The capital of India is often the first stop for foreigners visiting the country. Delhi, also known as New Delhi or New Delhi, is one of the most populous cities in the world, with 28 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area. Large, populous and diverse, there are plenty of places to visit in Delhi.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
THE CULTURAL SHOCK
India is incredible, but the culture shock on arrival can be quite strong. The noise, the horns, the dirt, and spices can make the first few days tiring and shocking. Understand it’s normal and give yourself a few days to let it sink.
I have seen several people who do not like Delhi or Mumbai, and I’ve realized that quite often the reason is that these are the cities where they land for the first time, where the first impression and cultural shock in India hits. Both cities have very good things to offer, so keep that in mind before arriving in the country, and make sure to read our travel advice to India, which can make your trip easier.
FEES AND TIMINGS
Usually, in India, the fees of touristic attractions are not the same for locals and foreigners. Similarly, there is always a different queue for foreigners to buy entry tickets. So don’t get scared if you arrive at any attraction and the line seems huge! Just go to the next counter, which is usually empty. Some temples could be closed on Mondays, so it’s always a good idea to check timings and the best days to visit.
CULTURAL INFLUENCES IN DELHI
Delhi is a city heavily influenced by the Mughal Empire (or Mogol), which dominated the Indian subcontinent for more than 300 years, before the rule of the British Empire. The Mughal Empire is a poor translation of Mongol. Although the Mughal ethnicity came from the Turks, Barbur, the first Mughal emperor is a descendant of Genghis Khan. The Mughal culture is still reflected throughout the city today, in the sumptuous architecture of the monuments scattered around the city and on the signs in Urdu, a language similar to Hindi, but with the Persian alphabet, the official language of that era.
During British rule, new architectural styles came. In Delhi, it is common to mention Old Delhi and New Delhi. The first is old Delhi, from the Mughal empire. The second is the part of the city built by the British, visible on the wide and tree-lined avenues present especially in the embassy region, in the centre of the city. So, many of the monuments in Delhi have Mughal architecture.
THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN DELHI
Humayun’s tomb is the oldest and largest mausoleum in Delhi. It is said that this tomb served as inspiration for the Taj Mahal. It was built in the 16th century and is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
AGRASEN KI BAOLI
One of our favorite types of architecture in India, baolis are ancient staircases used as water reservoirs to collect rainwater in the summer months. It is a common type of construction in northwest India, where the climate is arid and excessively hot and dry in the summer. The water made the area cooler, so it is common for the wells to be accompanied by staircases and amphitheaters where there were presentations and the population rested sitting on its vast steps. Admission is free and is located in central Delhi, close to Connaught Place.
The Akshardham Temple is a grand Hindu temple that opened in 2005. It is located away from the city center and other tourist monuments, but it is well worth the visit. Cell phones are not allowed in the temple. You need to store your belongings in lockers, and there are official photographers who take and reveal your photos on the spot.
The Lotus Temple opened in 1986 and is a Baha’i temple. Dedicated to the unity between religions and humanity, people of all religions are welcome in the temple, with beautiful architecture inspired by a lotus flower.
Part of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Qutub Minar is the largest brick minaret in the world, at 72.5m high. Minarets are the towers of mosques, from which the 5 daily calls to prayer for Muslims are made. The Qutub Minar was built in 1193 and is located in the south of Delhi.
Known in Portuguese as the India Gate, it is a monument to soldiers killed in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It is in the central part of the city, on the way to Connaught Place.
A huge garden with beautiful Mugal-era monuments inside, including a three-domed mosque, the tomb of Sikandar Lodi and Shisha Gumbad, a tomb of the Lodhi Dynasty.
The Red Fort was built in the 17th century, and one of Delhi’s greatest architectural icons. Located in the region known as Old Delhi, it served as a residence for Mughal emperors.
OTHER COOL PLACES TO VISIT IN DELHI
LODHI ART DISTRICT
Outside Lodhi Gardens is the Lodhi Art District, a sequence of quiet, tree-lined streets lined with graffiti on the walls that reflect contemporary Indian street art.
Located in the downtown area, close to the Lodhi Art District, Khan Market is an open-air gallery filled with shops and restaurants. Traditional and modern designer shops, contemporary and well-decorated restaurants, pastry shops worthy of the magazine covers. Definitely worth the visit to discover cool and renowned Indian brands.
HAUS KHAZ VILLAGE
Another great place to discover Delhi’s bars, restaurants, and nightlife. A sequence of commercial establishments close to a large park, a stronghold of modern Indian youth.
A typical example of British influence in the country, this huge circle of Gregorian architecture is full of shops and restaurants of all kinds. In the centre is Central Park, with a huge Indian flag. It is a good idea to go to one of the terrace restaurants, such as Qba, and have a meal with a view of the park and the flag.
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