DELHI – The capital city of India has its own charm. I am not saying this because I was brought up here. Despite all that’s said about this city, I truly love it. From the various monuments that speak a lot about the city’s history to the streets which speak about its character, this city has so much to offer.
If you are visiting Delhi, there is so much to do, but these 12 things should definitely be on your list. These are the places I love visiting over and over again and will probably never ever get bored of.
So lets get started!!
Khari Baoli Market
Starting with the most off beat location in Delhi. Khari Baoli Market is Asia’s largest spice market selling a variety of spices, nuts, herbs etc. This small street filled with hustle bustle has an aroma of its own (Obviously!). Hundreds of traders and buyers gather in the market for trading spices, and you will be surprised how trade happens here in such an orderly and organized manner. This place is also frequented by Instagrammers and is a photographers paradise. One can get a panoramic view of Old Delhi from here.
How to reach – The nearest metro station is Chandni Chowk or Lal Quila metro station. You can take a rickshaw and reach the market.
The next obvious one has to be the pride of Delhi – India Gate. This is one place that I have probably been to the most in life. From early morning walks to boating and enjoying an ice cream at night, this place can leave a lasting impression on anybody. For all those who don’t know, India gate was previously known as the All India War Memorial. The names of 13,300 servicemen’s , including some soldiers and officers from the United Kingdom are inscribed on the gate. If you are in Delhi, then this is the place which should definitely be on your list.
How to reach – The easiest way is my taking the metro and getting off at the Central Secretariat. From there its 7-8 min walk.
As Taqi Mir said – “Both heart and Delhi may have been worn out, but some little pleasures still remain in this ruined house”. As I said in the beginning, Delhi has a rich historical background. After Agra, this city became the prime capital of the Mughals. The Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage monument. The Qutub complex consists of number of architectural wonders like mosques, pillars and tombs. The best time to visit this place is during early morning as you will find minimal crowd.
Entry ticket – INR 35 for Indian citizens and INR 550 for foreign interest (weekdays). The prices are slightly higher over the weekend.
How to reach – The nearest metro station is the Qutub Minar metro station.
Open on all days!
Red Fort and Chandni Chowk
Its said the real soul of Delhi lies in ‘Old Delhi’. Its where you will find the famous Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. This historic fort in Delhi was home to Mughal emperors and was constructed under the reign of Shah Jahan . The fort’s artwork synthesizes Persian, European and Indian art, resulting in a unique Shahjahani style rich in form, expression and color.
On the eastern end of Red Fort you will find the famous market of Chandni Chowk. This is one of the oldest markets in Delhi which primarily consists of three main markets – The Urdu Bazaar, Johri Bazaar and the Fatehpur Bazaar. Though this area is supremely congested, the market retains its historical character.
Fun Fact – You will find tons of eateries in Chandni Chowk. If you are here you should definitely try some yummy parathas at the Parathe waali gali!
Entry fee – Red Fort ticket price for Indians is INR 35 and for foreigners it is INR 500. The Red Fort entry ticket for the Light and Sound show is INR 60 for adults and INR 20 for children. The weekend ticket rate will cost you INR 80 for adults and INR 30 for kids.
How to reach – The nearest metro station is the Chandni Chowk metro station.
Boat Rides at Yamuna River
This is one experience which will remain close to your heart forever! Here you will see a different Delhi. You have to head to the Yamuna Ghat, situated near a cremation ground. The ghats serve as a religious spot throughout the year, however during the winter months it becomes the home to hundreds of migratory birds. The best time to visit this place is at the early hours of the day. As the sun starts to rise, one can find local boat drivers begin taking paying customers (INR 50-100 per person) out into the middle of the river. These boats are filled with bags of bread and grains to attract these birds.
How to reach – You can easily find this location on google maps. This place is easily accessible my cabs and other modes of transportation as well.
Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli
Ghalib ki Haveli in Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk is a Mughal Era structure that is nearly 300 years old. The Haveli was gifted to Ghalib, by a local Hakim, an admirer of the poet. The haveli offers an insight into the life of Mirza Ghalib lifestyle and architecture. The walls are adorned with huge portrait of the poet and his couplets which are hung around the side walls. The haveli comprises of a chowk surrounded by rooms on all sides that open to this chowk and a museum too. Here you can get lost in the Mughal era and read some of the finest poems of that time!
Timings – 10 am to 6 pm
How to reach – The nearest metro station is the Chandni Chowk metro station. From there you can take a peddle rickshaw.
The place is open on all days!
Humayun Tomb also known as Maqbara-i-Humayun is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. It is one of the first garden tombs in India and is located near Nizammudin East. The tomb represents a leap in Mughal architecture and is surrounded by the ‘CharBagh’. The Tomb was constructed by a wife in memory of her husband. The Tomb is absolutely beautiful. Made of red sandstone, the detailing is captivating! The gardens around the tomb are lush and one can sit here for hours basking in the glory of this beautiful place (I can sit here for hours).
Fun Fact – Did you know the Humayun Tomb was the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal!
Timings – 8 am to 6 pm
Entry Fee – For Indian Nationals and citizens of the SAARC nations, the entry fee is INR 35. For foreigners, the entry is INR 550. The entry is free for children upto 15 years of age.
How to reach – The nearest metro station in Delhi JLN Stadium.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most prominent Sikh Gurudwara and also the biggest Gurudwara in Delhi. The Gurudwara is known for its association with the eighth, Sixth Guru, Guru Har Krishan, as well as the holy river inside its complex, known as the “Sarovar”. The grounds include the Gurudwara, a kitchen, a large (holy) pond, a school, and an art gallery.
The concept of ‘langar’ is practiced, and all people, regardless of race or religion may eat in the Gurdwara kitchen (langar hall). Anyone can volunteer to help keep the shoes in the shoe room, and cleaning the precincts of the Gurudwara.
Dress code – Individuals visiting the gurudwara are required to wear covered clothes, cover their heads and not to wear shoes.
How to reach – The nearest metro stations are Rajiv Chowk and Patel Chowk. From there you can easily take a rickshaw.
Majnu ka Tila
Majnu ka Tila famously known as MT is a Tibetan colony in Delhi. The colony is located on the banks of river Yamuna. This place consists of Tibetan refugees who settled here after the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Since then this place has created a distinct identity of its own. This place houses a monastery and Buddhist temple, preaching Tibetan Buddhism.
The Saka Dewa, Losar, Birthday of Dalai Lama are most famous festivities celebrated here. The area is also renowned for South Asian Cuisine (Tibetan, Korean, Bhutanese and so on). It is a must visit for the fashion enthusiasts and foodies for diverse clothes, bags, jewelers, accessories, shoes, food available there.
How to reach – As parking can be an issue here, the best way to reach this place is by metro. Vidhan Sabha metro station is the closest. From here you can take a rickshaw!
Agrasen ki Baoli
Do you know that Delhi is filled with spooky places?? Well not one or two, but a bunch of such places! Out of all them, Agrasen ki Baoli is my favorite (mostly because this is the only places I dared to go out of the many options available!).
Baoli means step well. Although there are no historical data to prove who built it, it is believed to be built by king Agrasen. The baoli was rebuilt in the 14th century during the Tughlaq period of Delhi Sultanate. The Step Well has around 103 steps. Earlier it was filled with black water which has dried up, but according to legend, many people who have come here were often led to the water and felt like drowning in it.
Many people have complained of being followed even when there is no one around! Quiet Eerie right? Despite being free of cost for people to come and see this monument, very few people really visit this place!
Timings – 9 am to 5:30 pm
How to reach – Nearest metro station Barakhamba Road Metro and Mandi House. From there you can easily take a rickshaw to reach this place.
Lotus temple is a beautiful structure established and dedicated to the Baha’i faith. This magnificent structure is created in the form of a stunning white petal lotus flower. It is one of the most prominent attraction in the city. The Baha’i Faith teaches that a Baha’i house of worship should be a space for people for people of all religions to gather, reflect and worship. The innermost sanctum consists of a central prayer hall which can accommodate 2500 people at one time. People come here to observe silence and peace.
Around the blooming petals there are nine pools of water, which light up, in natural light. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is flood lit. Entry to this temple is absolutely free.
Timings – 9 am to 5:30 pm
How to reach – Nearest metro station Kalkaji Mandir.
Closed on Mondays.
Evenings at Nizamuddin Dargah
If you are looking for a spot where you can spend a quaint evening by listening to Qawwalis then this is the place for you. Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi is the Dargah of the Sufi saint and mystic Sheik Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. The area is referred as the “nerve center of Sufi culture in India”. Every Thursday, the Dargah conducts a Qawwali session, which attracts crowds in number. The Qawwali sessions take place twice once at 4:30 pm and once at 6:00 pm. The evenings here are magical and fills the air around with serenity.
How to reach – Indraprastha Metro station and Pragati Maidan are the nearest metro station.
BONUS - Try out the street food delicacies
One of my favorite things to do in Delhi is trying out the street food. Delhi has a lot to offer when it comes to street food. From ‘Momos’ to ‘Chole bhature’ to ‘Aloo chat’ you name it and Delhi has it. Its a street food haven. You will find some or the other delicacies being made with love. My favorite places to eat some lip smacking food are Lajpat Nagar, Connaught place, M Block market – GK 1, Chandni chowk and Satyaniketan.
Street food starts at as low as INR 10.
So that’s my ultimate list of all the places you should definitely cover on your next trip to Delhi. There is much more to Delhi than the above places and I can suggest you so many other places! But if you are looking for a wholesome experience and have a limited number of days, then these places should be definitely on your list! You won’t be disappointed that’s a true “Dilliwallah’s” promise to you 🙂
Ik roz apni rooh se poocha, ke dilli kya hai, toh yun jawab me keh gayi, yeh duniya maano jism hai aur dilli uski jaan(One day I asked my soul: what is Delhi? She replied: The world is the body and Delhi is its soul.)