Delhi Sights

Most of sprawling Delhi is best navigated on wheels—hire a car, taxi, or auto-rickshaw to get around. In contrast, the narrow lanes of Old Delhi are a walker's delight, though you can hop on a cycle rickshaw if you get tired. Most people speak workable English, so don't assume there will be an insurmountable language barrier.

The challenge Delhi presents is to find areas—beyond the Old

City—in which walking is a viable mode of exploration. One of these areas is the central British-built commercial hub, Connaught Place. "CP" is a tourist magnet for its travel agent bucket shops, restaurants, and shops, as well as proximity to a number of mid-range and budget hotels. It’s also the location of Delhi’s main Metro station and can be a pleasant area to meander along colonnaded circles, or people-watch in the central park. There are plenty of shopping options nearby, including the street market, Janpath, where everything from brightly colored kolhapuri slippers to designer overstock to incense and natural soaps can be found. Keep in mind that even though it's commonly referred to as Connaught Place, the name was officially changed to Rajiv Chowk, which is what you'll see on metro stops and maps.

Around the hubs of Connaught Place and India Gate is the British-built city. This is the seat of the Indian government, with Rashtrapati Bhavan (the Presidential Palace), the North and South Secretariats, Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House), and India Gate (a monument to British Indian Army soldiers killed in World War I and the Afghan wars) within a tight radius. Getting ice cream at India Gate’s huge lawns or boating in the ornamental canals here are "very Delhi" things to do. Many museums are nearby, including the National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Museum.

Also here are the palatial residences of the affluent and lavish government bungalows. Khan Market, one of Asia’s most expensive retail locations, is perfectly at home in this setting. It’s also the place where Delhi’s expats feel most at home, with its coffee shops and multiple ATMs. Down the road is Delhi’s green lung, Lodhi Gardens, and several cultural centers, including the elite’s mainstays the India International Centre and the India Habitat Centre (performances are pretty much on tap, especially in winter).

The mostly residential areas of South Delhi, West Delhi, North Delhi, and East Delhi (across the Yamuna) all have their own flavor, but visitors are most likely to venture into the neighborhoods, markets, and monuments of the first, roughly defined as south of Lodhi Road. In between semi-gated colonies are a good mix of urban villages, hectic alleyways, posh markets, and office complexes. Some of the city’s oldest monuments can be found here, as well as some of its newest monuments to modernity: the massive malls squatting southward, en route to mega-suburb Gurgaon. The hippest of Delhi’s hot spots though, is not a mall, but a gentrified urban village—Hauz Khas Village—with boutiques and trendy restaurants nestled atop each other along narrow alleys, next to a 13th-century reservoir and several Sultanate ruins.

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National Zoological Park

  • Zoo/Aquarium

White tigers are the draw at Delhi's zoo, which was designed in the late 1950s by the German designer Carl Hagenbeck. There are many...

Nehru Memorial Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

This colonial mansion, also known as Teen Murti Bhavan, was originally built for the commander of the British Indian Army. When the Viceroy...

Play Clan

  • Store/Shop/Mall

The design collective (also in Mumbai and Goa) has collaborated with the likes of Paul Smith. Popular items are cushion covers and totes...

Purana Qila

  • House/Mansion/Villa

India's sixth capital was the scene of a fierce power struggle between the Afghan Sher Shah and Humayun, son of the first Mughal emperor,...

Purple Jungle

  • Store/Shop/Mall

This shop is a riot of color wrangled into kaleidoscopic order by two French expats. Packed into the ground floor are bags, cushions...

Qutub Minar

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Named for the Muslim sultan Qutab-ud-din Aibak, this striking tower is 238 feet high, with 376 steps, and the tallest stone tower in...

Raj Ghat

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

After Mahatma Gandhi was shot and killed by a Hindu fanatic on January 30, 1948, his body was cremated on the banks of the Yamuna River;...

Safdarjang's Tomb

  • Memorial/Monument/Tomb

Delhi's last great garden tomb, built in 1754 for the prime minister of the emperor Mohammad Shah, is pleasantly located in the center...

Sis Ganj Sahib Gurdwara

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Old Delhi's most famous Sikh shrine is a restful place to see one of North India's emblematic faiths in practice. Built at various times...

Svetamber Jain Temple

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Properly called the Indraprastha Tirth Sumatinatha Jain Svetamber Temple, this splendid house of worship is painted head to toe with...

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