Diversity is what makes this Indian capital such a tourist magnet. Split into three main sections – ‘Old’, ‘New’ and ‘South’ – Delhi is an intriguing mix of ancient and modern, bringing you centuries-old mosques, designer shops, aromatic spice bazaars and peaceful parks.
Top things to see and do in Delhi
- Visit the Red Fort: one of the capital’s must-see sights, this huge sandstone fort is the former home of the last Mughal emperor of Delhi. Today, you can look around inside to see the Royal Baths, the Pearl Mosque and the Palace of Colour, among other rooms. A sound-and-light show in the evening rounds things off.
- Enjoy a bit of peace: leave the bustle behind in the Garden of Five Senses. The 20-acre garden is a tranquil place filled with fountains, sculptures and wind chimes, as well as nearly 200 colourful plants.
- Shop for Indian handicrafts: for trinkets and souvenirs, try Dilli Haat, a colourful open-air market where artisans from all over India come to sell their wares. Jaipuri blankets, Madhubani paintings, Khurja pottery – they’re all here. So, too, is a feast of regional flavours courtesy of the plethora of food counters.
- Transport yourself back in time: train enthusiasts will love the National Rail Museum with its memorabilia and full-scale exhibits, including the Prince of Wales Saloon. The museum is in South Delhi – while you’re in the area, don’t miss the Lotus Temple and the Qutb complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of ruined tombs and monuments.
- Marvel at the Jama Masjid mosque: take one look at Jama Masjid and you’ll see why it’s the biggest mosque in India. Apparently, it can hold 25,000 people. While you’re here, take the 121 steps up to the top of the southern minaret for a breathtaking view over New Delhi.
- Make time for tea: afternoon tea is taken to a whole new level in the grand colonial surroundings of The Imperial Hotel. Relax in the Atrium with cake stands filled with delicious sweet and savoury dishes – accompanied, of course, by a lovely cup of Assam or Darjeeling tea.
Tips for travellers
About an hour-and-a-half from Delhi, you’ll come to Sultanpur Lake. It’s a lovely picnic stop with lots of interesting bird life. Bring your binoculars for a close-up look at the India Crested Lark and Purple Sunbird.