October to February are great months to be in Delhi. You can finally sit outside and eat without having to worry about carrying a change of clothes as you sweat through another sultry day in Delhi. These months can feel surprisingly cold because there isn’t much central heating in Delhi.
Here’s what to do in Delhi in the winters
Start with a walk at a local park.If you are staying in North Delhi, go to the Kamla Nehru northern ridge.If you are staying in South Delhi, go to either the Lodi Garden or the Deer Park in Hauz Khas
These are great places for a morning walk. You can see regular folks do yoga badly or hear members of a local laugh club laughing it off. You might also find folks playing cricket or just hanging out. If you are really lucky, you might find someone chewing a twig. Yes, really. These are called “Datun”. Twigs of a Neem tree are great for your teeth and were toothbrushes before toothbrushes got to India.
Oh! Before the morning is over, have a hot cup of Chai (sweet Indian tea). It’s really a great thing to do. Since is boiled for many minutes and served in disposable cups, its healthy.If you prefer birds over people then head over to the okhla bird sanctuary or to the Sultapur Bird Sanctuary (wiki)about one and half hours from Delhi. Winter is the best time to see birds. You will be amazed at the number of birds and the sheer variety of them at these sanctuaries. You will have to deal with the morning commuters if you do Delhi to Sultanpur in the morning. So, leave early. 7AM or earlier so that you can get to the sanctuary by 8AM. Sultanpur is much better than Okhla and will take half a day. You can finish seeing the sanctuary by 10AM and then have brunch in Gurgaon before heading back to Delhi.
As long as you are not here during Diwali, you should go and explore old Delhi. Old Delhi during Diwali is madness. Its got more people per square feet than any other place on earth. Its far more manageable after Diwali. Here is how to see chandni chowk. Get off the Chandni Chowk metro station and exit from gate 5. Embrace chaos. Walk down the main thoroughfare to Fatehpuri and the spice market at Khari Baoli. Any rickshaw will take you there for INR 100/- or about 2 dollars. If you negotiate, you should be able to get them to do if for half that price.
There are lots of places to eat in Old Delhi in Chandni Chowk. If you like non vegetarian food, ask a rickshaw guy to take you to Karim’s at Jama Masjid. You will eat like a king for less than ten US Dollars. Eat at haldiram if you want to try Indian street food safely. Also read my previous post on the Myths of shopping in Chandni Chowk and about street food in Delhi.
If you are in a larger group, walk around the ruins at Mehrauli archeological park. Don’t go there if you are just one or two people. It’s a huge area with 800-900 year old ruins and is a fun area to walk around if you are in a large group. This area is not safe in the evenings and not safe if you are by yourself.
Wander around at the villages. Hauz Khas Village or Shahpur Jat Village. These are safe and have really nice places to eat and are much more foreigner friendly and expensive than Chandni Chowk or old Delhi. If you have to pick one, go to Hauz Khas. You can see historical sights and its more navigable than Shahpur Jat.You can also go to Delhi Haat opposite in the INA market to shop before you eat at Hauz Khas. Both Hauz Khas and Shahpur Jat have lots of boutiques and designers selling stuff. You can find interesting and unique items here. Don’t try to find cheap items here though. That’s not what they are know for.
Hope this helps.