New Delhi, the capital of India, is a bustling metropolis that has an amazing
mix of modernisation and carefully preserved antiquity. Sprawled over the
west bank of the river Yamuna, it is one of the fastest growing cities in
India. New Delhi was built by a British architect Edward Lutyens in 1912 as
the new capital of the British Raj. The Victorian architecture now intermingles
with the city's high rise buildings. Concrete flyovers built to ease the growing
traffic are interspersed with well laid gardens, Moghul tombs, forts and monuments.
5000 year old Delhi has seen the rise and fall of the Delhi Sultanate, the
Mughals, and the British, it has seen emperors appear and disappear, it is
thus a city of great character, mystery and ruins with a history that begins
with the creation of Indraprastha by the Pandavas and the transformation of
this barren gift of the Kauravas into an idyllic haven.
A glorious chapter of Delhi's history was added with the discovery of an Asokan
inscription near Srinivaspuri. Among the other dynasties that laid claim to
Delhi were the Tornor Rajputs (9th or 10th century) and the Chauhan Rajputs
(12th century). During the British rule for about 200 years, when the country
came under a unified control, Calcutta became the capital but only to move
back to Delhi in 1911. Since then Delhi has retained its position as the seat
of governance. Designed by British architect Edwin Lutyens, Delhi was meant
to house government buildings and the residences of the Viceroy and other
British officials, the glory and beauty of these awesome structures is visible
across certain areas in Delhi.
What to see
Delhi has two sides to it, the clean green broad road, big squared, spacious
New Delhi and the dingy, dirty, tiny-laned Old Delhi. Both have stories to
tell and sights to see. Old Delhi is 6 km away from the city centre. But no
matter where you go, try the food at all the restaurants, its awesome.
A hot favourite for most tourists, and locals, is this tomb, built by emperor
Humayun's wife. It is regarded as an example of the early Mughal architecture
and took eight years to complete. Check the location out, the tomb has been
placed bang in the centre of a well planned garden, a combination of high
arched entrances topped by a bulbous dome in white marble and red sandstone
brings out the beauty in this structure against the setting sun. For those
of you who cannot visit the Taj Mahal, check this tomb out in details, it
is believed to be the prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Delhi. Begai Begum,
The emperor's wife, has been buried here. Visiting hours are 10 am-5 pm, Mondays
This is one structure that will take you to Old Delhi, where the aromas of
the glorious Muslim food will prevent you from concentrating on anything else,
but this architectural masterpiece deserves more than just a view. Its believed
as many as 25,000 people can fit into its courtyard! Three great gateways,
four towers and two minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white
marble are important parts of the mosque. Come Friday and the place takes
on a new charm with thousands of Muslims offering prayers here. Another charm
of this masjid is that you can climb all the way to the top of the towers.
Do that, and take a peek at Delhi, the street life down below and the awesome
metal works you can buy around the masjid. It lies just opposite the Red Fort
make sure you check that out too.
If youve heard of the red fort, you have to have heard of the meena
bazzar that lies just outside the red fort. Its hard to decide which
ones better known than the other! One of the impressive sights in Delhi, this
Mughal construction in red (its called the red fort remember) sandstone is
located along the river Yamuna, its shape an irregular octagon. The heart
of the Fort, Naubhat Khana was where musicians and dancers entertained the
emperor. Huge halls, palatial apartments and luxuriously designed gardens
form parts of this wonderful structure. Can you picture it, wouldnt
it be quite a spectacle. The main entrance is the Lahori Gate, a former royal
market. There are a lot of interesting buildings inside the Fort too like
the Rang Mahal (the water cooled apartments for the royal ladies (or the Diwan-E-Aam
for public audiences. There is also a Red Fort Museum. Just outside the fort
is the famous Meena Bazaar where exotic arts, artifacts, jewellery and carpets
are sold. The fort is open 10.00 am-5 pm; closed on Mondays
Popularly known as the Purana Quila, this wondrous structure owes its existence
to two emperors: Sher Shah Suri and Humayun. Its ramparts cover a perimeter
of nearly 2 km and there are three main gates, on the north, south and west,
the last one functioning as the present entrance. The fort is open 10 am-5
pm; Mondays closed.
This is probably the most often photographed spot in Delhi, what with its
reddish-pink buildings that were constructed way back in 1725 by Jaipur Maharaja
Jai Singh Its, these were used as observatories. An interesting part
is the huge sundial known as the Prince of Dials. Various other instruments
plot the course of heavenly bodies and predict eclipses. A fun place to visit,
and a must for kids to know about. It is open 10 am-5 pm, Mondays closed.
It is better known as the most celebrated examples of Islamic architecture
in India, but we suggest you go here as it is known as the seventh wonder
of Hindustan. The 234-foot-high tower, with 376 steps, is the tallest stone
tower in India, and would you believe it right through this length it has
intricate carvings, verses and beautiful calligraphy work inscribed over it,
with six lines in Sanskrit! Its believed that Qutb-u'd-Din Aibak laid the
foundation and raised the first storey of the Qutab Minar in AD 1199, to this
were then added three (some say four) more storeys with terracotta balconies
by his successor and son-in-law Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish. Unfortunately, climbing
up the tower is now no longer possible, but a visit here is a must. According
to legend, if you stand with your back to the pillar and can reach around
and touch your fingers, any wish you make will come true! But the catch is
well, it is not possible! The complex is open 6 am to 6 pm, all days except
Mondays. There is a special night-view for an hour from 7 pm on all working
The best part about going to India gate is the drive through the l-a-r-g-e
six lane, bump-less, pothole-less roads. Keep driving straight from Rashtrapati
Bhavan and you will reach India Gate. A war memorial in honour of the soldiers
who died during the World War-I, this magnificent 42 meter high structure
has been designed by Lutyens. The eternal flame (amar jawan jyoti) is placed
here. Should you want to a break in your sight seeing tour, this is a good
place to do it as you will see from the lawns that are dotted with families
picnicking. India Gate is a place to simply have fun.
The ultimate in architectural splendour and landscaped beauty is this imposing
structure with all its pillars and porticos. This is the official residence
of the president of India. Designed by Sir Edwin L. Lutyens and completed
in 1929, this palatial building on Raisina Hill was formerly the Viceroy's
House. Built on 330 acres of land, it comprises 340 rooms; no it does not
translate to an acre a room, as a lot of the space is used up by gardens like
the mughal garden. This and the changing of the guard are the high points
of a visit to Rashtrapathi Bhavan; you do need permission to enter parts of
the complex though. Parts of the building are open 9.30 am to 2.30 pm on all
days except Mondays.
Most Indians would have seen this awesome ghat on television during
national day parades and during Beating the Retreat, but nothing comes close
to experiencing it in person. This is where Indias greatest conscience-keeper,
Mahatma Gandhi was laid to rest. The memorial stone of Gandhi is a square
black stone, with his last words 'Hey Ram' inscribed on it. The rest is for
you to see and experience. The memorial is open 10 am-5 pm; Mondays are holidays.
Right next to it is the Shanti Van, Jawaharlal Nehrus memorial.
Nehru Memorial Museum and Planetarium (Teen Murti House)
This much documented structure was Indias First PM, Jawaharlal Nehrus
home that has now been converted into a museum. The place is perfect for one
who wants to know about Indias freedom struggle what with exhibited
photographs and newspaper clippings taking you through the struggle for independence.
Theres also a planetarium in the museum grounds. Both the museum and
the planetarium are open 10 am to 5 pm, all days except Mondays
Over 20,000 pieces of rare and beautiful works of art and artifacts that tell
the story of 5,000 years of Indian culture are housed in the Museum. Not to
be missed are the stone and bronze sculptures and the paintings and manuscripts.
The museum also has an extensive library and conducts shot and long term courses
in art appreciation, conservation and history. The museum timings are 10 am-5
pm; Mondays closed.
There are a lot of doll-houses all over India, but frankly speaking this is
one of the best designed places with a great collection. It can have you spell
bound for a few hours, amongst its large collection are dolls from Australia,
New Zealand, Russia, Norway and the African and Middle Eastern countries.
One must give their kudos to well-known cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai for this
museum. The museum is open 10 am-5 pm; Mondays are holidays.
An open air museum with rustic village atmosphere with Indian craftsmen at
work. A small counter sells items made on the spot.
Gandhi Smriti Museum
History lives here, for this is where Gandhi spent the last few months of
his life. Rare photographs, articles used by him during his lifetime and even
the room he lived in have been maintained in the same way since. Musuem timings
are 10 am-5 pm, all days except Mondays.
This is one sight you may see from the window of some high rise building.
It is a pleasure to watch it from the distance. And close up holds you spell
bound. The spectacular and colourful sight, its no wonder that 4 million people
come here annually, which incidentally is more visitors than the Taj Mahal
gets. It is the main temple of the Bahai's in Delhi, located in Kalkaji south
Delhi. Shaped like a half opened lotus flower, this temple
is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. People of all faiths are welcome
here as the founding principle of the Bahai faith is the unity of mankind.
This temple is interesting from an architectural point of view as it brings
together ancient Indian construction methods with the most advanced Western
engineering principles and design. Do walk into the meditation space in this
temple. Experience peace profound wash over you. The temple is open 9.00 am-7
pm, all days.
Also known as Laxminarayana Temple, it is dedicated to Lord Narayan (Vishnu)
and his consort Lakshmi. There are other small shrines dedicated to Shiva,
Ganesha and Hanuman. Beautifully detailed relief carvings are the high point
of this temple for which 101 skilled artisans from Benares were commissioned.
It is open all days.
Built under the anchor of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan
Sanstha (BAPS), it is a modern-day marvel that stands testimony to Indias
unique religious and cultural beliefs. A 100-acre complex on the banks of
the Yamuna, there is a stunning array of 20,000 statues, floral motifs, arches
and beautifully carved pillars. It is believed that the construction of the
temple cost a whopping Rs. 2 billion. It is open till 8 pm all days, except
Eight kms from Delhi gets its name from the 10 century sun pool. Ruins around
the pool and un-polluted nature make it a quiet getaway. Many crafts people
here sell their goods at a reasonable price and the place becomes active during
the annual Surajkund Crafts Mela in February. Three hotels run by Haryana
tourism here offer boating and horse riding.
Sultanpur at 42 kms on Delhi Jaipur highway has Sultanpur bird sanctuary that
is home to many migratory birds during winter. Regular and Tented accommodation
is available here.
Located in Alwar district of Rajasthan has a wild life sanctuary that has
tigers and many herbivores that can be spotted at close ranges. There is Kankwadi
Fort offering a good scenic view. It is 51 kms from Delhi. Accommodation is
available at Sarsika Palace and Tiger Den.
Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary
is a birds paradise that comes alive in the months of November-December
when flocks of migratory birds arrive here. Sultanpur is 50 km from Delhi
and the Haryana Tourism Development Board (HTDC) runs a tourist lodge here.
Some 70 km from Delhi, Tilayar Lake is the
evergreen family recreation spot with a little bit of everything thrown in
for all age groups: boating, restaurants, bar, children's park and a mini
zoo. You can also sample a heritage resort at Neemrana, 122
km from Delhi, the site of a glorious fort built in 1464 by Prithviraj Chauhans
dynasty. It is situated on a majestic plateau concealed in a horseshoe formation
of the Aravalli ranges, and is considered the oldest fold mountains in the
world. The beginnings of this rugged architectural jewel which rises to nine
levels date back to 1464 AD, making it Indias oldest heritage resort.
Delhi is close enough to Delhi, Mathura, Vrindavan and Jaipur to make an overnight
or an exhausting day trip.
Food and Delhi go just as much hand in hand as politics and Delhi do, people
in Delhi love to eat; its no wonder then that new restaurants are mushrooming
here everyday. Its really difficult to capture the best places here,
but let us try to tell you our favourites.
Head to Bukhara at the Maurya Sheraton for the tenderest
Tandoori Lamb Raan you have ever had. The place is expensive and a little
touristy and you might only have foreigners for company but the raan here
completely melt in the mouth. Try your hand at the Naan they make, they are
remarkably big, and often you wish you had come up with friends to share the
dish. It has legends spun around its famous dal. More affordable is Punjabi
By Nature (11 Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar and Gurgaon).
Try out the Great kebab factory at The Radisson; you will
be treated like a king here. Kebabs and Biryani are a must eat when you are
here, try digging into the Colonels kebabs in
defense colony its owned by an ex army man, and has the best meat delicacies
this side of Delhi has to offer. Theres also Al kausar's kakori
kebabs that are just out of this world, this ones at vasant
Since we are in the area, let us take you too Stone-Located above Moet's
this is one place you can lounge in. Its perfect for a laid back afternoon
or evening. Very Mediterranean in design with its low seating, roomy in design
and lots of candles all over the place
Delhi's only Kashmiri restaurant Chor Bazaar is also one
of its most beautiful, an art deco enclave with a tile floor, a spiral staircase
leading nowhere, lamps in pinks and yellows, and a mixture of antique furniture
and mirrors from various chor (thieves') bazaars. The bar is all dark wood
and stained glass, and the salad bar is a 1927 Fiat roadster. Kashmiri food
uses milder spices than many Indian cuisines, exemplified by mutton yakhni
(simmered in a sauce of yogurt, cardamom, and aniseed), mutton mirchi korma
(in a gravy of cardamom and cloves), and haaq, Kashmiri spinach cooked in
its own juice. Try a tarami platter to sample several dishes, and punctuate
your meal with kahwah, frDelhint Kashmiri tea.
And if you miss your favourite breakfast menu of idli, dosa, samosa and hot
sambhar head straight to Sagar (Defence Colony) and Saravana
Bhavan (Connaught Place and Karol Bagh), they are famous for their
crisp masala dosas and wholesome thalis are both value for money.
Other restaurants that are a must visit to get the true flavour of Delhi are
Nirulas (pizzas and hot chocolate fudge are eternal favourites),
Bengal Sweet Corner and Nathu Sweets that
dot the city (for chaat, gol gappas, and sweets galore), and Roshan
di Hatti (Ajmal Khan Road) for the world's best kulfis.
If you have faith in your digestive system, then the streets of Old Delhi
await you. Parathas fried in desi ghee, sweetened lassi, juicy jalebis, Karachi
halwas. Theres also the legendary Karim's (Matiya Mahal,
opposite Bombay Orient Hotel, Tel: 23269800) that dishes out raan and all
those awesome swimming with calories meat gravy dishes like the rogan josh
and chaap, and paya and more? And then there is the paratha walli
galli in old Delhi, where you get everything in meats but the lane
is famous for its parathas.
OliveBar & Kitchen
Huge haveli turned restaurant with a buzz, has beautiful ambience in three
different fine dining options.
Haveli N 6-8 One Style Mile, Kalka Dass Marg, Mehrauli.
Shalom med Lounge Bar
Mediterranean launge bar with Lebanese, Mediterranean, Spanish and Indian
menu. Scintillating music keeps the mood through the evening. N-18, N Block
Market, Greater Kailash I.
QBA, restaurant and Bar
The city's favoured party zone has a split level restaurant with a comfortable
lounge and plenty of dark corners for privacy. Lunch: 12 noon to 3.00 pm,
Dinner: 7.00 pm to midnight, Lounge: open 12 noon to midnight. E-42/43, Connaught
place. TGI Friday's, Thank goodness its Friday's, America's
first casual dining chain has its outlets in Vasant Vihar, Connaught Place,
and Gurgaon. Serves over 80 food items from Far East to all American with
chicken and chicken, seafood specialties. Friday's bar menu includes frozen
drinks, ice cream drinks and variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic Smoothies
and Flings. Open: 12 noon and 11:00 p.m.
There is no art or craft that Delhi can claim to be its own, and yet it is
flooded with everything from all over the country, the excuse we can give
is perhaps, being the Rajdhani, it has to showcase what the country can offer
right. Decided where you want to shop, based on your budget. For branded,
up market stuff, head for the grand showrooms in Connaught Place (Sundays
closed), South Extension (Mondays off), and Greater Kailash 1 and 2 (Tuesdays
off). For designer wear, hit the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road or HauzKhasVillage
is one of the many villages subsumed by the southward growth of Delhi. In
the early 1980s, it began its transformation into a chic shopping area when
socialite and designer Bina Ramani opened her boutique here. Several other
designer outlets followed suit, and today, Hauz Khas is a patchwork of traditional
Indian homes, glass showrooms and polished display windows. New Delhi's glitterati
come here to buy clothes and object d'art and to eat at one of the many gourmet
restaurants that have come up here, its a must visit.
Lajpat Nagar market
is another must have to go too place for real cheap but good clothes. It has
a magnetic pull on you making you want to go back here for more. The place
literally grows on you, once you get used to the crowd. Its a favourite
haunt of college students looking for fashionable clothes at cheap prices.
It's a good idea to browse through the shops and enquire about prices before
you actually purchase anything. Chances are the same article you have chosen
is selling for even less just a few yards away. The Sarojini Nagar market
is close by and the stock is largely similar. While Lajpat Nagar has a lot
of ethnic wear, the market at Sarojini Nagar deals only in western clothes.
Sizes are no problem since the export-surplus stock consists mostly of larger
Santushi shopping complex
run by the Air Force Wives Welfare Association is a must go, It is located
off the Race Course Road roundabout. Like any other Forces complex, its neat,
clean, greens, with handsome men in uniform going about their duties, tipping
their cap in a sign of respect, its one place to go too for feel good feeling.
But coming back to the shoppers paradise here, its got pebbled
paths that lead up to about 30-odd stores, beautifully laid out on a rolling
garden. A number of the city's top designers have an outlet here. The Anokhi
- selling Rajasthani fabrics, dresses, crockery, home linen and lengths of
saris - will be of interest to foreign tourists. The hugely-popular Basil
&Thyme restaurant is also located here.
If you are in Delhi and have not visited Chandni Chowk, youve
not seen Delhi; at least thats what every one will be told. Travelling
here can be an exhausting experience. The lanes are almost too narrow for
comfort and are lined with stalls that sell everything under the sun! and
thats no understatement. You can buy shawls, silks, perfumes, brassware,
colored glass, furniture, beads and bangles. The Kinari Bazaar nearby specializes
in the rich silver and gold embroidery work known as zardosi. The richly-embroidered
fabrics can be used to make gowns, skirts, blouses, bags and even shoes. And
you can get the palm of your hands beautiful done up with the mehendi walli's
that sit around the chowk. If you want a tattoo done, so make sure you bargain
And then there is Khan market one of the more up market and expensive places
to shop in Delhi. It is located in the city center, surrounded by residential
complexes and the greenery of LodhiGardens. The market here is very popular
with the diplomatic community, yes the prices are also those that cater to
these guys, but it of course has the best tailors Delhi can offer. Several
shops have a range of excellent materials and will have a tailor on hand to
make a suit, dress or shirt, usually within a period of one week. As one would
expect this place is dotted with Baristas, cafe, cake shops, quick bite
places and more.
For arts and artifacts, its got to be Dilli Haat, spread
over a 6-acre area; this is the first permanent fairground in the country
showcasing the arts, crafts, handlooms and food of different states. Usually,
visits here last from anything two hours to the whole day; its an experience,
complete with dining from all states of India. Note of caution though, most
places here do not accept credit cards, it is after all an upgraded variance
of India's traditional haat (marketplace), beautifully laid out and well maintained.
The stalls are let out to for a maximum of 15 days only, allowing variety
to the goods you can get here. A suggestion, if you se something you like
buy it, do not wait for the next time. Vegetable dyed, block-printed and tie-and-dyed
fabrics, folk art wall hangings, pottery, imitation jewelry, bamboo work,
brassware, furniture and durries (lightweight carpets) are just some of the
things you'll get here at any time.
Popularly known as C.P. has elite shopping in clothes, handicrafts, books
and jewellery, as well as colourful merchandise being sold on pavements.
Another good place to shop is the Baba Kharak Singh Marg
near Connaught Place. The street is lined with emporiums run by state governments.
Be prepared to set aside at least a day for exploring the choice of handicrafts
offered by each of them. Recommended buys are blankets and shawls from Himachal
Pradesh emporium; Tamil Nadu emporium for sandalwood and stone sculptures;
Uttar Pradesh for stone-inlay as well as copper/brass work and leather goods;
Kashmir for carpets; Orissa for Ikat fabrics and traditional paintings; Rajasthan
and Gujarat for textiles, pottery and embroideries. Emporiums are open 10
am-6 pm, with a lunch break from 1 pm-2 pm. If short on time, then the Central
Cottage Industries (Jawahar Vyapar Bhavan, Janpath) is a one-stop shop that
sells the best of things from every corner of India. For bargain buying, the
Tibetan Market on Janpath is stuffed with antiques and silver
jewellery. The famed Ajmal Khan Road in Karol Bagh sells everything, from
clothes to mobile phones, electronic goods to crockery, but buy your stuff
here after having thoroughly checked it out, they might also go to the extent
of showing you one piece and packing in another, this is experience talking,
so take care.
Being a land locked space and its distance from the sea the temperatures here
are rather extremes. The summers in Delhi are very hot and winters very cold.
The temperature range varies from 45 degrees in summers to 1 degree in winters,
yes it is very cold. Summer in Delhi, from April to July, is merciless and
exhausts one with its dry heat. November to March is lovely with the added
splendour of the festivals, starting with Diwali and ending with Holi.
The best season to tour Delhi is during the spring seasons of February to
April and August to November. But should you want to check out the lovely
blossoms and colours of Delhi come here in February and March.
How to get there
Delhi is a major gateway to the country and well-connected by air to all metros
and as well to most cities with an airport. The Indira Gandhi International
Airport is also busy with flights taking off to various corners of the globe.
The headquarters of the Northern Railway Delhi is the most well connected
railhead in the country. Its four stations New Delhi, Old Delhi, Delhi
Cantonment and Hazrat Nizamuddin are serviced by trains to all corners of
India. All the Rajdhanis no matter which part of the country they originate
from come here. The luxury trains Palace on Wheels and Royal Orient, which,
chug off from Delhi, offer unforgettable experiences.
Delhi probably has the best roads India has to offer, but thats only
in proper New Delhi, so do not let that carry you away. The rest of the drive,
from where you are coming in from may not be a song. The capital is well connected
by road to almost all parts of India.