Free Resources for Delhi

Check out our free resources for Delhi in 2020

How To Get A SIM Card In Delhi For Tourists

It is best to stay in touch with friends and family while in a new country. It is also smart to keep them apprised with your travel itinerary. Data plans in India are the cheapest in the world right now. Hence, there is no point in using an international SIM card. It is a waste of money. Here is our guide to buying SIM card in Delhi for tourists.

Why Local SIM cards?

  • Better connectivity.
  • Gets you access to the local apps for cabs, food delivery, shopping, maps, etc.
  • Cost-effective.
  • The WiFi at cafes, hotels, etc needs a local SIM number to verify.

Which Provider To Choose?

Rising competition has brought significant depreciation in the charges with improved service. The top service providers are Airtel, Jio, Vodafone and BSNL. Personally, recommend Airtel or Jio. They provide good internet speed and data packs at competitive prices.

Where To Get The SIM Card?

It is highly recommended that you purchase the SIM card directly from the network providers themselves. You can find the locations of the offices of any service provider on their website.

Some travel companies arrange for cards beforehand and have them delivered to you when you land. However, it is advisable to go the official route especially if you plan on staying for an extended period of time.

Indian SIM Card at the airport

The most convenient, even though it is slightly more expensive. You can approach the service provider in the arrival section at terminal 3 IGI Delhi. You just need your passport, visa and a photograph to get the process started.

Most SIM card prices are around 6-7 USD for foreigners. It includes talk-time, daily internet, and SMS for a month. You can recharge for the following months from the in-app offers. The SIM is activated within 2-3 hours.

Data Roaming In India

The connectivity, in India, changes with every state. This means that as soon as you cross the state border (the state in which you bought the card), the national data roaming charges are put in place. While Internet packs do not have any roaming charges, the incoming and outgoing calls do. Although, calls between two numbers of the same service provider do not incur any additional charges due to data roaming.

If you only need the SIM card for data packs, you can pass this section. If you plan on making a lot of calls, there are two options. First, you can buy the SIM card in the state where you will be spending the most time. Second, you can browse and opt for plans that include roaming-free, unlimited talk time, all across India.

Documents

You need the following documents to buy a SIM card in Delhi for tourists:

  • Your Passport
  • Photocopy of the passport and visa
  • Passport pictures
  • Local reference number, in case you are staying with a local.
  • Address proof in your country of residence ( for eg., a driver’s license)
  • A pen to save time!

As a tourist, the SIM card issued to you is only valid until your visa is valid. The SIM Card will be blocked once your visa expires.

Make sure to check out our Free Resources for Delhi.

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Featured Post

How is Delhi in August

We have updated on Delhi in August guide for 2019.

  • Delhi Weather in August
  • Selected Delhi Events in August
  • What to Pack for Delhi in August

You should also take a look at all our free resources for Delhi. See the best of Delhi on your own or with us.

Historical Temperature in Delhi in August

Temperature in Delhi ranges from 35C/95F to 28C/82F in Delhi in August. July and August are rainy months in Delhi. Rains in Delhi create havoc on the roads. It is best to spend time indoors or close to large parks that look pristine after it rains in Delhi.

It can be humid in the city as August has 12 days of rain. These are heavy rains which stop all outdoor activities.

Monsoon rains are a godsend. Delhi-ites or the people of Delhi relish the respite the rains bring from the hot days and live with the chaos on the roads due to water logging.

Holidays and Festivals in August 2019

  • August 2nd: Teej festival celebrates the union of Shiva and Parvathi. New brides dress up and wear henna that day.
  • August 5th: Nag Panchami – celebration and praters for snakes and wild animals. High chance of sighting snakes and snake charmers in Delhi, which are illegal.
  • August 15th is India’s independence day. Old Delhi markets are closed and under high security due to the prime minister’s address from the Red Fort on the 15th.
  • August 15th is a dry day in Delhi. No alcohol is sold that day.
  • August 11th: Bakra Id – Muslim festival to celebrate the offer of sacrifice of Ibrahim’s son. Celebrated in Old Delhi and Nizamuddin area of Delhi by feasting and rejoicing.
  • August 15th: Rakshabandhan is also on the same day. This means that the weekend of August 15,16,17 and 18 will be celebrated as a long weekend. There will be lots of people trying to leave Delhi on the 14th and the 15th. There will be many people trying to arrive in Delhi on August 18th. Airports will be crowded, so will the train stations. Give yourself a lot of time if you plan to travel on these days.
  • This also means that Delhi should be very calm on August 16,17,18th as many people would have left town.
  • Kite fights and Kite flying in Old Delhi: this is quite a highlight. You should try to fly a kite on August 15th in Old Delhi or from a roof top anywhere. It is a lot of fun. There is Also kite flying in Connaught place on August 15th.
  • August 24th: Janamashtami – birth of lord Krishna. This means that the temples will be decorated everywhere. People put together their own exhibitions on the life of Krishna. Witness the human pyramid put together to break an earthen pot full of yoghurt – called the Dahi Handi Celebration. It is said that Krishna used to steal butter and yoghurt from neighbours. This is a celebration of that. Markets in Old Delhi sell all kinds of ornamentation for home temples.

How to enjoy rains in Delhi

  • Walk around Lodi Garden
  • Walk around Hauz Khas
  • Photo ops abound as rains clean up the pollutions. The sky is clear and blue. The roads and gardens look freshly washed just for you.
  • Eat at rooftop eateries
  • Watch a movie – movie watching is cheap in Delhi with tickets costing just USD $1.5- $4 each. Tickets are available at bookmyshow.com

Selected Delhi Events in August 2019

  • World Education Forum at Leela Ambience Gurgaon from August 9-11th
  • Choose indoor activities and go Ice Skating in Gurgaon at iSkate.
  • Once the rains subside, take any of our ultimate walks of Delhi on your own.

What to pack for Delhi in August 2019

  1. Umbrella or a rain coat is a must
  2. Slippers so that you do not get your shoes wet
  3. Carry a mosquito repellent. Mosquitos start breeding after the rains in Delhi

What to avoid

  • Avoid traveling around the city roads because you will encounter a lot of traffic
  • Avoid going to old Delhi, Paharganj, Karol Bagh because there will be waterlogging in these areas
  • Do not keep windows open without mosquito nets on them.
  • Do not experiment with street food. The chances of allergies and infections rise due to the rains
  • Do not drink un sterilised water

Tours of Delhi in August

We offer our tours in Delhi. Write to us if you would like to see the best of Delhi with us

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How is Delhi in July

We have updated on Delhi in July guide for 2019.

  • Delhi Weather in July
  • Selected Delhi Events in July
  • What to Pack for Delhi in July

You should also take a look at all our free resources for Delhi. See the best of Delhi on your own or with us.

Historical Temperature in Delhi in July

Temperature in Delhi ranges from 35C/95F to 28C/82F in Delhi in July. July and August are rainy months in Delhi. Rains in Delhi create havoc on the roads. Its best to spend time indoors or close to large parks that look pristine after it rains in Delhi.

Monsoon rains are a godsend in Delhi. Delhi-ites or the people of Delhi relish the respite the rains bring from the hot days and live with the chaos on the roads due to water logging.

How to enjoy rains in Delhi

  • Walk around Lodi Garden
  • Walk around Hauz Khas
  • Photo ops abound in July as rains clean up the pollutions. The sky is clear and blue. The roads and gardens look freshly washed just for you.
  • Eat at rooftop eateries
  • Watch a movie – movie watching is cheap in Delhi with tickets costing just USD $1.5- $4 each. Tickets are available at bookmyshow.com
Delhi nights in July by shitanshu
Delhi nights in July

Selected Delhi Events in July 2019

What to pack for Delhi in July

  1. Umbrella or a rain coat is a must
  2. Slippers so that you do not get your shoes wet
  3. Carry a mosquito repellent. Mosquitos start breeding after the rains in Delhi

What to avoid

  • Avoid traveling around the city roads because you will encounter a lot of traffic
  • Avoid going to old Delhi, Paharganj, Karol Bagh because there will be waterlogging in these areas
  • Do not keep windows open without mosquito nets on them.
  • Do not experiment with street food. The chances of allergies and infections rise due to the rains
  • Do not drink un sterilised water

Tours of Delhi in July

We offer our tours in Delhi. Write to us if you would like to see the best of Delhi with us

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Two day itinerary for Delhi

Two Day Itinerary for Delhi

 

Day 1

Qutub Minar
World Heritage Monument
Lotus Temple
Bahai Temple
Greater Kailash-1 N Block Market
Shopping
Hauz Khas Village
Lunch
Lodhi Gardens
Tombs and gardens
India Gate
War Memorial
Rashtrapati Bhawan
Presidential Palace
Akshardham Temple
Water Show post sunset

Day 2

Humayun’s Tomb
Blue print to the Taj Mahal
Red Fort
Mughal Capital
Jama Masjid
Mosque
Khari Baoli
Spice Market
Connaught Place
Shopping and Lunch
Bangla Sahib
Sikh Temple
Dilli Haat
Shopping Craft
Old Fort
Sound and Light Show post sunset

Overview of Delhi
Itinerary for Two days in Delhi

Itinerary for Delhi – Day 1

Spend Day 1 in Delhi in South Delhi and New Delhi. They are easier to navigate and not that crowded.

Start Day 1 in Delhi at the Qutub Minar, which is one of three world heritage sights in Delhi. Start early. The monument opens at sunrise. You can get there via the Yellow Line. You can also drive and park at the ticket counter. The Entry fee is Rs 500 for Foreigners and Rs.30 for Indian Nationals. They might charge you extra for a camera. The monument was built almost 1000 years ago in 1193 and one of the tallest brick minarets in the world. Many hindu temples were destroyed and their pillars reused to build the mosque at the Qutub Minar.

Enter and you will see the most magnificent minaret which is the tallest brick Minaret in the world. You can walk around the complex covering the Quwwat-ul-Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the Qutab Complex and the Alai Minar followed by the Tomb of Iltutmish.

Exit from the other gate near Simon’s Folly

Next commute by Uber or Ola Cabs to Lotus Temple. It should take between 30-45 Minutes

It is possible to get there by metro too. Get out at the Kalkaji Mandir station on the Violet Line.

Note:

  • You have to remove shoes to go inside the Temple.
  • Entry is free at the Lotus Temple but it is closed on Mondays
  • No bags or phones or cameras are allowed inside the complex but there is a provision to safely store them

The Lotus temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is one of the seven Bahai’s temples built around the world. People of all faiths are welcome there.

Next, go to the  Greater Kailash-1 N Block Market. It should take25-30 Minutes

You can also get there by metro: Violet Line-Station Kailash Colony Metro Station. Most shops are open throughout the week between 11am-7pm. This is fairly a new modern market which has more upscale retail shops. These shops have fixed price and have a great range of clothing and Home furnishing. My favourite are shops like Anokhi, Kilol and FabIndia. There are many more for fragrances (Kama Ayurveda) and leather (Hidesign). You can spend couple of hours exploring this market.

Next, commute to the Hauz Khas Village. It should take you between 25-35 Minutes to get there. You can also get there by Metro: Yellow Line-Station Hauz Khas Metro Station

Most shops open all days of the week between 11am-7pm

Hauz Khas is named after an ancient water reservoir built as a part of the second city of Delhi. The complex has a mosque and a tomb built from the Tughlaq era. It existed as an urban village at the edge of larger Hauz Khas area and now has most exquisite fashion boutiques. You can find a wide range of fashion clothing to jewelry and other modern items making this market the fashion hub of Delhi. The market also has wide range of restaurants and pubs overlooking the reservoir.

This is where I recommend having Lunch. There are many restaurants in this complex to choose from. Spend time having lunch at leisure.

Next, commute to the India Gate. It should take 30-35 minutes

You can also get there by Metro: Yellow Line to the Central Secratariat Metro Station

Closed: Never

India Gate is a war memorial to thousands of soldiers of the Indian Army who died during the First World War. Located on the far east end of the Rajpath, India gate was designed by Edwind Lutyens and evokes the architectural style of triumphal arch like the Arch of Constantine in Rome, and is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Next, head over to the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Palace)

Closed: Never

No Parking here but you can briefly stop at Rashtrapati Bhawan for a picture.

Rashtrapati Bhawan is the residence of the President of Indiaand is located on the far west end of the Rajpath. In terms of area, it is one of the largest residences of a head of state in the world. Its covers an area of 200,000 sq ft and took 17 years to build. Edwin Lutyens designed the magnificent structures in classical design taking inspiration from existing Indian architecture. The Mughal Gardens opens for general public viewing in February each year and incorporate both Mughal and English landscaping styles to feature a great variety of flora in Delhi during spring time.

Drive through Lutyen’s Delhi- India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan can take anything between 30 Minutes to an hour depending on places you wish to stop to take pictures.

Next, head over to the Akshardham Temple. It should take 15-20 minutes.

You can only get there by Metro: Blue Line- Akshardham Metro Station

Closed: Monday

Timing: Tuesday to Sunday 9:30am to Last Entry: 6:30pm

Dress Code: Upper Wear- Must cover the shoulders, chest, navel, and upper arms. Lower Wear-must be at least below knee-length

Akshardham is a Temple, a Hindu house of worship, and a spiritual and cultural campus dedicated to devotion, learning and harmony. Timeless Hindu spiritual messages, vibrant devotional traditions and ancient architecture all are echoed in its art and architecture. Opened 6th November 2005. Mandir is built from intricately carved and stone and marble.There are open gardens, water bodies and step-well styled courtyard. You can enjoy the evening to watch the water show.

Head back to your hotel or to the Connaught place for dinner

Day 2 in New Delhi

Start your day at Humayun’s Tomb, which is a Blue print to the Taj Mahal in Agra. It is the second of three world heritage sights that you will see in Delhi. Spend about an hour here. Head out to the third world heritage sight in the heart of Old Delhi from here. Go to the Red Fort. The revolt of 1857 was a siege of the red fort. It was built by Shahjahan, the same emperor of India that built the Taj Mahal in Agra. This was the seat of the throne of Mughals in India. Next head over to Jama Masjid Mosque. This is the largest mosque in India. If you are fit, climb the tower to get great views of Old Delhi. Take a rickshaw to the Khari Baoli Spice Market. It should take about 10 minutes. Carry a scarf to cover your nose. You will smell the spices and that might trigger your allergies and induce coughing. This market is the largest spice market in Asia and you will see spices you’ve never seen. Take a rickshaw out of Chandni Chowk to the red fort and then an uber to get to Connaught Place. This very English construction was built by the british and is a reminder of the Imperial rule over India. It was modeled on the Royal Crescent in Bath. The markets here are great for Shopping and Lunch. Eat at the Farzi Cafe or the Odeon Social. Next head over to Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple. It is very close to Connaught place and it will give you a good sense of sikh religion. Late afternoon, early evening hours should be spent at the Dilli Haat Craft Bazaar shopping for gifts, fabrics and toys. Bargain hard. Get to the Old Fort to see the Sound and Light Show post sunset

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Best tour of Delhi

How to pick the best day tour of Delhi

How to pick the best day tour of Delhi

With over 4,179 tours and experiences of Delhi on Tripadvisor, Getyourguide, tourwithlocals and viator, the choice is staggering and perplexing at the same time. Here is how to pick the best tour of Delhi that’s right for you.

Search for day tours of Delhi and you will be spoilt for choice. Tripadvisor lists over 1500 tours and trip if you look for things to do in Delhi. Here are the 1566 tours you will find on Tripadvisor for Delhi. This is a long post. Skip to the How to pick a tour of Delhi section if you don’t have time to read the analysis below.

Analysis of:

Recommendations

Popular Things to Do in Delhi as per Tripadvisor

  • Private Sightseeing Tours (205)
  • Multi-day Tours (192)
  • Cultural Tours (204)
  • Private Day Trips (27)
  • Featured Tours and Tickets (5)
  • Cultural & Theme Tours (225)
  • Overnight Tours (26)
  • Full-day Tours (28)
  • Day Trips (171)
  • Top Things to do (384)
  • Sacred & Religious Sites (42)
  • Theater, Shows & Musicals (7)
  • Food Tours (19)
  • Half-day Tours (31)
  • Top Cultural Experiences

Many of the listed tours are masquerading as others. Tripadvisor allows tour operators to choose different categories for the same tour so your food tour can also list in a culture tour or a private sightseeing tour. This is weird but true. So, you really don’t have 1566 tours of Delhi. Each tour can pick 3 categories, so I think you will find about 500 unique tours of Delhi out of the 1500+ you see on Tripadvisor.

Categorising tours of Delhi

Tripadvisor’s tours of Delhi do not sort the way they should to make decision making easier. You would think that sorting by “popularity” on Tripadvisor would sort based on the total number of customers or reviews of a tour, but it does not do that. Do yourself a favour and go down the list of results to find what you are looking for.

Now this is just one tour aggregator. Now lets look at the offerings on Viator for Delhi.

Viator’s tours of Delhi

  1. Top Insider’s Pick
  2. Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours
  3. Classes & Workshops
  4. Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours
  5. Cultural & Theme Tours
  6. Day Trips & Excursions
  7. Food, Wine & Nightlife
  8. Holiday & Seasonal Tours
  9. Luxury & Special Occasions
  10. Multi-day & Extended Tours
  11. Outdoor Activities
  12. Private & Custom Tours
  13. Shopping & Fashion
  14. Shows, Concerts & Sports
  15. Sightseeing Tickets & Passes
  16. Spa Tours
  17. Tours & Sightseeing
  18. Transfers & Ground Transport
  19. Viator VIP & Exclusive Tours
  20. Walking & Biking Tours
  21. Weddings & Honeymoons

Viator or Tripadvisor Experiences – as it is called now – lists 2431 tours of Delhi in 21 categories. However, their categorisation is confusing.

A cultural and Theme tour could also be a day tour or a part of sightseeing tour. Some of the cultural tours are private & custom tours too. They are not necessarily group tours. I don’t know how they pick their “insider picks”, their VIP & Exclusive tours. Viator, just like Tripadvisor, has many tours which are sorted oddly. Also, the listed prices are misleading. Viator lists the lowest price but that price is not available for single travellers.

Lets move on to the next tour aggregator, which is Airbnb.

Airbnb Experiences of Delhi

https://www.airbnb.co.in/s/New-Delhi–India/experiences?refinement_paths%5B%5D=%2Fexperiences

Airbnb lists 99 experiences of Delhi. They range from $15 to $250 per person. They categorise their experiences in five managable categories:

  1. Classes and workshops
  2. Food and Drink
  3. History
  4. Art
  5. Entertainment

The interface is easy to navigate and the list of 99 experiences is curated by Airbnb. This is a big difference when you compare them to the thousands of tours/experiences available in Delhi on other aggregators. Lets look at one more aggregator.

Getyourguide tours of Delhi

They have 83 activities for Delhi most of which are low quality in our view. Getyourguide is good at search engine marketing. They have worked with many travel bloggers and pay them affiliate fees to list getyourguide tours on their blogs. I picked 3 blogs that recommended Getyourguide and all of them are affiliates. This means they get a cut from Getyourguide if you buy a tour after visiting their website. This is not necessarily bad. However, it does not sit well with me.

These 83 activities are listed 20 at a time and you can search based on the duration of the tour or how much you want to spend. However, a lot of the tours on getyourguide are taking you for a ride. For example, one evening food tour walk of Old delhi and New Delhi takes you Kamla nagar. We lived in Kamla nagar. We love it to death but its not in New Delhi. And, should not be on the agenda of a 5 hour tour that picks you up from your hotel but drops you off at one of the busiest metro stations in the Delhi – the Chandni Chowk Metro station.

Clearly, this is not a sensible tour.

One 8-hour private tour of old and new Delhi is listed at USD 7.5 but when you try to book it, the price goes up to $51.75/person. What’s even more interesting is that the tour with admission fees and lunch goes up to $108. A 15x increase from the listed price.

This is so broken.

Just one more aggregator and then we are done. Its Toursbylocals.

Toursbylocals Tours of Delhi

Toursbylocals tours of Delhi are not popular. So, lets avoid them to keep this article shart.

Why is is hard to pick a tour of Delhi

The trouble with all these tour aggregators they are not focused on the traveller any more. Majority of them do not curate tours any more. Anyone can list their tour. The other problem is that their rating only goes to 5. This makes it really hard to evaluate a tour against another. Finally, the biggest issue is that the guide make or breaks a tour and most tour companies allot guides based on availability or on a rotation. So, your tour maybe very different from another’s.

And most guides are not good at adding drama, context and perspective even though they might know the facts. And, just because you are local to Delhi does not make you an expert on Delhi or at telling stories.

Do you choose on the basis of number of reviews? More the number of reviews the better the tour may not always be true. Group tours always have more reviews than private tours that does not make them right for you, even if they have 5 stars. 

How to pick the tour of Delhi that’s right for you?

The single biggest question to answer is, “what kind of a traveller are you?”. No tour is right for everyone. Answer these questions before picking a tour:

  1. What do you want to experience in Delhi – Food, culture, art, shopping, markets? 
  2. Do you want your tour to be customised to suit your needs or are you ok with group tours?
  3. Do you want to learn about history, architecture or want to see how locals life our life?
  4. How much time do you want to spend on a tour. Delhi is big and getting from one place to the next takes time. Doing it yourself is possible if you pace yourself but you can cover a lot of ground with a private tour and make the most of your time in Delhi.
  5. Do you want to buy gifts to take back home to friends and family? If yes, Delhi has great deals. Stuff from all over India is traded in Delhi

Top mistakes that travellers make while picking tours of Delhi

Here is our list:

  • Picking tours just based on number of reviews. As mentioned earlier, this can be misleading.
  • Picking really cheap tours – Many tour operators are not transparent about pricing, so be careful. Many operators take commissions from shops. So, they will take you to the same shops no matter what you want to buy. 
  • Often times, booking through aggregators is costlier than booking directly with the tour operators. Search the tour operator or guide on google and you might be able to save between 15-30% on costs.

Are you traveling alone to Delhi and looking to meet people? 

If yes, pick a group tour. You will meet other travellers.

Can you afford a private tour of Delhi?

If yes, pick a private tour. Most private tours like ours customise the itinerary based on what you want to do and what you have already seen. Many travellers come to Delhi on group tours. They try to arrive a day early to take private tours to have more context for their trip. 

Our tours of Delhi are highly recommended by folks like Mariellen Ward top tips for Delhi

If you are really on a budget check out free tours of Delhi at freedelhitours.com

 

Featured Post

Arriving at New Delhi International Airport Terminal 3 – A Visual Guide

 

Arriving at Delhi International Airport Terminal 3

Here is a visual guide to your arrival at Delhi’s international airport terminal 3. From arrival to immigration at Delhi’s International airport terminal three is shown in this video.


Step 1: Disembark your plane
Disembark into the immigration controlled area of Delhi’s international airport
Step 2: Follow signs to the immigration desks
Immigration check decks are plentyful and generally not crowded. You will be through in 10-15minutes max.
Step 3: Make your way through duty free
Shop for alcohol and any candy you’ve forgotten on your way out of the airport. Fancy alcohol is expensive in Delhi.
Step 4: Collect your luggage
Locate your luggage belt from the signs at the exit of duty free area
Step 5: Go through customs
Walk through if you have nothing to declare
Step 6: Step out in to Delhi
Step out of the airport and locate your pick up or take an uber/ola cab from the airport arrivals desk.

From Immigation to making it out the door of the Delhi’s international airport

From Immigration to Duty Free

From Duty Free to Baggage carousels

Baggage Carousels
Baggage Carousels

Baggage belts marked on screen
Baggage belts marked on screen

Baggage carousel at Terminal 3
Baggage carousel at Terminal 3

Exiting the customs area
Exiting the customs area

Getting past customs to the arrival’s hall at Terminal 3, New Delhi

Drivers with placards to pick up guests
Drivers with placards to pick up guests at the arrival hall in Terminal 3

ATMs before exiting the airport
ATMs before exiting the airport

Final Exit from the arrival halls at Delhi's International airport
Final Exit from the arrival halls at Delhi’s International airport

Once you exit, you can’t come back.

Hope this helps.

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Chole Bhature

Best Food and Restaurants in Delhi

Best food and restaurants in Delhi are marked on the Google Map below. Please read this exhaustive article to get the most out of your trip to Delhi especially when it comes to eating.

These are our favourite things to eat in Delhi

Delhi for foodies

Here is our list of Best Food and Restaurants in Delhi. This is a long article. There is so much to write about because Delhi is the not only the political but also the food capital of India. Lets break down food in Delhi into various categories and then list place where you can try them.

We Indians just love our food and all our love and affection will be showered upon you through the food. Our hospitality starts and ends with food it is a topic of discussion at every gathering.

Street Food in Delhi

Most travelers are intrigued by Street food in Delhi but are too afraid to try it. So, let’s start with street food in Delhi.

Delhiites brag about their street food. You get the best street food here and most of us have grown up eating food from local eateries. Bikanervala or Haldiram’s are great places to try safe street food in Delhi. These are the first things to try there:

  1. Aloo Tikki-potato cakes
  2. Chole Bhature-Chickpea curry with fried bread
  3. Pani Poori-Crispy balls of bread filled with lentils and spicy water.
  4. Matra Kulcha- Pea Lentils mixed with spices and served with fermented bread.
  5. Chaas- Spicy buttermilk.

A day later, now that you’ve built a little confidence with Chaat or Indian Tapas, you can start trying food from street vendors. Here’s what to watch out for if you do go looking for street food that’s safe

  • Are people lining up to eat at the vendor?
  • Is the food being served hot?
  • Are they serving any raw ingredients? Avoid if yes.
  • Are they serving any Dairy products like yogurt? Avoid if yes.
  • Are they serving water – Avoid un-bottled water.

If street food does not sit well with you, no pun intended, there are plenty of restaurants to try too.

Restaurants in Delhi

Eating Out is popular and there are many restaurants which offer different cuisines in Delhi. They offer authentic as well as Indianized versions of world cuisine.

Indian Cuisine is vast. Outside India, Indian food is dominated by north Indian cuisine. What you eat at most Indian restaurants in Delhi is an amped-up and heavier version of Indian food cooked at home. Indians go out to eat at these restaurants to relish food which they wouldn’t cook at home.

Expensive Indian restaurants in Delhi

All these restaurants are USD $30-100 per person and get more expensive if you drink alcohol. All these restaurants are booked well in advance especially Indian Accent, Bukhara and Masala library. Book 3 weeks in advance.

  1. Bukhara at ITC Maurya: North west frontier cuisine, Indian barbeque
  2. Dum Phukt at ITC Maurya: Heartland cuisine cooked under pressure
  3. Indian Accent at the Lodi Hotel: Fusion Indian food
  4. The Spice Route at the Imperial Hotel: Amazing Thai and Coastal Indian food
  5. Megu at the Leela Palace, New Delhi: Best Japanese in Delhi if you can afford it
  6. Masala Library, Janpath: Fusion Indian Food
  7. Eau de Monsoon at the Le Meridien New Delhi: Various cuisines

Mid-tier restaurants in Delhi

There will cost you about USD $15 per person and are worth trying.

  1. Farzi Café: Fusion India food
  2. The Big Chill: Italian food. Three outlets
  3. Mamagoto: Franchise Asian Cuisine

Cheap restaurants in Delhi

These should cost you about USD $5-$10 per person

  1. Sarvana Bhavan
  2. Carnatic Café
  3. Bikanervala – Order the North or South Indian platters
  4. Haldiram – Order the North or South Indian platters
  5. Pindi’s at Pandara Road
  6. Havemore at Pandara Road

Lot of restaurants like the Farzi Café have started experimenting with Indian food giving it a modern twist. They have done good work in re-imaging old favourites. They have also worked on the presentation of their food.

Tandoori Food in Delhi

If you are in Delhi then you must explore Tandoori food. A Tandoor is a clay oven used to grill meats and vegetables. Tandoori Chicken, Tandoori Lamb, Fish and Chicken Tikkas are great in Delhi. If you like rice then you must try the Biryani as well. The Biryani at Dum Phukt is amazing. All this is very much a part of what we call the Mughlai cuisine which became popular during the Mughal rule. Mughlai food includes the famous Dal Makhni and Butter Chicken. Both are calorie rich and yummy.

Dal Makhni and Naan
Dal Makhni and Naan

Some of the best tandoori chicken, fish and lamb  for cheap can be had at:

  1. Rajendar da Dhaba: Safdarjung Enclave
  2. Alkauzer: Safdarjung enclave
  3. Pindi’s: Pandara Road
  4. Havemore: Pandara Road
  5. Karim’s Jama Mazjid has some of the best non vegetarian food in Delhi at good prices

If you wish to keep it light and simple you can stop at a South Indian restaurant and try the steamed Idlis. Idlis are steamed fermented rice and lentil cakes served with Sambhar, which included Lentil and vegetables. You can also try Dosas. These are crispy or soft fermented Lentil and Rice crepes or the Uttapams, which is an Indian version of a savoury pancake. Do not miss the south Indian filter coffee. Two popular chains of South Indian restaurants in Delhi are the Carnatic Cafe and Sarvana bhavan. They serve yummy vegetarian food and are cheap.

Indian Chinese food

Talking about the Indianized version of a cuisine I sincerely recommend Indian Chinese cuisine. Believe me you would have never eaten Chinese like you find in Delhi. I particularly love the Chinese served at roadside vans but stay away from them, for now at eat at:

  1. China Fare: Khan Market
  2. Moet’s: Defence Colony
  3. Golden Dragon
  4. Bercos
  5. Zen

All of these are marked on the Google Map at the top of this page

Home cooked food

An Indian home kitchen on an average will dish out three meals every day. Yes, most of us are vegetarian

Starts with breakfast which includes Poha, Vermecilli, Upma, Idli, Stuffed Paratha, Masala omlette with toast, Bread Patty stuffed with different vegetables just to name a few.

Lunch will usually include a Dal (lentil curry) along with dried vegetable cooked in a very modest way with few spices. This would be accompanied by Chapati or Rice depending on the family preferences and this will normally be served with condiments like the seasonal pickle and chutney. Yogurt will also be an important part of this meal.

See a typical spice box at home here:

Dinner time depends on when the entire family is back from work and this could be as late as 9-10pm. Dinner will usually have a vegetable with gravy and /or lentils served with poori or paratha or chapati depending on family preference. Usually the entire family would gather around to eat. If it’s a large family then they will all eat in parts where the children will eat first before the men come back from work followed by the elderly of the family and then the men with women eating last. Eating out has now become more common now but usually on a weekend or days when the family business has a weekly off.

Temple food Langar or Bhandara

There are many communities in the city who will feed people every day or on special occasions. The Sikh community for example serves food to thousands of people visiting the temple every single day. The food is prepared as a part of the community service where the family will pitch in their time to cook, serve, clean at the temple. There are many Hindu families who also on special occasions will cook and feed thousands in the market place in the form of ‘Bhandara’. The food is hygienically prepared and served to people. This food is considered as an offering from god.

Snacks

Yes, we love to eat so tea time has to be accompanied with a snack which is usually a Samosa.

Samosa and Pakoras
Samosa and Pakoras

Kachori
Kachori

Most shops will start selling samosas at 4 pm and is considered all time buddy for our Masala Chai. Chai is the Hindi word for tea. So there is nothing that is Chai-Tea in India and whoever is selling it is only targeting outsiders.

We also love to dip our biscuits in tea and relish both flavours of tea and biscuit together.

I cannot finish talking about snacks without mentioning ‘Pakora’ . This snack is eaten all around the country and is made of vegetables dipped in chickpea flour and fired in mustard oil. You can try the onion, potato, cauliflower, spinach, eggplant and any other vegetable you can think of, as our mothers have certainly tried a hand at each vegetables in the form of pakora. Usually served with green and tamarind chutney. Onion Bhaji – famous as a post pubbing snack in the UK is called Onion Pakora in Delhi.

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Testing onion pakoras or onion bhajias or even onion fritters. For a dinner we are hosting tomorrow with Wholesome Fine Foods ingredients. The dinner is for 8 friends, to raise money for @hattersesu for their children's Explorer scout group for their trip in July 2018 to a mountain village in Viacha, Peru, to help the locals build a greenhouse to enable them to grow more food. The money will go towards equipment needed for the build. We are blessed to not want for food so this is a reminder of how grateful we are for all the amazing food we are able to get so readily. #onion #onionpakora #onionbhaji #onionfritters #indianfood #foodie #foodstagram #vegan #vegetarian #meatfree #wholesomefood #healthyfood #wholesomefinefoods #homemadefood

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Dhokla is steamed chickpea batter which is full of flavor and is also served as a light snack with tea for people trying to avoid fried food. You can try this at Bikanervala or Haldiram’s. Order 200gms just to try it.

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#dhokla #foodie #indianfood #indian #shotononeplus

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If you are living with your grandmother then she will make sure that there is an infinite supply of ‘Mathri’ which is crispy fried semolina bread served with pickle. You cannot eat just one.

Namkeen, or everything savoury in this vast category of dried snacks which every Indian household will stock for those days when hunger strikes and bell rings without prior warning. This is best served with tea to chat up with guests.

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List of Delhi markets, Bazaars and Shopping Malls

Delhi Markets, Bazaars and Shopping Malls

 

17 Delhi markets, bazaars and Mall. Which ones are right for you?

Delhi is the most important trading hub for all of nothern and eastern India. Its markets are amazing. Here is the list of 17 bazaars in Delhi in alphabetical order:

17 Delhi Bazaars

  1. Chandni Chowk
  2. Connaught place
  3. Dariba Kalan
  4. Dilli Haat
  5. Greater Kailash I – N Block Market
  6. Greater Kailash II – M Block Market
  7. Hauz Khas Village
  8. Janpath
  9. Karol Bagh Market
  10. Khan Market
  11. Khari Baoli
  12. Kinari bazaar
  13. Lajpat Nagar
  14. Lodhi Colony Market
  15. Paharganj Market
  16. Sarojini Nagar Market
  17. Shahpur Jat

12 Delhi Shopping malls

    1. Air conditioned malls provide a convenient way to shop for household items,ready made clothes and jewellery
  1. Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj
  2. Ambience Mall Gurgaon
  3. DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj
  4. DLF Emporio, Vasant Kunj
  5. Select Citywalk, Saket
  6. DLF Place, Saket
  7. MGF Mall, Saket
  8. Great India Place Mall, Noida
  9. DLF Mall of India, Noida
  10. Aerocity Central,Aerocity
  11. DT City Center, Gurgaon
  12. MGF Mall, Gurgaon

Not all of these need to be on your itinerary. Read through the rest of the article to pick the ones that work for you.

Chandni Chowk​

This is perhaps the most crowded bazaar in Delhi you will see in your life but its worth it if you don’t mind the crowds and can walk. Relatively easy access by metro via the Chandni Chowk Metro station. No fixed prices. Be careful

Connaught Place

Like Oxford circus but completely circular with three concentric circles holding shops, bars, restaurants, etc. Nice relatively organised and modern place to hangout in the evening and shop

Dariba Kalan

Old Delhi Jewellery market. Dont buy unless you know someone personally but even then… be careful. Hard access. Crowded.

Dilli Haat

A lovely & festive open air market in new Delhi selling handicrafts from all over the country. Everything can be bargained. Craftsmen change every two weeks. Put this on your must visit list. Very close to Lodi Gardens

Greater Kailash I – N Block Market

Nice upscale market. Easy access and easy parking. Large Fabindia, Anokhi store

Greater Kailash II – M Block Market

Local market with airconditioned shops. Nice coffee shops, restaurants, Crowded access and limited parking

Hauz Khas Village

Famous HKV market has designer shops and restaurants. Its expensive and the shops and restaurants are always changing. The laws don’t clearly state what can and can’t be built here. Nice place to walk around

Janpath

Great for souvenir shopping in the heart of new Delhi, this market is a convenient stop for every tourist. It contains about 20 small store fronts selling souvenirs. Bargain.

Karol Bagh Market

Great for wedding shopping, this market has everything you need including the crowds. Some fixed price shops but almost everyone else bargains. Crowded

Khan Market

The local market for the rich and famous in Delhi. Its an open air market with lots of small shops and restaurants. A nice place to hang out for dinner. Safe and in the heart of New Delhi, minutes from lodi gardens and the Delhi Golf course.

Khari Baoli

Largest Spice market in Asia. A must visit for your trip to Delhi. Crowded & hard to get to. The spices will get your allergies going. Bring a large handkerchief or mask to cover your face.

Kinari bazaar

Craft market in the heart of Old Delhi. Hard access. Crowded. Bargain hard.

Lajpat Nagar

Nice local market everything. No real focus or differentiator in terms of what you can get here as compared to other markets

Lodhi Colony Market

Up and coming market in new delhi with designer shops and some nice restaurants. This is right opposite lodi gardens and a nice place to grab lunch/dinner after your lodi garden walk.

Paharganj Market

Crowded market built for backpackers. Cheap, unorganized.Some unsavoury characters because of long time back packing and drug culture. Lots of cheap knock off souvernirs and bargains if you know how to talk down the prices

Sarojini Nagar Market

A market for export rejects/surplus items. Its a must to bargain here to get great value. Be prepared to deal with people and grab on to what you like.

Shahpur Jat

A small market with designer shops in an old village in Delhi. A nice market to visit but its expensive.

Delhi Shoping Malls

Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj

The Vasant Kunj area in south Delhi has three mall right next to each other. All of them are nice, air conditioned, convenient and full of fixed price shops selling undifferentiated wares. The Ambience mall is one of these malls.

DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj

In the Vasant Kunj area, this mall has nice places to eat including The Big Chill, which is arguably the most value for money and good Italian restaurant in Delhi. They also have Nandos if you crave it.

DLF Emporio, Vasant Kunj

Luxury brands and expensive restaurants make up the DLF emporio. If you want to buy Gucci in Delhi, you come here! The Setz restaurant on the top floor has an extensive and expensive all you can eat buffet.

Select Citywalk, Saket

Similar to Vasant Kunj, the Saket area of South Delhi has three malls next to each other selling branded goods at fixed prices. There are nice restaurants nearby too. Go to the Dakshin restaurant in Sheraton Saket, New Delhi for dinner once you are done with shopping. Its expensive but worth it. You can also eat at the Big Chill restaurant here.

DLF Place, Saket

Branded goods, fixed prices, right next to the Select Citywalk mall.

MGF Mall, Saket

Branded goods, fixed prices, right next to the Select Citywalk mall in the Saket area.

Great India Place Mall, Noida

The Noida suburb of Delhi has tech companies and factories. It also has this nice new mall with branded goods and fixed prices in Delhi. Its close to the Akshardham temple so you could come here for dinner after the sound and light show at the temple.

DLF Mall of India, Noida

Just opposive the Great India place mall in Noida, the DLF mall is newer and has more resturants. It was having issues with a liquor license the last time we checked.

Aerocity Central, Aerocity

If you are staying close to the airport, you can get relatively cheap items at the Aerocity Central. ITs not as crowded as the central is in other parts of Delhi and Gurgaon.

Ambience Mall Gurgaon

Nice, big mall just as you enter Gurgaon from Delhi. 15 minutes from the Airport or 30 if you get bad traffic. Nice place to shop, eat and relax in an air conditioned space. They also have an ice skating rink, if you that’s what you came to Delhi to do!

DT City Center, Gurgaon

Branded goods, Air Conditioned. Mostly home goods with a hidden Dominoes in the basement if you want pizza with Indian toppings.

MGF Mall, Gurgaon

Branded goods, Air Conditioned. Food court on the 3rd floor. Cheapest bowling alley in Gurgaon. Samsonite, American tourister and VIP store if you want to buy luggage.

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Chandni chowk markets

One day itinerary for New Delhi

One day Itinerary for Delhi

Travelers have a hard time making sense of Delhi. Delhi is big and crowded but only 1/15th of it or about 7% has most of the important sights, shopping and eats.

Here is a one day itinerary for Delhi. You can get this done in less than 8 hours and get a good sense of what Delhi has to offer.

Delhi itinerary in one day

DELHI NCR REGION

  • 1500 Sq kilometers
  • 27 Million people
  • Continuous habition for over 3500 years
  • Easy access to all historic sights
  • 2nd largest variety of birds any capital city in the world Asia’s largest wholesale spice market
  • Many walled cities with gates
  • Largest fruit and vegetable market in Asia
  • Most popular tourist destination in India
  • Second most used Metro system in the world

The Area of Interest in Delhi

  • Only 1/15 of the total area of Delhi
  • 100 Sq Kilometers
  • 2 Million People
  • 8 capital cities
  • 3 world heritage sights
  • Great food Great people

Itinerary for Day 1 in Delhi

Here are the 8 things to see in Delhi if you only have a day.

  1. Qutub Minar: World heritage site
  2. Lotus Temple: Peaceful & Beautiful house of worship
  3. Humayun’s Tomb:World heritage site
  4. India Gate: Victory arch modeled on Arc De Triomphe
  5. President’s Palace: Largest residence for head of state
  6. Connaught Place: Lunch and a walk around in imperial Delhi. It will remind you of places in the UK
  7. Red Fort: World heritage site
  8. Jama Masjid: Largest Mosque in India

Grab lunch at any of the following places in Connaught place:

  • Khan Chacha
  • Farzi Cafe
  • Sarvana bhavan
  • Haldiram
  • Burger Singh
  • Starbucks Coffee
  • Cafe Coffee Day or CCD

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Ultimate Walks of Delhi

Khairul Manazil structure

Ultimate Old Fort Walk in Delhi

The Ultimate Old Fort Delhi Walk

Short
1.5 Kms/ 1 Mile
2 Hours
Pragati Maidan

Orientation

This 1.5 Kms walk is best done in the morning when the weather is cool. The walk takes you through the Old Fort or Purana Quila area of Delhi. We will cover sights from the 1500s and sample the best biryani in Delhi too.

The Old Fort of Delhi

Purana Quila or the old fort is one of the oldest forts in Delhi. Humayun a famous mughal king of Delhi and Afghan Sher Shah Suri built monuments in this area in the 1500s. The archeological survey of India (ASI) has uncovered artefacts from 2500 years ago in this area making this the oldest inhabited place in the Delhi region.

This fort was constructed by Humayun’s for his city of Dinpanah in the 1500s. It is a big fort with a 2km perimeter. Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri but Suri carried on building the fort. He also renamed Dinpanah to Shergarh based on his name. He only ruled for 7 years but laid the foundations of Akbar, the next king.

Walking Map of Old Fort Area Delhi

Follow the map and start at the point A – Old Fort. Head next to the mosque on the other side of the road

Khair-ul-manazil Mosque

This 1561 structure is a working mosque but not popular. It was build by Akbar’s wet nurse. She was a strong woman in the time of men and held a lot of influence. It is said that there was an assassination attempt at Akbar in this area.

The mosque is really quiet to visit and seems like a peaceful oasis in this busy city. The entrance to the mosque is designed so that you have to bow down to enter it. Wear appropriate clothing if you visit the mosque. Move ahead to the Sher Shah Suri gate which is adjacent to the mosque.

Sher Shah Suri Gate

This decorative gate was meant to be the entrance to Shergarh, Sher Shah Suri’s capital in Delhi. The gate is being restored to its former glory and will take years before its ready. You can only look at it from the outside.

1540-45 saw a lot of construction during his rule. This includes the GT karnal road and highways from Bangladesh to Kabul with many sarai(hotels). Some say Sher Shah Suri also introduced the ruppiah. He extended his capital to Feroze shah Kotla and renamed it Shergarh or the home of the lion.

The Shrine of Abdul Qadir Bedil

Next we take the long walk to Bagh-e-Bedil. The shrine of Mirza Abdul qadir bedil dehlavi. He came to Delhi to learn Sabak-e-Hindi, Hindi writing of Persian. He used to write elegant Persian poetry.

Aurangzeb had ordered people to grow their beards as a proof of loyalty. Bedil said then that the age of goats has arrived. This poet is not very famous in India but his poems are used in day today conversations in Tajikistan! This is why the tomb has been restored and has a plaque in Tazak but some say it’s actually more Russian than Tazak. The prime minister of Tajikistan made a special visit here when came to Delhi.

People say that this tomb might actually not be his. Some say his house was outside Delhi gate in Shahjahanabad and that his might be a grave of an unknown person. In 1930, Khwaja Hasan from the nizamuddin family identified this as his tomb. People also consider him to be a Sufi poet.

Ghalib said that to write like him is “qayamat” or out of this world. And Ghalib was very arrogant and very good.

Sheikh nooruddin Malik yaar para is also buried here. He came in the 13th century in the reign of iltutmish. He fought with another Sufi Abu Bakr tusi. He told Abu Bakr that he has a letter from his Peer (Guru) to stay here. When asked for proof, he vanished and appeared back with it astonishing Abu Bakr.

Abu Bakr tusi’s shrine or Matka pir (earthen pot shrine)

Spot E on the map is the Shrine of Matka Pir.

Abu Bakr tusi’s was supposed to have magical healing powers. People still come here today to pay homage to him and make wishes. In fact, the first female ruler to Delhi, Razia Sultan also came here to pay respects in the early 14th century.

People offer earthen pots to the shrine and you see plenty of them everywhere. Today this place claims to sell the best biryani in Delhi by the kilo. We’ve never tried it.

Khairul Manazil
Khairul Manazil entrance
Khairul Manazil structure
Khairul Manazil Pillar
Sher shah suri gate
Shrine of Bedil
Matka pir

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Ultimate Mutiny of 1857 Walk in Delhi

The Ultimate Mutiny of 1857 Walk

Long
5 Kms/ 3 Miles
4 Hours
Vidhan Sabha

Orientation

This 5 Kms walk is best done in the morning when the weather is cool. The walk takes you through the northern Ridge in Delhi. Moneyed residents of the Civil Lines area in Delhi consider themselves true Delhi-ites and go to the ridge for their morning walks. 

I used to walk here every morning during my childhood completely oblivious to the historical sights in this area or the part this area played in India’s long struggle for Independence. 

The Mutiny of 1857 in Delhi

The mutiny of 1857 was the closest India came to defeating the East India company. The revolt started in May 1857 and ended 13 months later in June 1858. A lot of the important sights from this time period and even earlier are at the Northern Ridge area in Delhi. The revolt was largely in northern India. Southern India was peaceful during this time.

The victory of the company led to the end of Company rule of India. The rule was transferred to the British crown. The victory also led to the end of the Mughal and Maratha rule in India.

The revolt started in Meerut. About 60kms from Delhi as a sepoy mutiny. The residents of shahjahanabad or present day Chandni Chowk and the Civil Lines area massacred Christians, British and European residents in that area and drove them out of Delhi.

The British were slow to react since they were engaged in the Crimean war with Russia and were also sending troops to China. These troops were later re routed to help crush the rebellion in India.

Walking Map of the mutiny of 1857

:

Follow the associated map and take the road into the ridge from the Vidhan Sabha Metro station on the yellow line. Beware of the many monkeys in this area. They are used to human presence.

It’s hard to imagine today that the British took refuge in this area. Women and children camped at the flag staff for many months waiting for John Nicholson’s army. This army was largely comprised of Sikh and Pashtun soldiers

Delhi locals out for morning walk at the Ridge

The Flagstaff Tower where British took refuge

Women and children waited for reinforcements to arrive in this tower.

Flagstaff tower Delhi
Flagstaff tower

The Guard house

The guard house: The arms and ammunition storage building for the army.

Guard house
Guard house

Firoze shah Tughlaq used to visit the ridge for hunting 500 years before the rebellion took place. There are hunting lodges and towers build during the 1300s. He also rebuilt the Hauz Khas covered in the Hauz Khas walk. Old mosque were used to station guns to quell the rebellion

Chauburja Mosque

Chauburji Masjid
Chauburji Masjid

Pir gayab

Pir Gayab
Pir Gayab

Another Tughlaq era building with tapered minarets. This was a hunting lodge for the king but again used by the British to break the siege of Delhi. People say a Sufi saint (Pir) used to live here and just vanished one day (gayab)

This old step well next to the Hindu Rao hospital now lies in shambles and completely surprises you as you walk towards the hospital. There are lots of myths associated with this baoli including tales of a tunnel that goes from here to Agra, which is 100s of miles away.

Hindu Rao hospital and the role of William Frazer

HIndu Rao was the brother in law of Daulat Rao Scindia. Daulat Rao’s son asked his uncle to leave Gwalior in the 1830s. He bought William Frazer’s house in Delhi. William was a Scotsman who lived in Delhi. He was killed in 1836. One successful attempt of many. Nawab sham sud din khan allegedly hired someone to kill him. The Nawab was hanged for this crime. This led to an outcry and William’s grave is in St. James’ church was destroyed.

Hindu Rao house
Hindu Rao house
Step well Hindu rao
Step well Hindu rao
Dean's office
Dean’s office

Momin khan Momin in his letters after frazer’s death said that Fraser took so much land away from people. I hope he does not live peacefully in his afterlife. The destruction of his grave supposedly robbed him of peace in his afterlife. William dalrymple, the writer has a very romantic view of William Fraser. Fraser had married an Indian and dressed in Indian clothes.

Fraser built this mansion where the hospital is today. This became an important landmark in 1857 and it became the headquarters of the revolt and is the Hindu Rao house.

Ashoka’s pillar

The Ashoka pillar from 3BC just opposite the Hindu Rao hospital is the most surprising and the oldest artefact you’ll see on this walk

Ashoka Pillar Delhi
Ashoka Pillar

Ashoka put up his edicts called Dhamma, everywhere in his empire. Ashoka was one of the most high profile, early Buddhist follower in India. They were inscribed on rocks or pillars. This pillar was moved by Firoze shah Tughlaq to Delhi. The movement of this pillar from Meerut, which is 60kms away is described in Futu Ha e Firozeshahi. It was bundled up in semal and put on rollers and dragged. They loaded on a boat to complete its journey. Froze shah Tughlaq put it close to his hunting lodge that we’ve covered in this walk.

An explosion broke in into pieces. Now the inscribed rock is in a Calcutta museum. The pillar is here.

Jeetgarh or mutiny memorial

The gothic structure built with red sandstone was built by the British once the revolt was quelled. When India became independent, this symbol, on the 25th anniversary of Indian independence was reclaimed as a monument for those who died fighting for India instead of for those who quelled the rebellion.

Victory memorial Delhi
Victory memorial
Soldier listings 2
Soldier listings 2
Soldier listing
Soldier listing

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Scalloped arched door

Ultimate Old Delhi Walk

 

The Ultimate Old Delhi Walk

Long
6 Kms/ 3.5 Miles
5 Hours
Chawri Bazaar

Orientation

You can’t come to Delhi as a tourist and miss Chandni chowk.

Here’s how to see Old Delhi

Built in the 1700s by Shahjahan, the king who made the Taj Mahal, Chandni Chowk or Shahjahanabad is fascinating and chaotic, its colorful and crowded, its got bargains and rip-offs. Here is a walking map of Chandni Chowk.

This is a long walk. It is 5.6Kms or 3.5 miles long. It is going to be a slow walk through a really crowded part of town. Take your time wandering through it. Plan for at least 4-5 hours to do this and be patient.

Tip: Take a rickshaw to double the fun and reduce the walking

Walking Map of Old Delhi


National Geographic calls Chandni Chowk, “The city’s most crowded, chaotic. and captivating areas, with a bamboozling orchestra of sights, smells, and sounds.” Chandni Chowk is one of my favourite places in Delhi. There is really nothing like it anywhere is the world. It’s not for everyone and it takes some getting used to. Be patient and it will grow on you.
This walk helps you see old city of Shahjahanabad on your own.
Shahjahan wanted to build a new city in Delhi in the 17th century. The Mughal empire was huge by this time and supposedly the richest in the world. Shahjahan was very fond of architecture. Taj mahal in Agra was also built by Shahjahan. He wanted to project an image of pomp and splendour and Agra was cramped and crowded for imperial parades. He wanted a show. The Chandni Chowk is meant to be this thoroughfare to walk through. Slowly Shahjahanabad grew organically. Today it comprises of various Galis, Kuchas, Katras and Mohallas.
Narrow lanes and dead-end lanes within residential blocks are called kuchas, galis or katras. Each kucha, gali or katra has its own name and forms a neighbourhood block. In some places a larger neighbourhood quarter called a mohalla is formed by neighbouring kuchas, galis and katras. If you really enjoy such information read the entire treatise on the urbanization of Old Delhi here:
(PDF) Space Formation and Transformation of the Urban Tissue of Old Delhi, India.

Key sights in this Old Delhi Walk

Exit the Chawri’s bazaar metro station and follow directions to Kucha Pati Ram. There you will find some preserved havelis or old mansions from the 1700s. While a lot of buildings have been modernised you will still find beautiful doorways In the alleys in this part of Chandni Chowk. You can skip B,C,D and E on the map if you are not that interested in architecture.

A Hunting scene carved on the door
A Hunting scene carved on the door

Kucha Pati Ram (B,C, D & E on the map)

Most Delhi-ites do not know that this neighborhood houses some of the most beautiful doors in Chandni Chowk (old Delhi). The narrow streets of this area keep Kucha Pati Ram cooler than the main thoroughfares. Even though this area looks commercial, many business owners also live in this area. First of all you will see old havelis (mansions), interesting doors and architecture from the mughal period with modern influences in Kucha Pati Ram. Sandstone carved doorways are a characteristic of this area.
The doors are beautiful and of various kinds. Many are hand carved and many are being torn down to make way for modern structures of glass and concrete.

Wrought Iron work on balcony
Wrought Iron work on balcony

Where the house meets the road
Where the house meets the road

Weathered door
Weathered door

Watching the world go by
Watching the world go by

Temple entrance
Temple entrance

Scalloped arch
Scalloped arch

Red door
Red door

Old doors with Electrical cables
Old doors with Electrical cables

Home meets world
Home meets world

Hand carved door
Hand carved door

Hand carved capital for a pillar
Hand carved capital for a pillar

Domes and Balcony
Domes and Balcony

Beautifully painted door
Beautifully painted door

Jama Masjid (E on the map)

Then you will start walking towards Jama Masjid the largest mosque in India. You will probably be tempted to eat at Karim’s nearby. Don’t forget to climb the tower if you have the stamina to climb over 300 steps. Great photo op up top.

Red Fort (G on the map)

You will then then walk to the entrance of the Red fort. Getting so close to it will give you a sense of scale of this place.
There are plenty of great places to eat all throughout your walk. They have been marked on the map. Feel free to deviate from the path to get to these places.

Chandni Chowk (H)

After the Red fort, you will walk down Chandni Chowk’s main thoroughfare. Emperor Shahjahan build this road for his processions to show off to the general public. You will then take a left to go into Dariba (Walk from H to I), the jewelry market in Chandni Chowk. Follow the path all the way to Fatehpuri mosque (A on the map close to J)and to the Khari Baoli spice market (J on the map) Be sure to go in and smell the spices.
There are lots of great places to eat on the approach road to the spice market. Eat Pooris at China Ram, Kulfi or Chhole Bhature at Giani di Hatti. Shiv Misthan Bhandar are also great.

Chhole bature shiv mishthan bhandar
Chhole bature shiv mishthan bhandar

Nagori aloo shiv misthan bhandar
Nagori aloo shiv misthan bhandar

Some of these restaurants may seem intimidating. I’ve eaten at these places and so have my guests many times but if you want to be absolutely safe eat at the nearby Haldiram. They have good food too.
This is a long walk and you will feel a bit out of your element here but keep going. Don’t be shy to ask for help if you get lost inspite of the map.
After you are done, head to the Chandni Chowk metro station and get back to your hotel or onto the next destination.Here are more pictures of the sights

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Jama Masjid

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Ultimate Hauz Khas Walk in Delhi

 

The ultimate Hauz Khas walk

Easy
1.5 kms/ 1.2 Miles
3 Hours
Hauz Khas

Orientation

Haus Khas is located in southern Delhi and is easily reached by the yellow line from most parts of Delhi. A short autorickshaw ride will get you to the Hauz Khas village or HKV as it popularly known today.

You can walk onto 900 year old monuments and experience how students lived a university situated here many years ago.

History of Hauz Khas

King of Delhi, Alauddin Khilji (1296-1316) built this water tank in 13th century for his new city Siri.

Today, not much remains of the city of Siri, the third city of the seven cities of Delhi. In 1906, Gordon Hearn wrote a book called the “Seven Cities of Delhi”. This hundred year old book says that, “the only monument connected with the city of Siri, which now exists is the Hauz Khas….. seldom visited and worthy of no special mention”.

I don’t think the he ever imagined how popular and spectacular Hauz khas will become in time. The The Archeological survey of India (ASI) issued a 2nd edition of his book in 2010, in case you want to buy it. Hauz Khas means a water tank in Urdu. This water talk was located outside of Siri and today the water tank is a third of it’s original size.

Feroze shah Tughlaq (1351-1388), was the son of a Hindu princes and a nephew of the founding king of the Tughlaq dynasty – Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq. He took a liking to the neglected Hauz Khas and developed it further. This was one of many projects for him. He was a noble king who repaired forts built by others and also built a lot of mosques during his time.

Walking Map of hauz khas

Entrance to the tombs
Entrance to the tombs

The monuments at Hauz Khas

Start your walk from Point A on the map. Point A is the Bagh e alam ka gumbad or the dome of the people’s garden.

Bag-e-alam ka gumbad

Washed wall of the Dome
Washed wall of the Dome

Blue tiles Hauz Khas

Point B on the map is used to be the centre of lake many years ago and was the viewing pavillion for the king.

Munda gumbad or the Bald dome was located at the center of the lake. It was a viewing pavilion. Alauddid khilji built it during his reign and he used to come here by boat. Its hard to believe that today.

Munda Gumbad
Munda Gumbad

Teen gumbad ki Imarat

The building with three domes is the mosque at Hauz Khas. Not actively used but often frequented as look out stop by young lovers and students out to have a good time in ancient environs.

Mosque at Hauz Khas
Mosque at Hauz Khas

The arch came to India in the Delhi sultanate period, which is lasted from 300 years from 1210-1536. Only columns and beams were used prior to that. You can see the first arches of this period here. Hauz Khas was neglected after Alauddin Khilji died. It was taken over by Feroze Shah Tughlaq once he came to power.

Feroze Shah Tughlaq, a later king integrated his tomb into this complex. He ensured that he is remembered for generations to come by integrating his tomb in this structure.

We still talk about him 500 years after his death. He was the only one who built stupa like fences using stones. Hauz khas is the easiest place to see this in Delhi

The Tombs at Hauz Khas Feroze shah Tughlaq, his son and grandson are buried here. We do not know much about the 4th tomb. The ceiling has stars like pattern to show that they are buried under the stars.

The verse on top of the entrance says- Sikandar Lodi repaired this structure. This is also an interesting way to leave a mark in history. There are only three kinds of ornamentation in all mughal tombs: floral, geometric or calligraphic verses from the Quran. Shiyabuddin khan’s tomb is from the Lodi period 15th century. He was an important Saint.

All bodies are buried North (head) – South (feet) orientation and the face is turned towards Mecca. Right outside, at the entrance to the structure contains good example of preserved blue tiles that came to India in the sultanate period.

Note: Deer park is closed on Fridays.

The Actual Hauz Khas

The lake at Hauz Khas
The lake at Hauz Khas

The look out

Hauz Khas Lookout
Hauz Khas Lookout

Graffiti at Hauz Khas
Graffiti at Hauz Khas

Once you are done with the monuments, head into the village for a nice meal and drinks at Imperfecto or the Hauz Khas Social. Both are great places for drinking and people watching.

Eating and Drinking in Hauz Khas

Imperfecto: Drinks and viewsHauz Khas Social: Trendy bar and co-working spaceNaivedeyam for gluten free and vegan south indian food

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Kotla is a hidden gem in Delhi. 15th century relics live side by side with modern construction and cars here.

The tomb of Mubarakshah from the 15th century is a classic example. Medieval Walls of this fortified area have now been used as foundations for newer constructions. Mubarakshah was a ruler of Delhi in the Delhi Sultanate period and a part of the Sayyid dynasty. The Sayyids believed they descended from the Prophet Mohammad!

Very few people in Delhi actually see the sights in this area of Delhi. This is hard to believe since the sights are located right behind the “South Extension market”. This is one of the most frequented and expensive shopping areas in Delhi. You will see the following sights on this walk

Medium
3.3 Kms / 2.1 Miles
4 Hours
South Ex

Here is the walking map followed by walking distances

Walking distances:

Point A – Point B: 700 meters or 12 minutes
Point B – Point C: 450 meters or 8 minutes
Point C – Point D: 550 meters or 10 minutes
Point D – Point E: 1750 meters or 25 minutes

The Tomb of Mubarakshah and his wife

Pillars outside the tomb of mubarakshah
Pillars outside the tomb of mubarakshah

Tomb of Mubarakshah
Tomb of Mubarakshah

Tomb in neglect
Tomb in neglect

Rulers of Delhi in the 15th Century. Mubarak Shah was killed by one of his former ministers with help of Hindu courtiers. The sultanate passed on to his nephew Muhammad Shah. His son voluntarily abdicated the throne to the first Lodi king Bahlul Khan Lodi in 1451.

Stray dogs and filth are found on the streets in this neglected area of Delhi. Actually, stray dogs, cows, bulls, goats and monkeys can be found in Delhi easily.

The octagonal tomb houses the graves of Mubarakshah and probably his wife. Notice how the grave at the back has a pencil box like potrusion. This is called a Kalam and is only on top of tombs for males. The woman’s tomb has a flat board called a Takhti. This symbolism is sexist and shows the prevalent thinking at that time.

There are more graves there, one of a child perhaps but we are not sure.

The Dome of Bade Khan

This is a beautiful Lodi period tomb. The Lodis came to power after the Sayyid’s rein ended. Its so impressive to look at that its hard to imagine that the Indian government does not look after it more than it does. “Bade” means elder. You can take the stairs to the top of this monument.

Bade Khan ka Gumbad
Bade Khan ka Gumbad

The tomb from 1481AD is the earliest tomb from the Lodi period. It looks like it has many stories when in fact it only has one. This is typical Lodi architecture. It’s very well preserved and so is the smaller tomb next door.

Bade Khan and Chote Khan tombs
Bade Khan and Chote Khan tombs

The Dome of Chhote Khan

A Smaller dome right next to the dome of Bade Khan. “Chhote” means younger in age or smaller. This is also a very impressive dome but smaller than the Dome of Bade Khan. It has good plaster work and the interior is still well maintained.

Darya Khan’s Tomb

This is a tomb of Darya Khan Lohani. It is a very well laid out structure but in ruins now. He was the chief justice of the first king of the Lodi dynasty – Bahlul Khan Lodi. This 16th century tomb is mostly in ruins but is still nice to see.

Darya Khan Lohani's tomb
Darya Khan Lohani’s tomb

Masjid Moth

A bit of a walk away from Darya Khan’s tomb this mosque is well preserved and not used as a mosque anymore. There is barely anyone inside the mosque and it’s kind of amazing sanctuary in the middle of a bustling market area in Delhi.

Masjid moth or moth mosque is not used as a mosque now but is well preserved and worth the 20 minute walk from the South extension market. There is barely anyone here in the mornings. The mosque’s exteriors also have Chatri’s borrowed from the Hindu Rajput kings from hundreds of years ago.

Masjid Moth
Masjid Moth

Masjid Moth 1
Masjid Moth Chhatri

Masjid Moth from the outside
Masjid Moth from the outside

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