New Delhi, the capital of India, home to 19 million residents and visited by over 2 million foreign tourists annually, it’s not a small place! You only have 24 hours in New Delhi but with so many things to see, smell and taste how can you make the most of this incredible city? Let me help with my list of recommended places to visit in Delhi.
Here are 8 places to visit in Delhi:
Stroll down to the Red Fort to catch its magnificence in the early morning light. Step back centuries beyond the colossal red sandstone walls which once were the main residence to Mughal emperors for nearly 200 years until 1857. Explore the magnificent inner courts and pavilions, and walk through the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) constructed of white marble and inlaid with precious stones.
South of the Diwan-i-Khas is the smaller, but just as breath-taking Khas Mahal, which contains the emperor’s private apartments. The windows are made from hand-carved marble haveli screens to offer privacy, you can also see where an artificial stream, “The river of paradise”, once flowed through the apartments. This stream ended in an exquisite lotus-shaped fountain in front of the home of the emperor’s chief wife. To feel the true history of the Red Fort, the audio guide tour is a worthy investment.
Before the day’s heat begins to set in, make your way through Kinari Bazaar (a dressmakers paradise) and Dariba Kalan (silver jewelry galore) to Jama Masjid.
Jama Masjid is one of India’s biggest, oldest and most impressive mosques. You will need to dress conservatively, making sure you cover your head, shoulders, and knees. There’s no charge to enter the mosque, but you’ll be asked to pay a fee for your camera, even if you do not intend to use it.
As you approach the grand building you’ll notice similarities to the infamous Taj Mahal with its sandstone and white marble exterior and symmetrical minarets standing 40m high on either side, which were once used as a security lookout. These features are similar because the Jama Masjid was built by the same Mughal ruler, Shah Jahan.
After leaving your shoes on the steps, wander across the vast courtyard with the capacity to fit 25,000 worshippers at one time, and take in its grand beauty, then head towards the southern minaret for a stunning view of Delhi. It costs 100 rupees to climb the minaret and women will require a male escort. You’ll need to be patient climbing the tower as there is very little room to move around.
After finding your shoes amongst the dozens, make your way down the busy streets of Chandni Chowk, where you should take some time to get lost in whatever intrigues you. There are markets down each alley dedicated to different goods from spice to jewelry, and textiles to books. When you need a break, try some of the authentic, delicious food on offer from the range of quaint restaurants and street-food vendors.
Walk 5 minutes south to Chawri Bazar train station and catch the Yellow Line 2 stops to Rajiv Chowk where you’ll find yourself right in the center of Connaught Place. This disorienting circular shopping district mainly consists of international chain stores and restaurants. Nearby is the Janpath (Tibetan) Market where you can pick up all sorts of souvenirs to bring back home. You’ll find jewelry, lanterns, arts and crafts, textiles, woven scarves, sunglasses, and quirky T-shirts.
A 15-minute walk South East of the market on Hailey Road is Agrasen ki Baoli also known as Ugrasen ki Baoli. This monument is an impressive 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well worthwhile having a look.
A further 10 minutes on the cycle rickshaw will get you to Humayun’s Tomb. This stunning symmetrical structure was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal and is surrounded by immaculately manicured Persian style gardens. The arched facade is inlaid with strips of white marble and red sandstone and was the first structure of its size to use red sandstone.
From here, it’s a 10-minute taxi to the most beautiful gardens in Delhi, Lodi Gardens. This lush green city park is filled with 15th-century tombs, a mosque and the Athpula bridge which is the last of the structures in Delhi built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. The gardens also have a beautiful array of exotic flora, charming ponds, and flowing rivers.
Hauz Khas Village
Finish off your busy day in the upmarket Hauz Khas Village, a 20-minute ride from the gardens. Here you’ll find vintage stores, art galleries, fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars, and night clubs. This is a fantastic place for a well-deserved dinner with options ranging from American burgers to Nepali momos to a traditional European feast. Once you’re fed, go admire the nearby ancient mosque, madrasa (religious school), tomb and pavilions illuminated by lights.
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