Delhi Travel guide

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Delhi (Hindi: दिल्ली, Urdu: دلّی, Punjabi: ਦਿੱਲੀ) is India's capital city and the home of executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the Government of India. Delhi is a large metropolis with strengths in arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence.

Districts


Understand


History

Delhi is said to be one of the oldest existing cities in the world, along with Jerusalem and Varanasi. Legend estimates it to be over 5,000 years old. Over the millennia, Delhi is said to have been built and destroyed 11 times. The oldest alleged incarnation of the city shows up in the Indian mythological epic Mahabharata as Indraprastha.

The population of Delhi is a heterogeneous mix of people originally belonging to different parts of North India and beyond. Among the prominent North Indian communities are the Punjabis. Delhi also has a prominent South Indian Community, primarily in areas like RK Puram, Mayur Vihar and Munirka. A Bengali Settlement, the Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi is the Mini Calcutta of Delhi. Quality education also draws students from different states, making up one of the most diverse student populations in the country.

Orientation

Like the rest of the Gangetic Plains, Delhi is as flat as a pancake. The only geographical features of any significance are the river Yamuna, which flows down the eastern side of the city, and the Aravalli Hills which form a wide but low arc across the west. On the west bank is the crowded and congested Old (Central) Delhi and, to the southwest, the broad, tree-lined avenues of New Delhi, built by the British to rule their empire. The rest is an endless low-rise sprawl of suburbia and slums, with southwestern Delhi (nearer to New Delhi) generally somewhat wealthier.

New Delhi

The capital of India built by the British. It also houses few of the most famous hotels you can find in India like:

The Leela Ambience

The Grand

jüSTa Hotels & Resorts

New Delhi is also famous for its luxurious wedding and celebration in places like:

The Jehan

South Delhi

South Delhi is a more affluent area and is the location of many upscale hotels and shopping malls, quaint guesthouses. It also includes the Qutab Minar, a major tourist attraction. The area is easy to get around via taxi/car and is served by 3 metro lines.

Old Delhi

The capital during the Mughal period.

North Delhi

This area includes many buildings developed during British rule. Majnu Ka Tilla is a Tibetan settlement in the area.

Climate

The shoulder seasons (Feb-Mar and Oct-Nov) are the best times to visit, with temperatures in the 20-30°C range (68-86°F). From April to June, temperatures are scorchingly hot (over 40°C is common) and, with every air-conditioner running at full blast, the city's creaking power and water infrastructure is strained to the breaking point and beyond. Monsoon rains deluge the city from July to September, flooding roads on a regular basis and bringing traffic to a standstill. In winter, especially December and January, temperatures can dip to near-zero which can feel a lot colder because central heating is largely unknown and homes are usually designed with a view to keep cool in the summers rather than warm in the winters. In addition the city is blanketed in thick fog, causing numerous flight cancellations and train delays.

Suggested reading

Beware

Probably the worst way to get introduced to India for the first time visitor would be to fly into Delhi on one of those packed red-eye flights arriving at 1am, and take a random taxi from airport into a hotel in a backpacking district, and follow the taxi driver hotel suggestions once you have heard that your hotel has been closed/burned a few days ago. This city is difficult to handle even for seasoned travelers, and it is hard to shake off the feeling that it is one big dirty noisy dump where everyone tries to rip you off.

Generally for a first time visitor you will get a better experience of India if you initially fly to Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore or Kolkata (then you can continue to Delhi). However if you must fly to Delhi:

Note that those items mostly apply to Delhi only. Other Indian airports receive significantly less international traffic and are less crowded, and Delhi seem to be the only major city in India which still doesn't have a proper concept of taxi regulations, and has such a huge abundance of hotels which shouldn't even be allowed to open doors.

Get in


By plane

Indira Gandhi International Airport, (IGI, {{IATA|DEL}}) , located in the south-west of the city, is the arrival point for many visitors into Delhi. Once notoriously bad, the airport has been transformed into a thoroughly modern facility and is one the best airports in the world. There are several security checkpoints in the airport and you may have to show your boarding pass and passport a dozen times before boarding the plane. When leaving Delhi from the International terminal, you should show up 3 hours before your flight is scheduled. For domestic flights, 2 hours should be enough, depending on whether or not you must wait in the queues to check luggage. While sometimes time-consuming, the process is smooth, and the new terminal's shops and restaurants are sensibly located at the gate area, not before security. However, if you wish to change Rupees back into foreign currency, you must do this before clearing security.

During the winter, Delhi often experiences dense fog and visibility is reduced considerably, making it difficult for flights to land and take off. Both international and domestic flights are often diverted, cancelled, or delayed.

Delhi Airport has three operational terminals:

A free shuttle bus operates between the terminals every 20 minutes; however, the shuttle is only free for arriving passengers with onward connecting tickets in the other terminal. Alternatively, public city bus #4 (₹25) operates the same route and does not require a flight ticket. While the terminals share the same runways, connecting between the two requires a massive detour via a nearby highway, so allow up to 20 minutes to make the transfer.

To travel between the airport and the city:

By Car

Many online car services are now extensively serving major cities in India like Cabs24x7 , Amy CAB , Uber , Japji travel and My Tempo Traveller mytempotraveller.com UberX (the low-cost version) are in fact more reliable, cheaper, and more pleasant than dealing with (and haggling with) unscrupulous / overeager / bothersome taxi drivers or autorickshaw drivers. You can get in by cabs and this is the safest way to get in if you want to avoid bus services.

By bus

Buses arrive from Kathmandu and Chitwan in Nepal (36 hr+) and virtually every city in India. Although not as comfortable as the trains, buses are the only choice for some destinations, mainly those in the mountains.

Delhi has a confusing slew of inter-state bus termini (ISBT), which all have two names. The Delhi Transport Corporation is the major operator, but every state also runs its own buses and there are some private operators.

By train

Trains arrive at one of four main stations: Delhi Junction, also called Old Delhi or Purani Dilli; the second at New Delhi which lies in Central Delhi; Hazrat Nizamuddin a few kilometers to the south; and the upcoming Anand Vihar station to the east (very few trains use Delhi Sarai Rohilla or Delhi Cantt stations). Delhi Junction and New Delhi Railway Station are now conveniently connected by Metro Line 2, just minutes apart, while Anand Vihar is served by Line 3. It will take about 40 min-1 hr to travel from the New Delhi Railway Station to the airport by car, depending on traffic.

A ticket office open to all is on the road to Connaught Place with longer hours. It often has waiting times not much longer than at the tourist booking office. You will need to know the number or name of the train you want to take. Easiest of all, though, is to book online through the Indian Railways booking website . (Note, however, that you are required to have both an e-mail address AND a mobile phone number that is registered within India in order to access the booking area of the site.)

Once you have purchased a ticket either at the ticket office or online prior to the trip, all you need to do is go to the rail car labeled with your class of service purchased. You can either get on and sit in the first available seat or often times for higher classes of service, they will post a passenger list on the car when it stops. Look for your name and go to the assigned car, cabin and seat. There is never a need to get a boarding pass so if anyone comes out of the crowd to tell you that, don't listen to them; it is a scam. If you're brave, you can simply purchase a general 2nd class ticket and then get on any car where there is availability. The conductor will come by and check your tickets after the train starts moving. If you are in a higher fare class than you are ticketed for, all you have to do is simply pay the difference in fare to the conductor. The only risk here is that the train could be full and you could be stuck in the lowest fare class which can be very crowded with little room to sit.

New Delhi Railway Station

The main entrance to New Delhi Railway Station (code NDLS) is located just outside of Paharganj, also known as the backpacker ghetto. The Delhi Metro now connects directly here, but the metro exits are at the Ajmeri Gate (second entrance) side near platform 16. You can also take prepaid rickshaws and taxis from the plaza outside the main entrance.

The station is large, crowded, confusing and packed with touts. Allow one hour to find your train the first time you visit. Don't trust the electronic display boards, which often show incorrect information. Instead listen to the announcements and ask multiple people in uniform (policemen) until you find your train. However, anyone who approaches you spontaneously should be completely ignored, including people who claim they work for the railway. Use one of the porters (in orange red uniforms with metallic arms badges) to find your train and carry your luggage, in exchange for a tip.

A tourist ticket office called the International Tourist Bureau is open 24 hours upstairs of, but still within, the main New Delhi railway station on Platform No.1 (on the side away from the metro). Note that it is only for foreign tourists, so you must have a tourist visa (i.e. student and working visas are not acceptable). Non-resident Indians can also book their tickets through this office. Bring your passport and cash or traveller's cheques in U.S. dollars, British Pounds or Euros. If you wish to pay in Indian Rupees you theoretically must show an official exchange certificate (from India, not valid if you changed in another country) or an ATM receipt. All ticket bookings require exact change, as like everywhere in India the office has little to no change. If you don't have exact change, it's possible after booking to go down to the food stores, buy food to get change, then return and pick up your ticket. To get a ticket, first get a form from the centre of the room and fill it out. Then go to the information desk near the entrance. There, have the clerk check the availability of the train(s) you desire, and fill out your form accordingly. Then line up at one of the two u-shaped lines of chairs for the reservation desks. If you need a bathroom during this lengthy process, there is a relatively clean male and female toilet just outside on the verandah through the side door (the door you didn't enter through). Even once inside, there are still touts around looking to make a quick buck on those who are unfamiliar with the process. Do not leave the International Tourist Bureau with a stranger.

Do not trust strangers who appear out of the crowd to help you; ignore them. Always ask for assistance at the enquiry counter or policemen (in uniform). If crossing over to other platforms from the Paharganj side, beware of people asking for your train ticket whilst going through security to cross the bridge. You do not need to show your ticket to cross the bridge despite what they may say. If a man with a pen appears as you approach, ignore him.

If you have a long wait for your train and need somewhere safe and peaceful, the IRCTC has an executive lounge, which can be found between the main entrance (Ajmeri Gate side) and the stairway up to platform 16, just after security. It is clean, safe and air-conditioned; the staff are helpful. The cost is INR150 for two hours. Meals are extra.

New Delhi Railway Station also has a pre-paid taxi booth run by Delhi Police. If you are arriving at the station, and want to take a taxi, head to the Delhi Police pre-paid taxi booth. Unfortunately, this booth is at the extreme far north end (about 50 meters from the station main exit) of the taxi parking and you will encounter touts claiming to provide prepaid taxi; just ignore them and find the pre-paid taxi booth run by the Delhi Police which are safe and least expensive. Taxi fare from New Delhi Railway Staion to the Airport should cost you about 400 Rupees.

A common scam is for a tout to approach you and tell you your train is canceled but you may book the next train at the official tourist office (typically in Connaught Square). Of course, this isn't an official office, just a travel agency that will tell you the next train is booked and try to rent you a taxi at a very expensive price.

Delhi Railway Station

Formally Delhi Junction (code DLI), but best referred to as "Old" Delhi Station for clarity. Like New Delhi RS, this station is huge and confusing. The platforms are not in linear order, with some hidden in the west and east wings of the stations. The railway station is served by Metro Line 2 Chandni Chowk station, with an entrance just outside at the east end of the station and also just over the main road outside (last metro at about 23:30). If taking an Auto Rickshaw from here, the prepaid desk will often try and charge you as much as three times the actual price quoted on the official price guide displayed clearly in their window - bargaining is sadly often cheaper.

Hazrat Nizamuddin

Hazrat Nizamuddin (code NZM) is the departure point of many trains heading south. Practically speaking, the only way to get here is by taxi or car. The budget alternative is to take a bus to the Sarai Kale Khan Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) on the ring road and then walk over to the station (400 m). It's the least chaotic of the Big Three, but still pretty big and poorly signposted; listen to the announcements to figure out your train. The station has a pretty good food court that sells inexpensive, hygienic takeaway snacks including sandwiches and samosas.

If you have some time to kill, pay a visit to Humayun's Tomb, which is so close to the station that you can hear the announcements from inside — although it's a long, circuitous walk from the station to the entrance.

Anand Vihar

Anand Vihar Terminal (code ANVT) is Delhi's newest station, located well to the east of the city near Ghaziabad - Delhi Border. Repeatedly delayed, the station finally opened in December 2009 and will gradually take over all east-bound services. The station can be reached by Delhi Metro Line 3. Anand Vihar Terminal is just opposite to Anand Vihar Interstate Bus Terminal (ISBT).

To check all connecting trains to New Delhi

Get around


Getting around Delhi is always an adventure. Traffic is, by and large, horribly congested and many drivers will think nothing of quoting ten times the going price to a tourist. Use the prices below as broad guidelines, agree on prices before setting off. Best way to travel is via metro, where there are separate cabins for women (that prove to be very useful during rush hour). Metro is clean, efficient, and typically ridden by relatively affluent middle-class students or commuters en route to/from work; there is almost nowhere in the city that you cannot get to by metro.

By metro

The fast-growing Delhi Metro network provides a cheap, quick, hassle-free and air-conditioned way of zipping around the city. The following lines are open:

Fares range from ₹8-30 (₹100 for the airport express), depending on distance. To use the system, either buy a smart card (₹150, includes ₹100 of credit) and load it with credit or buy a token each time you want to ride the metro. There can be long queues of as much as 30 minutes to buy tokens, so the smart card is usually the better bet, even if it winds up costing a bit more. Tokens can be used only from the station they are bought, so you can't buy two and use the second to return home. The tokens or the smart card are needed to both enter and exit the system. There is also a "Tourist Card" allowing unlimited use for ₹100 (1 day) or ₹250 (3 days), but it's highly unlikely that you'll travel enough to make this pay off.

Yellow line, in particular, is useful for getting to the Old Delhi (Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid) and New Delhi railway stations, the ISBT bus terminal, the backpacker ghetto of Paharganj, Hauz Khas and Qutub Minar. Line 3 is also handy for visiting Akshardham and accessing the western parts of Paharganj through RK Ashram Marg station.

Metro stations all use the new, official, Indianized names, so Connaught Place is "Rajiv Chowk", Old Delhi Railway Station is "Chandni Chowk" and ISBT is "Kashmere Gate".

The first car of all trains is reserved to women, so, is totally safe and confortable to travel with the metro lines also for a woman by herself.

Please be advised that it's strictly prohibited to carry alcohol items (even being bought in duty-free in the country of origin) to the Delhi Metro, except airport express line. You can be denied entering the station on security check. Also lighters and matches are confiscated by security staff.

By local train

There are limited commuter services on Delhi's railways, but the facilities are a far cry from the user-friendly Metro and stations. For the most part, train stations are inconveniently located. There is no passenger service on the Delhi Ring Railroad outside rush hour.

Please note that the Indian Railways website does not accept most foreign credit cards, however American Express cards are accepted. Indian railways tickets can be bought from an agency called Cleartrip using other credit cards.

By bus

All parts of Delhi are well connected by buses and with tickets ranging from Rs 5-15 they are very cheap, but they are also quite crowded most of the time. The red coloured buses are air-conditioned and the green coloured are not. As bus stops do not have bus routes written properly, it can be difficult to find your way. Asking other people at the bus stop is often the best way to find out about bus routes to your destination. However, the buses are pretty frequent, running every 15-20 min or so on most routes. There are two kinds of buses in Delhi:

If you have a choice, please go for a DTC bus. They will stop less frequently and will generally be less crowded too. Note that many buses, DTC ones too, will stop pretty much anywhere if there are enough people getting on or off.

Board buses at the back and pay the ticket seller sitting right next to the door. Be sure to hang onto your tickets, as ticket checks are fairly frequent. Some seats on the left side of the bus may be reserved for women and the handicapped. When it's time to disembark, move to the front of the bus. As you might expect, all these guidelines are regularly ignored when buses are very crowded.

Hop on Hop off

Hop On Hop Off (HOHO) bus service is operated by Delhi Tourism. (Helpline) ☎ +91 11 4094 0000. A fleet of air conditioned low floored buses follow a pre-defined set of stops around the city and passengers can hop off the bus, see the place at one's own convenience and hop on the next bus. Each bus is staffed with a knowledgeable English speaking guide. The service does not operate on Mondays. Best to go on Saturdays and Sundays when there is little traffic.

By taxi

Delhi is well-serviced by smartphone-app based cab-service providers. Popular services are Ola, Uber and Meru. There are other cab service providers as well. The advantage of using the app based services is that you do not have to negotiate with the driver in advance, and your cab ride is tracked, and the receipt emailed to you. All the new cab service companies accept payments from digital wallets, so haggling over the right change is also not a problem. The cabs you will see near tourist spots will be old.

Most Delhi taxis are old but reliable CNG-run Ambassadors or Omnis in distinctive black-and-yellow livery and a green stripe. The hired family car of choice is usually a Toyota Innova or Chevrolet Tavera. While all are equipped with meters and should cost ₹15 for the first km ₹8.50 per km, the meters are often rigged and it's better to agree on the price in advance. Most trips around the city should be ₹200-500, while a trip to the airport would be higher, depending on starting location. An eight-hour charter should cost around ₹1,500, and a tip is expected if the driver is helpful. The prices would also depends upon the vehicle size too. Note that black and yellow taxis are not air-conditioned. Even if they do have air conditioning, you will be charged extra (and the rates are up to the driver, so bargain hard).

The death knell of the Ambassador was rung in December 2006, when modern radio taxi services were launched. At ₹20/km, they're more the list price of the competition, but they use modern vehicles with air-conditioning and GPS and can be dialed 24 hr/day. The flag fare is ₹20, and the fare increases by ₹5 for every 250m after the first km. If you need an SUV, you need to inform the company in advance, but the fare remains the same. Night charges (25% extra) apply between 11pm to 5am. Book up to a few hours in advance. Many corporates rely on these cabs for their daily commute and they may be booked during office hours. Tipping is not expected. After booking, you will receive an SMS with the car license plate number, and the driver's name and mobile number. Usually the driver will call you and inform you that he's arrived. Most drivers speak English, but at a very basic level, so use short phrases.

You shouldn't take non-official taxis, sometimes they take you to a wrong hotel, or to a "tourist information centre", and try to sell you overpriced things.

By auto rickshaws

Auto rickshaws (also called three-wheeled scooters, tuk-tuks or simply autos) are good for shorter trips. Always in a distinctive yellow-and-green livery, auto rickshaws are three-wheeled partially enclosed contraptions (no doors!) that run on CNG and can seat three people in the back. In general, they are much cheaper than taxis and can be hailed from the street. Although by law the rickshaw drivers should charge according to the meter in their vehicle (₹25 for the first two kms, ₹8/km after), this rate is unrealistically low and they will almost always try to haggle for price. Try to negotiate a price before entering the vehicle. As rules of thumb, expect even the shortest journey to cost ₹30-40 regardless of the meter, but you should never need to pay over ₹150 for any trip within the city. If you're overquoted, don't be afraid to walk away. It's usually easy to find another one soon, usually with a driver who won't rip you off.

If you have any trouble with drivers, go to any of the numerous tourist police stations in the city center and they will give you a complaint slip which will result in a ₹500 fine for the auto driver. There should also be a telephone number written on the vehicle to call in case of any complaint.

There are a number of "Pre-paid" auto stands run by the Police. Tell them where you want to go and pay them upfront. The charge will include ₹5 for the service. You then take the coupon and stand outside where a policeman will direct you to the next available Auto. When your journey is completed you hand the coupon to the auto driver and that's it. Nothing more to pay (despite what they may say).

By cycle rickshaws

Cycle rickshaws are three-wheeled, pedal-powered rickshaws with seats in the back to seat passengers and a driver in the front. They are good for short distances, or places which are too far to walk but too short for taking a bus/taxi/auto rickshaw. Cycle rickshaws don't use meters, so establish a price before getting on. ₹20-50 is reasonable for most journeys of a few km.

Cycle rickshaws are best to use in Old Delhi to visit the intricate galis (walkways) and to enjoy the smells and sounds of the city.

On foot

Much of Delhi is quite pedestrian-hostile. Distances are long, road signage is poor, and in the more tourist oriented areas, you'll be constantly accosted by beggars and touts. Crossing roads often involves wading across multiple lanes of heavy traffic. Try your best to move in a predictable straight line, so vehicles can weave around you. (Better yet, latch onto a group of locals and cross in their shadow.) If you really want to walk around, these places would be good:

By car

Hiring a car is not a good option for most foreigners as most Delhiites have no sense of road rules. It is much easier to hire a car and a driver to get around. Yet if you are adventuruosus you may hire a car and drive yourself. One rule to be careful about is the odd even rule. Due to high levels of pollution the Delhi Government has decided to impose a car rationing policy in which only even cars are allowed to ply on even days and vice versa for odd. This rule is introduced for a stretch of 15 days. A hefty fine of ₹2000 is enforced on violators. Read local newspaper and pay attention to the numerous hoardings around the city publicising the rule. It is well publicised and you are sure to hear of it when it is being enforced.

See


Red Fort

The Red Fort (Lal Qila) is one of Delhi's top tourist sights. A brilliant red sandstone fort built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built Agra's Taj Mahal) as his ruling palace. Completed in 1648, the years since have not treated the buildings kindly: the rooms have long since been stripped of all objects, the marble inlays are long gone and quite a few buildings are off limits. Still, the scale remains imposing and the gardens are kept lush and green even in midwinter. Major buildings within include:

The only open entrance is Lahore Gate, on the west side. Security in and around the Fort is very heavy, as it was the scene of a terrorist attack in 2000 that killed three people. Bags are allowed, but they'll be X-rayed and you'll be patted down. Tickets cost Rs 10/250 rupees for Indians/foreigners, photography free, video cameras Rs 25 extra. Open sunrise to sunset daily except Monday. Allow for 3-4 hr in your schedule in case of long weekends and national holidays as lot of tourists flock around then. The most scenic way of reaching the fort is to take the Metro to Chawri Bazaar and then a cycle-rickshaw through the incredibly packed bazaar to the Fort (price negotiable, aim for Rs 20).

The fort has a light and sound show (Rs 50) in the evenings from 7:30PM-9PM, depending on the season.

Be careful buying tickets at the booth, as the ticket sellers will attempt to shortchange you. Try to have a small bill. Due to enhanced security the parking can be a bit tricky as the walk from the now distanced away parking at nearby alternative slots is quite a bit. The congested traffic makes crossing the road even trickier.

Humayun's tomb

Humayun's Tomb in south Delhi, near Hazrat Nizamuddin station, is one of Delhi's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, entry is Rs 30/500, Indians/foreigners.

The tomb is in large, immaculately maintained gardens in the Persian Char Bagh (four corners) style that were thoroughly renovated in 2003 with the Aga Khan's help and are consequently probably the best in Delhi. As you enter the complex, the first major structure on your right is the bulbous, octagonal tomb of Iza Khan, a court noble who built it in his own lifetime, some 20 years before Humayun's tomb. As you pass through the first gate, you will glimpse the dome of the tomb and enter a floral path leading to the second (West) gate, which now acts as the entrance to the giant central garden.

The centerpiece is the eponymous tomb of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor. Built starting in 1562, it was the first major Mughal structure in the city and has been described as a predecessor or prototype of Agra's Taj Mahal. The structures are, indeed, stylistically similar, although Humayun's Tomb is built from red sandstone, not white marble, and was built by a wife grieving for her husband, not the other way around. You can climb up to the second level (the stairs on the west side are very steep, those on the south side less so), and on the south side you will find the entrance into the main crypt where Humayun is buried.

Before you leave, be sure to visit the South Gate, the original royal entrance, from where you can get picture-postcard views without too many tourists in the way. In the southeast corner is the Barber's Tomb, also built in the same style. Historians do not know who is buried in this picturesque tomb made of red and grey sandstone.

Qutub complex

This complex in Mehrauli, houses structures dating from the Slave Dynasty (1206-1290) and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gardens are kept in excellent shape, making this a popular relaxation and picnic spot. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, entry is 15/500 rupees Indians/foreigners. Light-and-sound show held most nights after sunset. Now easily accessible via Qutub Minar station on the Metro Yellow Line, followed by a short auto ride.

Museums

Monuments

Parks and gardens

Religious buildings

Other

Do


Be careful, there are plenty of well-organized hustlers trying to trick you to take a riksha ride to places where you can supposedly do "cheaper and better shopping".

At the centre is a small but pleasant park, while on one edge is the notorious Palika Bazaar, an underground den of cheap wares, many pirated or smuggled from overseas. The area is surrounded by tall office buildings on nearly all sides. Train fans will want to check out the Metro Museum inside the (Patel Chowk) station, open 10AM-4PM, Tue-Sun (free with valid Metro ticket). Quite simply the best place to hang out!

Learn


Delhi is a key centre of learning in India. The most famous universities in Delhi are JNU, DU, JMI, IGNOU, IIT and NLU, Delhi. The official website of the Delhi Government's Directorate of Education is a good starting point for learning more about study opportunities in Delhi.

Apart from undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses, there are many training and diploma-level institutes and polytechnics that cater to the growing demand for skill-based and vocational education. Besides conventional educational institutes, more and more foreigners also make the effort to learn Hindustani language (Hindi-Urdu) and Delhi is these languages.

Work


Delhi's economy is expanding rapidly. In analogy many interesting work opportunities emerge. Monster and other online job platforms are a good starting point to see what kind of jobs are on offer. Traditionally foreigners often work in the social sector or in teaching. Increasingly, however, expats work for multinational companies and even local Indian companies.

There is a great variety of employment opportunities in Delhi for foreigners, whether they would like to work in business, NGOs, educational institutes, or even government. Still, there is one caveat: the labour market in Delhi is highly competitive and so at many prestigious organisations, the number of applicants far exceeds the number of positions available, which allows employers to receive highly talented applicants for rather meagre salaries (especially when compared to other international destinations).

Buy


If you're not afraid to haggle and bump elbows in bazaars, Delhi is a great place to shop. Also, Western-style malls are plentiful in the suburbs of Gurgaon and Noida. Many shopping districts are overly crowded on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.

Malls

Bazaars

Jewellery

Handicrafts

Clothing Stores

Computers

Books

The Indian book industry is huge, producing annually about 15,000 books in English, and obviously far more in Hindi and other native languages. Delhi is hub of this industry, so small, specialist bookstores abound. Locally produced books can be very inexpensive and many popular Western titles are published and available here for a fraction of their original cost.

Tea

Sample your teas before making a selection - Ample Car Parking - Free Hotel Delivery

India's Oldest Tea Brand, Since 1933

Eat


Delhiites complain about many things in their city, but the food will satisfy even the most demanding gourmet. Not only can you find some of the best Indian food on the subcontinent, there is also an increasing number of excellent (if often pricey) international restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. When ordering, do remember that Delhi is about 1,000 km from the nearest ocean, so vegetarian, chicken and mutton dishes are the way to go.

Delhi has arguably the best street food in India. However, do not eat unhygenic or open food. There are plenty of restaurants offering street food in a potentially more hygenic environment (but still the best taste is found in the streets). Enjoy the street foods but keep some tropical medicines for GIT problems (Norfloxacin Tinidazole composition works very well)

You can join local groups of foodies who go out regularly to sample and savor what new and old dishes the city has to offer. One of the most active groups is Food Enthusiasts of Delhi . They organize regular food walks, better known as Raids to various parts and joints in the city. Its a non-commercial group, brought together by passion and love for food. If you are looking for professionally run setups, Delhi Food Adventure runs commercial food walks exclusively for tourists. If walking around looking for good food is not your thing, have a look at some of the Delhi-centric food and eating out blogs, such as Dilli Daawat .

Budget

The best place to go for chaat is the Bengali Market (near Mandi House Metro Stn) near Connaught Place in the center of town. The restaurants are high quality and the food is great. There are ATMs as well. One of the best known restaurants there is Nathu's. But for the really good chaat you have to make your way to Old Delhi, and particularly to Ashok's near Chawri Bazaar. While connoisseurs insist that the best chaat is prepared on the street, most travellers try to find a comfortable middle ground between hygiene and authenticity.

Mid-range

You will find McDonalds, KFC, Subway and Pizza Hut in malls and throughout the city. The Indian menu without beef and with lots of veggie options can be interesting even if you would otherwise steer clear.

Splurge

Italian
Barbeque/grills
Japanese
Middle Eastern
Thai

Delhiites have eagerly adopted Thai food into their culinary pantheon, although the recipes and ingredients are often rather Indianised.

Tibetan Food, (near Shivaji Stadium-which actually is a bus stand, Connaught Place). Tibetan food, run by Tibetan refugees.

Chinese

After Indian Cuisine, Chinese is Delhi's second most popular cuisine. For a long time, only Indianised Chinese was available, but high-quality options are available today.

Korean
Japanese

Sushiya, yummy japanese food , DLF mall, Saket

Afghani
Iraqi

Drink


Delhi's nightlife scene has undergone a total transformation in the last decade. There are plenty of modern, cosmopolitan joints out to separate you from your rupees. In a desperate attempt to keep the sex ratio vaguely equitable, many lounges and clubs have couples only policies (that is, no single men or men-only groups), enforced with varying degrees of strictness. While everything is theoretically to shut down by 1AM things can keep going much longer.

Coffee / tea

Hookah/sheesha

Indian bar food, hookah and an amazing lounge experience. The crowd that frequents these two places is young, hip and trendy.

Bars/nightclubs

Sleep


Prices quoted may not include taxes of up to 22.5%, calculated based on the published rack rates - not necessarily the price that you actually pay, which could be discounted. Smoking is not allowed in Delhi hotels.

Budget

Delhi has plenty of budget accommodation options, priced from ₹400-2,500.

Paharganj

Paharganj is a neighborhood directly west of the New Delhi Railway Station, bordered by Panchkuian Road in the south, Igdah Road in the north, and Deshraj Bhatia Marg/Chitragupta Road in the west. The neighborhood is noisy, filthy, and full of touts, but it's also centrally-located and has many cheap hotels and thus very popular with budget travelers.

Karol Bagh

This area, west of Paharganj, is quieter, but not as centrally located. It is served by the Karol Bagh metro station.

Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk is located in Old Delhi and is close to historical sights such as the Red Fort and Jameh Mosque. It is served by the Chandi Chowk metro station.

Connaught Place / Rajiv Chowk

The centrally-located business district.

Chankyapuri

Chanakyapuri is an affluent neighborhood where many embassies and the Prime Minister's residence are located. Chanakyapuri was developed as official residences for both politicians and civil servants to the Union Government. As such, it has numerous parks and open spaces, and suffers few utility disruptions. It is served by the Chankyapuri metro station.

Mahipalpur/Airport Area

Mahipalpur is a neighborhood located close to Terminal 1 and within walking distance from the Aero City metro station. There are dozens of hotels in this area at several price points.

Majnu ka Tilla

Majnu ka Tilla is a compact Tibetan settlement and the place of departure and arrival for buses to/from Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan Government in Exile and the Dalai Lama. Stay here if you have an interest in Tibetan culture, politics and religion, or if you need something quieter (and just slightly more expensive) than Paharganj. An auto-rickshaw from New Delhi train station should cost around ₹50 (use the prepaid stand). The Vidhan Sabha metro station is also nearby and popular. From there cycle-rickshaws charge ₹15 and take about five minutes.

Greater Kailash

Greater Kailash is an affluent residential area in South Delhi. Most of the accommodation here is a bit of a hike to the metro, but the quality of the houses and calmness makes this area an attractive place to stay.

East of New Delhi Railway Station

Mid-range

Delhi's chronic lack of quality hotels has led to a mushrooming of guest houses of widely varying quality and price. The new official 'Delhi Bed and Breakfast scheme' has also contributed a range of private rooms available for bed & breakfast accommodation. These rooms range from cheap dumps to classy rooms in the best neighborhoods of Delhi. These areas are a welcome respite from the dirt and touts of the main tourist areas, and thanks to Delhi's metro system, these are still within an easy reach.

Splurge

Stay safe


Many first time travellers to India find themselves falling victim to scams and touts, and unfortunately Delhi has a lot of both. Be on guard for anybody trying to help you by giving you unsolicited directions or travel advice. Do not believe the advice of taxi and auto drivers. If this is your first time to India, do not openly admit it, as this will make you more vulnerable to touts.

If you are arriving into Delhi at night either stay in the airport lounge or well lit areas until daybreak. Women should avoid walking around alone in the night or hiring cabs alone. Radio taxis are a safer option. Dress conservatively. Don't be afraid to raise your voice or shout, if harassed.

Carry your cash, passport, and cards in a secure money belt, with only enough cash for a few hours at a time in your wallet or other accessible place. Some travelers recommend carrying an expendable wallet with a few ten rupee notes in it in an obvious place such as your hip pocket as a decoy to Delhi's ubiquitous pickpockets.

All but one tourist agency is a scam, Government 'approved' or not. Very hefty extra charges hidden as commissions and processing fees are the least that will happen. Two notorious agencies are 'India tourism voyages' and 'shukla enterprises'. Head to the ONLY official government ran agency on Janpath and Connaught Lane. There are many fake ones around here too so make sure you have the right one. The best way to secure train tickets is to queue on the second story of New Delhi train station where there is a desk for tourists. You can also navigate through the Indian Railways Website . Also, you should book you flight tickets online as all the airlines have online booking system. Otherwise, prepare to spend a good hour sorting through the charges that the tourist agency will charge.

Delhi Police

The Delhi Police is a 70,000 strong force serving the capital region. Unfortunately, the quality of police officers varies dramatically throughout the force; some officers may be corrupt and unhelpful, while others are honest and helpful.

For police assistance during an emergency dial 100.

Police vehicles (called PCR vans) are parked on almost every major intersection.

For non-emergencies, or to report a crime, go to the police station.

Stay healthy


Delhi is a hot, dusty city and the combination of the two may reduce visibility in the summer. In April through June, temperatures regularly top 40°C, meaning that proper hydration is of the utmost importance. In winter there can be seasonal fog; on particularly foggy days, it can be difficult to see across the street. This is partly because of Delhi's severe air pollution problem; it is advised that travelers keep informed about the daily air quality in Delhi. If you happen to be travelling in or out of Delhi during the winters, be aware of fog-related flight delays.

Drink only bottled water so you may avoid any water-related illness. Keep yourself covered in summers to avoid a heat stroke. Drink a lot of water, 3 liters a day, particularly in the summer. Sticking to freshly, well-cooked vegetarian food will lessen your chances on acquiring the "Delhi belly."

Contact


Cell phone coverage in the city is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of plans. Among them are Airtel, Vodafone , Reliance , and Tata Indicom . It might be a good idea to buy a cell phone and use one of those prepaid plans to get yourself connected while you are in the city.

Landline phone numbers in Delhi begin with 11, typically followed by eight digits. To call Delhi from outside India you will need to dial the international prefix for your country, followed by India’s country code 91.

Delhi emergency numbers

Here are the Delhi emergency contact numbers

Cope


Power outages and water shortages are common Delhi, often occurring multiple times a day with summers being particularly bad. Better accommodations have water tanks and generators to alleviate the inconvenience, but keep a flashlight handy at night and do your part by not wasting too much water.

Language

The native language of the Delhi area is Hindi, which also happens to be the main official language of the Union Government. However, for official purposes, English is more widely used than Hindi. Almost everybody you meet will be able to speak Hindi, quite often with the Bihari and Punjabi accents. However, most educated people will also be fluent in English, and many shopkeepers and taxi drivers will have a functional command of English. Punjabi and Urdu are also official languages, but they are spoken much less widely. The Hindi spoken in Delhi is quite Persianized, similar to the Hindi spoken in Western UP and much less Sanskritized than the Hindi spoken in MP. Signage is usually bilingual in Hindi and English, but some road signs (especially in South and Central Delhi) are in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu. Announcements on the metro are in Hindi (male voice) and English (female voice).

Embassies & High Commissions

Get out


Delhi is a major international transit hub for trains, planes and buses as well as a great connection point for domestic destinations within India. It's also a great base for exploration of the famous Hill Stations.

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Salimgarh Fort is at easy reach distance from the Tomb of Humayun.

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