Delhi is a sprawling city but the major sights of interest are located not too far from each other, in the grand scheme of things. Most places of interest are in New Delhi, Old Delhi and South Delhi.
WHEN TO VISIT
Weather-wise, Delhi is a city of extremes by Indian standards. Winters can see mild, sunny afternoons with highs from 15 to 20 C, but winter mornings can be terribly foggy, resulting in transport disruptions and can dampen sightseeing excitement too (that's supposed to be the India Gate but I can't see a damn thing!). Summers from Apr to Jun are hot, with temps going to and beyond 40 C in the day. Monsoons from Jul to Sep are rainy and hot.
New Delhi is largely a green area with well maintained roads, roundabouts and important government buildings, as well as embassies of foreign countries.
In the heart of Delhi, Rajiv Chowk, formerly and still popularly known as Connaught Place is one of the capital's most popular eating and shopping destination. Consisting of three concentric circles, the area is divided into many blocks. Come here to catch a meal, look at the colonial architecture or just to people-watch.
From Connaught Place, walk down Sansad Marg to reach Jantar Mantar. Built in 1724, the Jantar Mantar complex consists of many architectural astronomy instruments.
|An instrument at Jantar Mantar|
|Sacred Heart Cathedral|
|A section of a tusk depicting Buddha's life scenes at display|
at the National Museum. Carved early 20th century
|Bara Darwaza, as viewed from inside the fort|
|Interior of a tomb in Lodhi Garden|
|Isa Khan's Tomb|
Inside are some museums, such as Museum on India's Struggle for Freedom. Historical sights inside the fort include the Diwan-i-Aam, where the emperor gave public audiences. One of the more elaborate halls is the Khas Mahal, the emperor's private palace.
|Detail in the Khas Mahal|
|Stairs leading to Jama Masjid|
Mehrauli is a district in south west Delhi, also known for its historical sights.
The most famous of them are clustered in the Qutub Archaeological Complex. Getting in can be a hassle- you buy your ticket from across the road, and then come back to join the entry queue- expect loads of crowds on weekends/holidays.
The complex is home to Qutub Minar, a minaret built in the end of the 12th century.
|Detail on the Qutub Minar|
If you want to escape to another historically-rich area nearby with very few crowds, visit the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Read a page on it by me here.
We have stayed in several hotels in Delhi including:
- Le Meridien Delhi. Located conveniently in New Delhi, walking distance to Jantar Mantar, India Gate and National Museum.
- Hilton Delhi. Not too close to any major attractions but close to the metro.
Undoubtedly North Indian cuisine is the best to try here. Go to Chandni Chowk for street food and paranthe. Connaught Place, Khan Market and Delhi's malls have options for sit-down, including fine dining restaurants.
One of Delhi's street food specialties is shakargandhi, which is nicely spiced up sweet potato. You can find this just about everywhere, such as in Janpath market.
Delhi has received a lot of bad press recently, however as a tourist, Delhi does not pose any extra risk provided you follow typical big-city precautions. The metro can get very crowded in rush hours, and as in any crowded place, watch your pockets and bag. Scams and touts can be the biggest annoyance.
Within Delhi, the metro is of some use to tourists. However, within a smaller area, autos (3 wheelers) or rickshaws are more useful. Taxis cannot be hailed.