Travel to Delhi
Delhi is a huge city in the north of India and its capital. It is known for its historic Landmarks, food and bazaars. Delhi is one of three cities called ‘Golden Triangle of India’, which are Delhi, Agra (where Taj Mahal is located) and Jaipur. Delhi is always crowded, especially in markets and transportation. Climate - unfortunately – is hot in summer and very cold in winters.
* Average Temperature in Delhi: 45oC (Max) - usually in May - Jun, 5oC (Min) - usually in Dec – Jan.
* Best time to visit Delhi: October to March.
* Monsoon: July to mid-September.
* Languages: Hindi, English, Urdu and Punjabi. Many locals can speak English. Taxi drivers speak Basic English, so use simple words with them. * Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Bahai Faith.
* Currency: Rupee. * Exchange Rate: One US Dollar equals 59.95 Indian Rupee. One British Pound Sterling equals 102.82 Indian Rupee. 1 Euro equals 81.55 Indian Rupee. * Delhi Police Number: 100 / 1090.
* Delhi ambulance number: 102
* Medical Emergencies: All India Institute of Medical Sciences: Ph: 011-26588500/ 26588700 VIMHANS (Mental Health & Neuroscience): Ph: 26310510 – 20 Max Healthcare: Ph: 011-26499870 / 27158844
* Visa: Tourist visa is required for most countries. Tourist Visa for UK citizen costs GBP 92 and valid for six months.
Getting to Delhi
Indira Gandhi International Airport is just about 20 minutes away from central Delhi (When driving without traffic); it is located in the west of the city and almost the main point for many travelers. There are three types of transport that can be used to move from the airport to your hostel, hotel or any place; first is by The Delhi Airport Metro Express. The first train operating timings are from 04:45 AM to 11:15 PM every 20 minutes; the one-way fare between the airport and New Delhi Metro Station is Rs 150 (About $2.5). The journey time is 20 min.
Option number two is by bus. The Delhi Transport Corporation is the main public transport operator of Delhi, and connects almost every part of Delhi with a network of buses. The bus departs from both airport terminals every 60 minutes from 10AM-10:30PM, One-way fare: Rs 50 (about less than $1) per adult, Rs 25 per child below 12 years, Rs 25 for heavy luggage. Please note that there are two types of buss, non-A/C (Green) and A/C buses (Red).
Option number three is by taxi. There are three methods to have a taxi; 1- arranges transport ahead of time through your hotel (some hotels provide this service for free) this is safe and easy way. 2- Pay for a taxi at the prepaid taxi booths in the international terminal; the safest way to do so is the pre-paid booth run by Delhi Police (you can note them as soon as you exit customs) this costs Rs 200 – 300, which is about $3.5-5 . 3- Book and rent taxi online, this is more expensive than the previous options (About $5-17), but you can choose among many types of air-conditional cars. Using taxi is the best choice if you'd prefer to go directly to your destination, or arriving late at night, anyway, here are some advices when using taxi; 1- Do not pay additional payments to the driver. 2- When you reach your destination, take your baggage first. 3- Try to have an idea about the way between the airport and your destination using google maps and the estimated transit time before you travel.
Buses arrive in Delhi from every part of India, as well as Nepal in the north-east of India. The Delhi Transport Corporation is the major operator, other operator are:
ANAND VIHAR: Buses to points east. Cost is Rs 69-299(About $1.5-5) depends on the destination.
KASHMERE GATE: Buses to points north, including Nepal. Cost is Rs 42-280 (Around less than $1-5) depends on the destination.
SARAI KALE KHAN: Buses to points south. Cost is Rs 81-236 (Around $1.5 – 4) depends on the destination.
There are four main stations in Delhi where you can book a ticked and travel to any place, or travel to Delhi from any place in India.
New Delhi Railway Station:
The main railway station in Delhi is the New Delhi Railway Station, which located in central between Ajmeri Gate and Paharganj. This station is very crowded, where it handles over 300 trains and 500,000 passengers every day.
Delhi Railway Station:
Also called Delhi Junction or Old Delhi Railway Station (station code DLI), it is located between Chandni Chowk and Kashmiri Gate (Delhi). This station is less crowded (but still huge and confusing) than the New Delhi Railway Station, where it handles about 180,000 passengers and 200 trains every day.
Hazrat Nizamuddin (code NZM) is located approximately 7 km to the South of New Delhi Railway Station. It is the departure point of many trains heading to cities in the south such like Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Pune, Jabalpur and more. The station has a good food court that sells inexpensive hygienic takeaway snacks including sandwiches and samosas.
This is the newest stating in Delhi (opened in 2010), located well to the east of the city near Ghaziabad - Delhi Border.
Delhi is a crowded city; tourism is one of the sources of income for local, it is axiomatic in Delhi that the prices are high for tourists. Anyway, Delhi is a colorful place and getting around is an adventure!
Metro is a very good choice, where it is cheap, fast, air-conditioned and clean. The Metro trains run from 6 A.M. in the morning until 11 P.M. Metro trains are available at a frequency of 3.30 minutes during peak time.
To choose Your Journey and Ticket options, check the charts that displayed prominently when you enter the station.
There are three Types of Tickets:
Smart Card/Travel Card:
The smart card is convenient for the frequent commuter. Smart card can be purchased at a security deport of less than one dollar.
The tourist is for unlimited travel over short periods. There are two kinds of cards - 1 day and 3 day. Value of 1-Day Card: Rs 150 (around $2.5) Value of 3-Day Card: Rs 300 (around $5) Refundable Deposit: Rs 50 (less than one dollar)/- payable at purchase (refundable on return of card)
For a single journey only. Tokens are valid only on the day of purchase and the value depends on the destination. Look up the fare for your destination station on the Token table. It is worth mentioning that there are separate cabins for women in the head of all trains; this is very useful during rush hour, and makes travel for women very safe and comfortable.
Delhi Transport Corporation has the World's largest fleet of public transport; it is cheap and appropriate to the environment of Delhi, and connects almost all parts of Delhi. What is negative about buses is the crowd (almost all time) and the routs to the destination are not well written, anyway, always ask about your way in the bus station. The fare of the air-conditioned buses (red) is between Rs 10- 25 (less than half dollar) for adults, and between Rs 5-13 for children. The fare of none air-conditioned buses is between Rs 5 – 15 for adults and Rs 3 – 8 for children.
If you are planning to go little far within\around Delhi, then a taxi is a good choice. Most trips around the city should be Rs 200-500 (around $3-9). However, use the following fares as reference:
A) AC taxis: Rs 25 (around $0.40)/- for first Kilometer, then Rs 16.00/ for every additional Kilometer.
B) Non-AC taxis: Rs 25 (around $0.40)/- for first Kilometer, then Rs then Rs 14.00/- per Kilometer.
C) Night charges: 25% of the fare (11:00 PM to 5:00 AM).
D) Waiting charges: Rs 30/- per hour or part thereof (Subject to a minimum of 15 minutes stay)
E) Luggage: Rs. 10/- shall be charged as extra luggage charges (shopping bags and small bags are not included)
By Radio taxi
Radio taxi services provide modern vehicles with air-conditioning and GPS and can be dialed 24 hr/day. This is safe, clean, comfortable, efficient, cost-effective yet sophisticated, and personalized public transport system. The radio taxis are fitted with GPRS technology, digital fare meters and thermal printers for issuing bill/receipt etc. Fare is Rs 20, and the fare increases by Rs 5 for every 250 m after the first km.
To take advantage of this service, you should book in advance (few hours), after booking, you will receive an SMS with the car license plate number, and the driver's name and mobile number. Usually the driver will call you and inform you that he's arrived.
A few leading radio taxi operators' numbers:
Delhi Cab: 91-11-44333222
Easy Cab: 91-11-43434343
Quick Cabs: 91-11-45333333
Meru Cabs: 91-11-44224422
You can also rent a car for your planned tour; prices depend on the type of the chosen vehicle. An economic class air-conditioned car may cost Rs 650 (around $11) for four hours; while luxury class (like Mercedes) may cost you Rs 4000 (around $60).
You can book your car from many rental car offices in Delhi, or online from here; this website also offers car rental packages from Delhi to many places around the city for duration of 1 – 30 days, prices start at Rs 5900 (around $99).
Auto rickshaws are great for short trips inside the city, they are less expensive than taxis, they can be hailed from the street, and they take you to the doorstep of your destination. Auto rickshaws can seat three people in the back.
Fares are as following:
* Rs 25 (around $0.50)/- for first fall of 2 Kilometer (upon downing the meter) and thereafter Rs. 8/- per Kilometer for every additional Kilometer.
* Night charges: 25% of the fare (11:00 PM to 5:00 AM).
* Waiting charges: Rs 30/- per hour or part thereof (Subject to a minimum of 15 minutes stay).
* Luggage: Rs. 7.50/- shall be charged as extra luggage. Shopping bag\small suitcases are not included.
In general, a short trip within the city may cost you Rs 30-40 (around $ 0.70), a long trip within the city may cost you Rs 150 (around $2.5).
There is a safe way to overcome the exaggeration in prices that could be claimed by driver; it is using the "Pre-paid" Auto stands run by the Police. You just need to pay then upfront and they will give you a coupon and direct you to the next available Auto. When your journey is completed, you hand the coupon to the auto driver.
HOHO Bus Service
The Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus service provides sightseeing options to tourists who are willing to explore Delhi with a more flexible schedule. Passengers can hop off the bus, see the place at one's own convenience and hop on the next bus. The route of these buses covers monuments, museums, galleries, gardens, shopping malls, hotels and bazaars.
This service is very safe and comfortable; buses are Air-conditioned, there is an entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides (English and Hindi), and you can book your ticked online or on board.
Delhi Transport Corporation
Many of the hotels, hostels and guesthouses spread across Delhi; including local hotels and luxury international hotel. A one star hotel may cost as low as $8 with free Wi-Fi, air-condition and good shower .
A 5 stars hotel may start at around $60 and may exceed $250 with more services such as private parking, Airport shuttle, Car hire, Babysitting/child services and more.
Hostels may be as low as $3 with some basic services such as Air Conditioning and Airport transfers. Other hostels may exceed $30. Very good hostels provide better services like Free Wi-Fi\ Internet Access, Breakfast, Elevator, Credit Cards Accepted, Café and more
Many properties have restaurants, bars and café; anyway, there is always a good street food nearby! Staffs are good and helpful even in cheap properties. India is famous for its food, its spicy and colorful food.
An inexpensive restaurant cost around $4, very good one may reach up to $50. McDonalds cost around $4; you can order your meal online via their website , or visit of their locations in Kashmere Gate, Punjabi Bagh or Rajouri Garden.
Usually, restaurants offer a variety of meals such as Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, American, Italian and more. You can have a look at some restaurants in Delhi.
Indian Accent restaurant is a very popular choice for many travelers, the restaurant is hard to find but the food, service and décor worth it! The restaurant service Indian and international cuisines in addition to a bar and fusion. Prices are around $40.
You can also visit an Indian family and help prepare and cook Indian food; this is a great chance to learn more about Indian culture and their spicy food! A popular place to have such wonderful experience is the “Saffron Palate”.
Many tour companies (like City-Discovery) offer a variety of tours in Delhi, among a variety of places to visit such as heritage sites; bazaars and Indian cuisine (take a look at some tours at the end of the article).
A good one-day tour in Delhi may cost up to $130 to discover heritage sites and learn about the diverse culture of Delhi. Places to be visited include Red Fort, India Gate, Louts Temple and Qutub Minar . The tour provides good services such as pick-up and drop-off from New Delhi hotels, English speaking local guide services, entry fee and more.
You can also have a good trip to visit the Golden Triangle in four days, where you will visit Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Visit famous sites such as Taj Mahal, City Palace, Lotus Temple, and many more.
Some attractions to visit in Delhi
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Air Force Museum
Indira Gandhi Memorial
National Art Gallery of Modern Art
Lalit Kala Akademi
Garden of Five Senses
India Gate Lawns
National Zoological Park
Chandni Chowk bazaar
Things to see and do
There are too many attractions to visit in Delhi; here are some heritage sites of them:
The Red Fort located about one kilometer away from Old Delhi junction Railway Station, where a train moves every 2 mints (Mon-Sun, 5:00 am – 11:00pm) to the Red Fort in transit duration of about 9 minutes.
You can also go to the fort using the train from Chandni Chowk Metro Station, which take about 13 minutes. The Red Fort opens from Tune-Sun from sunrise to sunset.
The Red Fort is an amazing red sandstone fort built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built Agra's Taj Mahal) in 1648. It was the residence of the Mughal emperors of India for nearly 200 years. Now, Red Fort is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Delhi and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Cost of tickets is Rs 250 (around $4.5) for foreigners, you can use your digital camera inside, but you must pay Rs 25 if you want to use a video camera. Recommendation Length of visit is 2-3 hours. The fort has a light and sound show in English and Hindi, starts at 6pm and cost Rs 80 (around $1.5).
Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex, which was inspired and developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, and built by 3,000 volunteers and 7,000 artisans. The building had an impressive architecture and an amazing beauty, which show the spirit and beauty of Indian culture.
One of the amazing things that you can do in the temple is the 12-minute boat ride, where you will sail through the caves of Ajanta-Ellora.
The temple is often crowd with high security; visitors are not allowed to take cameras or any other electronics like mobiles. Entry is free, but the Musical Fountain costs Rs 30, you will also pay to enter the Hall of Value and the theater (around Rs 170).
The Akshardham monument in Delhi
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official home of the President of India, which was built between 1912 and 1929 and designed by the British architect Edwin Lutyens. The building is consisting of four floors and 340 rooms, with a floor area of 200,000 square feet, it was built using 700 million bricks and three million cubic feet of stone.
The building combines Roman architecture, the European and Indian. Indian touch manifested through the several circular stone basins, the traditional Indian chujja, statues of elephants and fountain sculptures of cobras in the gar of the retaining walls.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is open for visiting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, charges is around $ 0.5, foreigners required to carry their original passport for identification. Rashtrapati Bhavan located about 9 kilometers away from Chandni Chowk Metro Station, you can reach to the place from the station in about 20 minutes in now traffic driving.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (opened in 1783) is great place to feel peace and spirituality; it is a place of worship built of white stones and golden domes with a holy pool inside the building. The temple also has kitchen, a school, Baba Baghel Singh Museum, a library and a hospital.
It is free to enter the temple, but photography is not allowed inside the temple. Visitors have to cover their hair and to not wear shoes. Assistance to foreigners and visitors with Guides, headscarves, and shoe-minding service can be found inside the compound and are available free of charge. The temple is about 7 kilometers away from Chandni Chowk Metro Station and can be reached by driving in 18 minutes (without traffic).
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Humayun's tomb is one of Delhi's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife Bega Begum (Haji Begum) and build of red sandstone in 1572. The tomb Open daily from sunrise to sunset, entry is Rs 10/250, Indians/foreigners.
Qutub complex is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex consists of:
* Qutub Minar: this 73 m-high tower was built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak. The tower has five distinct levels, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top. The first three levels are made of red sandstone; the fourth and fifth levels are of marble and sandstone.
* Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque: the first mosque to be built in India with impressive decorations.
* Iron Pillar: A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled.
* Tomb of Iltutmish: Intricately carved alcove.
* Alai Minar: it was built by Alauddin Khilji who conceived this tower to be two times higher than Qutb Minar, but he died before completing the building, which stopped building at 24.5 m.
* Ala-i-Darwaza: A square, domed building.
The complex opens every day from sunrise to sunset; entry is Rs 250.
India Gate is located in the center of Delhi near Near Rajpath and about 10 minutes away from Pragati Maidan metro station.
This 42 m high gate commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.
You can visit the gate any day from morning to night free.
Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India. The mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. It is located about one kilometer from Chawri Bazaar, and open all days of the week, entry is free, but you have to pay Rs 200 (around $ 3.35) for photography. Please note that tourists not allowed during prayer hours.
Also known as lotus temple, it is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. This temple was built in the shape of a lotus flower and has won numerous architectural awards. Around the blooming petals, there are nine pools of water, which light up in natural light.
The temple is one of the most visited buildings in the world, opens from Tue to Sun between 9am and 7pm, entry is free but permission is required for photography.
Delhi has many museums which give the visitors deep understanding about the heritage and history of Delhi. Some of the popular museums in Delhi are:
* Air Force Museum: A collection of aeroplanes & armoury depicts the history of the Indian Air force & has a vast collection of aeroplanes and armoury on display. Opens every day (closed on Monday & Tuesday) from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
* Archaeological Museum: Contains paintings, textiles costumes. Situated in the historic Red Fort, the museum exhibits objects that date to the Mughal period. One section concentrates on the relics of the 1857 war (First War of Independence) like maps and weapons. It opens every day (closed on Government Holidays) from 9:00am – 5:00 pm.
* Gandhi Museum: the museum contains some of Ghandi’s personal belongings. It opens every day (closed Monday) from 10:00am – 5:30 pm.
* Indira Gandhi Memorial: Contains collection of rare photographs of the Nationalist movement, the personal moments of the Nehru-Gandhi family and her childhood. It opens every day (closed on Monday) from 9:30am- 5:00 pm.
National Art Gallery of Modern Art
Some popular galleries are:
National Art Gallery of Modern Art
Situated near India Gate at the Eastern end of Rajpath, it houses an excellent collection of works by both Indian and colonial artists dating from 1850. It opens every day (closed on Monday) from 10:00am – 5:00 pm.
Lalit Kala Akademi
The gallery holds the prestigious Triennale India in which 30 to 40 countries participate, and a national exhibition of photography and art is held. The gallery opens every day (closed on Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00am – 6:00pm.
The gallery holds regular exhibitions throughout the year of some of the best known artists in India. The gallery opens from 11:00am – 7:00 pm.
Some of the most popular parks in Delhi include:
Garden of Five Senses
Located at Said-ul-Ajaib in southern part of Delhi around two kms away from Qutub Minar. The park has beautiful landscaped grounds with green areas, art and sculptures, pool of water lilies, plants, food and shopping courts sell natural and crafts products and refreshments, solar powered buses, cars and bicycles.
India Gate Lawns
A popular evening location near India Gate. Where children can play on swings and slides and buy ice cream.
Setup above the metro station Rajiv Chowk . A nice green park with too many trees and pathways for morning walking.
A perfect park for morning walkers near Delhi Lawn Tennis Association.
National Zoological Park
Large green area with some animals like white tiger. Entry fees is around $3.5, photography allowed for Rs 50 (around $0.85).
Delhi is great place for shopping, where its bazaars let you feel the real India, its rich culture, spicy food and the colorful lifestyle. Here are some popular bazaars in Delhi:
Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, and one of India's largest wholesale markets. You can find anything in this crowded place such like Indian food, delicacies and sweets, books, clothing, shoes and leather goods, electronic and consumer goods.
This is another famous market in New Delhi, where you can buy many cheap goods (Especially clothes). In this market, you can find many nice items such as Kashmiri wool shawls and scarves, Indian Kurtis and Churidars brass ornaments and artifacts, carpets, Himalayan arts and crafts, musical instruments, wall hangings, necklaces, chunky jewellery, drums, horns and postcards, and other gift items. Don’t forget to bargain to get even better prices!
Palika Bazaar is an underground market in the center of Connaught Place. Palika Bazaar hosts 380 numbered shops selling a diverse range of cheap items. The market is famous for its illegal products such as CDs, software, PC games and movies.
Sadar Bazaar is the largest wholesale market of household items and other items like toys, imitation jewellery, stationery, Indian food, sweets, Chinese goods, clothing, shoes and leather items and electronic in Delhi.
Good New Delhi tours deals from City-Discovery at very good prices and services from here.