The massive capital of India , the seventh most populous city in the world, with more than 16 million inhabitants, receives us arduous, complex, exhausting and, at times, painful. So is Delhi .
A practically unavoidable visit and a place that you have to learn to love. This infinite city offers a lot to the traveler which, in addition to monuments and history, is like a huge gymkhana with many obstacles.
When to go to Delhi
To begin with, it must be said that any time is good to visit Delhi, although it is true that there are better and not so good times throughout the year.
- During the winter (December – March) . These months are the best time to visit Delhi, as the weather is still pleasant, but beware of smog, a thick layer of smoke and fog that lasts for a few weeks (sometimes a month or more). This usually occurs from mid-November and is mostly formed by burning crops in fields in nearby states. February and March have relatively clean air and during these months, one can tour the various historical monuments and for nature lovers and photographers, this is the best time to visit as the season enhances the scenic beauty of the city. .
- During the monsoon (July – September) . Delhi receives only a small amount of rainfall, on 10-15 days, during these months. In general, these rains are strong and usually last a few hours, so they are not an impediment to visiting the city during this season. In fact, temperatures tend to drop and leave a more pleasant environment.
- During the summer (April – June) . Summers in Delhi are hot and dry, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 45 degrees. If you come during this time remember to take plenty of water with you to stay hydrated if you are sightseeing during the day.
Visa to travel to India
We know that the issue of visas can be somewhat confusing, especially for India, a country in which obtaining one is an essential requirement to enter. In the article on how to get the Indian visa step by step, you have information to apply for it online and for up to 5 years .
How to get to Delhi?
The modern Indira Gandhi International Airport is one of the largest airports in the world, with a large number of national and international connections and the most common gateway for those traveling to India.
We have some tips when looking for cheap flights to India so that you can take advantage of the savings you make to spend in the country or on other travel expenses.
When you arrive at the airport, take a look at how to get from Delhi airport to Paharganj for less than one euro .
If you are already in the country, you should know that Delhi has four train stations from which numerous trains arrive, as well as connections with almost any city in India: Delhi Junction, New Delhi Central Station, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar.
To travel from other cities you can buy a train ticket in one of the classes with bed (sleeper or 3rd class). Beware of some of the scams when you want to buy a train ticket, there are usually quite a few scams. Find out well.
bus and taxi
Numerous carriers reach Delhi from many cities in India. The most mountainous areas of the country are only accessible, most of the time by bus.
WHAT TO SEE / DO
The Red Fort of Delhi
Also known as Lal Qila (in Hindi), the Red Fort in Delhi is one of the top tourist attractions in India and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2017. As we get closer, the reddish color of the sandstone with which It was built in the middle of the 17th century, clearing up all doubts about its name.
Entering through one of its two doors, we will discover inside a bazaar, Chatta Chowk, several pavilions and the imperial enclosure.
A World Heritage Site since 1993, the Qutub complex is a group of buildings built by Qutub-ud-din Aybak, sultan of the Mamluk dynasty in the 14th century. Among the buildings we find mosques, minarets and tombs among others.
The most famous is the Qutub Minar, said to be one of the tallest minarets in the world, built of marble stone and brick. Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting places in Delhi.
If there is a building that has nothing to envy the Taj Mahal, that is Humayun’s Tomb, a World Heritage Site since 1993, and the last refuge of the emperor of the same name.
In the complex of red sandstone and marble details, built in the 15th century, which is more reminiscent of a palace of Persian origin than a tomb, there are other buildings and tombs. The mausoleum is located on a platform where the ruler’s cenotapio is in the center.
In the center of Delhi, we find one of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid . This temple was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century after moving the capital of the empire from Agra to Delhi.
It is said that more than 5,000 people worked for 6 years to complete it. On a platform stands the imposing mosque of red stone and white marble, and has three entrances with majestic domes, 4 towers and 2 minarets about 40 meters high.
Cheap hotels, small restaurants, dumpy shops of all kinds, merchants, street stalls, rickshaws, cows, backpackers, Indians, the smell of incense, the taste of chai… we have arrived at Paharganj, the backpacker epicenter in Delhi, one of the most authentic neighborhoods from India.
Located in the vicinity of the New Delhi train station, it is the Main Bazar street that serves as the entrance to this chaotic but incredible neighborhood where you can find everything.
Getting to the narrow streets of Old Delhi is already a challenge in itself, from the negotiations with the rickshaw drivers, the bustle of its pedestrians to the crazy traffic between cars, rickshaws, buses, motorbikes, etc.
In Old Delhi we will find small covered alleys and corridors where street stalls for “locals” abound. If you feel like trying a bite, use common sense, observe how they prepare the food and the popularity of the position to avoid major stomach ailments.
This war memorial built between 1921 and 1931, is located in Rajpath at the junction of several avenues and is a memory of the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died during the First World War and the Afghan wars, with more than 13,300 names inscribed on its walls. .
India Gate or Puerta de la India , 42 meters high reminds us of the French triumphal arch and was designed in colonial style by Edwin Lutyens, one of New Delhi’s greatest architects, as well as an expert in war memorials.
Indira Gandhi memorial museum
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum is the former residence of the former Prime Minister with an exhibition commemorating her tenure. In this gallery into which her house has now been transformed, the story of the woman who was murdered at the hands of her bodyguard is reviewed.
The red sari by Javier Moro, which appears on the list of Recommended Books for a trip to India that you should read, is a good read to learn more about the Gandhi family.
The “divine abode of God”, that is the translation of Akshardham, an imposing temple that will leave us speechless as we get closer. Surrounded by a body of water, the Akshardham temple is a spiritual center where the premise is that every soul is potentially divine.
Promotes that each of our actions brings us a little closer to God. Its architectural style is the combination of traditional Indian styles and, strange as it may seem, it is less than 15 years old.
During the 18th century, Maharaja Sawaii Jai Singh II built 5 astronomical observatories in India. Known as Jantar Mantar , they are buildings of various and curious shapes, each with a specific function. The New Delhi Observatory contains 13 astronomical instruments built in 1724 and its main purpose was to compile astronomical tables and predict the movements of the sun, moon and planets.
As the financial center of Delhi, Connaught Place is home to numerous companies, buildings and shops of all kinds, as well as restaurants frequented by both locals and tourists. It was developed in a circular way by the British architect Robert Tor Russell between 1929 and 1933.
Inside, where no more and no less than 8 streets converge, we find Central Park, which allows us to relax a bit between venues and if we’re lucky, we can attend one of the many events and concerts that are held here.
Lodhi and Nehru Gardens
We know that Delhi can be one of the most stressful cities in the world. To escape from this chaos, what better than to take a walk through some gardens that become an oasis within the city? Lodhi Gardens is the perfect place to have a picnic and walk among some ruins and tombs from the time of the Mughal empire or even do some running.
In addition, we can also visit Nehru Park , near Chanakyapuri, built in the 70s and quite well maintained, which has become another of the needy lungs of Delhi.
Rajpath Boulevard is one of the most important avenues in India, where the annual festival parade, Republic Day, is held. The boulevard runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan (the president’s residence) to the National Stadium, passing under the India Gate (India Gate) and Vijay Chowk.
King Rajpath ordered the British architect Edwin Lutyens to build this street and it was initially named Kingsway (after the London street of the same name). One of the (not too many) places in Delhi where you can walk quietly.
gandhi smrit museum
Gandhi Smriti is a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and is the place where he spent the last months of his life until he was assassinated in 1948. The mansion, belonging to the Birla family and currently to the Indian government, was reopened in 1973 as a tribute to the Gandhi’s life.
The building has been preserved just as it was at that time, with numerous objects and you can walk through the gardens where the Indian leader would go out at sunset. A column indicates the place where he was shot while he was praying.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahin
Gurudwara Bangla Sahin is a Sikh (or Sikh) temple located very close to Connaught Place in New Delhi. It is very well recognized by its golden dome and white marble and for being next to the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Initially it was a residence belonging to Raja Jai Singh in the 17th century, becoming the home of the eighth Sikh guru who during his stay helped save the lives of hundreds of people thanks to the water from a fountain during an epidemic of cholera and measles. . After that, it became a sacred place for the Sikhs.
The ruins of Tughlaqabad Fort , built in 1321 and abandoned a few years later, give us a glimpse of the grandeur that Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq of the Tughlaq dynasty wanted to endow the Delhi Sultanate. Much of the citadel is inaccessible as it is covered with vegetation.
To the south of the fort, we find the ruler’s mausoleum, with a red stone and marble dome and three tombs inside. Some macaques will accompany you during the visit, especially if you take out some food, so be careful.
Purana Qila , next to Qutub Fort, is one of the oldest forts in Delhi, having been built in the 16th century alongside the Yamuna River by the Mughal King Shah Suri. Its foundations are said to date back to before the 12th century and since then it has seen and ‘undergone’ Delhi’s many political and historical changes.
During the construction of Rajpath Boulevard, the English architect Edwin Luytens made the fort sit right in the center of the boulevard. Walking around the fort is quite relaxed thanks to its gardens and ruins.
This Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Yogmaya, sister of Krishna, is located in Mehrauli, one of the 7 cities built by the Pandavas in the 12th century that formed present-day Delhi. Yogmaya Temple dates back to the 19th century, but has been rebuilt on different occasions on the foundations of temples dating back to the 3rd century BC.
After passing a wall that guards the temple, we find an entrance to a room where the image of the goddess in black stone is located, where you can also visit the white dome that can be seen from outside the building.
For followers of Bahaism, the Lotus Temple is the largest representative of their religion on the Indian subcontinent. Built in 1986, this religion dictates that their houses of worship (there are only seven or eight temples in the world), must have 9 sides and a circular shape.
The design of the Delhi building, created by an Iranian architect, consists of 27 petals in white marble, brought from Greece, and 9 access doors. A very striking and interesting place, which is out of what we are used to seeing in India.
General Tours of Delhi
To start you have a couple of yours to get to know the capital, one for free and the other for a fee. The free one (in English) takes you on a tour of a couple of hours and the private one, in Spanish and lasts 8 hours, allows you to see the most emblematic places in Delhi.
- free tour of delhi
- Private guided tour of Delhi
Then you have a tour that can take you to see the main temples and some interesting gardens.
- Lotus Temple, Akshardham, Lodhi Garden and Humayun’s Tomb
History and museums
Here are some tours to learn about the history of the country as well as museums and cultural places:
- Private Gandhi Tour of Delhi
- Delhi Museums Tour
And finally, we provide you with a list of activities of all kinds so that your visit to Delhi is complete:
- Delhi Night Tour
- Private tour of the bazaars of Delhi
- Delhi Food Tour
- Sound and Light Show at Akshardham Temple
Where to sleep in Delhi?
The offer of accommodation in Delhi is very wide, but even so we leave you a selection made by us in the neighborhood of Paharganj, where we usually stay every time we set foot in Delhi.
We leave you the accommodations by price range (from cheapest to most expensive), so you can choose the one that best suits your pocket.
Silver Shine New Delhi
Staybook – Shivdev New Delhi Railway Station
Blue Pearl Hotel
Fab Hotel White Klove Paharganj
Hotel Apple Inn, New Delhi Railway Station
Hotel Mannat international by Mannat
Hotel City Empire
Where to eat and drink in Delhi?
The New Mount Everest restaurant was one of the first we tried after a zillion hours of flying. Perfect to regain strength in one of its two dining rooms. The views are not spectacular, but it is good to soak up the movement of the area.
On the other hand, almost in any corner of Delhi you will find restaurants where you can try delicious Indian food. Be encouraged to try new things.
How to get around Delhi
Delhi takes the cake for chaotic cities in India, getting around this huge city means being patient, and trying not to get carried away by the madness of the traffic.
The metro can be one of the best ways to get around Delhi as almost anywhere is accessible. Of course, get ready to go a-pre-ta-do.
If you decide to take a taxi or an auto rickshaw , remember to agree on a price in advance to avoid later problems, although you can also use services such as Uber that already have established and recommended prices.