Delhi, the national capital of India, with its endless beauty to amaze its tourists and people. It happens to be the only State in the world with a unique distinction of having not one but three UNESCO World Heritage sites within its boundaries.
If you have the will and energy to explore Delhi, there is no end to the interesting site of this city along with its adventures activities, scenic beauty, local markets and streets food. In fact one of the largest shopping mall (Ambience Mall) is in Gurgaon situated in the out skirts of Delhi. The city is full of bars, cafes, bazaars and other fun places, which has already made Delhi a central hub for all cultures after Mumbai. Delhi acts like a Stakeholder who helps other better known cities of the world a run for their money.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Delhi:
1. Gawking at the Qutab Minar
Qutab Minar is one of Delhi’s top attraction and a renowned UNESCO world heritage site.
Standing 240 feet tall, this tower was established in the year 1192, by the very first ruler of Delhi – Qutb-ud-din Aibak. This minaret is named after its creator.
This five-storey tower is built purely from marble and red sandstone and has a spiral staircase which takes you to the top in 379 steps. However, this has been closed to public since 1974.
2. Find Inner Peace at Lotus Temple
Lotus Temple is an architectural delight. The whole complex from top to bottom is made of pure marble.
The universal symbol of peace, a lotus flower, gives the temple not only its name but shape as well.
Photography is restricted in the inner sanctum and there is a strict code of silence to be maintained at all times. Open to all castes and creeds, the temple is an ideal place for anyone who wishes to meditate and pray. The temple is also known as the place of Baha’i faith.
3. Take a walk to India Gate
Dedicated to the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Afghan war, a visit to this 42 m high iconic and historic landmark of Delhi is not only an educational experience but also a photographer’s delight.
The walls bear the names of each of the 13,500 people who laid down their lives fighting on the Northwest Frontier.
India Gate is best visited in the evenings when the monument is brilliantly lit up and the beautiful fountains around it give the place a truly magical look.
4. Pay obeyence at the Akshardham temple
A place of worship, complete with exhibits, boat rides, water shows and lush gardens, the Akshardham temple situated in East Delhi is unlike any other, not only in India but the entire world.
Considered to be among some of the largest Hindu temples in the world, the architectural beauty and decoration of the area is sure to leave you spellbound.
Sadly, photography is strictly prohibited inside this temple.
5. Visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan
The official residence of the President of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, is a splendid palatial building having more than 400 rooms. Apart from the President, it houses the bodyguards, stables and other utility staff.
In size, it is second to only the residence of the President of Turkey. The palace doors are thrown open to visitors on weekends by a registration process which can be accessed online.
The pride of the presidential place here are the stunning Mughal Gardens, which attract a large number of visitors, both local and foreign.
6. Experience a different culture at Jama Masjid
The largest Islamic mosque in the city, Jama Masjid, was constructed way back in the 17th century. The imposing building is an iconic landmark of Old Delhi and an important place of worship.
The mosque can hold up to 25,000 people and the sight of such a number, especially during Friday prayers, is a scene to behold.
The main structure has multiple entry points, all of which eventually lead to the main deck. Entry is free and open to all nationalities, except that you need to cover up from head to toe. A nominal fee for photography is levied if one intends to take pictures
7. Party away at Connaught Place
The nightlife in Delhi may not be so vibrant, but it has its fair share of restobars, clubs and music outlets in Connaught Place, the commercial and party hub of Delhi.
Joints like, Excuse Me Boss, Lord of the Drinks and Junkyard cafe have a large and energetic crowd following. Modeled like the Royal Crescent of Bath,England, Connaught Place is without doubt the number one night out destination of Delhi.
8. Go boating at the Old Fort
The Old Fort, or Purana Qila as called locally, has a quaint boating area set amidst the ruins of the Fort and the Delhi Zoo as a boundary.
A perfect place to unwind on all days, except Monday, among the backdrop of the historical fort. The construction of this imposing structure was started by Sher Shah Suri and completed by Humayun.
9. Take a rickshaw tour of Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk, translated as Moonlight street is the commercial heart of Old Delhi.
One of the oldest markets of India, its small narrow lanes are a beehive of activity from daybreak, offering on sale every product you can imagine of under the sun.
The best way to prevent getting carried away in the mass of humanity which assembles here is to take a leisurely tour by cycle rickshaw.
The rickshaw driver doubles up as a local guide and happily imparts vital inputs on everything, including places to eat, shop and visit. To see how the real Delhi survives, a visit to Chandni Chowk should be high on every tourist’s agenda.
10. Enjoy a meal at India Habitat Centre
This spectacle 9 acre complex, adjoining the Lodhi Gardens, is a venue for conferences, art galleries, auditorium and hospitality areas.
The top draw here are the number of restaurants serving finger-licking food from most corners of the world. Set among a stunning landscape full of gardens and fountains, adds to the ambiance of the this architectural marvel.
11. Savour the food at Paranthe Wali Gali
This narrow and famous street of Chandni Chowk, is home to some of the most lip-smacking paranthas, or fried bread. The recipes offered by some of the stalls are said to be generations old.
The alleys are packed with customers at most times of the day, with the smell of oil and food filling the atmosphere all around. Different types of pastes and chutneys do the rounds with the main course. The din of the shopkeepers, calling for customers, fills the air as people jostle with each other to refill their plates for more and more of the delicious offerings.
This can be quite a sight in itself even if you want to skip the oily stuffed Indian flat breads.
12. Pay homage at Raj Ghat
Raj Ghat is the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. The memorial is located on the banks of the river Yamuna, amidst beautiful landscaped gardens. An eternal flame burns at one end in perpetual homage to the great man who laid down his life for the freedom of India.
Memorials of other famous leaders surround this holy ground. A prayer meeting takes place here every Friday, while the teachings of Gandhi are portrayed through sound, light and sculpture narration between 1000 hrs – 1700 hrs daily, except Monday.
13. Enjoy a heritage walk
The city of Delhi enjoys a long and chequered history, where several century old monuments mingle with towers of new buildings.
To make the locals and visitors aware of this rich heritage and culture and maintain a harmonious relation with them, a series of Heritage walks were envisaged, way back in 2005.
These now hugely popular walks are conducted every weekend by some extremely knowledgeable guides and tour leaders.
For a nominal fee of around 5 $ per person, one can cover several important areas of rich culture and architectural heritage which are far removed from the usual tourist itinerary.
14. Lose yourself at the Jantar Mantar
The Jantar Mantar, or Maze Puzzle, is a complex in the heart of Central Delhi. The area comprises of an open air observatory, having thirteen different instruments, which involves the use of the different structures to observe the astronomic cycles.
The walls of the structure are designed for astronomical observations that resemble a maize where a visitor can get easily disorientated, hence the name Jantar Mantar. A nominal entry fee is levied for all visitors.
15. Join the chanting at the ISKCON temple
Situated just a few kilometers away from the Lotus temple, this is the largest temple in Delhi devoted to ISKCON or International Society of Krishna Consciousness, as it is commonly called.
It is an ideal place to walk around freely and participate in the constant drum and chant of Hare Krishna which resonates over the entire temple.
16. Relive your childhood days at the Children’s Park
Located in the backdrop of India Gate, the Children’s Park is a huge playground set in the sprawling lawns of Central Delhi. There are endless playing areas, rides, swings etc which can keep the young and old alike active the whole day.
The park and its environs, light up during the evening hours, enhancing the beauty of the place by giving an enchanting look. Entry is free and unrestricted from dawn to dusk.
17. Take a toy train ride at National Rail Museum
Spread over 10 acres of land in a sprawling open area, adjacent to the plush diplomatic enclave in New Delhi, the National Rail Museum displays the true heritage of the Indian Railways.
The museum is literally a treasure trove of rare steam engines, rail artifacts, photos and working models of trains which run the length and breadth of India.
The star attraction here is the toy train, which is enjoyed by one and all. The museum is a highly informative place and the souvenir shop an excellent place to take back a train model.
18. Watch a street play
In spite of strong competition from television, cinema and other channels of entertainment, the street theatre scene in Delhi has established it’s roots firmly in the capital.The street theatre scheme has caught the fancy of most colleges too, with their numbers going up over the years.
Street play competitions are held throughout the year, which in turn has significantly improved the quality of the theatre. The Jana Natya Manch is one such amateur theatre company specializing in Delhi since 1973.
Delhi had rich theatre culture, with the street theatre scene bursting at the seams with activity. The various groups, perform regularly across Delhi on topics like Road safety, Clean India and other themes pertaining to welfare of the people.
19. Get inspired at Ghalib ki Haveli
Located in an obscure lane in a place known as Ballimaran, lies the home or haveli of one of the most noted Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. A heritage site declared by the Archeological Survey of India, Mirza Ghalib penned all his poems in Persian and Urdu.
For people who are familiar with his couplets and work, a visit to this home will be a fulfilling experience. One of the frequently visited places for those seeking inspiration and knowledge from the great poet.
20. Go for a morning walk at Lodhi Gardens
Lodhi Gardens, in Central Delhi, is a public garden on a very grand and impressive scale. Amidst the sprawling greens you will come across ancient 500 year’s old structures and tombs of the Mughal era.
The park is huge and one can easily spend the better part of the day exploring the ruins and wandering around. The garden is also a haven for birdwatchers, with almost 60 different species of birds being sighted here.
An excellent indoor and outdoor restaurant called the Lodhi, lies adjacent to the garden entrance. The place serves delicious food, so make sure to make a reservation as there can be a long queue sometimes.
21. Attend a session of Parliament
The Parliament House, located in New Delhi, is the home of the Indian Parliament. Designed by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens, construction began in the year 1921 and the first session was held in 1927 by the then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin.
One can register online to witness a session and decision making from the visitor’s gallery of this circular building. A must visit spot if you are interested in being a part of the history and politics of India.
22. Head to the Delhi Zoo
The Delhi Zoo, or the National Zoological Park, lies adjacent to the Old fort, with the ramparts forming a natural boundary at one end. These scenic environments are home to nearly 2000 different species of animals and birds.
The zoo is best visited on foot, though a battery operated car does regular rounds as well. A library, cafeteria and opportunities for nature lovers to do photography and birdwatching abound.
23. Partake in a Langar at Bangla Sahib
One of the most friendly and welcoming Sikh shrine in Delhi is undoubtedly Bangla Sahib, located in the heart of New Delhi. Unlike other temples like Jama Masjid, for example, where you are likely to be pestered, this temple is a revelation.
There is a continuous Sikh group playing music and religious songs which adds to the ambiance of this remarkable place. Every afternoon a massive free lunch (langar) is prepared for the devotees which is shared and enjoyed by everyone together.
24. Take out time for the National Science Centre
The National Science Centre, lies adjacent to Pragati Maidan, the Old Fort and the Delhi Zoo, making it a convenient stop over on your local itinerary.
Constructed over 8 floors this museum houses exhibits ranging from art, culture, heritage to prehistoric specimens in the Dinosaur gallery.
Though it is a paradise of learning for all age groups, children in particular, can spend a full day at the fun packed multimedia centre, the first of it’s kind in the country. A sea water as well as a fresh water aquarium is also on display to enhance the educative value.
The museum is high on the popularity list of students and visitors and gives total value for the time and is an excellent educational experience.
25. Family fun at Worlds of Wonder
This excellent theme park is located in Noida, another suburb of Delhi. Worlds of Wonder is a water cum entertainment park designed by the best consultants in the world. The park is conveniently located amidst shopping malls and other popular outlets, making it suitable for themed parties and social gatherings.
Apart from the many themed rides, there are plenty of eateries to delight your taste buds. This largest amusement park in North India also has a go-karting track. The park has an exclusive area to host private parties, seminars and even weddings. The park opens from 1230 pm to 9 pm on all days of the week.
26. Combine history with glamour at Hauz Khas
The Hauz Khas complex is situated in South Delhi. It is a collection of ancient ruins, which include tombs and mosques. A water tank, once a lifeline to this place, still stands in it’s original splendor with the ruins providing a spectacular backdrop.
Today the area surrounding the ruins has been merged into an upscale outdoor shopping and pub street. People throng here for high end boutiques, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.
27. National gallery of Modern Art
The National Gallery of Modern Art, is situated in Jaipur House, near India Gate. This premier institution opened it’s doors to the public in 1954. The museum used to be the residence of the then Maharaja of Jaipur.
The museum has a splendid collection of paintings, some as old as 150 years, which include such renowned British names like Thomas Daniell and his nephew William.The gallery today has an impressive collection of sculptures, paintings and photos of Indian and Internationally acclaimed modern artists.
28. Light and Sound Show at Red Fort
The Light and Sound show at the Red Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site combines artistic story telling with visual animation.This incredible experience, where expert musicians and artists portray historical events through narratives and music, is next to none.
The hour long extravaganza comes in English and Hindi at different times. During this period the ramparts of the fort come alive with colorful lights, music and perfectly synchronized narration. An ideal way to gain insight on the history of the capital through the wonders of technology.
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