one day itinerary in the Old city of Dehli. This fort is a UNESCO world heritage site and its name means the blessed fort spreading across 256 acres.
Red Fort Light & Sound Show Timings are:
Hindi: 7.30 PM to 8.30 PM (May to Aug)
7 PM to 8 PM (Sep & Oct)
6 PM to 7 PM (Nov to Jan)
7 PM to 8 PM (Feb to Apr)
English: 9 PM to 10 PM (May to Aug)
8.30 PM to 9.30 PM (Sep & Oct)
7.30 PM to 8.30 PM (Nov to Jan)
8.30 PM to 9.30 PM (Feb to Apr)
Hours: 9:30am-4:30pm daily open
Price: 500 rupees for foreigners per ticket
How to get there:
- Nearest Metro station to Red Fort: Chandni Chowk Metro Station
- Red Fort Location: Netaji Subhash Marg, Near Chandni Chowk
Where to stay
Zostel Delhi is a backpackers hostel located centrally in New Delhi, just 500 m from the New Delhi Railway Station. Free WiFi access is available. Each room here will provide you with air conditioning. Featuring a shower, private bathroom also comes with free toiletries. At Zostel Delhi there is a 24-hour front desk and a terrace. There are tours and free parking in the hostel. The Delhi International Airport is 7 miles away. This property also has one of the best-rated locations in New Delhi!
Price: $15USD a night for a private double room and $7 usd for a bunk room, see hostel and book here
Go stops Dehli
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The charming GoStops is venue for ‘Varma Reimagined’. At Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi. Take the Metro (violet) to Delhi Gate and step out of Gate 3. #flashbackgordon #cartooning #humour #memeculture #sketchy #artistsoninstagram #artistsofinstagram #artonmyterms #popculture #fluidpainting #fluidart #fluidacrylic #delhiart #delhiartist #culturvation #delhilove #sodelhi #delhihai #ilovedelhi #rajaravivarma #rajaravivarmamemes
goStops hostel is a chain located throughout India in major cities. The hostel is colorful and has lots of art and mural paintings on the walls in an artistic and creative environment. There is a fun courtyard lounge area and a rooftop terrace with city views and a bar. The rooms are modern decorated, clean and spacious bunks.
Price: $7 USD for an 8 mixed dorm room or $28 USD a night for a double private room, see hostel and book here
Lets Bunk Poshtel
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Introducing our latest #Junior Suite featuring #furniture that we #designed and created ourselves. Everything in this room is sourced carefully; from #upcycled accessories to custom elements, we wanted our #double occupancy #room to reflect the #ethos that surround a couple of #millennial #travellers today. #SwipeRight to see the details and #BookNow! #PoshtelPeople #Poshpackers 🍂
This is a medium range boutique hostel meant for flashpackers rather than super budget backpackers. This is a luxury lifestyle hostel based on the concept of stylish social living. Tailor made for leisure/business/ transit travellers in the outskirts of the city for a more peaceful laid back place to return after busy days in the city. This place is a killer deal for being a boutique hotel and offers tranquility from the rush of the city.
Price: $18USD a night, see hotel and book here
The Lazy Patio Homestay
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When our guests leave us with pleasant moments and memories 😊 #Repost @thetravellinglight with @repostapp ・・・ We called @thelazypatio home in New Delhi, it's a BnB that really feels like you're staying at your cool friend's penthouse apartment. There's only 3 rooms and there's a huge rooftop terrace connecting them all looking over a peaceful lake. More on this soft landing pad in New Delhi next week on www.thetravellinglight.com #thetravellinglight in #newdelhi #india #hauskhaz
This spot is one of the most unique to stay in the city. It is located in Has Khauz village overlooking a lush green park outside the intense bustle of the city. The rooftop terrace and views are epic and the rooms are glass with curtains for privacy. Situated in New Delhi, The Lazy Patio Homestay features accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a garden and a shared lounge. There is a fully equipped private bathroom with shower and free toiletries. Continental and Asian breakfast options are available each morning at the homestay. The Lazy Patio Homestay offers a sun terrace. A car rental service is available at the accommodation. The nearest airport is Delhi International Airport, about 9 miles from the homestay.
Price: $50USD a night, see hotel and book here
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You don't stumble upon your heritage. It's there, just waiting to be explored and shared. . #intricacy #design #art #beautiful #view #indiagram #indiatravel #wander #explore #delhi #india #olddelhi #placetogo #moments #fff #india_gram #sneakpeak #details #indiapictures #instaphoto #instagood #toescape #photography #instadaily
If you are looking for luxury in Dehli city than look no further than this restored hisotirc building. Travel Back in time at 200 yr old restored haveli & explore the rich cultural he
ritag of Mughal Era. This is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of old Delhi. The hotel is a 6-minute walk from the bustling Chandni Chowk shopping area. It’s 11 miles from Indira Gandhi International Airport. Upgraded rooms and suites add sitting areas and/or balconies.Breakfast is available. There are 2 restaurants, 1 of which is on the rooftop terrace. There’s regular live music and dancing, a 3-course high tea and a spa, plus an airport shuttle.
Price: $117 USD a night, see hotel and book here