There are a lot of ways to look at Delhi. You can see it as the crowded capital of India, the architecturally-rich heritage of the Mughals and the British, the melting pot of cultures or the place where development of India as a nation is most striking. No matter which aspect you choose to look at, it is only going to be a part of Delhi’s tremendous past and present, its geography and history as well as its heritage and culture.
To ensure that you get the whole picture, we have put together a five day plan that will give you a chance to explore Delhi in all its mind-blowing diversity:
Explore the Old Delhi
Why Visit: Exploring the ancient Mughal architecture, shopping at bustling local markets, and savouring a variety of street food at cheap prices.
If it was named creatively, Old Delhi would’ve been called the ‘Soul Delhi’ which would have been apt as in all of Delhi; it’s solely this area where you can still find remnants of Ghalib’s (an Urdu poet) romantic Delhi, Shahjahan’s royal Delhi, as well as the ambitious Delhi of the British. Frozen in time, it is a wonder how the narrow lanes of Old Delhi are able contain the vast history of Delhi and its plentiful architecture. Once you are here, you don’t even have to go looking for special attractions as at every turn you find ancient Mughal style ‘havelis’ (or their ruins), narrow lanes of traditional markets full to the brim with chaos, and an overwhelming cohort of people indulged in their own interaction with this quaint place.
Places you must visit: Chandni Chowk market, Gurudwara Sis Ganj, Patparganj area, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Khari Baoli Road for spices
Head to the Lutyens’ New Delhi
Why Visit: Explore the modern architecture developed during the British rule by the celebrated British architect Edwin Lutyen, and come to face with the cleanest and most well-maintained areas of Delhi.
As the capital city changed rulers from the Mughal to the British, the face of development also changed in the city. From domes and palaces of the royals, the prominent architecture of this time became the stately imperial buildings of the bureaucrats. As the area which is now called the Central Delhi developed, the colonial dream for Delhi became a reality. From planned markets and manicured gardens to elaborate houses of the British heads of the state; Delhi has taken first steps toward being the modern metropolis that it now is.
Places you must visit: Janpath Market, Gurudwara Bangle Sahib, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Cannuaght Place, India Gate, State Emporiums
Explore the Plush South
Why Visit: To witness life as it is lived by a new generation with more dispensable income, and to admire architectural wonders in this part of the city
South Delhi is home to some of the finest and most popular monuments known for their unique architecture, including Qutub Minar, Akshardham Temple, Lotus Temple as well as the Tughlaqabad Fort. These fine specimens of human achievement wow the visitors with their magnanimity as well as their antiqueness. Beyond architecture, the south of Delhi is known for its plush neighbourhoods that are home to the rich and famous in the city, a fact that has resulted in the conglomeration of some of the best marketplaces in this area.
Places you must visit: Delhi Haat, Garden of Five senses, Chattarpur Temple, Akshardham Temple, Hauz Khaz Fort, Nehru Planetarium, Khan Market, Hauz Khaz Village, Pandara Road, Select City Walk Mall
Explore the lively West Delhi
Why visit: For lip-smacking food, and for understanding the pulse of the city
West Delhi is wondrous, not because it represents Delhi’s past but because it comes the closest to picturing its present. Dotted with residential areas, cursed with maddening traffic jams (Delhi Metro covers most of the West Delhi), bustling with local markets; West Delhi is where you can best see an accurate picture of an average day in the life of a middle-class ‘Delhiite’. A paradise for food lovers, West Delhi spoils you for choice. There is an engulfing variety of restaurants, cuisines and food that you can try here at dirt cheap prices. It is also a great part of Delhi for some budget shopping, and for taking back an authentic Indian souvenir.
Places you must visit: Karol Bagh market, Rajouri Garden market, Netaji Subhash Palace market, Delhi Haat Janakpuri, the Pacific Mall
Cross border to the Cosmopolitan Gurgaon
Why Visit: To see the most modern and evolved face of Delhi/NCR.
To accommodate the ever-increasing population, Delhi has extended its reach to the neighbouring Gurgaon in Haryana. Thousands commute from Delhi to the ‘millennium city’ on an everyday basis which has resulted in the mushrooming growth of top-notch pubs, bars, restaurants and shopping complexes in the city. One of the biggest malls of Asia, the Ambiance Mall, is here as is Cyber Hub, an ultra-modern place for people to hang out, party and eat good food. Given a large number of expat population here, Gurgaon has some of the best regional cuisine and food stores in Delhi/NCR. The city of skyscrapers, Gurgaon has emerged as one of the most cosmopolitan cities in India.
Places you must visit: Sector 29 market, Kingdom of Dreams, Galleria Market, Golf Course Road, Cyber Hub, Ambiance Mall