New Delhi Travel
|INTRO||BASIC INFO||ACTIVITIES||FOOD||TAJ MAHAL|
- Main Airports – Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI)
- Currency – Indian Rupee
- Language – Hindi, Urdu, English
- Population – 11 Million
Welcome to New Delhi!
I visited New Delhi during my first trip to India in 2011 and had a blast! New Delhi is India’s capital city and one of the most populous cities in India. It is home to the legislative and judiciary branches of the Government of India. It is one of the largest metropolitan cities in India, with a rich historical background and possesses ultra-modern industries. It is the largest hub for Arts, Science, Finance, Fashion and Media services in India. Delhi has been the administrative capital for most of the dynasties that ruled the pre-colonial India, and that’s why one can find a great number of historic monuments around the city. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind during your New Delhi travel!
Packing & Basic Information
- Entry Requirements
- U.S. citizens need a valid passport and travel visa to enter India. Visas are mandatory, with six-month multiple-entry tourist visas routinely issued. For frequent travelers, I recommend getting a ten-year visa. I have this for China and India and am covered for both countries through 2025.
- Theft can be a problem in a big city like Delhi, especially in crowded areas such as bazaars and transport hubs. It’s wise to keep your money and important documents, such as your passport and air ticket, in a secure money-belt that can be worn underneath clothing. Don’t keep wallets in back pockets or carry valuables in shoulder bags, as these can easily be snatched. Never leave valuables in your hotel room unless it has a reliable safe.
- Time Difference
- Indian Standard Time (IST) is ten-and-a-half hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.
- Phone Calls
- Delhi’s area code is (0)11. For calls to Delhi from within India dial 011 local phone number. For calls from outside India, dial your country’s international access code 91 11 local phone number. One can easily acquire a sim card from an Indian network company, the tariffs are very affordable and have great coverage.
- Best Time to Visit
- The most pleasant time to visit is November to mid-February when maximum day temperatures average 72°F (22.2°C). The monsoon hits Delhi from around mid-to-late June, with the heaviest rainfall in July and August, diminishing through September. May and June are uncomfortably hot with average maximum temperatures of 100.4°F (38°C).
- Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) is a major northern gateway for international flights; served by several dozen airlines. The international terminal (Terminal 2) is about 14 miles (23 kilometers) southwest of Connaught Place. To avoid being overcharged, catch a prepaid taxi from the airport.
- Getting Around
- Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and auto-rickshaws (negotiate fares in advance) are recommended over the crowded buses. Several phases, including routes via Connaught Place and Old Delhi, of the Metro underground train service are operational.
- Food Safety
- Make sure you only eat at places that look hygienic. Be extremely careful with the food in general
- Always carry your own water bottle, and avoid drinking water from unknown sources.
- Delhi is a huge city, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes with you.
- It is advised to dress conservatively by covering your knees and shoulders when visiting cultural sites and monuments
1) The Lotus Temple
Among the numerous recognizable landmarks scattered around Delhi is the remarkable Lotus Temple. Its name comes from the shape of a sacred lotus flower, after which the structure of the temple is built. 27 flower petals, constructed in marble make the architectural feat a feast for the eyes.
The Louts temple is dedicated to the Bahá’í faith (a religious faith that believes in worshipping and respecting all religions). The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens inspired by the Mughal architecture that ruled India in the pre-colonial period.
Respecting the Indian culture, it is mandatory to remove your shoes before entering the temple. Lockers are provided at a minimal fee, or one can use the free shoe racks placed right outside the staircase that leads to the temple. Switch off your phones and relish the silence and peace in the temple hall. One can sit for as long as they wish and pray to their heart’s content.
2) Chandani Chowk
Chandani Chowk is the main bazaar of Delhi. It is one of the most ancient and populated areas of Delhi. Chandani Chowk is a great destination for shopping and eating. Chandani Chowk possesses one of the best restaurants and street food joints in the city. One can also find a variety of shops here: Garments, Electronics, Fashion and what not.
Chandani Chowk is also famous for its rickshaw rides and Delhi chaat. This is one place in Delhi you do not want to miss!
3) Red Fort
The Red Fort is located right across Chandani Chowk, and is a 5 minute walk from the main bazaar. This red brick structure, once the tallest structure in Delhi was the protective wall for the Mughal empire from outside invaders. It was the military base for the Mughal army, and still has the weapons used at that time on display inside the fort. Once can acquire a ticket for 200 Rupees, and take a tour of the Fort.
The inside of fort has some gifts shops too, if you need to buy something for yourself. One can climb the watch tower on the east side of the fort and get a spectacular view of the city.
There is no such thing as typical cuisines of Delhi. This is so because there is no specific identity of the city. With time, people from different areas of India came and settled, making Delhi an assortment of sorts. Slowly and gradually, Delhi assumed some of the aspects of the identity of all the types of people living in it, making multiple identities for itself. As a result, even the traditional food of New Delhi has no distinctiveness. It comprises of South Indian food, Punjabi food, Gujarati food, Rajasthani food and so on. However, there are certain food items for which Delhi is quite famous.
For example, Chandani Chowk area of the city boasts of the most delicious paranthas (a sort of bread). Infact, the entire area of Old Delhi is famous for the local Delhi cuisine. Then, there is the Bengali Market in New Delhi that is very popular for Chaat Papri, Golgappas, Sweets, etc. Delhi is also very popular for its roadside vendors that serve awesome local cuisine. However, before eating make sure that the place is neat, clean and hygienic. All said and done, one cannot fully explain the palatability of these dishes.
Moti Mahal Delux
Greater Kailash 1, Delhi, 110048
Cuisine: North Indian and Mughlai
Style / ambiance: An iconic name in modern Indian culinary history, Moti Mahal Delux began in 1920 as a small eatery in Peshawar and reopened in Delhi in 1947.
The restaurant has a long history of serving high-profile names, for example, Former President JFK and First Lady Jackie Kennedy placed it high on their itineraries when visiting the capital. The restaurant has certainly made an impact with food critics with its exquisite Tandoori food and lively atmosphere – and if you want a slightly more private affair you can take full advantage of the private VIP dining rooms.
ITC Maurya, Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Marg, Delhi, 110021
Style / ambiance: Grander and more majestic than ever, the recently renovated Dum Pukht continues its legacy of Awadhi cuisine.
The interior is suggestive of a bygone age, evoking a sense of old-world charm. The ornamental chandeliers add to the grand setting, a fitting backdrop for serving the 200-year old cuisine of the Awadhi Nawabs. Dum pukht is a process of cooking by steam, where the ingredients are literally cooked in their own juices to bring out true aromatic flavors. The heritage thus continues with a regal spread of sumptuous fare served by courses. Preparations like motia pulao rehmani, murgh chandi tikka, dum pukht badin jaan and shahi nehari are served with a variety of breads traditionally prepared in the tandoor in great presentation. As the grand finale of a lavish meal, desserts garnished with the finest gossamer of gold and silver add the ultimate crowning touch. The restaurant offers not just a stint with royal cuisine, but a heavenly experience that gratifies one’s appetite and senses alike. A massive hit among famous visitors, celebrities who have eaten here include numerous Bollywood stars as well as the president of Singapore.
The Spice Route
The Imperial Hotel, Janpath, Delhi, 110001
Cuisine: Southeast Asian
Style / ambiance: The Spice Route at the Imperial Hotel reflects the journey of spices from the Malabar Coast in Kerala through to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, and from Indonesia to Thailand and Vietnam.
The restaurant, which was seven years in the making, is completely hand painted with vegetable and flower dyes by mural painters brought in especially from a temple in Kerala’s Guruvayur. Designed on the principles of feng shui, The Spice Route is a treasure trove of antiques and is divided into nine different sections, each depicting part of the journey of life. Besides the stunning decor, The Spice Route boasts a menu that will hook the taste buds of even the most seasoned food connoisseur. Orchestrated with passion by the chef, Veena Arora, the menu is crafted almost artistically with gems such as chemeen thoren (Kerala style prawns, stir-fried with coconut, curry leaves and black tamarind and flavored with mustard seeds), tom yum kung (the famous Thai soup with prawns, flavored with lemon grass, lemon leaves and galangal), kung nang phad khing (stir-fried lobster with ginger and Thai black mushrooms, served in the shell), kaeng kheow waan kai (chicken in Thai green curry with pea and cherry eggplants) and phad phak (chef’s special stir-fried baby pok-choy with black mushrooms, flavored with soya bean paste). The restaurant’s courtyard transports guests to the wonderful world of Southeast Asia – adorned with traditional Thai sculptures, from the Chiang Mai region in northern Thailand, it is a visual spectacle.
The Jantar Mantar is located in the modern city of New Delhi. It consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments. The site is one of five built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, from 1723 onwards, as he was given by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah the task of revising the calendar and astronomical tables. There is a plaque fixed on one of the structures in the Jantar Mantar observatory in New Delhi that was placed there in 1910 mistakenly dating the construction of the complex to the year 1710. Later research, though, suggests 1724 as the actual year of construction.
The primary purpose of the observatory was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Some of these purposes nowadays would be classified as astronomy.
Completed in 1724, the Delhi Jantar Mantar had decayed considerably by 1867.
Located on the south bank of the Yamuna river, the Taj Mahal is one of the most recognizable structure! Constructed in 1632 and finally completed in 1653, the Taj Mahal stands 240 feet tall. This ivory-white marble mausoleum was built to house the tomb of the Mughal emperor’s favorite wife and attracts more than seven million visitors each year!
It’s no wonder it was declared the winner of the 7 Wonders of the World back in 2014. During your New Delhi travel, be sure to stop by the iconic Taj Mahal, not only to hear about its rich history but to also admire its beautiful architecture.