India’s historic capital is a treasure trove of culture, cuisine, shopping, and history with enough spectacular sights and thrilling adventures to last a lifetime. To the uninitiated, the myriad roads, traffic, people, and buildings can make Delhi appear more than a little bit chaotic and overwhelming; however, once you’ve acclimatised and allowed yourself a chance to process the commotion, there are multiple rich layers to be uncovered and explored.
Here are a few things to see and do in this vast and beautiful city.
Explore the Red Fort
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, the Red Fort is a majestic sandstone structure built in 1638 during the Mughal empire. Some of the structure is being restored, but the beautiful combination of Islamic architecture and British-era modifications tell a fascinating story of two empires. Big celebrations are held here on Republic Day, while the Meena Bazar hosts a stunning array of wares from local traders.
Seek out the street food
You won’t have to go too far in Delhi to experience the flavour explosion that is the street food! Sample pani puri (round flatbreads stuffed with chickpeas, potatoes, chaat masala, and chutney), legendary samosas (baked pastry filled with spices and vegetables), and chole bhature (chickpeas and fried bread) from one of the hundreds of street vendors and savour the beautiful combinations of spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients. A hot tip is to look out for dum aloo, which is a firm favourite in the Northern states of India and is the perfect snack for any time of the day.
Head to Barakhamba
Barakhamba is a 14th-century building consisting of 12 pillars and four beautiful domed apartments on each corner. It is thought that the monument may have been a tomb chamber, though historians aren’t completely sure. The structure is located in a beautiful park and is well worth the visit for the stunning Instagram-worthy scenery! The surrounding town is an up and coming residential area in which the famous PokerStars India Pro Player Muskan Sethi was born, and so it is an interesting place to visit if you’re looking for somewhere far away from the madding New Delhi crowds.
Wander the bazaars of Old Delhi
Some of the best trips happen when you end up meandering without a purpose through winding streets and bustling markets, and this is certainly true of Old Delhi. Every time you turn a corner in this part of town you’ll be delighted with sights, smells, and surprises, from the brightly coloured 18th-century merchant houses to India’s largest mosque. Remember to take a camera as Old Delhi is home to some of the most spectacular Mughal architecture in India, with charismatic buildings and gorgeous embellishments sprinkled throughout the city.
Meditate at the Lotus Temple
An architectural gem, the Lotus Temple is constructed of pure white marble. The symbolism of the lotus is that of peace and harmony, and many people come here to meditate within the cool quiet walls. Photography is not permitted and there is a strict code of silence to always be adhered to once you’re inside the building, so remember to turn your phone off before you go in.
Take a rickshaw tour
There are few more thrilling ways to explore India than on the back of a rickshaw, so find a guide who is willing to take you on a tour of the local areas. Chandni Chowk (Moonlight Street) is a great place to explore by rickshaw as it is the commercial centre of Old Delhi and is positively bustling with activity from the moment the sun comes up until long after it sets. There is an abundance of marketplace wares on offer here, and so a rickshaw is a perfect way to cart all of your shopping bags around!
The sights, sounds, and tastes of Delhi are a treat for the soul and the memories of exploring this beautiful city will stay with you for a lifetime. Whether you’re looking to explore the temples or the cuisine, Delhi has everything you could need and much, much more. So much, in fact, that you’ll be booking a return flight in no time!