I’m going to admit that I can be a little ‘inconsistent’ with the car indicator.
Well, it turns out I’m not the only one with such questionable tendencies. I arrive at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport to be met by a driver for the short 14-kilometre trip to my hotel in the city centre. It’s a hair-raising, white-knuckling, hour-long introduction to Indian driving etiquette — where indicators are entirely optional and road rules open to interpretation!
As you explore the two incarnations of India’s frenetic capital — Old and New Delhi — you can’t help but consider the metaphoric highway of life on which the 1.3 billion citizens of this incredible country travel: unspeakably tough for some; lavishly easy for others. It’s a place of extreme contrasts, even here in the capital. It will grip your guts one moment as you gaze on abject poverty, and then treat you to unspeakable ecstasy at the sight of the next exquisite monument. It doesn’t let up — not even for a second.
This Delhi city guide is packed with ideas for things to see and do. Enjoy your visit.
Watch our video of ten top things to do in India’s Golden Triangle:
Ten Great Things to Do in India’s Golden Triangle | Northern India Travel Guide: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur
Support our channel by becoming a member our new Top Traveller Club. Member benefits include an exclusive branded travel water bottle delivered to your door! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIWPeSl1aL72F1NCuS4ePTQ/join ************************** The Golden Triangle is one of India’s most popular travel destinations, thanks largely to the presence of the magnificent Taj Mahal.
Delhi for history lovers
Step back in time a century or two by paying a visit to Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk market.
This is the heart of the medieval city and dates back to the time of the Mughal emperors. The Mughals ruled India for almost three centuries and you’ll come across them a lot during your visit. They left an indelible mark on the soul of India and a wealth of historic monuments to boot.
The narrow streets and laneways of the market are choked with hawkers, hustlers, street vendors and rickshaw drivers, along with tea sellers keeping the entire affair lubricated with steaming cups of sugary chai laced with ginger and cloves. Disabled beggars rub shoulders with wealthy merchants; harried tourists fend off lethal touts left, right and centre. It’s confronting and invigorating at the same time. A guided walking tour is a good way to get the most from your visit.
From the market, you’ll no doubt catch sight of the soaring towers of the World Heritage-listed Red Fort. It was once the Mughals’ main residence. A lesser-known but no less important site is Purana Qila — also known as the Old Fort. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of the oldest forts in the city. The site itself has a history dating back as far as 300BC, but the structure you see today was the work of Mughal emperor Humayun. It’s an amazing example of architecture from the period and the imposing ramparts hint at its historical importance.
Top cultural activities in Delhi
Delhi is packed to the ornate rafters with cultural attractions.
Start by paying an early morning visit to the ethereal Jama Masjid mosque, which can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers. The mosque is open from sunrise to sunset, but closes in the middle of the day for prayers. Conservative dress is required and robes are available for hire at the gates.
Make sure you also include the delightful Lakshmi Narayan Temple on your itinerary. It’s a chocolate-brown and honeycomb-coloured Hindu place of worship, that looks good enough to eat. Visit the local teahouse next door for a delicious, rejuvenating chai. The door is just to the right of the main entrance to the temple. This is the best teahouse in Delhi according to our guide.
The Lotus Temple is one of the city’s most striking examples of contemporary architecture. Curiously reminiscent of the famous Sydney Opera House, this nine-sided structure is a revered site for Bahá’í worship. Set around a central dome, the temple sits within nine corresponding pools of water. In line with the principles of the Bahá’í faith, the temple is open to all nationalities and those of any religious belief.
There are more than twenty museums to visit in Delhi. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum is housed in the former home of India’s much-loved and only female prime minister. Inside is an extensive collection of personal items, including letters, books and photographs. Gandhi was assassinated by two bodyguards in her garden in 1984.