This guide about places to visit in Delhi has been written falling in love with Delhi for 17 years and falling out of it over and over again. Yes this is exactly how it is to live in Delhi or to visit it for a few days – it is a constant love and hate relationship.
It was in the year 1999 when I moved to Delhi with my family. I didn’t know how long I’d be living here but there was something about it that just didn’t let me move out. First Chanakyapuri, then Hauz Khas and eventually Malviya Nagar, I had moved around but was still not ready to move out.
AIIMS flyover got built, the mysterious Monkey Man created a havoc, blue line buses stopped, Delhi Metro became an old story, IGI’S fancy T3 became operational, Commonwealth games got hosted, Anna Hazare went on a hunger strike, Hauz Khas village suddenly came up and became uncool as abruptly as it came up.. But I still kept living in Delhi. (Delhi-ites would understand this timeline).
The thing is, India receives many travelers from all over the world and most of them don’t stay in Delhi but head directly to their next destination, which is usually Taj Mahal or Rajasthan or Kerala, (or the Himalayas or Goa for backpackers). Yes, Delhi is sometimes chaotic, stressful, polluted BUT it may just end up being one of your most memorable travel destinations.
Suggested: Useful Travel Tips for Visiting Delhi
If you’re traveling to India, I urge you to give my Dilli a chance and let it smother you with endless delicious food.
Go grab a copy of the City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple and try to finish at least half of it before you land in Delhi’s IGI airport. It’s my favorite travel book and it made me understand Delhi so much more! [Btw, here’s a list of incredible travel books for every country]
Please don’t get overwhelmed because this list is very long, you can skip a lot of them and just visit a fraction of them. Trust me, most Delhi-ites themselves have also not visited all of them (haha). In case you’re visiting Delhi for a short time, check out this amazing Delhi layover guide with recommendations of things to do in just 48 hours.
It was very difficult for me to handpick just 30 top places to visit in Delhi and I have tried to include many different kinds. Some of these places are quite famous but I’d also like to introduce a few under the radar places and some forgotten structures from Delhi’s past.
Here is a very quick glimpse of Delhi’s timeline that you will find interesting in case you want to get a little more out of your visit to all the historical sites.
- Indraprastha – Earliest mentions of Delhi in Hindu epic Mahabharata and also in Buddhist scriptures Pāli Canon. It was called the city of Indra.
- Ashoka’s Delhi / Maurya Age
- Tomar Dynasty
- Chahamanas of Shakambhari
- Delhi Sultanate – Mamluk Dynasty, Khalji dynasty, Tughlaq Dynasty, Sayyid dynasty and Lodi dynasty
- Mughal Delhi
- British Raj (Lutyens Delhi architecture towards the end)
Places to visit in Delhi
1) Lodhi Garden
Lodhi Garden is one of the best places to visit in Delhi and the best part is that it is absolutely free. It is more than just a garden; it has 15th century architecture too from the Sayyid and Lodi Dynasties. There’s history, nature, peace, locals and a lot of beauty. This is where I bring most of my friends when they visit Delhi and they love it.
Lodhi garden is massive and has multiple entry points, so if you’re going to get lost inside if you’re like me. You don’t really need to carry your own food or water because you will see vendors selling snacks, chai, ice cream and water inside.
Make sure you’re wearing comfortable walking shoes because you’re going to have to walk a lot inside. Check out Bada Gumband (big dome), Shisha Gumband, three domed mosque, and Tomb Of Mohammad Shah Sayyid – they are mostly next to each other in the middle of the park. The tomb of Sikandar Lodi is on the other end of the park.
On one end of the Lodi garden, there is also a pond with swans and a bridge that goes over it. If you walk further over the bridge and then into the garden, you will also see flowerbeds for seasonal flowers
If you’re visiting Delhi for a very short time, then I highly recommend you visit the Lodhi Garden for a quick glimpse of Delhi. So many visitors just head to Qutub Minar / Red fort, etc, and miss out this peaceful garden where they can see so much history and Delhi’s locals.
Where to go after Lodhi Garden: Khan Market, Safdarjung Tomb
How to reach Lodhi Garden: Reach Jor Bag or Khan Market Metro station and take an autorickshaw from there.
Entry Fee: Free
2) Humayun Tomb
I have always wondered if Humayun’s Tomb was the inspiration behind Taj Mahal’s architecture but I have never found credible sources that says so. It looks a lot like Taj Mahal, except it is made using red sandstones.
As the name suggests, this place is the tomb of Humanyun, one of the Mughal emperors that ruled Delhi. Humanyu’s Tomb ‘s construction took 9 years – it started in 1565 and completed in 1572.
Humanyun’s Tomb represents Mughal architecture at its finest shows perfect symmetry in every way. There is a massive garden that’s around it and smaller structures that lead to it. Humayu’s tomb also showcases the tradition of emperors being buried in a paradise garden. Many of you would hate me, but I prefer Humanyun’s Tomb to Taj Mahal.
Where to go after Humayun’s Tomb: Nizamuddin Dargah, Lodhi Garden or Khan Market
How to reach Humayun’s Tomb: It is approximately 4 kilometers distance away from Lodhi garden so you can take an autorickshaw or Uber / Ola directly from the garden to Humanyu’s Tomb. The nearest Metro station is Jangpura on Violet line but from there walking is not the best option. You will have to take an autorickshaw from there.
Entry Fee: INR 500 for international visitors and INR 30 for Indians
3) Qutab Minar a.k.a. Qutb MinarQutab Minar is one of the most important landmarks of Delhi and is kind of what Eiffel Tower is to Paris. This 73-meter long minaret is a part of Qutab complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. I remember seeing the towering beauty of this minaret when I was a little child and always wanting to go on top. The construction of Qutab Minar started around 1192 by the founder of Delhi Sultanate – Qutab Ud-Din-Aibak but took a long time to complete. His successors built the next stories of this minaret but lightning in 1369 destroyed the top. Firoz Shah Tughlaq corrected the damage. If you do end up reading The City of Djinns, you will enjoy the part about the Delhi Sultanate.
When you visit the Qutub Minar, don’t just get stuck looking at it. Step into the nearby Mehrauli Archaeological Park as well. It has the ruins of Delhi’s oldest fort that was built in 1060 by the Toman Dynasty. It also has a step-well – Rajon ki Baoli, Jamali Kamali Mosque, Lal Mahal and many other tombs and ruins.
Where to go after Qutub Minar: Ahimsa Sthal, Garden of Five senses, Select Citywalk Mall or Sanjay Van. You can also check out the nearby Japanese restaurant – En – it has a view of the Qutub Minar.
How to reach Qutub Minar: Take an autorickshaw from Qutab Minar Metro station that is on the yellow line.
Entry Fee: INR 500 for international visitors and INR 30 for Indians.
4) Ahimsa Sthal
If you’re a reader of my blog and are visiting Ahimsa Sthal because of this post, then please promise me that you will behave yourself when you’re here. Ahimsa Sthal is a place of worship where silence is appreciated but not enforced. If you’re doing a group tour then please skip it.
Ahimsa Sthal is my favorite place to find peace from Delhi’s madness. It is a Jain temple that’s built on a little hill with a massive statue of Lord Mahavira on the top. This temple is a very good spot to see the Qutab Minar that’s across the road. Moreover, you can also see Azim Khan Tomb and surprisingly green Mehrauli forest around.
Here’s a quick 360 degree video from top of Ahimsa Sthal which will give you some idea.
You can directly walk to Ahimsa Sthal from Qutab Minar Metro Station or just take an auto rickshaw from there. It is definitely not a famous place so a few tuk-tuk drivers in other areas of Delhi may not be aware of this place.
5) India GateJust like Qutub Minar, India Gate is also an important landmark of Delhi. It is generally illuminated at night, especially during patriotic holidays. It is a war memorial and not a Historical landmark like the Mughal buildings. There are names of around 70,000 Indian soldiers inscribed on it who died in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.
I normally don’t make an effort of ever mentioning who built what, but in this case, it is very interesting. Sir Edwin Lutyens built it in 1931; who by the way built most of the New Delhi towards the end of British India. Because of this, some parts of New Delhi are called Lutyens’ Delhi.
More than just the India Gate, the majority of the people visit this area to enjoy the gardens around it. Many locals use these gardens for picnic spots, we did too when we were in school. On our request, my dad would drive us around here from Rashtrapati Bhawan to India Gate so that we could enjoy the view.
The best time to visit it is in the evenings and you should walk around it as much as possible.
6) Lotus Temple
Lotus Temple is a flower like Bahá’í temple and looks a little like the Sydney Opera house. It has 27 marble flower petals and little ponds that surround them. Yes, this list contains many temples and Bahá’í is one of the newer religions. It is a Bahá’í House of Worship.
Believe it or not, Lotus Temple is one of the most visited buildings in the world. It has received several architectural awards and it looks even better from above. Not that you will get to see it like that, but here’s a drone shot from the top.
7) Agrasen Ki BaoliAgrasen ki Baoli is a historical site that managed to remain under the radar for decades but was recently made famous by a Bollywood movie called PK. To describe it, in short, it is a well with 108 steps that lead to the bottom. A bigger and more elaborate step well is in Rajasthan and is called Chand Baori.
The funny thing is, there are no historical records that show who built it, but it is believed to have been built by Maharaja Agrasen during the Mahabharata. There are no records about Maharaja Agrasen too but the legend has been there for many years. The Agarwal community that descended from Maharaja Agrasen later rebuilt it in the 14th century.
If you’re a luxury traveler then you many not like to visit Agrasen Ki Baoli because it is not well maintained. It is however a very good spot for photographers. Visiting Agrasen ki Baoli is free.
8) Old Fort or Purana Qila
Purana Qila literally means Old Fort and it is one of the oldest forts in Delhi. There are many structures inside and around Purana Qila – Humayun Gate, Talaqi Darwaza, Hammam Khana (bathhouse), Sher Mandal (Humany’s Library), Qila Kuhna Masjid to name a few. There is also an archeological museum inside it. Every evening there is a sound and light show here that tells the history of Delhi from the Indraprastha times to now.
Just like Agrasen Ki Baoli, even the Old Fort is believed to be from the Mahabharata times when Delhi was Indraprastha. However, there is no conclusive evidence of it.
The newer part of Old Fort is believed to have been built under Sher Shah Suri, but some historians and archeologist believe that the earliest traces here are of 3rd century BC. Wow!
9) Red Fort or Lal Qila
Red Fort is grand, magnificent, and is red in colour. Perhaps it should have been number 1 on this list because it was the main residence of the Mughal emperors for many years.Just like Humanyun’s tomb, even the Red Fort represents the Mughal architecture at its best. Sadly this fort’s precious jewels and artwork were destroyed by Nadir Shah’s army and the British. This is where Bahadur Shah Zafar (the last Mughal emperor) was put on trial by the British.
Red Fort has many structures inside its complex and together they’re a UNESCO world heritage site. There’s Rang Mahal, Mumtaz Mahal, Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-khas, Hammam (bath), Baoli (step well), prince’s quarters,
10) Dilli Haat
If you’re like me, then I’m sure you can’t handle historical sites all the time. It is important to visit places where you can just shut your mind to new information and just enjoy the culture and food. Dilli Haat is exactly like that!
Dilli Haat will give you the quickest ever glimpse of cultures and food of all Indian states. There are artists that sell handmade things like jewelry, sarees, silk, bags, sandals and even furniture. Many of these sellers are traveling gypsies who sell their handicraft that’s the specialty of their state or village. It is usually to see one or two musicians playing sarangi or flute. I have also seen sketching artists here who can create lovely portraits.
The best part about Dilli Haat is that there are little shops with local food from many states in India. Go to one of the North East state stalls to eat steamed chicken momos with soup, after that head to Rajasthani stall to eat pyaz kachori, eat machar jhol, prawn red masala and mishti doi from Bengal stall, vada pao, pao bhaji and Shrikhand at Maharashtra stall. Oops, I’m now feeling very hungry as I type this. Be sure to order a mug of fruit beer along with your meal. That’s the only form of beer that you’ll get to drink while you’re here because Dilli Haat doesn’t have a bar.
From time to time, Delhi Tourism Board organizes different events in Dilli Haat so if you’re lucky, you can also get to see a performance. It is worth noting that Delhi’s Comic-Con is also organized in Dilli Haat. Most of the times there are cultural events that are organized inside.
Dilli Haat is in three different locations in Delhi but I highly recommend the INA one. It’s right next to INA Metro Station, so getting here is very easy if you’re comfortable with Delhi Metro.
11) Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is one of India’s biggest mosques and was built during the Mughal times by Shah Jahan. It is so big that around 25000 people can stand in the yard.You must have seen a very famous Eid picture with many thousands of white kurta clad men bowing down in prayer – that’s Jama Masjid. Pakistan has a similar mosque called Badshahi Masjid that was made by Aurangzeb in Lahore.
Jama Masjid mosque also represents the peak of Mughal architecture and is made with red sandstone. There are two 40 meter high minarets and the mosque is built on a porch that’s spread over 1200 square meters.
You can reach Jama Maszid very easily on Delhi Metro. The nearest station is Chawdi Bazaar (which is a part of Chandni Chowk). It is a part of old Delhi and you can visit it on the same day as Chandni Chowk. Just take a rickshaw from Chandni Chowk Market to reach.
The entry is free but you may have to pay INR 300 to take your camera inside. The cost to climb the Minaret is INR 100 for non-Indians. At the entry, they may just ask you to pay INR 400 assuming you have a camera. In case you don’t, you need to tell them. Again, you can’t enter this place if you’re wearing shorts or a sleeveless top. Please don’t click pictures during the prayer and most likely you will not be able to enter during the post-sunset prayer. Sadly two attacks have happened in Jama Masjid – one in 2006 and the other in 2010.
One of the most famous places to eat in Delhi is right outside Jama Masjid. It is called Karim’s and it has branches all over the city. I love the food here but for non-Indians it can end up being a little too oily and spicy.
12) Akshardham TempleAkshardham Temple is a magnificent newly built Hindu mandir that’s on the banks of Yamuna River. It was built on the principles of traditional Hindu architectural system – Vastu Shastra that defines minuscule details like the layout, geometry, measurements, ground preparation, etc.
Visitors are not allowed to take their cameras or cell phones inside and that’s why you hardly ever see pictures of the magnificent Akshardham temple. It is almost entirely made with pink sandstones from Rajasthan and Carra marble from Italy without any steel or concrete support.
Akshardham Temple has many domes and pillars with intricately carvings. There is a Hall of Values and theatre that’s indie the temple complex. You can also do a Sanskruti Vihar boat ride where you can learn about the history of Hinduism from Vedic India and Vedic teachings such as yoga, mathematics, astronomy, science, arts, and more.
13) Nizamuddin’s Dargah for Quawwali
Have you ever visited a place of worship where it appears that many have reached an altered state of mind? [Like a state of trance.] Go visit Nizzamuddin Dargah during the evening for a one of a kind experience and evening.
A dargah is a shrine and this particular one is dedicated to Sufi Saint Nizzamuddin Aylia (Hazrat Nizzamuddin). Sufism is a very interesting subsection of Islam, which is also known as Islamic mysticism. Nizzamuddin lived from 1238 to 1325. Even the famous Amir Khusrow was his disciple and they both died in the same year.
During his time, Nizzamuddin was highly influential, perhaps even more influential than the ruler of Delhi Sultanate – Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq (Ghazi Malik). While the fort that was built by Ghazi Malik is in ruins and was forgotten for a long time, Nizzamuddin’s Dargah shines on a little more everyday. There is a very interesting story about this in City of Djinns book, move to the section about Tughlaqabad Fort for more information.
Go visit this dargah during the time of qawwali, which is almost everyday from 6:30 pm to 9 pm with a half an hour break at 8:30. For many years this qawwali was only on Thursdays but now they are everyday but not on Thursday.
Being a place of worship, there is no entry fee but it is recommended that you donate something for the upkeep.
Go visit the famous Karim’s restaurant for dinner and eat mutton quorma and kebabs here. Karim’s restaurant is a chain that specializes in food that was made for the Mughal emperors. It has an amazing history; you can check it out here if you want to.
14) Safdarjung Tomb
The tomb of Safdarjung is a smaller and a less magnificent version of Humanyu’s Tomb. It was built in 1754 for Mirza Muqim Abul Mansur Khan, a.k.a Safdarjung. It is not perfectly symmetrical and inferior material was used for construction as per historians.
Safdarjung was never an emperor like Humanyun but was the statesman and the Prime Minister of the Mughal Empire. It was the last tomb garden of the Mughals. Again, there is a big section about Safdarjung Tomb in City of Djinns where Dalrymple talks about the ill fated construction of this tomb and why it lacks symmetry.
I lived near this tomb for several years, but back then it was more of a “make out spot” (not for me!). It was so because PDA is not very common in India. Moreover, back then many Indian parents didn’t let their kids bring their girlfriends / boyfriends back home but times have changed. It was common to see couples hiding behind the bushes here and snogging!
15) Nehru Park
Nehru Park doesn’t have historical tombs and structures like Lodhi Garden but is a place where you may just end up spending hours. This park is in Chanakyapuri, and was near where I lived so I ended up visiting every evening.
This park looks really lovely in spring because there are many flowers that blossom here. There is also a free to use open-air gym inside the park. This park has many entry points and ice cream vendors line up outside the entry gates with their carts.
Bring a mat, book, a bottle of water, maybe some snacks and a bag to keep your trash and spend a lazy day here if the weather is good to be outside. Even if you don’t bring anything to eat or drink, you will surely see vendors who sneak and sell these things. Please respect the residents of this neighborhood and do not bring alcohol here.
During the month of March (and sometimes even October), there is an open-air Jazz music festival that’s held here with musicians from all over the world. There is also a food festival, called Delhi Palate Festival that’s sometimes organized here.
16) Hauz Khas Village
Imagine doing a pub-crawl with a backdrop of Mughal tombs and historical ruins – this is Hauz Khas Village. It was once Delhi’s artsy neighborhood with studios and boutiques, but is now the most famous spot for nightlife in Delhi. It is also known as HKV
Even though Hauz Khas Village is known for its bars, I recommend you come here and hour before the sunset to see the street art, back alleys and the view of the lake.
When you reach Hauz Khas Village, the first thing that will greet you is the stench of the trash booth, which is just at the beginning. Don’t worry; it disappears as soon as you’re 10 steps away.
As soon as you enter HKV, get ready to get hounded by salesy bar employees who will hand you their bar menus without even asking and urge you to go inside because there is some sort of happy hour or ladies night.
To make the most of your visit, turn right after entering and try to get lost in the back alleys to see the most interesting sights. There is a lake that’s directly behind Hauz Khas village. Try to find the lane that goes along the lake. You can also explore the nearby Deer Park if you visit Hauz Khas Village.
There is an abandoned plot area here that is covered in graffiti. Here is a 360-degree video of San and I at this spot.
There are many restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the view of the lake but sadly the best one shut down years ago. It was called Boheme but is now a B&B and renamed to the Lazy Patio. You can’t just go and enjoy the view without a booking but in case you’re looking for the loveliest place to stay in Delhi with a view, then the Lazy Patio is the place that you should book.
Another place from where you can enjoy the view is Mia Bella, which is on the other side of the market. It has three floors and you should go to the top most floor.
Janpath means the path of people and is a street that’s dotted with colorful shops in central Delhi (near Connaught Place). You will find similar things to buy that are also available in Dilli Haat but the environment is different. It is right next to Palika Bazaar, the famous underground market where you can find electronics and pirated things.
The main Janpath Market is along the road and stretches for more than a kilometer, but there is a back lane as well where you will find tribal people selling their handmade things. There are many shops in the main Janpath market that sell fake and real Pashmina from Kashmir.
There is also a Tibetan market within Janpath’s main market where you can find prayer flags, gongs, sarongs, little Buddhas, etc.
Believe it or not, Janpath was my first flea market experience as a child when I visited Delhi for the first time.
18) Connaught Place
Connaught Place is also called CP, is a prominent financial and business hub of the capital. If you look at the map of Delhi, it appears that Connaught Place is in the center and rest of the city is around it.
There are three reasons why I have put CP on this list 1) it is a place where you can witness Lutyens’ architecture, 2) if you’re staying in Central Delhi, then CP has an amazing nightlife and 3) it is the heart of Delhi geographically speaking, so you should try not to miss it.
If you visit Connaught Place on a bad day (weekend, holiday, Valentine’s Day, etc.), then you will probably not like this part and will send me hatemail for asking you to go here. Yes, CP can get painfully crowded.
Connaught Place has an inner circle, an outer circle and a central park in the middle. These circles are pretty big and walking the entire circle may seem doable but is not.
There is an ancient Hanuman Temple (the Monkey God) in CP and it is very big. You can get henna put on your hands outside this temple and visit it from the inside.
On most of the Sunday mornings there is an event called Raahigiri that’s organized by the Times of India at 6 am. During Raahigiri, many people from all over the city come together for yoga, aerobics, and dance performances. Check out Rahigiri’s website for more information and events.
19) Tughlaqabad Fort
Tughlaqabad Fort is a forgotten fort, which was built by Ghazi Malik (Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq), the founder of Tughlaq dynasty in Delhi. This fort is in runs and is in the middle of Delhi’s residential area.
Apparently, there was a disagreement between Sufi Saint (of Ni Nizamuddin zamuddin Dargah) and Ghazi Malik because the ruler wanted every single worked in Delhi to work on his fort.
Nizamuddin cursed Ghazi and it appears that his curses became reality. While the fort that was built by Ghazi Malik is in ruins and was forgotten for a long time, Nizzamuddin’s Dargah shines on a little more everyday.
20) Khan Market
The reason why Khan Market is on this list because if you were visiting Delhi, maybe you’d also like to see the city’s most posh market area. Khan Market is the country’s most expensive retail space and also the world’s 21st most expensive high street as per Cushman & Wakefield.
Khan Market is more than just a shopping area, it a place try out Delhi’s most amazing restaurants and bars. Go to Mamagoto for a memorable Asian meal or Big Chill for Italian or just continental comfort food as well as deserts. Go to Harry’s Bar or the Out of the Box Bar for drinks. There is also the famous Khan Chacha’s rolls that you can eat on the road.
Khan Market is surrounded by Delhi’s most affluent neighborhoods in all the directions. It is near Lodhi Garden, so you can visit Khan Market for a few drinks and dinner after it.
21) Rail Museum
Delhi doesn’t have a shortage of good museums but for me Rail Museum is the most interesting one. My father retired from Indian railways and for that reason, trains were a very special part of our traveling because he would always tell us interesting facts and stories.
National Rail Museum of Delhi is in Chanakyapuri, Delhi’s diplomat area. You get to see the history of trains in India and also special saloons on exhibit that were built for royal family members and famous people. There is a saloon that was built for the Prince of Wales, Maharajas of Mysore and Indore. You can also see the legendary Fairy Queen, world’s oldest steam locomotive that’s still in service and runs on the same route as Palace on Wheels.
A very interesting thing about this museum is that you can take a ride on a toy train. If you’re looking for places to visit in Delhi with kids, then Rail Museum will be a big hit with your family.
If you enjoy visiting museums, you may want to check out the Science Museum and Doll Museum – both are next to each other and I enjoyed exploring them as a child.
22) Bangla Sahib Gurudwara
Bangla Sahib is one of the most visited gurudwara in Delhi. A gurudwara is a Sikh temple and for me Sikhism is a fascinating religion. It is one of India’s newer religions and I was lucky to learn about its history in my early school days in Punjab. There are total 11 Gurus in Sikhism – the 10 past Gurus and 11th Guru is their book – Guru Granth Sahib. Bangla Sahib is associated with the 8th Guru Har Krishan
Like most of the gurudwaras, there is a pool inside the compound. There is a golden dome on top, kind of like the more famous Golden temple in Amritsar. The entire complex lights up when its dark and the reflection of the dome looks spectacular in the water. I recommend that you visit this gurudwara at night.
Do not miss the Langar – which is food that’s served and everyone who visits the gurudwara can eat this. It is free, but I recommend you leave a little donation or volunteer for a little while in the kitchen. Please clean your dishes when you’re done – it is not a restaurant.
Another thing that’s not to be missed while you’re here is karah – which is a sweet halva that’s made with whole-wheat flour. It is vegetarian but not vegan because it is made with clarified butter. A little portion is given to every single visitor as a prasad – holy treat.
23) Sacred Heart Cathedral
Sacred Heart Cathedral will always hold a special place in my heart because the complex also houses my school building – Convent of Jesus and Mary. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral and is one of Delhi one of the oldest churches.
The architecture of Sacred Heart Cathedral looks very different when compared to Mughal era based building. In fact, the design was based on Italian architecture. The project to build this church was financed by the British.
Convent of Jesus and Mary isn’t the only school that’s in this complex. There is St. Columba’s too. The first is a girls’ only school and the second is boys’ only. Yes, I studied in a girls’ school – don’t laugh and get over it. Ahem. It is nearby Bangla Sahib Gurudwara and Delhi Post Office.
24) Garden of Five Senses
Garden of five senses is in Saket, near Mehrauli and can be visited before or after you visit the Qutab Minar because of its proximity. This space was created in a way so that it would spark all the five senses of its visitors.
This park combines art with natural beauty and each section has something special about it. There is a solar energy park, a Mughal Garden section, pond with water lilies, stone elephants, rocks, and also an herb garden.
A lot of the installations here have a playful element, e.g. – there is a bell tree here that kids would love to play with. There is also a replica here of Labná Arch from Mexico, which was built by the Mayans.
Garden of Five senses has an entire section that’s dedicated to bars and fine dining restaurants. The best is Fio, which is a charming restaurant with outdoor seating and has an amazing ambiance.
25) Chandni Chowk – Spice Market Section (Khari Baoli)
Chandni Chowk market isn’t the easiest market to handle for first time visitors because the chaos here is on another level. It is Delhi’s biggest and oldest market. In fact, it is extreme even for most of the Delhi-ites. Having said that, this is an amazing place to visit in Delhi if you’re in a mood to eat some of Old Delhi’s most famous street food or shop.
Chandni Chawk is divided in many sections but I’d recommend you skip most of them and just head to Khari Baoli – the spice section. Apart from spices, you will also find many kinds of herbal teas, nuts, daal, rice, etc.
To reach here, you can ride the Delhi Metro till Chandni Chowk. From the metro station you can take a cycle rickshaw to reach the spice market or just walk for 5 – 10 minutes. I suggest you come here early to avoid peak crowds. Most of this market is closed on Sundays.
During the British rule, Chandni Chawk was an affluent neighborhood with havelis of rich merchants and uncluttered road, but this market’s history is even older than that. It was actually built during the Mughal times in the 17th century by Shah Jahan and his daughter Jahanara. Back then, there were water canals that separated different sections – just imagine. The name means “moonlit square” and merchants from all over the world that traveled on the Silk Route came here.
This market hit its lowest point after India – Pakistan partition and has never been the same. At the moment it is the place to buy insanely affordable and wholesale things. A lot of Delhi-ites visit this market to buy affordable Indian formal attire if there is a wedding in their family. After reading the City of Djinns, I went back to Chandni Chowk and looked at it with completely different eyes.
26) JNU Campus
I studied in Delhi University’s South Campus but went to JNU quite often to hang out there. This campus is unbelievably special, green and is like a city in itself. It kind of reminds me of Auroville.
Jawaharlal Nehru University is Delhi’s most beautiful campus area is surely worth a visit. I don’t know about you but I like visiting campus areas. I kind of like to imagine what it would be like if I was studying there. On my short visit to the New York City, I made it a point to visit the New York University campus area and really liked it.
JNU isn’t really a kind of a place where you can just walk in as a tourist. Instead, you have to find someone who is studying or working there so that they can bring you in. JNU receives a lot of foreign exchange students from all over the world.
When you’re inside, go get a few snacks for yourself and sit on one of the benches or on the garden to eat it.
27) Malai Mandir
Malai Mandir means, “hill temple” and is dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is built on a little hill that overlooks the chaos of Delhi’s busy Outer Ring Road. Just like a majority of Hindu temples from Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu communities the insides of Malai Mandir are also colourful.
All of the temples that are dedicated to Lord Murugan have been built on top of hills. Ever visited the spectacular Batu Cave temples in Malaysia? Yes, they’re dedicated to Lord Murugan as well.
Malai Mandir is in RK Puram, and is along the main Palam – Outer Ring Road where the traffic situation is never good.
Being a total foodie, I can’t help but suggest you visit Alkakori Alkauser restaurant that is walking distance from this temple. This place is strictly for meat lovers and I highly recommend you try mutton galauti kebabs and kakori kebabs – both with varki parathas. Yumm. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this tastes. The meat is extremely tender, spicy and the crisp varki parathas taste excellent with them. But hey, if it is your first day in Delhi then this meal can be too extreme for you.
28) Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar is a giant sundial that was built to measure time but as of late it has become a site for political protests. There are total 9 Jantar Mantars in Delhi and I even visited the one in the pink city – Jaipur that is supposed to be accurate up to 2 seconds.
Delhi’s Jantar Mantar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was built in 1724, although in earlier records it was mistakenly put as 1710. It has three instruments for calculating time inside Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, which are the Samrat Yantra, the Jayaprakash, and the Misra Yantra.
29) Paharganj Main Bazaar
Paharganj is Delhi’s oldest backpacker area and there is actually nothing to see here except a chaotic market. It is very close to New Delhi Train Station and this area has some really cheap and dingy hotels, which is the reason for its popularity.
Paharganj is crowded, often smelly but there is a lot of madness that you can get to witness while you’re here. Paharganj is kind of like Bangkok’s Khao San Road, but it is a little more extreme!
The most interesting part about Paharganj is that you will see the same clothes and bags being sold here at a fraction of a cost as you’ll see in other backpacker areas like Goa, Bangkok, Manali, etc. There are also shops where you can buy clay chillums, glass pipes, bongs and all the stoner paraphernalia, which is sold for a bomb in Amsterdam.
If you’re in Paharganj, one of the best things that you can have is Chhole Bhature from Natraj. It chickpeas that’s made in Punjabi masala with fried bread – is cheap, unbelievably delicious and spicy.
The nearest metro station is RK Ashram Marg and the next one is New Delhi Railway Station.
30) Sanjay Van
Delhi has a forest too, and it is pretty big. It green, dense and spread over 783 acres. It is just a big bigger than the extremely small country – Monaco. There are little hills inside the park because it is a part of the Aravalais.
If you already have friends in Delhi who can drive you around, then go visit Sanjay Van with them. Enter from Qutab Institutional Area entry gate and drive around inside. Please don’t visit this spot on a taxi or auto rickshaw, because crime rate is high in isolated areas.
Wear proper shoes because Sanjay Van has snakes too. Most likely they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. Sanjay Van is also a good spot for bird watching.
Where to Stay in Delhi for Every Budget
Considering how massive Delhi is, there are many places to stay and just the sheer number of options on the booking sites will confuse first time visitors. I hope to make it easy for you. I’m only recommending places where I or any of my family members and close friends have stayed:
Hostels for Backpackers:
Madpackers Hostel, Panchsheel, €8 – €16 dorm and €25 for private double
Jugaad Hostels, RK Puram €8 – €15 dorm and €35 for private double
Zostel, Paharganj €7 – €8 dorm and €21 – €35 for private double
The Lazy Patio Homestay – Location: Hauz Khas Village with Lake View, Price Range: €135 – €225.
I have said it before and I don’t mind saying it again – the Lazy Patio is by far the most amazing place that I have seen in Delhi. It is on the fourth floor and there is no lift, so be prepared to climb and work hard to see this amazing view.
Mid Range Hotels, B&B and Homestays:
JHT Hotel, Location: GK 1 near M Block Market, Range: €100 – €200
Tatvamasi Homestay, Location: Chitaranjan Park (CR Park), Range: €50
Colonel’s Retreat, Location: Defense Colony (Def Col), Range: €80
Tree of Life, Location: Saket, Range: €60
Haveli, Location: Hauz Khas, Range: €65
Svelte Hotel, Location: Select Citywalk, Saket, Range: €110 – €260
Luxury and Five Star Hotels in Delhi
The Grand, Location: Vasant Vihar, Range: €200 – €400
The Leela Palace, Location: Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, Range: €225 – €992
The Oboroi, Location: Gurgaon, Range: €314 – €442
Taj Palace, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, Range: €200 – €996 and €2988 – €5977 (Presidential Suite)
Vivanta by Taj – Ambassador: Location: Subramania Bharti Marg (Near Khan Market), Price Range: €121 – €512
General Travel Tips for visiting Delhi
Back in 2015 I published a detailed article with travel tips for visiting Delhi. This article was a big hit for solo female travelers, corporate travelers, family travelers, backpackers and even fellow Indians who were visiting Delhi, so you should check it out too. However, here are some basic tips that you should keep in mind before visiting Delhi:
Delhi weather and the Best time to visit Delhi:
Delhi Tourism’s website says that October to February are good months but in my opinion Christmas to first week of January is not a good time to be in Delhi. Delhi is at its best in February, March, October and November. Every other month is too hot, too cold or too rainy and you will end up hating Delhi and my blog for making Delhi sound interesting to you.
How to move around in Delhi?
As much as I love Delhi, I have to admit that the traffic and transport situation is chaotic and stressful, so be prepared. Delhi is not very pedestrian and bicycle friendly. If you it is your first time in India, then don’t even think of renting a car and driving it in Delhi. Below are the options that I recommend:
Delhi Metro is the best thing that has happened to Delhi and has made moving around super simple. Buy a Delhi Metro visitor card for INR 150 to avoid long queues. Delhi Metro doesn’t run after 11 pm on most of the routes so please check their official website for more information.
Auto Rickshaws (Tuk-Tuks)
If you have traveled extensively in Asia, then you must have moved around on a tuk-tuk for sure. In Delhi they are more commonly referred to as “Autos” and not really tuk tuks. They are very convenient for short distances and I have never had a bad experience riding one in Delhi.
Ola and Uber
Traveling on Ola and Uber cabs is extremely simple within Delhi and sometimes even cheaper than moving around on auto rickshaws. Personally I prefer Ola Cabs to Uber.
Where to go after Delhi? Here are Places to visit Near Delhi
Agra & Taj Mahal
Most of the people who visit Delhi, head to Agra next to see one of the seven wonders of the world – Taj Mahal that was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is very easy to reach Agra from Delhi on car in less than 3 hours, but buses and trains take much longer. Personally, I’m not fond of Agra city.
Jaipur is the pink city of Rajasthan and is always a delight to visit. It is a part of the famous Golden Triangle tourist route, which is Delhi – Agra – Jaipur. Having visited both Agra and Jaipur many times, I’d suggest you to just skip Agra and simply head to Jaipur and perhaps the rest of Rajasthan.
Amritsar is in the state of Punjab and you can reach here in half a day by Amritsar Shatabdi Express train (train numbers 12013 and 12014). This city is famous for its Golden Temple – Harmandir Sahib Gurudwara which looks spectacular at night.
If you want to visit the Himalayas, then Rishikesh is one of the easiest places to visit from Delhi. It is a spiritual destination and was put on the map by the Beatles. There is a famous bungee jumping spot in Rishikesh that you should check out of you’re an adventure freak like me.
Dharamshala and Dharamkot
Dharamkot is a little village near Dharamshala, which is a famous destination because the exiled Dalai Lama lives there. There is also the extremely popular McLeodganj here which has lost its charm because of over-tourism. I prefer Dharamkot out of all these places because you have to hike a little to reach here, which discourages most of the travelers.
Kasol and Manali
Kasol, Manali and Old Manali are different destinations that are nearby but they attract completely different kinds of travelers. Manali city is very popular amongst Indian families and honeymooners, while Old Manali and Kasol are on the Hippie trail and the famous Banana Pancake trail for backpackers.