18 Things you’ll want to do on your trip to New Delhi, India

{Written with a steaming cup of Tetley Masala Chai in hand}

New Delhi is a colorful, chaotic and completely unforgettable city so if you’ve got tickets booked for this crazy town, you are in for a lot of noisy traffic and a lot of fun! I finally got to be a complete New Delhi tourist during a whirlwind four day trip to India this month; I was thrilled to cross of quite a few spots from my Delhi wish-list! While it may take you more than four days to cover everything in New Delhi, this listicle should give you a couple ideas on what not to miss while you’re in town.

  1. Explore Red Fort (a.k.a Lal Qila) – a UNESCO World Heritage site, Red Fort is absolutely glorious. Skip the guide, and just walk into a different era within the fortress. Definitely make your way to the Diwan-i-Khas, the king’s court for aristocrats and the Diwan-e-Am, the king’s court for hearing out common people. 
  2. Buy all the fun touristy trinkets at Dilli Haat – if you’re looking for gifts to take back for your loved ones, this cute market for tourists is the place to go! The stalls change every couple months to feature a different folk art and Indian state so the “Heart of Delhi” is always a lively and festive place to hangout.

    Dilli Haat art.jpg
    Shoutout to this talented artist in Dilli Haat! ❤
  3. Take a rickshaw ride – sometimes the most interesting places are deep in narrow alleyways that a car just can’t get through. In those situations, your rickshaw drivers are your best bets!
  4. Descend into Ugrasen ki Baoli – this 10th century step-well is the setting for many nighttime spooky stories, but in the day-time the architecture is absolutely breath-taking. It’s mostly a quick 5 minute photo-spot, but you’re welcome to take your time climbing down the stone steps into the larger arches below.

    IMG_2362.jpg
    Ugrasen ki Baoli was a gem! But folks with vertigo won’t be a fan.
  5. Battle the crowds at Chandini Chowk – this iconic Delhi market remains on my to-visit list! Definitely a place to go with a guide as the crowds and many alleyways are tough to navigate.
  6. Feel awe-inspired by Akshardham – 11,000 artisans worked to complete this enormous Hindu Temple in 2005 and it is worth every chisel that touched that structure. Akshardham is grand and really made me wonder why we don’t build more intricate and grand monuments in the modern era? Don’t skip out on this one 🙂
  7. Stroll in Lodi Gardens – spread over 90 acres, this serene garden contains many 15th century monuments and tombs from the Lodi Dynasty. It’s a great spot for a morning walk!
  8. Book a tour of Rashtrapati Bhavan – like the White House in D.C., you’ll need some solid good luck and a booking made well in advance to tour the center of Indian government and the Prime Minister’s residence.
  9. Eat ice-cream at India Gate – there are tons of ice-cream hawkers in the gardens around India Gate! Find your favorite flavor and brighten your Instagram with this iconic Delhi photo spot.

    Lotus Temple
    I love the marble petals of the Lotus Temple ❤
  10. Find inner peace at the Lotus Temple – notable for its Expressionist Architecture, this beautiful Baha’i temple is shaped like a lotus, and welcomes people of all faiths to visit.
  11. Check out the restaurants and shops in Khan Market – we joke that my family half lives in Khan Market when we’re in town! With great shops, restaurants, bars and cafés, what’s not to love?

    Khan Market
    Feeling hungry yet? Khan Market’s “Public Affair” is a great spot both on their rooftop or indoor seating.
  12. Dive into history at Humayun’s Tomb – a UNESCO World Heritage site, the tomb of Emperor Humayun was commissioned to Persian architects by the emperor’s chief wife in 1569. Notable for its exquisite Mughal architecture, Humayun’s Tomb is a must-see.
  13. Tour Qutub Minar – I’m a history nerd, and I’d recommend checking out the magnificent historical complex surrounding the tallest brick minaret in the world. Various generations of the Delhi Sultanate, beginning with Qutub-ud-din-Aibak (I was very keen on spelling that!) added to the Qutub Minar to create what we see today. 

    Humayun Tomb arch
    Humayun’s Tomb is an excellent spot for photography enthusiasts!
  14. Try paan if you dare – I think it’s an acquired taste. Sorry mom and Nani! (They’re big Prince Paan fans!) ❤
  15. Catch a musical at the Kingdom of Dreams – welcome to the land of Bollywood! This amusement park of sorts features various shows, a Cultural Gulley filled with folk dancers and trinkets shops from every state in India, and even a nightclub!
  16. Feel reverent at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara – one of the most prominent Sikh places of worship, the waters in the pools of Bangla Sahib Gurudwara is believed to have healing powers. Built in 1664, it was originally Jaisinghpura Palace and is recognizable for its golden domes. 

    IMG_2585
    I was fortunate enough to be allowed all the way inside the prayer halls of Jama Masjid.
  17. Experience Jama Masjid – built in 1644 by Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal), the Jama Masjid mosque is the largest mosque in India. It remained the Royal Mosque during the rest of the Mughal Empire. I’d recommend taking a rickshaw from the Red Fort to Jama Masjid as it’s beyond crowded in the narrow entrance street.
  18. Walk around the Purana Qila (a.k.a. Old Fort) – archeologists have found remnants from the 3rd century of life within this ancient citadel. I finally managed to have a quick visit to the Purana Qila this past trip, but I hope go to boating in the surrounding moat-turned-lake when I visit next time!

    Purana Qila
    Purana Qila’s stone-work is breath-taking 🙂

There’s so much more to do in New Delhi, India so I will keep adding to this list as they come to mind 🙂 Have a fabulous trip and send me your favorite things to see and do in Delhi! Until next time, keep exploring! xoxo #nikitalyfe

P.S. In case you’re wondering, I’m at the Red Fort in my article’s cover photo.

Author: Nikita Taimni

A Dubai-based blogger, I write about travel, theatre and lifestyle in the cities I explore around the world. Follow me on Instagram @nikitalyfe and follow via email if you enjoy reading my posts!

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