Our New Delhi travel guide has everything you need to know for your travels to New Delhi, including tips on staying healthy, getting around, the best time to visit and the best time to book your flight to New Delhi. Read on and get inspired by New Delhi’s main sights, monuments, and some unique things to do and must eat foods to experience on your trip to north India.
New Delhi Travel Guide
The capital of the Republic of India, New Delhi is steeped in history and offers of beautiful sights to inspire any traveller. Head to one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world and wander the gardens at the Bahá’í Lotus Temple, explore unique attractions like the Toilet Museum (more on that later) go to Connaught Place for dinner and drinks and explore the city’s many outdoor markets and chai stands along the way. We’ve outlined the best of New Delhi here in this travel guide so you can make the most of your trip.
New Delhi essential information
- About 20 million people currently live in New Delhi. It’s the third most populated city in India and the largest city in the country.
- Hindi is the most widely spoken language in the city, but you’ll hear people speaking a variety of Indian languages. English is also widely spoken throughout the city, and many people get by using conversational English.
- The main currency used is the Indian Rupee, often abbreviated to INR.
- The exchange rate is around 51.90 INR to $1 CAD.
Popular Things to See and Do in New Delhi
The Red Fort
The Red Fort is the most popular tourist destination in New Delhi and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 17th-century monument with Indo-Islamic architecture served as the residence of Mughal emperors until 1857. Make sure to visit the Indian War Memorial Museum on the upper floor, which was established as a tribute to Indian soldiers who took part in the two World Wars. Entrance fee to the museum is 500 INR or around $9.50 for foreign visitors. Looking for unique things to experience at the Red Fort? A sound and light show takes place each evening from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. for an additional charge. Closed on Mondays.
Qutab Minar is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The soaring tower of victory and minaret was erected by Sultan Qutb-ud-din in 1193. The 240-foot tall complex also contains a mosque and an iron pillar. There is a local belief that your wishes will be fulfilled if you can encircle the iron pillar with your hands while standing with your back to the structure. Entry is 500 INR or around $9.50 for foreign visitors.
Located between Red Fort and Qutab Minar is Humayun’s Tomb, the 16th-century tomb of the Mughal Emperor, Humayun. The tomb is surrounded by symmetrical gardens and several smaller monuments. It is the first garden-tomb ever built on the Indian subcontinent and is believed to have inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal. It’s a large area and can be a peaceful place to wander for an hour or so. Entry to the Humayun’s Tomb cost 500 INR, around $9.50 per person.
The number one thing to do in New Delhi is to visit the India Gate. This sandstone and granite structure is India’s national monument. This arch was built in 1931, to commemorate the Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. The India Gate makes for a pleasant evening excursion, where visitors can buy a snack from a nearby vendor and take in the attraction that’s beautifully illuminated with floodlights.
When visiting the Red Fort, be sure to include a visit to the nearby Chandni Chowk market. This is one of the oldest’s markets in New Delhi and makes a great place to pick up lots of souvenirs like spices, silks and jewellery. Practice your haggling skills and take it all in. A not-to-be-missed experience in New Delhi!
Alternative Things to Do in New Delhi
Bahai Lotus Temple
Located on Lotus Temple Road, the Bahá’í House of Worship is said to see more visitors annually than the Taj Mahal. Opened in 1986, this unique lotus flower structure was designed by award-winning Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba. All faiths and denominations are welcome here, and visitors can enjoy the many acres of serene garden space and the worship area that can house up to 2,500 people.
The Lodhi Gardens
Retreat to the shaded Lodhi Gardens for an impromptu picnic and some recluse from the busy city streets. The gardens are located in the embassy area of Delhi, and it’s a pleasant place to wander during the day. This New Delhi attraction is spread over 80 acres and the historical gardens got its name from the four monuments of the Lodi dynasty, the last of the Delhi Sultanate. Lodhi Gardens is open from sunrise to sunset and admission is free.
The National Museum
The National Museum in New Delhi is filled with ancient artifacts, covering thousands of years of Indian history. Highlights include the Dancing Girl of Harappa, Relics of Buddha, and a five-tier wooden temple chariot. Give yourself at least two hours to take in the museum fully. There is also a small café inside the museum complex. The museum costs 300 INR, around $5.80 for adults, and is closed Mondays. There is also a 300 INR camera fee and audio guides are also available.
Sulabh Museum of Toilets
Yes. You heard that right. New Delhi has a Toilet Museum. And it’s definitely something to see if you’re into visiting quirky museums when you travel. While it’s common to find a squat toilet when travelling around India, there’s an entire museum dedicated to different sanitary toilets from around the world. An initiative by award-winning social activist Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, his idea behind the museum is to raise awareness of sanitation practices around the globe.
Other notable landmarks in New Delhi include the Rajpath, a grand boulevard where the Republic Day parade is held and Jantar Mantar, an astronomy complex and observation site. It houses with numerous sundials and other astronomical and astrological instruments. Definitely a must-see!
Must Eat Places in New Delhi
From street-side food outlets and tea carts to fine-dining, you won’t go hungry in New Delhi. Some popular local snacks include aloo chaat (savoury potato snack), momo (South Asian dumpling), and rasgulla (sweet, syrupy balls). Fill up on pakoras or chaat (Indian-style salad) at a street-side stall, and of course, butter chicken and biriyani. Drooling yet? Most of the restaurants and eateries are located in Connaught Place, Nehru Place, Ashok Vihar, and Paharganj. Explore these areas and you’ll find plenty to eat on your New Delhi trip.
Travel tip: If you’re having trouble getting WiFi in New Delhi (but you probably won’t) a handy app to use is Maps.Me where just need to download the maps beforehand, and you can use the maps to navigate around the city when you’re offline. This app has lots of user recommendations and you can manually add sights to the map, so it’s a good way to find some hidden gems and good eats.
For some cheap eats, check out Dilli Haat at Sri Aurobindo Marg, Andhra Pradesh Bhavan near India Gate, and Tadka in Paharganj and indulge in some delicious must-eat New Delhi foods. If you’re looking for fine dining, 1911 Restaurant in The Imperial Hotel offers top-rated Italian and Chinese food in a classy colonial setting. The Warehouse Café in Connaught Place is also another great option if you’re looking for a well-priced sit-down meal in New Delhi. There’s a stylish bar and a wide range of dishes on the menu, from American, Goan, North-Indian and Italian options.
Best Bars in New Delhi
The nightlife scene in Delhi is one of the liveliest in India. There are plenty of nightclubs, pubs, rooftop bars and more, offering a mix of music, drinks, and ambience. Some of the popular venues for entertainment include Kitty Su at Barakhamba Avenue and Nero Bar at Le Méridien. The Beer Café is India’s largest beer chain. There are a few locations throughout the city including one at Connaught Place, and they serve numerous international bottled beers and beer on tap.
Where to Stay Near Delhi International Airport
A short 10-minute drive from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Aerocity is a convenient place to stay close to the airport. The upscale Hotel Pullman features luxurious rooms, along with an outdoor pool, six restaurants and bars, Ayurvedic spa and health club. Another option is the five-star Andaz Delhi hotel. Spacious suites at this hotel feature original art, and their restaurant, AnnaMaya, serves dishes based on locally-sourced ingredients. The chic Roseate House is also close enough to the airport that you can request a room with a runway view! There are 216 hotel contemporary rooms equipped with luxurious beds and a flexible workstation. Roseate House also features a rooftop infinity pool and spa.Book Your Hotel in New Delhi
Planning Your Trip to New Delhi
When to Go
The best time to visit New Delhi is from October to March when the weather is mild and pleasant. Diwali, the festival of lights, is usually celebrated in October or November. Holi, the festival of colours, usually falls during the month of March. During these times, we recommend you book your hotel in advance since accommodation can be difficult to find during peak season for travel in New Delhi. According to Skyscanner’s data, the best time to book your flight to New Delhi is during the month of January.
Flying to New Delhi
Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) connects New Delhi with all the major domestic and international destinations. There are several cheap flights to Delhi from Canada and North America. To experience the sights, sounds and smells of the vibrant metropolis that is New Delhi, download the Skyscanner app today for the cheapest and most flexible deals.
New Delhi has a huge network of public buses operated by the state government, which also owns the largest fleet of CNG buses in the world. There are also a large number of taxis and auto rickshaws on Delhi roads. Renting a car helps you schedule your sightseeing visits at a convenient time. However, if you wish to avoid the extremely slow traffic and frequent traffic jams, then travelling by Metro would be the way to go. Delhi Metro, with 160 stations and 190 kilometres of track, provides a fast and efficient mode of public transport.
Travel from New Delhi to Agra and Kathmandu
One of the most popular ways for visitors to travel in New Delhi to reach the Taj Mahal is by catching a train to Agra. The train trip takes 2-3 hours each way and there are multiple trains available daily. Trains depart from the New Delhi Railway Station, near Paharganj.
Kathmandu in Nepal is a popular side trip from India. The quickest way to travel from New Delhi to Kathmandu is to fly. There are a number of airlines that fly this route, including Air India, Royal Nepal Airways and IndiGo. Flight time is around an hour and a half. A cheaper—and possibly more adventurous—option is to take a train from Delhi to Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, then a bus to the border in Sunauli. From there take another bus or shared jeep from Bhairahawa on the Nepal side of the border to Kathmandu.
Climate in New Delhi
New Delhi has a humid, subtropical climate. Summers (April – June) are very hot, with temperatures soaring to 45 degrees Celsius. Winters (December – January) are cold and foggy, with temperatures dropping down to 5 degrees Celsius, as cold winds blow off the snowy Himalayas. Monsoon season (June to mid-September) is wet, hot and humid.
Tips on handling New Delhi’s air quality
New Delhi is notorious for experiencing high levels of air pollution and smog. Despite this, many visitors still travel to the city. This Air Quality Index Map will provide real-time information on the air quality in India.
Here are a few tips on handling the air quality in New Delhi:
- Check the air quality during your visit New Delhi: There are sites you can visit to check the city’s air quality, including this one.
- Use an air mask to reduce your risk of exposure: Cotton masks are washable and widely available in India or purchase one before you travel.
- Pack a little travel health kit: Pack medications such as a nasal allergy spray, inhaler, or decongestant to help reduce pollution-related symptoms. The Government of Canada also has a travel health kit list.
- Get your shots: Consider getting immunized against influenza before you leave, as poor air quality can make the disease worse.
- Choose hotels or guesthouses with air purifiers: Stay in places with air purification systems.
- Stay inside during the worst times of the day: Heed local air pollution warnings and stay inside during high smog alert days.
- Don’t go for a run outside: If air pollution levels are high, limit physical activity outdoors.
- Listen to your body: Finally, trust your instincts. if you feel unwell, seek medical treatment.
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