TOURIST OFFICES IN DELHI
Delhi has launched a 24-hour helpline for foreigners: 91-1800-11-1363. Delhi Walks offers tours of Old Delhi’s bazaars and other sights. Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation Ltd. represents the state government in promoting Delhi as a tourist destination. DTTDC facilitates tourists through its various mediums for all tourism related activities in the city.
18-A, D.D.A.SCO Complex, Defence Colony,
New Delhi - 24,
Tel: 91-11-24647005, 24698431, 24618026
Fax : 91-11-24697352, 24610500
Tourist Central Reservation Office
Tel: 91-11-23365358, 23363607
Tourist Information cum Booking office in Delhi :
Central Reservation Office, Coffee Home-1, Baba Kharak Singh Marg,
Tel: 23365358, 23363607, Fax: 23367322
I-Center, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi-110001
New Delhi Railway Station (PaharGanj side, Near Exit Gate no. 1)
Dilli Haat - INA
Domestic Airport- T-1 (Arrival)
According to to Lonely Planet: For foreigners it’s easiest to make train ticket bookings at the helpful International Tourist Bureau inside New Delhi Railway Station. Do not believe anyone who tells you it has shifted, closed or burnt down – this is a scam to divert you elsewhere. It's located through the main entrance to the station, and up steps to the 1st floor. First take a queuing number. While you wait for your number, go to the information desk to one side of the room to get details of your journey. Once you know which train you wish to book, fill in one of the passenger booking slips and take it, along with your passport, to the booking desks once your number has come up. You can pay with cash or card.
1st fl, New Delhi Train Station
Orientation in Delhi
Delhi is located in north-central India. Historically, its development took place inside a triangular piece of land with the Yamuna River on one side and the northern range of the Aravalli hills on the other two sides. New Delhi is located beside the old city of Delhi on the Yamuna River. Old Delhi has many narrow streets. New Delhi has many wide avenues. Traffic is chaotic in both sections of the city.
Old and New Delhi comprise the federal territory of Delhi (similar in status to the District of Columbia in the U.S.). Most sights of interest to foreigners are on the east side of the Yamuna (or Jumna) River and inside the Ring Road, which encircles an area that is about eight kilometers (five miles) by eight kilometers.
Connaught Place (properly known as Rajiv Gandhi Chowk) is a traffic circle situated at the center of Delhi, with the heart of Old Delhi to the northeast and the heart of New Delhi to the south. It and India Gate, at the center of another large traffic circle, are like the center of two wheels out of which many important streets radiate outward like spokes on a wheel. Rajpat is the grand thoroughfare between India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhavan (the president’s home).Jan Path has five-star hotels, good restaurants and shopping malls.
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The historic area of Delhi is comprised of four precincts: Mehrauli, Nizamuddin, Shahjahanabad and New Delhi. Similar to the city planning concept of Islamic cities like Lahore, Cairo and Tunis, Delhi has primary axis leading to a central place of worship flanked by shops on either side. The secondary and tertiary roads were further segregated based on its functional need. Often the roads leading to the residential quarters would end in a cul de sac. [Source: Permanent Delegation of India to UNESCO]
The old city of Delhi is a vivid contrast to the spacious, orderliness of New Delhi. Jama Masjid and the majestic Red Fort lie amid narrow, crooked streets teeming with humanity, vehicles, produce, and animals. Chandni Chowk in the heart of Delhi is jammed with shoppers, vendors, conveyances, temples, mosques, and small shops selling everything from spices to expensive jewelry. Qutab Minar, a 13th-century minaret over 240 feet high, stands amid ruins outside the city limits. New Delhi is filled with massive forts, palaces, and grand tombs built over the centuries by Delhi's various rulers.
Old Delhi (centered around Jamal Mosque) refers to the old pre-British city north of Connaught Circle. Walled off from New Delhi, it is filled with old Muslim neighborhoods called “mohallas” and has many building dating back to Mughals, including Chandni Chauk (Moonlight Crossing), the 300-year-old Red Fort, and a small hospital run by the Jains for sick and injured birds.
In the midst of the maze-like Chandni Chowk (moonlight street), stands the glorious Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the country. A stone's throw away is the pride of Delhi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Red Fort, a legacy of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. A smattering of old forts, the iconic Qutub Minar and ancient temples stand as archaeological gems of the capital, paying tribute to the great Mughal kings who ruled their empire from Delhi.
The heart of Old Delhi is Shajahanabad, an area built by the great Mughal Shah Jahan. The Islamic city of Shahjahanabad was designed based on ideas and ideals of Persian city planning and the Indian text of Vastu Shastra. No segregation of the city was done based on religion which makes no analogues anywhere else In town planning of an Islamic city. A similar idiom of town planning was followed during for New Delhi where not only Indian principles but also the concept of "Garden City" was applied thus defining the uniqueness of Delhi in terms of its urban fabric based on influences and design principles of both Islamic, Persian and Hindu Principles.
Mehrauli zone includes the original extent of the walled city of Lai Kot extending south to include Mehrauli village which houses the dargah of the early 13th C sufi saint, Qutubuddin Baktiyar Kaki and the Mehrauli Archaeological Path. This precinct has seen more than 900 years of continuous habitation,Nizamuddin precinct which saw considerable building activity in the form of tombs and mosques. Impressive complexes Iike Humayun's Tomb are located here.
New Delhi refers to the new part of the city built by the British in the early 1900s. It is the more spacious city south of Connaught. It was designed by the British with clean lines and ordiliness. Most of the museums, government building sand colonial homes built by the British are in New Delhi. South of British-built New Delhi is a fairly affluent area of middle-class apartment building and modern commercial highrises.
New Delhi is located in north-central India beside the old city of Delhi on the Yamuna River. The capital of modern-day India traces its roots to King George V's triumphant tour of India in 1911. While encamped on the outskirts of Delhi, the King announced that the capital of British India would be shifted from Kolkata to a new city to be built beside the ancient city of Delhi.
The more modern counterpart of the capital, New Delhi, is home to the powerseat of the world's largest democracy, speckled with iconic government structures, glitzy malls, sprawling residential complexes, plush restaurants and cafes, grand temples and lush gardens. A Union Territory, it is home to awe-inspiring structures like the Indian Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhawan or the President's residence, and Raj Ghat (the memorial of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi), along with neighbourhoods like Connaught Place and Lodhi Colony.
According to a report submitted to UNESCO: The city designed by Sir Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker, redefined the architecture and urbanism of Delhi in the process of addressing contemporary imperatives. At its core is the central vista, Kingsway (now Rajpath) with iconic buildings, the Rashtrapati Bhawan located on Raisina Hill, flanked by the large blocks of Secretariat buildings at the northern end, sweeping eastward to a hexagonal roundabout, India Gate. The main cross axis, Queensway (now Janpath) runs south from the business district, Connaught Place. The rest of the city has a range of avenues, from a modest 60 feet to 300 hundred feet, with the grand axis of 440 feet, and a planted parkway of several avenues of trees.
The design blends the two dominant themes of early twentieth century city planning— the City Beautiful (vistas) and the Garden City (verdure), concepts that had world relevance in city planning of the early twentieth century. The genius of the design Iies in its integration of vista and verdure. In the architecture of the buildings, Indian elements and motifs were used, drawing Inspiration from Buddhist religious complexes on the one hand, and Mughal buildings and the bungalow on the other. The overwhelming aesthetic within which these elements were deployed captured the spirit of syncretism evident in Delhi for many centuries.
New Delhi, built between 1913 and 1931, exhibits an interaction of a different sort. Two traditional Western trends —The American 'City Beautiful' and the British 'Garden City' movements, were blended with the peculiar needs of British colonialism in India. New Delhi The original form and design of New Delhi, together with its location and setting remains unchanged to this day. The synthesis of the Garden City Movement and City Beautiful Movement, both very strong town planning concepts of the 19th century has been almost wholly preserved (with the exception of the commercial district of Connaught place which has seen some change in the building heights). The cross section of the streets with the original avenue planting is still retained. Having completed their life span these trees now need to be replaced and a comprehensive proposal has been prepared for replanting of the avenues.
Entertainment in Delhi
Most discos and nightclubs are found in the large hotels. There are few bars in Delhi. In the shopping malls in the suburbs you can find coffee shops and Western-style entertainment The India Habitat Center (Lodi Road) and Parsi Anjuman Hall (near Delhi Gate) host dance events and other cultural activities. Folk dances are sometimes performed in front of the Hauz Khas Monument. Khan Market in Delhi is a good place to see street performers and acrobats.
On one of the more famous hotel bars, Justin Bergman wrote in the New York Times, “Walking into the 1911 Bar at the Imperial hotel feels like stepping back in time to the final days of the British Raj. Named for the year King George V announced that the capital of British India would be moved from Kolkata to Delhi, the bar is steeped in colonial history, from the chairs used by King George and Queen Mary during their coronation, also in 1911, to the bartenders in bright red coats with gold epaulets, and the military medals decorating the walls. (Look for the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military honor.) Even the cricket match on television feels like an appropriate distraction as you sip a Saffron cocktail (brandy, rum, Galliano and a bright mix of pineapple, orange and lemon juices), 900 rupees.” [Source: Justin Bergman, New York Times, November 24, 2016]
Check out English newspapers with information on cultural events and entertainment sold at newsstands. A calendar of events and other entertainment guides may be obtained from the tourist offices. Also check out local entertainment magazines, the Lonely Planet Books and s and posters put up around town.
New Delhi has many auditoriums, concert halls, stadiums, and luxury hotels with grand ballrooms. Indian and Western music, drama, dance, exhibitions and lectures are plentiful, especially in the cooler season. Traditional Indian festivals are celebrated in Delhi, as well as all over the country. A few Indian theaters show English-language foreign films. Bollywood films are the norm.
The All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society holds regular lecture meetings and exhibitions of contemporary Indian art.Many restaurants feature Indian musicians. In addition to Indian music, local hotels and auditoriums occasionally feature performances by foreign jazz groups, ballets, and Shakespearean plays. Cultural centers of various embassies regularly offer special programs. The Delhi Music Society sponsors an international concert season. Entertainment placwes for kids include the Appu Ghar children's amusement park (Pragit maiden), the Nehru Planetarium (Teen murti) and the National Children's Museum.
Sports: Cricket and field hockey are often played in the city's parks. Polo matches are played at the Jaipur Polo Ground on Race Course Road during the autumn and winter everyday excapt Monday. Important matches are held on Saturday and Sunday. . Sports enthusiasts can also enjoy basketball, swimming, sailing tennis, and golf.
Light and Sound Shows
Light and Sound Shows (Son et Lumiere) are held at the Red Fort (Lal Qila) and Old Fort (Purana Qila). Every night the Red Fort is lit up in a smaltzy but entertaining light and sound show with voices telling the story of the fort, sound effects like thunder and horse hooves and colored lights illuminating the mosques and minarets. The one-hour show traces the Mughal empire's history in India and offers a glimpse of their glorious past as well as the eventful phases that led to their downfall. The narration has been recorded by legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan.
There are two shows every night: one in Hindi one in English. The cost of admission is not high. The shows are every day with the exception of Mondays. September to October: 7.00-8.00 p.m. (Hindi), 8.30-9.30 p.m. (English). November to January: 6.00-7.00 p.m. (Hindi), 7.30-8.30 p.m. (English). February to April: 7.00-8.00 p.m. (Hindi), 8.30-9.30 p.m. (English). May to August: 7.30-8.30 p.m. (Hindi), 9.00-10.00 p.m (English).Tickets: are available at the ticket booth at the Fort, up to an hour before the start of the show
The Red Fort (Lal Qila) was the first place in Asia to have a sound and light show. The India Tourism Development Corporation started one there in 1965 and upgraded in 1996. According to Trip Savvy: “Another upgrade is being planned. While it currently may not have the special effects of some sound and light shows in India (lighting is only used to highlight buildings), its narration is quite good... The story reenacts Delhi's tumultuous 5,000-year history, with particular emphasis on the Mughal era during which the Fort was built by Emperor Shah Jahan.
The Light and Sound Show at the Old Fort (Purana Qila) is newer than the Red Fort show but at the same times. According to Trip Savvy: “The high-tech sound and light show at south Delhi's underrated Purana Qila (Old Fort) is possibly the best such show in India. Introduced in early 2011 after much anticipation, it's called "Ishq-e-Dilli" (Romancing Delhi) and shows the history of Delhi through its 10 cities, starting from the 11th-century reign of Prithvi Raj Chauhan to the present day. It also traces Delhi's connection with the mythology of Mahabharata and Indraprastha. It uses cutting-edge projection and laser technology, including 3D in some parts. Akshardham (east side of Delhi, Akshardham Metro station, Blue Line) hosts a musical fountain, the Sahaj Anand Water Show at Yagnapurush Kund and the breathtaking Light and Sound Show. Starting at 7:30 pm, the show narrates stories from ancient Hindu scriptures. It is a spectacular rendition that uses colorful lasers, underwater flames, water jets and video projections.
Shopping in Delhi
Delhi regarded as one of the best places to shop in India. Items from all over the subcontinent are on sale. Streets filled with emporiums and interesting shops are located on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, near Parliament Street. The shops here offer crafts from all over India at government controlled prices. Chandi Chowk (See Below) is busy and interesting shopping area located along a Mughal era boulevard by the same name.
Markets catering to all your needs — from books, fashionable clothes and exquisite jewellery to accessories, electronics and footwear. Delhi is home to most high-end retail stores along with stores that give a hefty dose of vintage crafts and textiles. The commercial heart of New Delhi is Connaught Place, where state emporia sell local crafts. There are also lots of shops of various kinds here. High-end shops are often located in and around the five-star hotels. Janpath, famous as the capital's souvenir and luxury brand center, has everything from cheap curios to exquisite pieces of art. Five-star hotels have good restaurants and shopping malls.
At the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in Janpath and the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum on the corner of the Pragati Maidan, facing the Purana Qila you can see the craftmakers in action as well as the crafts. Sunder Nagar is known for its antique shops and shops with jewelry, brass ware and tribal crafts. The narrow street of Daina Kalan specializes in gold and silver. A wide range of factory seconds of well known international brands can be purchased at the Sarojini Nagar market. Art Galleries are located on Connaught Place, Hauz Khas Village, Tansen Marg, Rafi Marg and Ring Road.
Justin Bergman wrote in the New York Times, “Across busy Bhairon Marg is the venerable National Crafts Museum (entrance, 150 rupees). It feels like a lively village, with hand-carved sculptures and replicas of huts from India’s various states set along winding paths, an outdoor craft market and a courtyard where you might catch folk dancers festooned with red turbans and plumes of black feathers. The incense-filled Café Lota serves a mix of traditional dishes like Assamese black chicken (395 rupees) and a hearty Gujarati lentil stew with spinach and cottage cheese dumplings (315 rupees). [Source: Justin Bergman, New York Times, November 24, 2016]
““Hold back on your shopping impulse at the Crafts Museum — the selection is even better at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium, run by the government to support the country’s traditional artisans. There are exquisite silk carpets and papier mâché vases from Kashmir, block-printed cushion covers and quilts from Rajasthan, and splendid silk saris from Varanasi. With fixed prices and a no-hassle sales staff, this is about as stress-free as shopping gets in India.”
In Delhi wallahs like Cheap John, Honest Injun, Shining Rise and the Real MacKay still visit hotels to sell things like carpets, brass ware, embroidered shawls, Mughal paintings, lacquer boxes or anything else that can be tied on the back of a bicycle. Many people say that New Delhi is a good place to get inexpensive, well-made tailored clothes. An article in the New York Times in 2001 recommended Vaish ay Rivoli (25, Regal Building, Next to PVR Rivoli Cinema,, Baba Kharak Singh Rd, Connaught Place, Tel: +91 11 4150 2525) and Krishna Cloth House ( 65-A, Khan Market, Rabindra Nagar, Tel: +91 11 2464 9126). Both places are still open. Khan Market is a good place to shop for cloth.
Shopping Areas in Delhi
Connaught Place (properly known as Rajiv Gandhi Chowk) is a traffic circle situated at the center of Delhi, with the heart of Old Delhi to the northeast and the heart of New Delhi to the south. Connaught Place is a heritage neighbourhood that has been modeled after the Georgian style of architecture. Lined with a host of eateries, high-end stores, parlours, theatres and book stores, the market is the hub of most activities in Delhi. Spread in two concentric circles, Connaught Place holds a vintage character that is vividly contrasted by various cosmopolitan shops and cafes that are crowned with blaring neon signs. On any good day, you can see a number of students and office workers spilling out on the streets and enjoying the pleasant weather while relishing a plate of chaat from a vendor.
Santushti Shopping Complex (opposite the Ashoka Hotel in Chanakyapuri) is an outdoor shopping area in the Willingdon Air Force Camp. It features shops in white bungalows set on a greensward along curving stone paths. Shops sell clothing, crafts, jewelry and household objects.
Hauz Khas Village (or the HKV in South Delhi) is an arty pedestrianized neighborhood that was once a cattle village. It features a constantly changing collection of shops, trendy bars, galleries, fashion boutiques, vintage Bollywood poster shops and restaurants that serve everything from Indian Tex Mex to Tibetan momos. It is good place to look for unique and cheap souvenirs. The nearby Deer Park has picnic huts, and a lake facing tombs and religious monuments dating back to the 14th century.
Justin Bergman wrote in the New York Times, There’s a vibrant design and fashion scene, as well, centered in two gentrifying neighborhoods in the leafy southern part of the city, Shahpur Jat and Hauz Khas. In Shahpur Jat, the less-polished of the two, seek out Second Floor Studio for homegrown fashion labels like Antar-Agni and Péro; GreenR for artisanal chocolate bars; and the designer Ayush Kasliwal’s brass thali sets and incense holders. In Hauz Khas, the Ogaan boutique has designs like Pratima Pandey’s simple silk dresses with embroidered flowers and Kiran Uttam Ghosh’s billowy pleated creations inreds and golds. Nearby, Nappa Dori sells the designer-owner Gautam Sinha’s leather messenger bags and totes printed with India street scenes from vintage photographs.[Source: Justin Bergman, New York Times, November 24, 2016]
“Hauz Khas is a creative and progressive enclave that throbs with fashionable young people on weekends in search of release in a conservative city. Their hub is Social — a multilevel, exposed-brick-and-recycled-furniture venue that doubles as a bar and work space for entrepreneurs and freelancers (the hanging power sockets are a nice touch). It’s the perfect spot for a sundowner on the roof where old-fashioned dormitory beds have been converted into lounges overlooking a 14th-century reservoir and madrasa ruins. For a Delhi-inspired cocktail, try the Aacharoska (260 rupees), a take on the Caipiroska made with a lime pickle and served in a stoneware jar.
[Source: Justin Bergman, New York Times, November 24, 2016] Justin Bergman wrote in the New York Times,
“For a taste of Old Delhi’s shopping madness, head to the Khari Baoli, touted as Asia’s biggest wholesale spice market, where you’ll find everything from saffron to dried fruits and nuts. Stop at Mehar Chand and Sons, a century-old shop run by the affable Anshu Kumar, a master spice and tea blender, which stocks masala spice blends, chiles and teas from all corners of India.
Markets in Delhi
Every neighborhood in New Delhi has at least one market that sells fresh fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, and dry goods, oils, eggs, some canned or bottled items, milk, soft drinks, lotion, shampoo. There are also chemists (pharmacy), bakery, and sometimes a meat shop with chicken and/or mutton. The most popular markets among foreigners that live in Delhi are Khan Market, and INA Market. Delhi Walks offers tours of Old Delhi’s other bazaars.
Dili Haat (Sri Aurobind Marh, opposite INA market) is an interesting crafts market that is spread over six acres. The 200 odd stalls are organized on a plaza. It features artisans from different ethnic groups and regions. There is an admission charge to get in. It is good place to enjoy street food and shop for saris, bangles and handicrafts. You can visit the various food stalls set up by individual states of India that serve authentic delicacies native to their region. Visiting the haat is a unique experience as it gives you a taste of the cultural heritage of each and every state of India. Some of the items you can buy include brassware, metal crafts, gems, beads, silk and wool fabrics, embellished footwear, sandalwood and rosewood carvings.
Central Market (or Lajpat Nagar Market) offers a fine selection of jewellery, clothes, accessories and other fashion items, Lajpat Nagar market is a delight for shoppers. The main attraction are the mehendiwalas (people who apply henna) who have set up shop in the market, making beautiful decorative patterns with henna, all. You can also sample delicacies served at some of the oldest eateries in the area.
Sarojini Market features thin lanes that are crammed with shops and makeshift stalls, the market offers budgeted buys for a variety of articles. Paharganj is one of the most popular wholesale markets of Delhi. It offers good deals on local stuff as well as foreign products. The bustling streets offer a fine selection of handicrafts, hookah pipes, textiles, books, musical instruments and clothes.
Khan Market is a cluttered shopping center with a good selection of handicrafts, consumer goods vegetables and lacquered boxes and colorfully-printed cotton cloth. Ghaffar market is filled with consumer items like cell phones, hair dryers, Japanese electronics. One of the classiest and most expensive marketplaces in Delhi, Khan Market offers many exciting avenues to shoppers. From high-end brands to Ayurvedic shops, book shops, government shops and cosmetic stores, the market has a lot to keep the shopper intrigued.
Janpath Market (near Connaught Place) is a popular place to shop for clothes, handicrafts, paintings, brassware, leather products, shoes, imitation jewellery etc. The market boasts handicrafts from various parts of the country, as well as Tibet. Thus, it is also referred to as the Tibetan Market.
Chandi Chowk Market
Chandi Chowk Market (southwest of the Red Fort) is a long bazaar that dates make to Mughal times and remains lively today. Peter Jon Lindberg wrote in the New York Times, "The clamor of car horns and Hindi Film music drowned out the voices of children shouting "Rupees! Ruppees!" My tongue tasted of chapatis and propane. Sidewalk stalls sold everything from fake Zippos and half-burned mattresses to ancient disco cassettes. Cycle rickshaws swerved past smoldering heaps of trash, ice cream carts and rat carcasses. Men with neon-red tongues spewed scarlet streams of betel juice onto the pavement, while unattended herds of cattle lapped at the asphalt. squatting beneath the ice cream cart, thirsty kids sucked the cool water dripping from the freezer when the vendor wasn't looking. Armless men who scrubbed their natty locks with drain water."
Preserving the antiquity of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is a bustling neighbourhood that is one of the oldest in the national capital. It was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Sprawled right opposite to the Red Fort, it provides a fine view of the Fatehpuri Mosque. The name Chandni Chowk means moonlight place and the market is called so as during the rule of Shah Jahan, the area had a tree-lined canal, which reflected the moon.
Chandni Chowk is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways that are crammed with small shops, either selling delicious servings of snacks, sweets and savouries or offering budgeted deals on a host of products, including clothes. This medieval shopping site is stocked with almost everything under the sun, and you can get a fine selection of perfumes, jewellery, electronics, candles, lifestyle goods and idols of gods and goddesses. Moreover, it also plays host to one of the largest wholesale markets in Delhi, in which visitors can get huge discounts on several items.
Restaurants in Delhi
The best restaurants are generally located in the large hotels. Many upscale restaurants have musicians. Indian food, Chinese food, fast food, international food, Thai food, Korean food, Japanese Food are available in New Delhi. There are also some cafes and coffee shops. The Delhi tourist offices may have a restaurant guide. Also check restaurant guides in local websites and newspapers and entertainment magazines, the Lonely Planet books, and other guidebooks.
Connaught Place (properly known as Rajiv Gandhi Chowk) is a traffic circle situated at the center of Delhi. There are many restaurants here as one would suspect in a busy part of town. Nearby Jan Path has five-star hotels, good restaurants and shopping malls. New Delhi, more than Old Delhi is known for its glitzy malls and plush restaurants and cafes.
Hauz Khas Village (or the HKV in South Delhi) is an arty pedestrianized neighborhood that was once a cattle village. It features a constantly changing collection of shops, trendy bars, galleries, fashion boutiques, vintage Bollywood poster shops and restaurants that serve everything from Indian Tex Mex to Tibetan momos.
Dili Haat (Sri Aurobind Marh, opposite INA market) is good place to enjoy street food. You can visit the various food stalls set up by individual states of India that serve authentic delicacies native to their region. Central Market (or Lajpat Nagar Market) offers delicacies served at some of the oldest eateries in the area.
Chandni Chowk (southwest of the Red Fort) is perhaps most popular for its food, which was relished by personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and others. As you explore the culinary riches of the market, start with the Old Famous Jalebi Wala, near the metro station. Sample piping hot soft and syrupy jalebis as you soak in Delhi winters. Food lovers can head to the Paranthe Wali Gali for an immersive experience. A noodle-thin lane lined with shops selling fresh and hot paranthas (stuffed flatbread), it is a must-visit. Next comes kachori-aloo (deep-fried pastry served with potato gravy) and dahi bhalla (deep-fried snack served with yoghurt). If you're visiting in summers, a tall glass of spiced lemonade never goes amiss. A highlight of the food scene of Chandni Chowk is rabri faluda (a sweet thick milk dish served with vermicelli). Many of the shops here are more than 100 years old and preserve a taste of medieval Delhi that makes one fall in love with the place.
Justin Bergman wrote in the New York Times, ““Old Delhi, the centuries-old, labyrinthine heart of the city, is crowded beyond belief — a gritty tangle of bleating tuktuks and rickshaws, jostling shoppers, and merchants dashing to and fro with sacks of spices on their heads. It’s not where you’d expect to find the Haveli Dharampura, a 19th-century former nobleman’s mansion that’s been restored and reopened in March as a boutique hotel and a restaurant, Lakhori. The menu, inspired by the cuisine of Old Delhi, is an eclectic mix of vegetarian Jain dishes and meat-centric Mughlai specialties, as well as street food classics like dahi bhalle, lentil dumplings in yogurt (350 rupees). The atmosphere is all the more magical thanks to the traditional Kathak dancers. In winter, there’s rooftop dining, with splendid views of the Jama Masjid mosque. [Source: Justin Bergman, New York Times, November 24, 2016]
“The chef Manish Mehrotra’s star is firmly on the rise. Not only is he at the helm of a top international restaurant, Indian Accent — No. 9 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 — he recently took his modern Indian cooking style to New York with the opening of a second branch this year. Mr. Mehrotra’s inventiveness is on full display in the chef’s tasting menu at his original Delhi restaurant (3,200 rupees for vegetarian, 3,300 for carnivores), a playful mix of traditional dishes reimagined with nontraditional ingredients. On a recent visit, it included baingan bharta, a Punjabi eggplant dish, served inside a cornetto-style cone made from sun-dried tomato flour, and a tikki croquette elevated with beetroot, a dab of peanut butter and caper-wasabi chutney. For a bit more ambience, sit on the candlelit veranda with views of the frangipani-fringed lawn.”
Transportation in Delhi
In Delhi, there are taxis, buses, scooter rickshaw, four-seat rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and horse-drawn tongas. Taxis and auto-rickshaws are readily available. Taxis can be booked at set fares from local taxi stands. You are not supposed to hail a cab. You must phone for one or catch one at a taxi stands. You can however hail an auto-rickshaw. Auto-rickshaws have set fares, but meters seldom function. Agree on fare before departing. Road risk is higher in auto-rickshaws.
According to the New York Times: “There are two reputable taxi companies operating outside Delhi’s international airport — Meru Cabs and Mega Cabs. Make sure the driver uses a meter from the airport. Also, Delhi has launched a 24-hour helpline for foreigners: 91-1800-11-1363.”
Delhi is well-connected with all major cities of the country through domestic flights. Not only that, a major number of international flights operate from the Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi. The city is well-connected by a network of roads and national highways across the major cities of the country.
Local Trains: Delhi Suburban Railway Services provides rail transport in Delhi metropolitan area and neighboring districts, including Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Trains are often overcrowded in rush hours. Delhi’s Ring Railway parallels the Ring Road, but lacks easy access to other city transport services.
Delhi Highway between New Delhi and Jaipur passes by Alwar (150 kilometers from Jaipur), a lake city with a museum and Sariska National Park (32 kilometers), with a large tiger and deer population. Agra Highway passes by Deeg (240 kilometers from Jaipur), famous for it Jain monsoon palaces, and the wildlife park at Bharatpur (40 kilometers further).
Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway is also known as the KMP Expressway. It is a two- or three-lane dual highway toll road; with four or six lanes in some places. It opened in 2011 and is a limited access toll highway. The road Links three of the largest towns in the Delhi’s National Capital Region: Palwal, also known as Faridabad; Manesar, also known as Gurgaon; and Kundli, also known as Sonipat. [Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), 2010]
Also known as Delhi’s Western Peripheral Expressway.The KMP Expressway has flyovers where the road crosses national highways. It has includes 62 pedestrian crossings, 31 cattle crossings and 27 underpasses where the road crosses village roads. Roadside dhabas are not permitted. The KMP Expressway has junctions with India’s four most heavily traveled national highways: NH-1 near Kundli (Sonepat), NH-10 at near Bahadurgarh, NH-8 at Manesar (Gurgaon) and NH-2 near Palwal (Faridabad). The road was built in part to ease congestion in Delhi, as it allows traffic to access Uttar Predesh and Rajasthan states without passing through Delhi.
Local Buses in Delhi
Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is the main provider of public transport services. DTC offers bus service on many routes, including the Bahri Mudrika (Outer Ring Road Service) and Mudrika (Ring Road Service). Bahri Mudrika and Madrika buses link areas of the city. Service is frequent. Closes at 10:30 pm..
Metro feeder buses provide transport to nearby metro stations. High Capacity Bus Service is available on a few routes. The buses are air-conditioned and comfortable. Transport times are shorter. Four routes have low-floor buses with GPS units on 4 routes: 419, 423, 521and 522. DTC also provides inter-city bus service on about 81 routes. The routes are in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir Uttarak and Rajaastan states. Additional information is available on DTC’s website (http://dtc.nic.in/).
One corridor of Delhi’s Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT) is open. It has links to Dr. Ambedkar Nagar and Moolchand streets and crosses six intersections, of which Chirag Delhi and Moolchand carry the most traffic. It has 58 bus queue shelters (BQS) with a Passenger Information System which allows passengers to check expected arrival time of the next bus. Problems associated with BRT corridors include: Bus-stops are in the middle of the road and these roads are often are heavily traveled, making it difficult for pedestrians to get to and from bus stops.
Buses may be dangerously overcrowded in rush hours. Buses routinely pick up and discharge passengers while the bus is moving in mid-traffic. Some buses seldom stop at bus stops, forcing riders to leap on. In the 1990s, privately owned buses accounted for 300 deaths a year and eight of 100 of traffic deaths were caused when passengers were getting off or getting on city buses. In the early 2000s, college students attacked a city bus, smashing the windows and beating up the driver after he ran over a pedestrian, the 224th person killed by the city’s Redline bus company in less than a year.
The Delhi Metro serves Delhi and its satellite cities of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Bahadurgarh and Ballabhgarh. It is by far the largest and busiest metro in India. The network consists of 11 color-coded regular lines serving 285 stations with a total length of 348 kilometers (216 miles). There are automated ticket machines, entrance gate with a token and swipe card system, and route maps and automated announcements in the cars. The tickets are relatively cheap. Some carriages are reserved for women. The system starts operating at around 5:00am and closes down for the day 11:30pm.
The Delhi Metro opened in December 2002. The first section to be opened is about 8 kilometers long. It runs from Tis Hazari near Delhi University in the north and Shaldara, a large residential area in the east. A second section opened in October 2003. Both were surface trains. The first underground section opened in December 2004. That 4.1 kilometer section stretches under the congested northern part of city. The three sections cover 38 kilometers. The service was expanded to 62 kilometers (11 kilometers underground and 51 kilometers above ground) with 60 trains in 2006. At that point the system cost $2.5 billion.
The Metro has helped to relieve air pollution and vehicle traffic. Around 4.7 million people use the system every day. The trains are quiet. the stations are spacious and some trains are driven by women. The system sharply contrasts with the chaos that characterizes many of the city’s roads. It is not the first subway built in India. Kolkata holds that distinction. When the Delhi Metro was introduced, people loved the system so much that many rode on it for the sheer fun of it. It became a tourist attraction for Indians living outside of Delhi.
The cars were made in South Korea and India and the trains were made by Mitsubishi in Japan. Much of system has been built with Japanese aid. Some 20,000 workers participated in building the first section. Much of the work was contracted out. Only 25 percent of the workers worked for the government. One reason for this was to avoid corruption and bureaucracy. The project so far has been built on time without closing any major roads even though it was built through some of the most congested areas in the world. As of early 2003 only eight people had died making the Metro (this is regarded as a small number). One of those who died was a thief that tried to take some metal braces that held up a concrete slab that fell on him and killed him when the braces were removed.
Metro lines in the city include: 1) Red Line, which links Dilshad Garden and Rithala. Connects eastern, northeastern, northern and northwestern sections of Delhi; 2) Yellow Line, which links Jahangirpuri and Central Secretariat; 3) Blue Line, which links Noida City Centre/Anand Vihar - Dwarka Sector 9; 4) Green Line, which links Inderlok/Kirti Nagar – Mundka; 5) Violet Line , which links Central Secretariat – Badarpur; 6) Orange Line, which links New Delhi Railway Station and Indira Ganhdi International Airport;
Buses Stations in Delhi and Long Distance Buses
Buses connect Delhi to major cities in northern India and beyond. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is the main provider of public transport services in Delhi.It provides inter-city bus service on about 81 routes to nearby towns, cities and hill stations. The routes are in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir Uttarak and Rajasthan states. Additional information is available on DTC’s website (http://dtc.nic.in/).
Bus Stations: Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) at Kashmiri Gate, Sarai Kale-Khan Bus Terminus and Anand Vihar Bus Terminus are the main bus stations of Delhi. 1) ISBT (Tel: 252-2698, 251-9083, 251-6985) is India’s largest bus station, is located at Kashmere Gate, north of Delhi Main Railway Station. Buses from IBST have routes to Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh states. 2) There is a new ISBT station in Sarai Kaly Khan near Nizamuddin Railway Station in East Delhi. Buses from the station have routes to Agra, Mathura and Brindavan, Gwalior and Bharatpur states.
Bus Companies: 1) Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (Tel: 252-2246, Tel: 38-3469) operates deluxe buses to Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Alwar. 2) HP State Road Transport Corporation (Tel: 252-1262) operates buses to Dharamshala, Shimla and Kull-Manali. 3) Haryana State Road Transport Corporation (Tel: 252-1262, 343-021) runs daily buses to Chandigarh, Jaipur, Pilani, Mathura and Agra. 4)Uttar Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (Tel: 251-8709, 331-5367) runs services to Dehra Dun, Mussoorie and Hardiwar. 5) Punjab Road Transport Corporation (Tel: 251-7842) operates buses to Armistar, Jammu, Pathankot, Nangal and Chandirgarh. 6)Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (Tel: 332-4422) operates buses to Jammu and Kashmir.
Train Stations in Delhi
The main train stations in Delhi are: 1) New Delhi Railway Station (Yellow Line and Airport Express Line Metros) in the center of New Delhi, the main station; 2) Old Delhi Station, also known as Delhi Junction (Chandni Chowk Metro, Tel: 342-333), in Shahjanabad area of Old Delhi, the main station; 3) Nizamuddin Station (three kilometers from JLN Stadium Metro, Tel: 331-3535), which handles some southbound trains; 4) Anand Vihar Terminal (Karkarduma Metro); and 5) Delhi Sarai Rohilla Railway Station.
Rail lines link Delhi and most larger cities in India. Delhi has eastbound trains to Howrah (18 hours) and Lucknow (15 hours); westbound to Mumbai (17 hours); southbound to Bhopal (7 hours) and northbound to Kalka (7 hours) and Jammu (17 hours). Make sure you get to the right station: usually New Delhi or Old Delhi stations. The Yellow Line Metro links New Delhi Railway Station to Old Delhi Railway Station. The Airport Express Line links New Delhi Railway Station and Gandhi International Airport. Delhi Station and New Delhi Station can be crowded. Sarai Rohilla and Delhi Cantonment are smaller stations. Nizamuddin Station in East Delhi has limited rail connections and is seldom crowded.
New Delhi Station (two kilometres north of Connaught Place in central Delhi) is the main railway station in Delhi and the busiest railway station in India, serving about 400 trains and 500,000 passengers daily with 16 platforms. Most eastbound and southbound trains originate at New Delhi Railway Station; however, some important trains to other parts of the country also pass through or originate at this station Old Delhi Station is also known as Old Delhi Railway Station. It is the oldest railway station of Delhi city and a Junction station. Around 250 trains start, end, or pass through the station daily.
Train Tickets at New Delhi Train Station: According to to Lonely Planet: For foreigners it’s easiest to make train ticket bookings at the helpful International Tourist Bureau inside New Delhi Railway Station. Do not believe anyone who tells you it has shifted, closed or burnt down – this is a scam to divert you elsewhere. It's located through the main entrance to the station, and up steps to the 1st floor. First take a queuing number. While you wait for your number, go to the information desk to one side of the room to get details of your journey. Once you know which train you wish to book, fill in one of the passenger booking slips and take it, along with your passport, to the booking desks once your number has come up. You can pay with cash or card.
1st fl, New Delhi Train Station
Delhi Train Station is one the most interesting places in Delhi. Outside the front of the station, taxis, scooter rickshaws, beaded cows and hurrying passengers move about like a swarm of bees on of stimulants. The human parade on the platforms of the station includes holy men in loincloths, Sikh soldiers with impressive handlebar mustaches, pink-turbaned snake charmers, homeless families, wedding parties, honeymooning couples, serious businessmen, bewildered foreign travelers and people of every shape, color and character imaginable. To keep unwanted pests away, ant powder is sprinkled on the walls and in flower pots near the platform.
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: India tourism website ( incredibleindia.org), India’s Ministry of Tourism and other government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in August 2020