Delhi is the capital city located in Northern India. For those who are visiting from a small town or country, Delhi can be a bit overwhelming with the traffic and the general hustle of a city but it’s definitely a must see when traveling to India. Delhi is generally the first stop on the infamous Golden Triangle tour which consists of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. These were my favorite things to do whilst visiting Delhi, I spent three of my nine days there but you can definitely spend about two days there and cover everything you want to do.
1. Visit Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān in the 1600s. The mosque has three entrances/exits for tourists to enter or exit through. When you enter, females are given a yellow abaya like robe to wear over their clothes and everyone is required to take their shoes off out of respect. If you’re a male, make sure to cover your knees and avoid wearing a tank top- be respectful of the culture. They’ll charge you about 300 rupees if you’d like to take your camera in but you are not allowed to take your phone! There is one minar you can climb for a bit extra, walk to the end of the mosque closest to the city and farthest from the street markets and buy your tickets there. The Jama Masjid is a must see, it’s located right across from the red fort in New Delhi.
2. Visit the Spice Market
Visiting the spice market in New Delhi was really cool, however- I didn’t last very long because the smell was very strong and bothering my sinuses. Walk to the top of the spice market and take pictures on the roof too!
3. Humayun’s Tomb
Located in New Delhi, Humayun’s Tomb is the Tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun. The Tomb was commissioned by the Emperor’s wife in the 1500s and was the first garden-tomb in India and was built with more red sand stone than almost any other building in the world! I got there really early, right after sunrise and it was perfect because no one was there. The grounds are huge and if you love culture, you’ll want to put a few hours aside to really explore this place. It cost about $9 to get in for foreigners and about $0.50 for locals.
4. Go Shopping in Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, India. The streets are very crowded with locals and tourists combined but it’s one of the best places to get cheap street food, spices, and bargain goods. I went shopping for a sari but I settled on a beautiful dupatta scarf.
5. Visit the Qutab Minar
The Qutab Minar is a minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The minar is a 73M high tower and one of the highest in the world! It’s about $7 to enter for foreigners and $0.40 to enter for locals. Its a beautiful piece of architecture, and a must see if you’re visiting Delhi!
6. Feed the birds at Yamuna Ghat
Yamuna Ghat is a river located in a local residential area in Delhi. The best time to go is around sunrise when they’re feeding the birds. Fishermen will charge you between 50-500 rupees depending on where they think you’re from, make sure you haggle! The river is a sacred body of water but it’s also one of the dirtiest in the world so do not try to go swimming.
7. Walk around the Presidents House
If you want to actually go inside the presidents house, you’ll need to put in a formal request. The house is located about 2 miles from the India Gate and worth the walk. There’s a huge park in between the gate and the house that makes it easiest for people to get from one place to the other avoiding the crazy traffic. Sit outside and have a snack, admire the architecture but the Presidents house is definitely worth a look!
8. Take a photo at the India Gate
If you visit Delhi and didn’t visit the India Gate, did you really visit India?! The India Gate is a war memorial, at the top it has all the names of people who have sacrificed their lives for India. The gate is located in New Delhi and surrounded by a park. Don’t forget to get your photo taken with the gate!
9. Pray in the Lotus Temple
One of my favorite things to visit was the lotus temple! It’s a universal temple shaped like a lotus flower, open to any and all religions! It’s free to enter but they are closed on Mondays, make sure to dress conservative and turn your phone off before going in. You can sit for five minutes or an hour, it’s very peaceful! They’ll have you take your shoes off before you enter because it’s a sacred place. The actual grounds where the temple is, is huge! Make sure to go to the information center too, it tells the story of the Lotus Temple!
Delhi is overwhelming yet exciting, it’s filled with so much culture and the people are very friendly. One thing I wish I would have seen but didn’t was the red fort, the red fort is closed on Mondays which happened to be the day we visited that part of Delhi. Delhi itself is a bit spread out so it’s best to get up early and go sightseeing to avoid the crowds. Instead of paying for an overpriced tour guide, I hired a local photographer named Gopi whom I hung out with whilst in Delhi. It was cheaper and way more fun since I was by myself. If you’re solo traveling in Delhi and need some tips, check out my last blog here. Overall, Delhi is a must see if you’re visiting India and I’d highly recommend starting here if you plan on taking the Golden Triangle route. Until my next post, inshalla.