Delhi Tourism: What You Need To Know
There are umpteen reasons to visit Delhi, and one article cannot do justice to its buzzing, vibrant atmosphere and the scores of interesting places to see here
Why Visit Delhi?
There are umpteen reasons to visit Delhi, and one article cannot do justice to its buzzing, vibrant atmosphere and the scores of interesting places to see here. Delhi tourism is all about exploration, eating delicious street side food, shopping for the latest trends at throwaway prices, and generally having a whale of a time. We attempt to capture the following reasons to visit Delhi:
* It blends history and contemporary trends in a delicious mix.
As part of its alluring history as the seat of political succession right up to the time of attaining independence in 1947, Delhi houses several breathtaking historical monuments and buildings. You will love to take a look at the Qutab Minar, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate, Jama Masjid, etc. Delhi tourism is incomplete without a roundup of all these places and more.
* Good infrastructure.
Delhi has infrastructure that suits its status as the national capital. Apart from well maintained and wide roads networking neatly with each other, there are metro trains, bus and private transport options, overhead bridges, segregated housing and commercial zones, top rated educational institutions, the best recreation spots, etc.
* Superb food.
Delhi is known as both the fashion and food capital of India. The city outdoes itself in terms of street food and gourmet eats. The world’s top restaurant chains are present here, serving a variety of global cuisines. But if you would rather not eat at a restaurant in Delhi, then the various chaat corners and sandwich and pizza joints are sure to satiate your taste buds. Delhi’s street food is known not just for its great taste, but also its low price points. Head to Hauz Khas and Chandni Chowk for the best gastronomic adventures.
* Splendid shopping.
Apart from serving great food, Delhi also leads the country in terms of high fashion. It is known for the most well dressed women, and it offers a wide range of clothing styles, from Indian ethnic to Western. You can find a wide variety of handicrafts, bags and footwear on the streets, while there are swank malls to buy high end brands from.
* A laidback but pulsating vibe.
Delhi is able to walk the tightrope between breakneck busy lifestyles and a more relaxed approach to life. The working hours are all about peak traffic rush, but the after work hours are a big party! Delhi tourism guidebooks list the best party spots and late night eating out joints, so be sure to check on these before you venture out.
Delhi is one of the most accessible cities in the country. You can reach it by air, road or railway. All major international and domestic flights arrive at or fly from Delhi daily, so booking flight tickets is never a problem. But do bear in mind that the Delhi airport is amongst the busiest in the country, so you should book your tickets at least two months before your departure date.
Meanwhile, driving to Delhi is easy as well. It is well connected to a variety of National Highways all over the country. Besides, a number of State and private buses also ply to Delhi regularly.
If travelling by train, you have ample choice between many railways stations and heads. Look up a Delhi tourism guidebook to know which station/railhead is best for you. The most famous one are Delhi Anand Vihar Terminal, Old Delhi, Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin, Shahdara Junction, Delhi Kishanganj, Tughlakabad, Palam and Sadar Bazar.
Now that you are booked and bound for Delhi, let’s get you started on your travel itinerary for the city. Here are our top recommendations for things to do in Delhi and the places to visit:
The sprawling and majestic edifice was built in 1638 by the Mughals. It remained impenetrable to all attacks ever since it was built, partly owing to its solidly constructed walls that are about 33 feet high. The Red Fort is listed in the top 5 places to see in Delhi tourism. Do take your family for a visit to learn about its history and awesome architecture.
Sufism and spirituality come together in a beautiful mix at the wonderful Nizamuddin Dargah, one of the top rated spots in Delhi tourism. It was built as a shrine to commemorate the famous Sufi saint, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. However, it welcomes people of all faiths (be sure to dress appropriately, with head and knees covered) into its fold. You will be left mesmerised by the evening qawwali recitals by the Nizami brothers, who perform here every Thursday evening.
It is one of the most spectacular gardens in India, and well-maintained, to boot. Lodhi Gardens were built by the British in 1936, around the tombs of 15th and 16th Century rulers, as a quiet place of contemplation and beauty for the British officers stationed in Delhi. After Independence, the gardens were opened to the general public, and they have now become an essential part of Delhi’s cultural fabric. Go for a quiet walk there or just contemplate in peace. Don’t forget to check out the National Bonsai Park inside, which is quite pretty to behold.
The magnificent Qutab Minar is another Delhi tourism staple, standing high at 73 metres and having the distinction of being India’s tallest tower. It was built by the first Mughal ruler in India, Qutab-uddin-Aibak, to commemorate the victory of the Mughals over the previous Hindu kings. In later years, it became a meeting point and a minaret to call people of the faith to prayer. Interestingly, it uses marble, sandstone and red sandstone in its construction.
How can one visit Delhi and not visit India Gate? The edifice inspires every patriotic fibre in you to stand up and salute it. Situated at Rajpath, it was built in 1931 and it is a war memorial dedicated to the over 70,000 Indian soldiers who perished in the Afghan and World War I. Be sure to visit this site in the evening, when the memorial is lit up with soft yellow lighting to bring out its rugged beauty.
As historical monuments go, none have witnessed the ravages of a changing societal fabric more than Purana Qila. Built by Humayun and expanded by Shershah Suri, the fort is one of the country’s oldest ones with a massive exterior wall and impenetrable high doors. Its most interesting facet is that it housed scores of people going to Pakistan during the India-Pakistan Partition.
Yet another feather in the hat of Delhi tourism, this fort was the brainchild and vanity project of the ambitious Mughal ruler, Ghiasuddin Tughlaq. Legend has it that he was so entranced by the idea of having a fort in his own name, and by the grand scale that he envisioned for it, that he ordered all the workmen from Delhi and other areas to stop work on whatever they were busy with, and work exclusively on the fort. This caused a forceful migration of workers to the site, incurring the wrath of a Sufi saint who cursed the fort with ruin. As luck would have it, Tughlaq did not live long to see his fort being revered by one and all. The fort structure too began to crumble much before time!
Just when you thought Delhi had everything you could possibly hope to see, there comes the city’s treasure in the form of the Agrasen Ki Baoli, an ancient stepwell. Delhi tourism guidebooks surmise that the stepwell was built during the time of the Mahabharata by Raja Agrasen. It was later rebuilt and expanded in the 14th century, mostly by the ruling Aggarwal community. It has 108 steps but only the first three levels can be accessed today.
Mahatma Gandhi was laid to rest at this tranquil and large site in Delhi. Other memorials at the site include those for leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Rajiv Gandhi, Shankar Dayal Sharma, Jagjivan Ram, Dr PV Narasimha Rao, IK Gujral, etc. The site has dense lawns on all sides, and a large slab of black marble facing upwards at the entrance.
You’ve heard of it in Hindi movies and from descriptions of other travellers, and Chandni Chowk occupies pride of place in Delhi tourism. It is the city’s oldest market and its most buzzing quarter. You can buy everything here, from clothes to street food. It is said that at least 1000 types of food are available for eating at Chandni Chowk! Don’t miss the famous Parathewali Galli when you visit.
Q: Why is Delhi famous?
Delhi is famous for a variety of things: its food, fashion, tourist spots, bazaars, multiplexes and historical monuments.
Q: What is special in Delhi to buy?
Delhi has some of the best shopping spots in all of the country, and it is famous for its street shopping. When you are in Delhi, be sure to buy spices, tea powder, mathri (salted crackers), pashminas, khadi cloth, kundan and meena work jewellery, juttis and mojris, and also sandalwood products.
Q: What is the best time to visit Delhi?
The start of the winter season, i.e the months of October and November, are considered the best time to visit Delhi. However, if you can brave the formidable cold, then you will love the winter season in its entirety, right up to the month of March.
Q: Why is Delhi so polluted?
Delhi’s air quality has become extremely poor in recent months, owing to crop burning outside the city, large scale pollution from high traffic, and the location of industries inside the city limits.
Q: What is the entry fee for the Taj Mahal?
There are different grades of entry to the Taj Mahal, and the ticket prices are based on these. The basic entry to the Taj Mahal is Rs 45 for Indian nationals, and Rs 1,050 for foreigners. If you wish to see the mausoleum, then you must pay Rs 200 more. Visitors from SAARC countries (with valid documentation to show) can buy entry tickets for Rs 535.
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