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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Delhi Sights

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Akshardham Temple Complex

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Rising over the traffic jams of National Highway 24 on the way to the eastern suburb of Noida lies a massive, 100-acre temple complex.

Bangla Sahib Gurdwara

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This massive gurdwara (Sikh temple) is always full of activity—no surprise, given Delhi's huge Sikh population, most of whom came...

Gandhi Smriti

  • Museum/Gallery

Mohandas K. Gandhi, better known as the Mahatma (Great Soul), lived a life of voluntary poverty, but he did it in some attractive places.

India Gate

  • Building/Architectural Site

Anchoring a traffic circle near the far end of Rajpath from the Indian government, this massive sandstone arch was designed by Lutyens...

Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

On October 31, 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot outside her home by two of her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation for her violent...

Jantar Mantar

  • Observatory/Planetarium

This odd grouping of what might seem like random modern sculptures is actually a huge sundial and open-air observatory. One of five such...

Lutyens' Delhi

  • Neighborhood/Street

Rajpath—the broadest avenue in the city—leads to Delhi's British capital: Sir Edwin Lutyens' imperial city, built between 1914 and...

National Crafts Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

Designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa, this charming museum near the Purana Qila houses thousands of artifacts and handicrafts.

National Gallery of Modern Art

  • Museum/Gallery

Facing India Gate, this neoclassical building was built by the British in the early 20th century as a palace for the Maharaja of Jaipur.

National Museum

  • Museum/Gallery

The facade of this grand building imitates Lutyens' Presidential Palace: a sandstone dome is supported by classical columns of brown...

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