If you are planning a trip to India for the first time, it is going to be quite adventurous. There are plenty of things to explore and discover in the country.
New Delhi, the national capital of India, is a giant city that contains an overwhelming amount of history, culture, food, temples, life and everything else you could possibly imagine.
If you have the will and energy to explore New Delhi, India’s national capital will never cease to amaze you. Firstly, there is no dearth of interesting things to do in New Delhi. Besides historical sites, the city is full of cafes, bars, bazaars and so many other fun places. Secondly, New Delhi happens to be the only city in the world with a unique distinction of having three UNESCO World Heritage sites within its boundaries. Finally, New Delhi is a foodie’s paradise. From street food to fine dining restaurants, New Delhi is the ideal place where you can get acquainted with the amazing North Indian cuisine. There are so many things to do in New Delhi that this cultural capital can give some better-known cities of the world a run for the money.
Explore the Red Fort – The Symbol of the Grandeur of the Mughal Era in India
The Red Fort in Delhi is a massive fortress of walls of the Mughals, surrounding an entire ancient city. One of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in New Delhi, this fort is made entirely of red sandstone. So, the fort gets its name from the amazing colour of the sandstone that it is made of. It is also known as the Laal Qila by the locals.
Once you get inside the gate, you will be able to freely walk around the ancient city that was once used to be here. Explore the main structures, halls and mosques. It is not only a place to learn and see the history of New Delhi, but a quite world to get away from the crowds and noise outside the walls.
You can shop from the many souvenir shops inside the gate of the fort. Lastly, do not miss the Light and Sound Show in the evening. The light-and-show at the Red Fort combines artistic storytelling with visual animation. It will be an amazing experience to gain insight into the history of the capital through the wonders of technology.
Visit Qutub Minar – Delhi’s Iconic Architectural Marvel
Qutub Minar is a renowned UNESCO world heritage site and one of the top attractions in New Delhi. This 240 feet tall tower was established in 1192. It was named after its creator Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the very first Muslim ruler of Delhi. The minaret has five storeys. It is built purely from marbles and red sandstones. There is a spiral staircase, which takes you to the top of the tower in 379 steps. However, the staircase is not open to the public nowadays.
Visit Humayun’s Tomb – the First Garden-tomb on the Indian Subcontinent
Humayun’s tomb was built for the Mughal Emperor Humayun in the Sixteen century. It was built as a tomb but now it is a famous UNESCO world heritage site of New Delhi. The vast area houses marble tombs for many other Mughal rulers. Explore the charming premises of the Humayun’s tomb and see the elaborate Persian design. There is a small museum located near the entrance where you can get to know about the history of the tomb and other relevant information.
Visit India Gate – the Historic War Memorial in New Delhi
India Gate is a 42-meter tall monument, built as a war memorial in 1931, to honour the soldiers who lost their lives in the Afghan war. Visit this iconic and historic landmark of New Delhi not only for an educational experience but also for a photographer’s delight.
Under the gate of the monument, you can see a flame continually lit and the walls bear the names of each of the 13,500 people who laid down their lives fighting on the Northwest Frontier.
The best time to visit India Gate is in the evenings when the monument is brilliantly lit up and the beautiful fountains around it give the place a truly magical look.
Explore Traditional Hindu Culture and Architecture at the Akshardham Temple, New Delhi
Akshardham Temple in New Delhi is a beautiful place of worship. You also see exhibits, enjoy boat rides, water shows and relax in the lush gardens. The Akshardham temple in East Delhi is one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. The architectural beauty and decoration of the area are invariably awe-inspiring. However, photography and videography are restricted inside the temple.
Find Your Inner Peace at the Lotus Temple, New Delhi
New Delhi’s Lotus Temple or the Bahá’í House of Worship is a place to attain inner peace. It is designed in the shape of a sacred lotus flower having 27 flower petals. Hence, the temple was named after the universal symbol of peace. Having the entire complex made of pure marble, the temple in New Delhi is an architectural delight.
Despite it is the place of Baha’i faith, the temple is open to all castes, creeds and religion. However, photography is prohibited in the inner sanctum. It is the ideal place for meditation and praying in the heart of New Delhi. So, a strict code of silence is to be maintained at all times.
Visit Jama Masjid – A Marvellous Treasure of the Old City
Jama Masjid is the largest Islamic mosque in the city. This 17th-century building is an iconic landmark of Old Delhi and an important place of worship for Muslims. The mosque is able to hold up to 25,000 visitors. If you want to explore the architectural beauty of the place, skip going on Fridays. The sight of a huge gathering on Fridays is a scene to behold.
There are multiple entry points in the main structure. All of the entry points eventually lead to the main deck. Entry is free, but you have to cover up from head to toe. If you want to take pictures inside the mosque, you will have to pay a nominal fee for photography.
Partake in a ‘Langar’ at New Delhi’s Famous Sikh Shrine Bangla Sahib
Bangla Sahib is a Gurudwara or the Sikh temple located at the heart of New Delhi. Unlike the uneasy feeling of visiting Jama Masjid where you are likely to be pestered a lot, Bangla Sahib gives you the most comfortable and welcoming experience. Nobody will ask you for money, a donation, or anything, instead, you can enjoy free lunch(langar) with the other visitors.
‘Langar’ is a massive free lunch that they prepare every afternoon and share with the devotees for free. Most importantly, you will love the pure friendliness of the People in this Sikh Shrine of New Delhi.
Spend Some Peaceful Hours at The Sacred Heart Cathedral, New Delhi
In the centre of Edwin Lutyens at New Delhi lies the Sacred Heart Cathedral, which vies for attraction in comparison with the other stately structures surrounding it. The cathedral is a haven of peace and devotees from India and abroad frequently visit this place. The best time to visit the church includes Easter and Christmas as they beautifully decorate and light up the entire church during this time.
The British Architect Henry Medd was behind the design of the church. Throw special attention on the central altar, which is made of pure white marble and radiates a soothing and peaceful feeling.
Visit Rashtrapati Bhavan – the Official Residence of the President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the president of India. This beautiful palatial building containing more than 400 rooms. Apart from the president, the bodyguards, stables and other utility staffs also live there.
Visitors can see the palace on weekends by a resignation process. You can make an online registration ahead of time. One of the major attractions of this presidential palace is the gorgeous Mughal Gardens.
Take a Boat Ride at The Old Fort of Delhi
The Old Fort is the oldest structure of Delhi. Standing amidst wild greenery, there are three gateways of the fort. The first is the Bara Darwaza (Big Gate) facing west, which is still in use today. The second is the south gate, which is also popularly known as the ‘Humayun Gate’. Lastly, the Talaqi Gate, which is often known as the “forbidden gate”.
The Old Fort is also called Purana Qila by the locals of New Delhi. It has a quaint boating area. At its boundary, you can see the ruins of the Fort and the Delhi. Take a boat ride and you will feel it is the perfect place to relax with a backdrop of the historic fort.
Explore Jantar Mantar – the Ancient Astronomical Observatory of India
The Jantar Mantar is a complex located in the heart of New Delhi. There you can find a number of different structures used for astronomy observations. There are 13 different instruments for different purposes in figuring out the sun, moon, and planet cycles, and other astronomy measurements. The open-air observatory is a must-visit in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.
The walls of the structure are designed for astronomical observations. However, the walls resemble a maze where a visitor can get easily disorientated. It is often chosen as a place of protest by political activists. When there is no protest or event going on, you must visit this structure for a glimpse of the ancient techniques used in India for astronomical observations.
Visit Feroz Shah Kotla Fort – the House of Djinns
Feroz Shah Kotla fort has a reputation for being haunted. The location of the fort is Firozabad, the old version of the city of Delhi. Sultan Feroz Shah Tuglaq founded this fort in the early 14th century. It is said that supernatural spirits or Djinns reside within the fort. Tourists and locals visit the fort and appease the Djinns and he grants their wishes in return.
You can hire a local guide in New Delhi to listen to the spooky tales of supernatural and to learn about the many thrilling aspects of this place.
Khari Baoli – the Spice Market in Delhi
If you love Indian spices and want to buy some, Khari Baoli is the place to visit. Located in Old Delhi, it is Asia’s largest spice market, where you can find the most authentic spices at the cheapest price. Old Delhi and New Delhi are not two different places, but different parts of the same city. To get to the Spice market, head to the west side of Chandni Chowk, starting along Church Road, and there along the Khari Baoli, you will find the Old Delhi’s Spice Market. The colourful array of all the spices, nuts and dried fruits will surely mesmerise you.
Shop at Dilli Haat – the Biggest Handicraft Market in New Delhi
Dilli Haat- the one-stop, open-air craft bazaar cum food plaza is a must-visit attraction in New Delhi. It displays items for sale from every state of the country. Most interestingly, it serves state-by-state display of arts and crafts and cultural scenes of India.
In the evenings, the bazaar lights up brilliantly. The shops in it offer everything from decor to excellent food. Various events and festivals take place here from time to time. It is an excellent gateway for families and friends.
Tomb of Safdarjung – the Beautiful Mughal Style Mausoleum in New Delhi
Safdarjung was the Viceroy of Awadh. Built-in 1756, this tomb is the burial place of Safdarjung. The exquisite garden of the Safdarjung tomb was the last of its kind depicting Mughal architecture in Delhi. As it was designed by an Ethiopian architect, you may find that this tomb lacks the grandeur of the Humayun’s tomb. However, the stunning garden tomb is open to the public all day from sunrise to sunset.
Take a Relaxing Stroll at The Garden of Five Senses, New Delhi
If you want a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the always busy roads of New Delhi, head to South Delhi’s Saudulajab village and spend some relaxing hours at the Garden of Five Senses. There are many theme-based parks inside the garden- Mughal garden, Herb garden, solar energy garden and pools of water lilies etc.
Do not miss The Labná Arch replica which was inaugurated in 2013 as a goodwill gesture to honour the friendly relations between Mexico and India. All year-round, the garden hosts various events including Food Festivals, Tourism festival and many more.
Explore, Shop and Dine at New Delhi’s Hauz Khas Complex
Visit the historical Hauz Khas Complex in New Delhi. It is now an ancient community of ruins. The ruins include a mosque, various tombs and a water tank. Nowadays, the water tank was used for storing rainwater for the dry season. Once a place of huge importance, Hauz Khaz is now a public park where mostly youngsters hang out with friends.
Right outside New Delhi’s Hauz Khaz park, there is an upscale outdoor shopping area where you can find plenty of high-end restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafes along with a number of interesting boutique stores.
Enjoy Amazing Street Art at Lodhi Art District, New Delhi
Visit Lodhi Art district in New Delhi to experience colour and art with a completely different vibe. It is India’s first open-air Art District that is located in the Lodi Colony, New Delhi. Since 2015, at least 50 renowned street artists from across the globe came together to create the Lodi Art District in New Delhi. Recently, there are some latest additions to the district like ‘Facing Walls’ to highlight the flora and fauna of New Delhi in the most vibrant manner.
Check out every wall mural that has a curious story behind it. The Lodi Art District has truly brought a huge change to the landscape of New Delhi. So, just grab your camera and visit one of the most instagrammable places in New Delhi.
See the Old World Charm of Agrasen ki Baoli, New Delhi
Agrasen ki Baoli is the oldest part of central Delhi. This well-preserved place lies hidden among the skyscrapers of Connaught Place. The Baoli is actually a huge elaborate well with 103 steps leading down to the water source. Take pictures of the excellent architecture and intricate designs surrounding the area. You can see rooms on either side of the well for the users of the well.
They were once used for various rituals in ancient India. See the use of beautiful red sandstones in the creation of the steps of the Baoli. It is a protected monument in New Delhi and entry is free of cost.
Take a Ride of the Delhi Eye at Kalindi Kunj, New Delhi
Visit the 200 feet tall Delhi Eye, a giant Ferris wheel on the banks of the river Yamuna. Installed at Kalindi Kunj in New Delhi, the Delhi Eye claims to be the Indian equivalent of the iconic London Eye. The wheel has 36 air-conditioned cabins. Each cabin carries 6 passengers.
If you take a ride on a clear day, you will enjoy the amazing view of many important landmarks like the Akshardham Temple, Lotus temple, Red Fort and Qutub miner. New Delhi’s Kalindi Kunj is a great place for adventure seekers and photo fanatics. There is a water park as the centre of this entertainment centre. Moreover, if you buy the ferries ride, the ticket will include the reds at the water park as well.
Explore Connaught Place – the Best Place to Shop, Dine and Party in New Delhi
If you want to enjoy the nightlife in India, head straight to the Canaught place, the party hub of New Delhi. Connaught place has some really good resto-bars, clubs and music outlets. Connaught Place is undoubtedly the top night-out destination of New Delhi. Moreover, if you want to try North Indian cuisine, this place has some of the best restaurants in the city.
Over to You!
India is different. If you are visiting for the first time, New Delhi may seem like an incomprehensible mess of traffic, noise and disorder. However, if you allow yourself some time to know the city, you will fall in love with the culture, history and food of New Delhi. As you get accustomed to the crowd and chaos, you will slowly find a vibrant and exciting city within. So, be prepared for a brand new experience of adventure and discovery, and you will enjoy every moment of your trip to New Delhi.