The capital city of India Delhi

Delhi hasn’t always been India’s capital. It has played a pivotal part in Indian history as it has always been a gateway city, built on the plains initially near a fording point on the Yamuna River and the route between western and central Asia and Southeast Asia. The first reference of settlement around Delhi is from Mahabharta, an epic 3000 years ago. The Mahabharata narrates about two warring cousins, the Pandavas, and the Kauravas, both descendants of the prince Bharata. According to the narrative, a city called Indraprastha (“City of the God Indra”), built about 1400 BCE, was the capital of the Pandavas.

Later for Over five centuries, Delhi witnessed political disorder. In 1206, for the First time, Islamic rule was established in India by Muhammad of Ghori after defeating Rajput ruler Prithviraj Chauhan in the year 1192. This was the beginning of the Sultanate of Delhi until 1398 after Taimur invaded Delhi. The last sultans of Delhi were the Lodis. Babur founded the Mughal Empire in 1526, after defeating Lodis in 1st battle of Panipat. Agra was the most preferred capital of the Mughal emperors earlier. In 1638, 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan moved his capital to old Delhi.

The administration of the city, Delhi, kept changing as different rulers (both the Hindu Kings and Muslim Sultans) ruled the city. The soil of Delhi witnessed love, sacrifices, and bloodsheds for the country. The old forts and palaces of Delhi stand silent and tell stories of past.

The British shifted their capital to Delhi from Calcutta in 1911, making it the center of governing activities. The architect Edwin Lutyens plan a new city of wide boulevards and stately administrative buildings to accommodate the new government- New Delhi was born.

The city has a record of overpowering and throwing the administrator from their throne. It’s a very interesting saying about Delhi. “Whoever has declared Delhi as a Capital has soon collapsed.”  This curse continues with British Raj as well. Sixteen years after the grand inauguration, they were booted out of India, and Delhi became the capital of an independent India.

Right from the 6th century, Delhi has served as a significant political, commercial and cultural hub. One of the oldest known cities in the World, today it exhibits tales of India. Traveling in Delhi isn’t just limited to history, but it’s an experience where you see the past and the present coexists hand in hand. 

The best time to visit Delhi is from October till March. The weather is pleasant, and the sky is clear. The months of May and June are best to avoid when the city can get unbearably hot. January is the coldest month, with a temperature range of 57.2°(14 oC ). June is the hottest month, with a temperature range of 102°F (38°C).

OCT-MAR: Autumn (Oct-Nov) and spring (Feb-Mar)are the best times to visit Delhi. Winter is pleasant as well, though it can get cold in the morning and evening, so remember to bring extra layers of clothing. Diwali is celebrated between late October and mid-November and is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Delhi.

APR-JUN: This is summer in Delhi. May- June is probably not the best time to visit Delhi due to scorching heat.

JUL-SEPT: This is monsoon season in Delhi. July and August being the rainiest month. Late September, the weather starts to be pleasant and agreeable.

Travelling to/from Delhi

By plane: If you’re visiting India first time, most likely, your flight will land in Delhi. Delhi, the capital of India, is well connected with the World by its Indira Gandhi International Airport. Most of the International and domestic flights use the gleaming new Terminal 3. Some domestic flights land at Terminal 1 and 2. 

If you are already in India, you have several options to enter and leave Delhi. Delhi is well connected with most of the big cities by flights. All three terminals serve domestic flights, so check your departure terminal to avoid any last-minute hassle. The Indira Gandhi International airport is approx. 14 km from the city center.

By train: The Delhi has an extensive rail network well connected to the rest of India. Traveling by train takes longer than flying, but it may be the most scenic way of experiencing this vast country. There are three main stations in Delhi- Old Delhi, New Delhi, and Nizamuddin train station. Double-check which station your train is departing. The train tickets can be booked online by using the Government website www.irctc.com, but it’s a complicated process sometimes. The best way to book a train ticket in India is by a third-party provider like www.redbus.com, or you can book it through a tour operator.

By Bus: Buses are less comfortable than trains in general, but they can be an option because of the non-availability of seats in train or location of the small villages not well connected by trains. For more information on bus travel in India, you can check out this article from Hippie in Heels (https://hippie-inheels.com/traveling-india-by-bus/)

By private taxis: The best and the most comfortable option after the flights for a distance of 200-300 km. Usually takes 3-6 hours depending on the distance and traffic. You can hire a taxi from Uber/Ola, or if you are planning multiple city visits, the best is to hire a private tourist taxi with an English speaking driver.

New Delhi is vastly spread out, so most visitors take taxis, auto-rickshaws, or public transportation to get around. Traffic jams are an issue in the city, so it’s often quickest to travel by the metro. The network is clean and efficient. The International airport is also connected with the central city by the Airport Express Line (www.delhimetrorail.com), running every 10 to 15 minutes from 4.45 am to 11.30 pm. Avoid the hustle and bustle while exploring Delhi, the best option will be to hire a car with a driver for a full-day tour.

Jama Masjid

Type of Site – Monument/Religious 

Time Spend- 45 Mins- 1 Hrs

Entry- Free

Camera Allowed – Yess

Camera Fee- 300 Per Camera

Timing- 7 AM to 12 PM and 1.30 PM and closes at 6.30 PM

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Early Morning from 7-10 am

Dress Code- Yes, Body Covered & No shoes.

Wheel Chair Access- NO

Chandni Chowk

Type of Site- Market

Time Spend- 1.15 hrs/1.30 hrs 

Entry- Free

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- 9:30 am- 8 Pm

Weekly Close- Sunday Closed

Best Time to Visit- Morning before 11 am

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- No.

Raj Ghat

Type of Site- Cremation site

Time Spend-30 mins/45 mins

Entry- Free

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- 6:30 am- 7:00pm

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Anytime during day

Dress code-No

Wheel Chair Access- Yes

India Gate

Type of Site- War Memorial

Time Spend-30 mins/45 mins

Entry-Free

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee-Free

Timing- Open all Day

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Early morning or late evening

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- Yes

Presidential House

Type of Site- Administration building

Time Spend- 15 min/20 mins

Entry- No

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- No

Timing- Sunrise – Late Evening

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Sunset 

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- Yes

Qutub Minar

Type of Site- Monument/Islamic

Time Spend-1.15hrs/ 1.30 hrs

Entry- INR 600

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- Sunrise to Sunset

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Early morning 

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- Yes

Humayun’s Tomb

Type of Site- Monument/Tomb/Islamic

Time Spend- 1 hrs/1.15 hrs

Entry- INR 600

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- Sunrise to sunset

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Sunrise 

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- Yes in the complex.

Lotus Temple

Type of Site- Temple/Bahai faith

Time Spend- 1 Hrs

Entry- Free

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- Sunrise- Sunset

Weekly Close- Monday

Best Time to Visit- Anytime during day.

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- No.

Birla Temple

Type of Site- Hindu Temple

Time Spend- 1 hrs approx

Entry- Free

Camera Allowed – No

Camera Fee- No

Timing- Morning till evening

Weekly Close- No

Best Time to Visit- Anytime during the day

Dress code- No shoes.

Wheel Chair Access- No

Agrasen ki Baoli

Type of Site- Monument/Step well

Time Spend- 30 mins

Entry- Free

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- Sunrise to Sunset

Weekly Close-No

Best Time to Visit- Anytime during the Day 

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- No

Red Fort

Type of Site- Monument/Mughals

Time Spend- 1.5 hrs/2 hrs

Entry- INR 600

Camera Allowed – Yes

Camera Fee- Free

Timing- Sunrise to sunset

Weekly Close- Monday

Best Time to Visit- Anytime during day. Morning are advisable

Dress code- No

Wheel Chair Access- Yes.

Akshardham

Type of Site- Temple/ Hindu

Time Spend- 1.5hrs/2 hrs

Entry- Free/Light and sound show chargable

Camera Allowed – No

Camera Fee- No

Timing- Morning to Evening

Weekly Close- 9:30 am- 8 Pm

Best Time to Visit- Evening

Dress code- No shoes.

Wheel Chair Access- Only in outer complex

Briefing

Jama Masjid

A calm respite from the surrounding chaos of Old Delhi, Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque and a must-see monument. Famous as ‘Friday Mosque,’ this mosque can hold 25000 people and was Shah Jahan’s final architectural marvel built in the 17th century. While the entrance is free, you’ll need to pay a camera fee of INR 300. Visitors should remove their shoes and make sure to dress conservatively as well, or you won’t be allowed in. It means covering your head, legs, and shoulders. Nowadays, it’s compulsory to rent a robe for foreign ladies at the entrance of Jama Masjid. Bring a pair of extra socks, or you can buy the disposable bathroom slippers to avoid walking barefoot.

Chandni Chowk

One of the oldest markets of Delhi, Chandni Chowk is a chaotic wholesale market lined with a labyrinth of narrow lanes with shops and vendors, offering a full medieval bazaar experience. It was constructed in the 17th-century by Shah Jahan. It is situated near Jama Masjid. The best way to explore this market is to take a rickshaw ride or walking tour to the spice market. The Khari Baoli is Asia’s largest wholesale spice market. There are some old mansions (Havelis) scattered throughout the area that you can visit to get a glimpse of Chandni Chowk’s erstwhile grandeur. One of these Havelis was beautifully restored in 2016 and now serves as a heritage property known as Haveli Dharampura. Its restaurant serves modern Indian cuisine and hygienically prepared street food.

Raj Ghat

Raj Ghat is Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial. It’s a simple black marble platform that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948. It’s a thought-provoking spot, inscribed with the final words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Hai Ram’ (Oh God). Visitors should remove their shoes.

India Gate

India Gate is a war memorial commemorating around 90000 Indian army soldiers who died in World War I and the 1919 Anglo-Afghan war. The names of more than 13,000 Indian martyrs are inscribed on the monuments. If you walk further close, you’ll find an eternally burning flame known as Amar Jawan Jyoti. It was added later to commemorate the soldiers who died during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

President House and Secretariats

Former Viceroy’s House and now the official residence of President House and nearby mirror image, dome crowned North Secretariat, and South Secretariat houses government ministries. These buildings are the focal point of Edwin Lutyens’s Delhi plan for the might of the British Empire. The architectural style adopted for the construction was inspired by British architecture and Indian architecture. You can drive pass in front of these government buildings. To visit a part of the President House, one has to book online (www.presidentofindia.nic.in)

Qutub Minar Complex

Dating from 1193, Qutub Minar is one of Delhi’s oldest monuments, with a beautiful intricate red sandstone tower that is 73m high. The tower has five distinct stories, but Qutub-ud-din Aibak only completed the first level during his reign. His successors completed the tomb through the centuries. At the foot of Qutub Minar stands the first mosque of India, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. A symbol of the triumph of Islam in India, an inscription states that it was built with materials obtained from demolishing 27 Hindu temples. One can easily recognize pieces of Hindu and Jain sculptures, defaced as far as possible. Other points of interest are Iron pillar, Alai Darwaza, Tomb of Iltutmish, and uncompleted extravagant Alai Minar.

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s tomb is one of the most famous architecture splendor of Mughal era in Delhi. The tomb seems to float above the sprawling gardens that surround it. Built-in the 16th century by Haji Begum, wife of the second Mughal Emperor Humayun, the tomb brings Persian and Mughal style together, creating a template that strongly influenced the Taj Mahal.

Lotus Temple

Dedicated to Bahai faith and styled after a lotus flower, with 27 impeccable white-marble petals, this temple was constructed in 1986. The Lotus Temple is dedicated to the Bahai sect that welcomes people of all races and religions.  Visitors can pray or meditate silently according to their own beliefs. This lotus-shaped building is the most iconic structure of Delhi. It will remind you of the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

Birla Temple

The temple is dedicated to the Goddess of prosperity, Laxmi, and the preserver of the universe, Narayana (Vishnu). It was inaugurated in 1939 by Mahatma Gandhi with the condition that all castes and religions would be allowed to enter. This temple is a three-story temple with numerous idols and a large garden, decorated with carvings portraying scenes from Hindu mythology. Photography is not permitted inside. For visitors, lockers are available to store cameras, phones, and shoes.

Agrasen k Baoli

Hidden in the busy location of central Delhi, this place is a quiet and serene experience perfect for photography lovers. Agrasen ki Baoli is a 14th-century stepwell that ascends from the depths of the earth to stand atop 103 stone step, flanked by arched niches. The old brick walls of this stepwell will take you back to history.

Akshardham

Dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, Akshardham temple is in Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. An epitome of Hindu legacy, visiting Akshardham is a reviving spiritual journey. It’s a perfect blend of India’s major architectural styles. You can’t bring anything with you – no bags, no phones, no cameras. Only transparent water bottles and wallets are allowed.

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the famous Sikh temples of Delhi.  Topped by the golden dome glistening in the sun, this Gurudwara is flocked with Sikh pilgrims and devotional songs wafting over the compound. As soon as you enter the premises of this holy place, you will feel a sense of peace. After paying homage at the sanctum, where the holy book is kept, you can stroll along with the tranquil tank on the premises, which is said to have healing powers. Langar (holy food) is offered to devotees who come to visit. Must visit the kitchen, where food is prepared.

Red Fort

Red Fort was constructed by Shah Jehan between 1638 to 1648 to protect his new capital city of Shahjahanabad. The last Mughal emperor of Delhi, Bahadur Shah Jafar, was arrested from the Red Fort in 1857 and exiled to Burma by the British. Later, converted into British barracks, this massive fort is nowadays a sandstone carcass of its proper self, but it still portrays a picture of the splendor of the Mughal era. If you are short of time, you can skip the Red Fort and visit the much splendid Agra Fort.

Lodhi Gardens

Lodhi Garden is one of Delhi’s most picturesque parks, and a favorite hangout for joggers, yoga enthusiasts, and families who come to picnic on weekends.  It is not just a garden, but it boasts architectural glory of the 15th and 16th centuries. One of the loveliest escapes from the crowd of Delhi, this lush green paradise, with historical Mughal tombs, is a calming treat to eyes. Lodhi Garden offers you some wonderful time in the lap of nature.

When you are planning a visit to a city as vast as Delhi, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choices of accommodation. Delhi offers a wide range of accommodation to choose from the city center to the aero city, from suburbs to business centers, from luxury to budget-friendly, from modern amenities to heritage and colonial properties. Our selection criteria for the best hotels in Delhi for a tourist are based on four aspects- distance from the city center, purpose of visit, comfort, and tourist-friendly.

For tourists in transit, it’s not worth to enter in Delhi just for a night stay. Aero city (10 minutes) from the International airport will be an ideal stop. For tourists who have scheduled full day sightseeing in Delhi would like to stay near the city center. Keeping these purposes in mind, we have shortlisted some of the best hotels in Delhi.

  1. The Leela Palace

The Leela Palace is located in Delhi’s diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri. The Leela is a very modern hotel providing regal stay with services and facilities to match. Its interior is decorated with Indian and European furnishings, fresh flowers, and astral chandeliers. Highlights are multi cuisines restaurants and rooftop infinity pool, ranking it one of the city’s finest five-star hotels.  Best choice for romance.

  1. The Oberoi

One of the best hotels in Delhi, the Oberoi enjoys views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb on one side and a soothing view of the golf course on the other. It’s an incomparable venue for business as well as pleasure. This hotel is a famous example of Oberoi’s reputation for taking care of its guests. Rooms and suites are well furnished with Italian marble bathrooms, teak floors, and oak wood desks. Restaurants include 360o for all-day fine dining, a contemporary Indian specialty restaurant, and a rooftop Chinese restaurant.

  1. Taj Palace

This grand hotel, opened in Delhi’s diplomatic district in 1983, had the privilege of hosting some important historic visits and global summits. It has a guest list like Prince Charles, Bill Clinton, the King of Bhutan, Justin Trudeau, and more. The property is in the heart of India’s capital city, still represents an oasis of calm. The hotel is a tribute to the Mughal era as it brings some of its art, traditions, and cuisine in a modern setting.

  1. Claridges

The Claridges is a mid-20th-century Hotel in the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi.  Its sprawling lush green gardens, spacious rooms, sophisticated dining, and a central location make it a popular choice. You’ll find here everything from casual grab-and-go cafés for busy visitors to romantic Mediterranean restaurants, where you can relax over a bottle of fine wine. You can easily spend a day relaxing in the pool, lined with swaying palms and day beds.

  1. Imperial

Dating back to 1931, The Imperial is known for its rich colonial past, which takes you back to the time of the British rule in India. You’ll find paintings, photographs, and delicate murals illustrating Delhi’s history on interior walls, making space feel like a beautiful museum as well as a luxury hotel.  The Imperial Spa is quite extraordinary, underground, and Turkish-style, with a jacuzzi (free for guests). Its award-winning restaurant, the Spice Route, offers a menu specializing in cuisines from across India and Southeast Asia. It’s within walking distance of Connaught Place – a perfect location if you’re short on time.

  1. JW Marriott Aerocity

A five-minute drive from the Delhi International airport and a few minutes’ walk from the metro, the J W Marriott’s location is perfect for travelers who are staying in Delhi to transit.  With multiple dining options and spacious guest rooms, it’s a compelling luxury choice.

  1. The Lodhi

The Lodhi is all about modern luxury. The Lodhi is all about Delhi’s finest luxury hotels with huge, top-notch well-furnished rooms. Each room has a balcony, and the suite rooms have their private plunge pools, huge daybeds, and butler service. The hotel is also home to the Indian Accent restaurant, which is featured in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list from 2014 onwards. It’s worth making a reservation here, even if you’re staying elsewhere.

  1. Haveli Dharampura

Restored as a heritage hotel in 2016, this haveli (traditional courtyard mansion) dates back to 1887 AD, and its stunning design reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Mughal period. Spacious accommodations and excellent service with a feeling of a vintage await you at Dharampura Haveli. This beautiful historic Dharampura Haveli is nestled amongst the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk. Its Lakhori restaurant serves Chandni Chowk famous street food delicacies as well as the sumptuous Mughlai cuisine.

  1. Metropolitan Hotel & Spa

The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa is a classic luxury and business hotel near Connaught Place. The amenities include a lovely spa with Ayurvedic treatments, a decent gym, and lots of meeting space. This hotel houses one of the city’s best-known Japanese restaurants, Sakura. The Metropolitan overall is an excellent choice for the visitors who head back to their comfortable room to relax after a busy day of exploration.

  1. Pride Plaza Aerocity

Pride Plaza Aerocity is a pleasant hotel that strives to exceptional hospitality and service to their clients. Located close to Delhi International airport, this hotel provides comfort and convenience for both leisure and business travelers.  Whether you need to relax and unwind after a hard day or host a casual meeting with friends or colleagues, visit any one of their restaurants for the perfect ambiance.

Delhi is known as one of the top dining destinations in India. North Indian cuisine is most prevalent in Delhi, characterized by rich, creamy curries and meat cooked in a tandoor (traditional clay oven). However, cuisines from all over India and the World  are increasingly popular. Delhi is an ideal place to indulge in the feast of North Indian cuisine, many of these iconic Indian restaurants in Delhi have fascinating histories.

  1. Bukhara

Seven-time voted among the “Best 50 Restaurant in the World”, this restaurant is known for its rustic atmosphere, succulent kebabs, and massive naan bread. Its located at the luxury ITC Maurya Sheraton hotel, its signature dish is Dal Bukhara (whole black lentils simmered overnight over slow coal fire with tomatoes, ginger, and garlic).

  1. Indian Accent

Awarded the San Pellegrino’ Best Restaurant in India Award’ by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 for the sixth consecutive year, Indian Accent showcases inventive Indian cuisine by complementing the flavors and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques. It’s indeed a 5-star restaurant in The Lodhi luxury Hotel.

  1. Lakhori

Mughlai delights and Chandni Chowk’s famous savory street delicacies are served in the elegant courtyard restaurant of the magical Old Delhi hotel, Haveli Dharampura. On weekends, live classical music and dance shows in this Mughal era haveli add a charm to the dining experience.

  1. Veda

Veda is one of the best restaurants in Delhi that will really grab your attention. The interiors were crafted by Fashion designer Rohit Bal. Candles, mirrors, chandeliers and everything flickers and shimmers, and an embellished glass dome are set against a dark backdrop. The menu offers Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist with an impressive wine list.

  1. Olive Bar and kitchen

Olive Bar & Kitchen is a perfect hideaway with a unique decor of  Mediterranean mosaic,  delicious food, and tree-top terrace bar. The elegance of its beautiful white walls, a vast Banyan tree canopy, open-air seating, cozy ambiance, and world-class cuisines makes it one of the best restaurants in Delhi.

Delhi Local tour

Chandni Chowk Walking Tour

Agra same day tour

Golden triangle tour

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