The ancient city of Delhi, which dates back since the 6th century BC, is both a city and union territory of India and is the site of the country’s capital, New Delhi. It is the second most populated city in India after Mumbai with 11 million people, and is also the second wealthiest city in the country. Delhi is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely, Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb. Old Delhi, which dates back to the 1600s, boasts the striking Red Fort, considered the symbol of India that goes back to when the Moghuls ruled India. There is no lack of tourist attractions in Delhi, ranging from India’s largest mosque called Jama Masjid, which was built in 1656 and can accommodate around 25,000 devotees to the country’s largest museums, the National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art, among others. Other interesting sites on the Delhi map include the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, the Lotus Temple Baha’i House of Worship, and Indira Gate.
1. A Foodie ParadiseDelhi’s colorful vibe extends to its flavorful foods, which makes a trip to this city a veritable foodie heaven. How can one say no to the familiar and popular snack of paratha, which comes stuffed in either potato (aloo), gobi (cauliflower), or peas and lentils that vegetarians and meat lovers alike will love? One fun snack to eat is the gol gappas, or pani puri, which are crispy hollow shells filled with potatoes, some chutney and tamarind-infused water and popped in the mouth for a fresh burst of flavors. Those with sweet tooth swear by the jalebis, a sugary sweet treat consisting of deep fried batter soaked in golden syrup.
2. Colorful Festival HubWith Delhi being home to a variety of religions and cultural traditions — from Hindus to Muslims and Christians — expect a medley of festivals and religious celebrations all throughout the year. One of its most popular festivals, the Diwali or the Festival of Lights, is a major Hindu festival in either October or November where beautiful lights lit up the night scene in the city. The Bhai Dooj Festival, meanwhile, comes a day after the Diwali festival and is known as the ‘Day of the Brother’. The Eid festivals of the Muslims are also celebrated, and so is Christmas complete with the whole works of having Christmas trees, carols and gifts exchange with family and friends. One of the most fun festivals is Holi, often called the Festival of Colors where people smear each other with colored powder and throwing water at each other.
3. Abundance of Traditional MarketsIndia is known for its vibrant local market culture and Delhi is bursting with a variety of markets all over town showcasing local, vividly colored fare. The 17th century old Chandni Chowk is one of the more popular bazaars in Delhi known for a variety of wares — from saris to silver to homegrown spices. For really cheap prices with lots of room to bargain, Paharganj is the place to be. Chaotic and crowded, the wholesale and retail market has textiles, handicrafts, ready-to-wear apparel, incense, and what-have-you. For some hippy stuff, perfumes, brassware, and cheap trinkets, head to the Janpath and Tibetan Market. Other bazaars to check out are the Shankar Market, Lajpat Nagar, Phhol Mandi flower market, and Daryaganj Book Market.
Delhi Tourist Spots
1. Red Fort: Medieval Bastion of the Mughal EmpireThe octagonal-shaped Red Fort is one of India’s most popular monuments and top tourist draw in the whole of Delhi. Made of red sandstone, the imposing fortification is considered as an architectural feat back in the 1600s during the reign of the 5th Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort houses a number of museums and is where the Indian national flag is unfurled during Independence Day celebrations. Located in Old Delhi along the Yamuna River, the Fort has a 2-kilometer perimeter wall and remnants of the old moat. Tourists are treated to the Sound and Light Show featuring the history and interesting facts about the Red Fort’s history.
2. Rashtrapati Bhavan: A Priceless Repository of the PastRashtrapati Bhavan is currently the President of India’s official residence. Originally built as the Viceroy’s House during the British occupation, the building is also the home of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex, with rare artifacts depicting the country’s art and culture, as well as its history and heritage. Sitting on a 330-acre estate, Rashtrapati Bhavan has a staggering 340 rooms and is said to be one of the world’s largest residential abode of a head of state. Visitors can check out the lush, 130-hectare Mughal Gardens, and its many small gardens such as the Herbal Garden, Spiritual Garden, Musical Garden, and the Long and Circular Garden.
3. Agrasen ki Baoli: A Mystical Ancient Water ReservoirThe Agrasen ki Baoli exudes both a peaceful and eerie feel to first-time visitors to this ancient water reservoir. Located along New Delhi’s Halley Road, the historical monument is a photographer’s delight especially when going down the 103 stone steps leading to the well down below. In effect, the reservoir is an escape from the hustle and bustle above surrounded by office buildings and residential apartments. Many visitors even attest that the temperature seems to drop the further they go down the ancient steps and onto the submerged part of the reservoir. A protected monument as declared by the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 of the Archeological Survey of India, the step well has been featured in local and international movies.