“Whoever has built a new city in Delhi has always lost it: the Pandava brethren, Prithviraj Chauhan, Feroz Shah Tughluk, Shah Jehan…”
William Dalrymple has famously said in his City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi, in which he emphasises the might of the city in resisting successive attempts at conquest, a city where the author still resides in his beautiful farmhouse near Mehrauli. He’s no exception. Many renowned people have found eternal fascination with the city and made it their muse. And for good reason! Delhi, the capital of India, evokes a range of emotions and is a melting pot of cultures, traditions and lifestyles. From being the hub of the most prominent educational institutions, book stores, historic monuments, great food, shopping arenas and festivals; the city offers an engaging atmosphere for everyone, with something to offer to people of all ages and interests.
As the festival season draws near, we invite you to pack your bags and embark on a delightful vacation in Delhi. Join us as we take you on a journey through Delhi’s many facets and help you experience the city like a local.
Know Before You Go
How to Get Around
The quickest way to get around the city is the Delhi Metro and the most cost-effective way is hopping on to the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses. For short distances and congested areas around Old Delhi, cycle rickshaws and cabs are also a good bet.
The summers are very hot and dry in Delhi, so it’s better to keep your sunglasses and umbrella handy. It rains sparsely in Delhi. Winters are extremely cold and foggy, with temperatures often going down to four to five Degree Celsius.
What to Do
If you are coming to Delhi especially during the winter, you can take a stroll through the sprawling Lodi Gardens, where the chief attractions include the beautiful Mughal architecture and the verdant green space of the garden. If you’re a nature lover and can’t wait to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, then visit the Sunder nursery, where, in addition to witnessing the joyful springtime flowers, and ancient historical monuments, you can also enjoy the weekend farmer’s market. Visit Hauz Khas Village for endless options of food, shopping, live music and shows, pubs and gardens.
The Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a prominent tourist spot in Connaught Place, offers not only a peaceful space for a stroll but also features an art gallery and a Sikh Heritage Multimedia Museum. When you are done sight-seeing and strolling, you can finally take a joyride on the Delhi Metro from South Delhi to Gurgaon and watch the city transform from urban forests into a modern metropolis.
Indian History Collective, which is a reserve for a wide range of scholarship works on history and heritage, recommends three lesser-known heritage sites that you must visit while in Delhi. These include Lal Gumbad, which is the tomb of a 14th century Sufi saint, also known as Rakabwala Gumbad, because it once had a golden finial on top, which is now lost. Another beautiful site to visit during the sunset would be the Coronation Park, which is the site of many Coronation Durbars in Delhi and accommodates innumerable statues bearing the legacy of India’s colonial past. Also, don’t miss the djinns, ornate baoli, remnants of a grand mosque and the Ashokan pillar at Firoz Shah Kotla, what remains of Delhi’s fifth city.
Where to Eat
If you are in Delhi and haven’t tried some of its most coveted street food, then you’re missing out on a lot. Connaught Place in Delhi is flooded with eating joints selling different kinds of kulchas, chole bhature, kadhi chawal, momos, sandwiches, kachoris and any other street food you can think of. Our top recommendations would be Fateh Chand Ki Kachori for the best kachoris, Laxman Dhaba for parathas, Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale for kulfis, Amritsari Lassiwala at Chandni Chowk for lassi, Changezi Chicken in Karol Bagh for some lip-smacking Mughlai food and Nanking near Vasant Kunj for some of the best Chinese food in Delhi.
Shuchir Suri, Founder, Jade Forest and Food Talk India, recommends Vietnam-ease Caphe, which offers an authentic homestyle experience of Vietnamese food, Chor Bizarre at Bikaner House for authentic Kashmiri cuisine and the best wazwan, Rogan Josh and Gustaba in Delhi and Mensho Tokyo for a hot bowl of ramen (never without a lychee sake though!) on cold winter days.
Where to Shop
When in Delhi, don’t forget to check out Bahrison’s Booksellers owned by Mr. Anuj Bahri Malhotra in Khan market. Their range of books is enviably large and varied. The Claymen store in the Dhan Mill Compound is a one-of-a-kind store for unique clay sculptures. Nappa Dori, a unique homegrown leather brand, has a ‘concept store’ and outlet at the Dhan Mill Compound, where they sell distinctive leather products, including bags, footwear, stationery and much more. The All Arts Film Poster and Bollywood Memorabilia store in Hauz Khas Village is a treasure trove of Bollywood souvenirs, including film posters, vinyl records, photos and other unique keepsakes that capture the spirit of a bygone era in the Hindi film industry.
Useful Tips and Tricks
Get a metro card to avoid the queues en route your festival destination. Mask up during winters in order to avoid Delhi fumes and make sure you carry a water bottle with you at all times to prevent yourself from getting dehydrated. Consider carrying a handy tote bag for all those festival mementoes you might want to lug back home. When it comes to hanging out at the arena for a long time, comfort is your best friend; so make sure you wear loose tops and sturdy shoes.
For more articles on festivals in India, check out our Read section of this website.