- For other places with the same name, see Delhi (disambiguation).
Delhi (Hindi: दिल्ली, Punjabi: ਦਿੱਲੀ, Urdu: دلّی) is India's capital and seat of government. It forms the National Capital Territory of Delhi, rather than being part of a state. Delhi is one of India's largest cities, and the core of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, with over 21 million inhabitants. Within India it is a major center of arts, commerce, education, tourism, and transit. As the capital of several empires over the last 2000 years, Delhi also contains a striking array of well-preserved historic sites for the tourist to visit.
Travellers with little experience of visiting developing megacities will find Delhi to be chaotic, crowded and for much of the year, polluted. During the late spring and early summer months, the city is scorchingly hot. Dig a little deeper however and you will get a glimpse of order beneath the chaos as well as India's traditional and modern cultural richness flourishing side by side. First-time visitors feeling the culture shock are recommended to not compound that by visiting during adverse weather conditions, and get a decent hotel room so you can stay in comfort between your sightseeing trips.
With evidence of continuous settlement dating back to the 6th century BC, Delhi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Thought to have been built and destroyed eleven times, evidence of at least eight distinct settlements can still be seen in Delhi. The most well-preserved historic sites are from the periods of Muslim and British rule, between 1193 and 1947.
The legendary city of Indraprastha from the epic Mahabharata is said to have been situated where Delhi now lies, but no remains of it have been found.
From the 10th to 14th century, the city was centred in what is now South Delhi:
- 1 Surajkund - Built in the 9th-10th century on what is now the far southern outskirts of Delhi. A large water reservoir can be seen, well preserved.
- 2 Qila Rai Pithora (or Rai Pithora) – Founded in perhaps the 11th century as a city named "Lalkot" under Hindu rule, in the current Mehrauli area. In around 1180, Hindu ruler Prithviraj Chauhan expanded this city and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora. Some of the ruins of the fort ramparts from this period are still visible around Qutab Minar and Mehrauli.
- 3 Mehrauli – Shortly afterwards, in 1192, Muslim leader Muhammad Ghori defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in battle. Ghori left his slave Qutub-ud-din Aibak as his viceroy, who in turn captured Delhi the subsequent year. After Ghori's death in 1206, Qutub-ud-din proclaimed himself the ruler of Delhi and founded what is known as the Slave Dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. Qutub-ud-din contributed significantly in terms of architecture by building Mehrauli. His most prominent contribution is the starting of Qutub Minar (which was finally completed in 1220). The tombs and other buildings near the Qutub Minar also date to this period.
- 4 Siri - The Slave Dynasty was followed by the Khilji (or Khalji) dynasty. In 1303 they established Siri, first as a military camp to protect against possible Mongol invasion, and later as a fortified city. Nowadays Hauz Khas complex (north of Mehrauli) contains ruins of Siri Fort, a madrassa, and other buildings from the period.
- 5 Tughlakabad - After the Khiljis there was chaos until Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq (a Turk governor) invaded Delhi in the 1320s, started the Tughlaq dynasty, and founded a new capital Tughlakabad, in South East Delhi. His son Muhammad Bin Tughlaq created another city called Jahapanah in the area between Siri and Qila Rai Pithora, uniting them into one city. Tughlakabad continued, however, to be the main capital city.
Starting in the 14th century, new areas were built further north, near the current city center:
- 6 Firozabad (or Kotla Firoze Shah) - built by Muhammad Bin Tughlaq's son, Firoze, in 1354. There still are some ruins which are visible around the Feroz Shah cricket stadium in Central Delhi, near the river. The city was an enclosed a large area, and contained many palaces, mosques, pillared halls, and a multi-floored water reservoir. Firoze also erected a 1500-year-old Ashokan Pillar (previously erected in Meerut by Samrat Ashok) on top of the palace. Firoze was buried inside a lofty tomb in Hauz Khas. After his death, the sultanate became unstable and weak, and Delhi was conquered and sacked by Tamerlane. The Sayyid and Lodhi dynasties who ruled Delhi after the Tughlaqs did less building, and the only relevant architecture visible from this period are the tombs at Lodhi Gardens. The last of the Lodhis was defeated by Babur, who then proceeded to establish the Mughal Empire in 1526.
- 7 Shergarh - In 1533, Babur's son Humayun built the new city of Dinpanah, near the river south of Firozabad. In 1540 Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri and forced to withdraw from Delhi. Sher Shah Suri established the new city Shergarh on the ruins of Dinpanah. Shergarh is what you see at Purana Qila today, near the Delhi zoo. Humayun later reconquered Delhi and returned to power. He then completed the construction and proceeded to rule from Shergarh.
- 8 Shahjahanabad - the following emperors moved away from Delhi and made Agra their capital. Shahjahan (Humayun's great-grandson) returned to Delhi and established Shahjahanabad (modern Old Delhi), including the Jama Masjid and the Red Fort. Much of the city wall, and three of its six gates, still exist today.
- 9 Lutyen's New Delhi - New Delhi was established in 1911 after the British decided to move India's capital from Kolkata. It is a planned city, designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.
Not all descendants of the builders of Delhi's many Muslim monuments live in Delhi. Many of them migrated to Pakistan during the Partition, with the community in Old Delhi that is keeping old courtly traditions alive smaller than it once was. The city is rich in monuments, including 174 ASI protected monuments.
The population of Delhi is a heterogeneous mix of people originally belonging to different parts of North India and beyond. Among the prominent North Indian communities are the Punjabis. Delhi also has a prominent South Indian Community, primarily in neighborhoods like Karol Bagh, RK Puram, Mayur Vihar and Munirka. A Bengali settlement, the Chittaranjan Park in south Delhi, is the Mini Calcutta of Delhi. Quality education also draws students from different states, making up one of the most diverse student populations in the country.
Like the rest of the Gangetic Plains, Delhi is as flat as a pancake. The only geographical features of any significance are the river Yamuna, which flows down the eastern side of the city, and the Aravalli Hills which form a wide but low arc across the west. On the west bank is the crowded and congested Old (Central) Delhi and, to the southwest, the broad, tree-lined avenues of New Delhi, built by the British to rule their empire. The rest is an endless low-rise sprawl of suburbia and slums, with southern Delhi generally wealthier.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The climate in Delhi goes through five distinct seasons. Winter, from December to January, is cold (the temperature drops to near freezing at night though the days are warm) and is notorious for the thick fog that hangs over the city resulting in cancelled flights and delayed trains. Spring, in the months of February and March, is pleasant with warm days and cool evenings. Summer, in April and May, is uncomfortably hot with temperatures soaring as high as 45 °C. Temperatures moderate during the monsoon season (June to September) but it is humid. Autumn, from October to November, brings warm days with relatively cool nights.
- Delhi - India Charming Chaos by Johnny Fincioen. This book concentrates on today's power center of New Delhi and its historic context. The text and the 117 original pictures offer the reader a holistic view of the way of life in the capital of India.
- Kultar's mime : stories of Sikh children who survived the 1984 Delhi massacre, Sarbpreet Singh's book on the 1984 genocide against Sikhs by anti-Sikh mobs. (ISBN 9781523834136)
- When a tree shook Delhi : the 1984 carnage and its aftermath, Manoj Mitta; a book on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. (ISBN 9788174366191)
- Tibetans in Delhi, by S. Khurana, about refugees from Tibet living in Delhi. (ISBN 9781542954198)
- Delirious Delhi, Dave Prager; a portrait of Delhi by an expat resident. (ISBN 1611458323)
The colours of the districts represent the colour of a main metro line that travels through them:
|New Delhi |
The British-built capital of India. Characterized by wide boulevards, roundabouts (traffic circles), colonial mansions, and government buildings dotted with monuments from various parts of India's history. Connaught Place (now called Rajiv Chowk) and Khan Market are popular shopping centres, and the nearby Paharganj area has many inexpensive hotels. New Delhi and Nizamuddin railway stations and a number of metro stations are here.
|Central Delhi |
Contains the historic core of Delhi, also known as Old Delhi, with major tourist attractions such as the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid. Delhi Junction railway station is here. The red metro line runs east-west here, and the yellow line runs north-south.
|South Delhi |
Contains a number of upmarket neighbourhoods, many hotels and guest houses, shopping malls and markets, and restaurants. Major attractions include the Qutub Minar. The area is served by the yellow metro line.
|South East Delhi |
Generally a high-income district similar to South Delhi. In addition, the current district borders of South East Delhi include a number of important sites near the city center, such as Humayun's Tomb, Purana Qila, and the southeast part of planned city of New Delhi. The area is served by the purple metro line.
|Western Delhi |
Four western districts - North, North-West, West, South-West. Home to many of Delhi's markets and fairs.
|Eastern Delhi |
The three districts - East, North East, and Shahdara - east of the Yamuna River. The most famous attraction is the Akshardham Temple.
The native language of the Delhi area is Hindi, which also happens to be the main official language of the Union Government. Hindi is spoken by almost all locals, quite often with Bihari and Punjabi accents. Most educated people are also fluent in English, and many shopkeepers and taxi drivers have a functional command of English. Punjabi and Urdu are also the official languages of Delhi, both of which are widely spoken/understood by the locals. The Hindi spoken in Delhi is quite Persianized, similar to the Hindi spoken in Western Uttar Pradesh, and much less Sanskritized than the Hindi spoken in Madhya Pradesh. Signage is usually bilingual in Hindi and English, and some road signs (especially in South and Central Delhi) are in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu. Announcements on the metro are in Hindi (male voice) and English (female voice). Unlike other major cities, locals are not multilingual, and local tour guides do not speak other Indian languages. Though people from all over India live in Delhi, finding a person who can speak other Indian languages is not so easy.
- 1 Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL IATA, sometimes abbreviated as IGI). is the arrival point for many visitors into Delhi.There are several security checkpoints in the airport and you may have to show your boarding pass and passport a dozen times before boarding the plane. When leaving Delhi from the international terminal, arrive three hours before the time of departure. For domestic flights, two hours should suffice, depending on whether or not you must wait in the queues to check luggage. While sometimes time-consuming, the process is smooth, and the new terminal's shops and restaurants are sensibly located at the gate area, not before security. However, if you wish to change Rupees back into foreign currency, you must do this before clearing security.
During the winter, Delhi often experiences dense fog and visibility is reduced considerably, making it difficult for flights to land and take off. Both international and domestic flights are often diverted, cancelled or delayed.
Delhi Airport has three operational terminals:
- 2 Terminal 1D (Palam, Domestic), Terminal 1 A Rd, ☏ . This is used only by low-cost carriers IndiGo, GoAIR and SpiceJet. (Oddly, their flights arrive at neighbouring Terminal 1C)
- Terminal 2, earlier only in use during the Hajj pilgrimage for flights to Mecca and Medina, is also now being used for certain GoAir, IndiGo (6E 2xxx) and SpiceJet (SG 8xxx) domestic flights.
- 3 Terminal 3, T3 Arrival Road (Metro (Orange line) 'I.G.I. Airport' station right here takes you to the city centre). This enormous main terminal, is used by all international flights and all full-service domestic carriers including Vistara and Air India.
A free shuttle bus operates between the terminals every 20 minutes; however, the shuttle is only free for arriving passengers with onward connecting tickets in the other terminal. Alternatively, public city bus #4 (₹25) operates the same route and does not require a flight ticket. While the terminals share the same runways, connecting between the two requires a massive detour via a nearby highway, so allow up to 20 minutes to make the transfer.
International airlines include Aeroflot, Air Arabia, Air Canada, Air China, Air Mauritius, Air France, Air Asia, All Nippon Airways, Alitalia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Etihad Airways, Finnair, Flydubai, Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch, Korean Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
To travel between the airport and the city
- Delhi Airport Metro Express is a train line that operates between New Delhi Metro Station and Dwarka Sector 21, with a stop at the airport Terminal 3. Trains run every ten minutes at peak hours; see the website for the exact schedule. The journey to New Delhi Metro Station takes 20 minutes and costs ₹60 (aug 2017). From the railway station, you can transfer to the Metro (crossing the city street to reach the station).
- Magenta Line from Terminal 1 to West Delhi and Noida, more like a regular metro and thus is more limited, best for those who have less luggage
- Delhi Transport Corporation and EATS (Ex Serviceman's Airlink Transport Service) operate buses between the airport and the city 24 hours per day. Travel time is approximately 50 minutes and the cost is ₹50 per adult, ₹25 per child below 12 years, ₹25 for heavy luggage. Buses run to ISBT (Inter State Bus Terminal) near Kashmiri Gate, Connaught Place, Delhi Train Station and many hotels in the city centre, departing from both airport terminals every 60 minutes from 10:00-23:20. Tickets can be bought and a fixed seat can be booked at a desk in the Arrivals Hall.
- Taxis from the airport should only be booked from the yellow prepaid taxi booths operated by the Delhi Police. There is one located directly outside of the airport and one located near the rental car counters to the right of the exit doors. You may be approached by touts offering pre-paid taxis; just ignore them as there have been safety incidents reported. It is worth it to wait in the long queue for a prepaid taxi. A prepaid taxi to the city centre will cost ₹500-600. Ignore any requests by the driver for additional payment. There is no practice of tipping taxi drivers anywhere in India. When you reach your destination, take your bags first, then give the driver the receipt and walk away without further discussion. Note that taxis routinely get stuck in traffic during rush-hour, but the journey to the city centre is much quicker at night.
- Prearranged pick-ups are also available from most hotels. The cost may be double the charge (or more) from the prepaid taxi booths, but you will have someone waiting for you at the airport with your name on a sign and you won't have to wait in the taxi queue.
- Uber is relatively straightforward and will charge around ₹500 to get into the city. Your Uber will come to the general pickup area (which isn't too organised).
Due to massive growth in air travel, a new airport is being built at Jewar.
Buses arrive from Kathmandu and Chitwan in Nepal (36 hr+) and virtually every city in India. Although not as comfortable as the trains, buses are the only choice for some destinations, mainly those in the mountains.
Delhi has three major Inter-State Bus Terminals (ISBTs) - Kashmere Gate ISBT, Sarai Kale Khan ISBT, and Anand Vihar ISBT. The Delhi Transport Corporation is the major operator, but every state also runs its own buses and there are some private operators too.
- 4 Kashmere Gate ISBT (Maharana Pratap) (Metro Kashmere Gate, Line 1/2), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This is "the" ISBT and the largest of the lot. Buses to points north: Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Garwhal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Nepal
- 5 Sarai Kale Khan ISBT (Vir Hakikat Rai) (next to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station). Buses to points south, (Agra, Madhya Pradesh)
- 6 Anand Vihar ISBT (Swami Vivekanand) (On the east bank of Yamuna, M: Anand Vihar). Buses to points east (Lucknow, Kumaon)
- 7 Bikaner House, Pandara Rd, New Delhi (M: Central Secretariat Station). bus stop. Buses, including air-conditioned Volvo buses from Jaipur arrive at this place. For travel between Jaipur and Delhi, this bus stop is very clean, less crowded than ISBT, and easy to reach.
- 8 Majnu ka Tilla, New Aruna Nagar, (Tibetan colony, a short rickshaw ride from Metro Vidhan Sabha). Buses to Dharamsala
- See also: Rail travel in India
Once you have purchased a ticket either at the ticket office or on-line prior to the trip, all you need to do is go to the rail car labelled with your class of service purchased. You can either get on and sit in the first available seat or, for higher classes of service, they will often post a passenger list on the car when it stops. Look for your name and go to the assigned car, cabin and seat. There is never a need to get a boarding pass so if anyone comes out of the crowd to tell you that, don't listen to them; it is a scam. If you're brave, you can simply purchase a general 2nd class ticket and then get on any car where there is availability. The conductor will come by and check your tickets after the train starts moving. If you are in a higher fare class than you are ticketed for, all you have to do is simply pay the difference in fare to the conductor. The only risk here is that the train could be full and you could be stuck in the lowest fare class which can be very crowded with little room to sit.
Ticket buying: The easiest way is to book online through the Indian Railways booking website. Registration requires verification of an e-mail address AND an Indian mobile phone number. If you don't have the phone, verification can be completed manually by emailing a passport scan to IRCTC — follow the online instructions carefully, and expect a response in a week or two.
Do not trust strangers who appear out of the crowd to help you; ignore them. Always ask for assistance at the enquiry counter or policemen (in khaki uniform).
Anyone who approaches you spontaneously should be completely ignored. Use one of the porters (in orange uniforms with metallic arms badges) to find your train and carry your luggage, in exchange for a tip.
Stations & ticket offices
- 9 Delhi Junction station (Old Delhi or Purani Dilli) (M 2: Chandni Chowk station. There is an entrance just outside at the east end of the station and also just over the main road outside (last metro at about 11:30). If taking an Auto Rickshaw from here, the prepaid desk will often try and charge you as much as three times the actual price quoted on the official price guide displayed clearly in their window - bargaining is sadly often cheaper.). (code DLI).Huge and confusing.
- 10 New Delhi station (in Central Delhi. Pre-paid taxi booth run by Delhi Police. If you are arriving at the station, and want to take a taxi, head to the Delhi Police pre-paid taxi booth. Unfortunately, this booth is at the extreme far north end (about 50 m from the station main exit) of the taxi parking and you will encounter touts claiming to provide prepaid taxi; just ignore them and find the pre-paid taxi booth run by the Delhi Police which are safe and least expensive. - Metro exits are at the Ajmeri Gate (second entrance) side near platform 16. You can also take prepaid rickshaws and taxis from the plaza outside the main entrance. M2: New Delhi). (code NDLS) is located just outside of Paharganj, also known as the backpacker ghetto. - It will take about 40 min-1 hr to travel from the New Delhi Railway Station to the airport by car, depending on traffic, a taxi fare cost you about ₨ 400. - A tourist ticket office called the International Tourist Bureau is open during office hours upstairs of, but still within, the main New Delhi railway station (on the side away from the metro, near platform 1). Note that it is only for foreign tourists, so you must have a tourist visa (i.e. student and working visas are not acceptable). Non-resident Indians can also book their tickets through this office. Passport will be requested. Even the visa number is needed. The also accept debit/credit from Visa/Mastercard. They also accept RuPay cards (which is an Indian way of payment). To get a ticket, first go to the centre of the room and get numbers for the reservation and information desks, as well as a form to fill out. Then line up at one of the two u-shaped lines of chairs, fill out the form, and prepare for a protracted wait. When your information number is called, have the clerk check the availability of the train(s) you desire and answer any questions you have about the form. Then wait for your reservation number to be called. Note that by the time you get to the reservation desk, your train may no longer be available, in which case you can try to reserve a different one. If you need a bathroom during this lengthy process, there is a relatively clean male and female toilet just outside on the verandah through the side door (the door you didn't enter through). - The station is large, crowded, confusing and packed with touts. Allow one hour to find your train the first time you visit. Don't trust the electronic display boards, which often show incorrect information. Instead listen to the announcements and ask multiple people in uniform (policemen) until you find your train. Open from 06:00 to 23:00
- 11 Hazrat Nizamuddin station, Harsha Rd, Nizamuddin East, (A few kilometres to the south. Bus 261, 306 to the Sarai Kale Khan Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT) on the ring road and then walk over to the station (400 m).). (code NZM). Many trains heading south. It's the least chaotic of the Big Three, but still pretty big and poorly signposted; listen to the announcements to figure out your train. The station has a pretty good food court that sells inexpensive, hygienic takeaway snacks including sandwiches and samosas.
- 12 Anand Vihar Terminal (East, near Ghaziabad - Delhi Border. M 3:Anand Vihar, just opposite to Anand Vihar Interstate Bus Terminal (ISBT)). (code ANVT) Repeatedly delayed, the station finally opened in December 2009 and will gradually take over all east-bound services.
- 13 Delhi Sarai Rohilla station, Railway Officers Colony, (M: Shastri Nagar, or bus 71, 89).
- 14 Delhi Cantonment station (Bus 518, 545, 588 to Delhi Cantt stop).
- Ticket office (on the road to Connaught Place with longer hours). It often has waiting times not much longer than at the tourist booking office. You will need to know the number or name of the train you want to take.
Getting around Delhi is always an adventure. Traffic is, by and large, horribly congested and many drivers will think nothing of quoting ten times the going price to a tourist. Use the prices below as broad guidelines, agree on prices before setting off. Best way to travel is via metro, where there are separate cabins for women (which prove to be very useful during rush hour). Metro is clean, efficient, and typically ridden by relatively affluent middle-class students or commuters en route to/from work; there is almost nowhere in the city that you cannot get to by metro.
The fast-growing Delhi Metro network provides a cheap, quick, hassle-free and air-conditioned way of zipping around the city. As of May 2018, the following lines are open:
- Red Line: Dilshad Garden - Rithala
- Yellow Line: Samaypur Badli - HUDA City Centre, Gurgaon
- Blue Line: Dwarka Sector 21 - Noida Electronic City
- Blue Line branch: Yamuna Bank - Vaishali
- Green Line: Mundka - Inderlok
- Green Line branch: Ashok Park Main - Kirti Nagar
- Violet Line: Kashmere Gate - Escorts Mujesar
- Airport Express: New Delhi Railway Station - Airport - Dwarka
- Magenta Line: Janakpuri West - Botanical Garden
- Pink Line: Majilis Park - Shiv Vihar
Fares range from ₹10-60, just buy a token, change lines as necessary, and deposit the token in the slot as you exit. Tokens can be used only from the station they are bought, so you can't buy two and use the second to return home. If you're planning on sticking around for a while, you can buy a "Smart Card" for ₹100, which is worth ₹50 and includes a ₹50 deposit; using this saves 10% and, more importantly, lets you avoid the queues. There is also a "Tourist Card" allowing unlimited use for ₹150 (1 day) or ₹300 (3 days), but it's highly unlikely that you'll travel enough to make this pay off. Special fares apply for travel on the Airport Express. During rush hour, you might have to queue up for 20min+ due to security checks, especially in the central stations.
The Yellow Line (Line 2), in particular, is useful for getting to the Old Delhi (Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid) and New Delhi railway stations, the ISBT bus terminal, the backpacker ghetto of Paharganj, Hauz Khas and Qutub Minar. The Blue Line (Line 3) is also handy for visiting Akshardham and accessing the western parts of Paharganj through RK Ashram Marg station.
Beware: Metro stations all use the new, official, Indianised names, so Connaught Place is "Rajiv Chowk", Old Delhi Railway Station is "Chandni Chowk" and ISBT is "Kashmere Gate".
The first coach in every train is reserved for women only, violating it incurs a penalty. Male passengers accompanying females are forbidden too.
Be aware that if you wish to exit at a main station during rush hour, you will have to tackle your way through in order to get out before the opposite flow of passengers push you back inside. Don't be afraid of using your strength to push yourself out.
By local train
There are limited commuter services on Delhi's railways, but the facilities are a far cry from the user-friendly Metro stations. For the most part, train stations are inconveniently located. There is no passenger service on the Delhi Ring Railway outside rush hour.
The Indian Railways website does not accept foreign credit cards.
All parts of Delhi are well connected by buses and with tickets ranging from ₹5-15 they are very cheap, but they are also quite crowded most of the time. The red coloured buses are air-conditioned and the green coloured are not. As bus stops do not have bus routes written properly, it can be difficult to find your way. Asking other people at the bus stop is often the best way to find out about bus routes to your destination. However, the buses are pretty frequent, running every 15-20 min or so on most routes. There are two kinds of buses in Delhi:
- Government run DTC buses (red and green coloured with big windows)
- Privately run Blue-Line buses (orange coloured)
If you have a choice, opt for a DTC bus. They will stop less frequently and will generally be less crowded too. Note that many buses, DTC ones too, will stop pretty much anywhere if there are enough people getting on or off.
Board buses at the back and pay the ticket seller sitting right next to the door. Be sure to hang onto your tickets, as ticket checks are fairly frequent. Some seats on the left side of the bus may be reserved for women and the handicapped. When it's time to disembark, move to the front of the bus. As you might expect, all these guidelines are regularly ignored when buses are very crowded.
Hop on Hop off
- HOHO, ☏ (Helpline). Delhi Tourism operates a Hop On Hop Off bus service. A fleet of air conditioned low floored buses follow a pre-defined set of stops around the city and passengers can hop off the bus, see the place at one's own convenience and hop on the next bus. The service runs on a 45 minute interval and covers important monuments, memorials, museums and shopping places in the city. Each bus is staffed with a knowledgeable English speaking guide. The ticket costs ₹ 300 and is valid for 2 consecutive days. The service does not operate on Mondays.
A taxi or hired car (usually with driver) is required to see many of the far-flung sites within and around Delhi. However, the metro is a far cheaper and equally comfortable option.
Most Delhi taxis are old but reliable CNG-run Ambassadors or Omnis in distinctive black-and-yellow livery and a green stripe. The hired family car of choice is usually a Toyota Innova or Chevrolet Tavera. While all are equipped with meters and should cost ₹15 for the first km ₹8.5 per km, the meters are often rigged and it's better to agree on the price in advance. Most trips around the city should be ₹200-500, while a trip to the airport would be higher, depending on starting location. An eight-hour charter should cost around ₹1,500, and a tip is expected if the driver is helpful. The prices would also depend upon the vehicle size too. Note that black and yellow taxis are not air-conditioned. Even if they do have air conditioning, you will be charged extra (and the rates are up to the driver, so bargain hard).
The death knell of the Ambassador was rung in December 2006, when modern radio taxi services were launched. At ₹20/km, they're more the list price of the competition, but they use modern vehicles with air-conditioning and GPS and can be dialed 24 hr/day. The flag fare is ₹20, and the fare increases by ₹5 for every 250 m after the first km. If you need an SUV, you need to inform the company in advance, but the fare remains the same. Night charges (25% extra) apply between 23:00 to 05:00. Book up to a few hours in advance. Many corporate people rely on these cabs for their daily commute and they may be booked during office hours. Tipping is not expected. After booking, you will receive an SMS with the car licence plate number, and the driver's name and mobile number. Usually the driver will call you and inform you that he's arrived. Most drivers speak English at a very basic level, so use short phrases.
You can use TaxiPixi services and avoid all the hassle. Download the app on your iPhone/Android.
Don't take non-official taxis, they might take you to wrong hotels, or to a "tourist information centre", and try to sell you overpriced things. Check with the driver if he is properly having his official documents or not, to be on a safer side.
Transportation Network Taxis
Delhi is also serviced by various transportation network ("ridesharing") companies including Uber and Ola Cabs. Make sure to check the tariffs in these before you pay. While most of these services accept cash, many can also be linked to online wallet services like Paytm, so overcharging is rarely a risk.
By auto rickshaws
Auto rickshaws (also called three-wheeled scooters, tuk-tuks or simply autos) are good for shorter trips. Always in a distinctive yellow-and-green livery, auto rickshaws are three-wheeled partially enclosed contraptions that run on CNG and can seat three people in the back. In general, they are much cheaper than taxis and can be hailed from the street. Although by law the rickshaw drivers should charge according to the meter in their vehicle (₹25 for the first two km, ₹8/km after), this rate is unrealistically low and they will almost always try to haggle for price. Try to negotiate a price before entering the vehicle. As rules of thumb, expect even the shortest journey to cost ₹30-40/person regardless of the meter, but you should never need to pay over ₹150 for any trip within the city. If you're overquoted, don't be afraid to walk away. It's usually easy to find another one soon, usually with a driver who won't rip you off.
If you have any trouble with drivers, go to any of the numerous tourist police stations in the city centre and they will give you a complaint slip which will result in a ₹500 fine for the auto driver. There should also be a telephone number written on the vehicle to call in case of any complaint.
There are a number of "Pre-paid" auto stands run by the Police. Tell them where you want to go and pay them upfront. The charge will include ₹5 for the service. You then take the coupon and stand outside where a policeman will direct you to the next available Auto. When your journey is completed you hand the coupon to the auto driver and that's it. Nothing more to pay (despite what they may say).
By cycle rickshaws
Cycle rickshaws are three-wheeled, pedal/electric powered rickshaws with seats in the back to seat passengers and a driver in the front. They are good for short distances, or places which are too far to walk but too short for taking a bus/taxi/auto rickshaw. Cycle rickshaws don't use meters, so establish a price before getting on. ₹20-50 is reasonable for most journeys of a few km.
Cycle rickshaws are best to use in Old Delhi to visit the intricate galis (walkways) and to enjoy the smells and sounds of the city.
By Electric Rickshaws
Electric rickshaws, popularly known as tuk-tuk or e-rickshaws, are also used to enjoy the streets of Old Delhi. These are battery-operated alternatives to auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws because of their low fuel cost, and less human effort compared to cycle rickshaws.
Much of Delhi is quite pedestrian-hostile. Distances are long, road signage is poor, and in the more tourist oriented areas, you'll be constantly accosted by beggars and touts. Crossing roads often involves wading across multiple lanes of heavy traffic. Try your best to move in a predictable straight line, so vehicles can weave around you. Better yet, latch onto a group of locals and cross in their shadow. If you really want to walk around, these places would be good:
- Walk from Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's house) to India Gate on the Rajpath (a walk of close to 3–4 km).
- Walk from Jama Masjid to Red Fort in the Chandni Chowk area.
- Far South Delhi go walk about in the forest. Try starting from south of Indian Institute of Technology through Sanjay Van to Qutub Minar. Note however that Sanjay Van is not always safe, and it is advisable to go there in a group, preferably during daylight.
- South Delhi-Green Park-Hauz Khas Village, then to the Hauz Khas ruined madrasa, offers a newer shopping area, an up-market arts village, old ruins, and some quality gardens.
Delhi is known for its impressive range of structures - fortifications, mosques, and tombs - built during the centuries when Delhi was the center of large Muslim empires. There are literally dozens of notable sites scattered around the city, and several of them are internationally famous as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most visited sites are the Red Fort (the 17th century palace of the Mughal emperor), Jama Masjid (a vast and beautiful 17th century mosque), the Qutub Minar (a 73-meter high tower, dating to the 13th century but still with well-preserved intricate carvings), Humayun's Tomb (the vast 16th century tomb of a Mughal emperor), and Purana Qila (a 16th-century Mughal citadel).
Newcomers are often confused about the relationship between Delhi and New Delhi. In fact, New Delhi, which is the capital of India, is one of the districts of Delhi city. New Delhi began to be built in 1911. Being centrally planned in the modern era, it features wide boulevards, large parks, and roundabouts between its government buildings. Popular sights here are the India Gate, the Rajpath "national mall" connecting the main government buildings, and the Rashtrapati Bhavan (presidential palace). Many of the most important museums in Delhi are located here too.
Another popular attraction is the Bahá'í Lotus Temple in South East Delhi, a modern structure built with a flowerlike shape. It is arguably the most visited building in the world.
Detailed listings of all sights in Delhi can be found in the district articles.
There are various private "tourist information" offices around Connaught Place openly claiming to be the official government tourist office. They're actually just travel agents that have nothing to do with the Government of India, and since they prey on tourists, anything you buy from them will be grossly overpriced compared to doing it yourself.
The staff at the Delhi tourist office is very helpful, and the office has a lot of free information:
- 1 The Government of India Tourist Office, 88 Janpath, Connaught Place, ☏ , , , . The Government of India Tourist Office offers daily tours, coverings all of the major Delhi sites. If you should choose to go with the government-sanctioned day tour, be aware that due to the heavy agenda, you will need to have a quick foot, only 20-40 min are given for each sight, which is next to no time. Consider this day tour as a sampler. If there is a sight of particular interest, bookmark it and return at a later date.
- Take a walk at Connaught Place (CP), the heart of New Delhi. The British-designed colonial equivalent of a shopping mall, it's laid out in two concentric rings divided into blocks, all bursting with shops and lots of pampered pigeons waddling about. Long neglected, the area received an upsurge after the opening of the major Metro junction of Rajiv Chowk under it, and it's going more upmarket by the day. At the centre is a small but pleasant park, while on one edge is the notorious Palika Bazaar, an underground den of cheap wares, many pirated or smuggled from overseas. The area is surrounded by tall office buildings on nearly all sides. Train fans will want to check out the Metro Museum inside the (Patel Chowk) station, open 10:00-16:00, Tue-Sun (free with valid Metro ticket).
Delhi is a key centre of learning in India. The most famous universities in Delhi are JNU, DU, IGNOU, DTU, JMI and IIT. The official website of the Delhi Government's Directorate of Education is a good starting point for learning more about study opportunities in Delhi.
Apart from undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses, there are many training and diploma-level institutes and polytechnics that cater to the growing demand for skill-based and vocational education. Besides conventional educational institutes, more and more foreigners also make the effort to learn Hindustani language (Hindi-Urdu) and Delhi is these languages.
Delhi's economy is expanding rapidly. In analogy many interesting work opportunities emerge. Monster, Jobted and other online job platforms are a good starting point to see what kind of jobs are on offer. Traditionally foreigners often work in the social sector or in teaching. Increasingly, however, expats work for multinational companies and even local Indian companies.
There is a great variety of employment opportunities in Delhi for foreigners, whether they would like to work in business, NGOs, educational institutes, or even government. Still, there is one caveat: the labour market in Delhi is highly competitive and so at many prestigious organisations, the number of applicants far exceeds the number of positions available, which allows employers to receive highly talented applicants for rather meagre salaries (especially when compared to other international destinations).
If you're not afraid to haggle and bump elbows in bazaars, Delhi is a great place to shop. Most of the well-known bazaars are located in the most central parts of Delhi, both Central Delhi and New Delhi. Western-style malls are plentiful, and are found further south - in South Delhi and South East Delhi, as well as the suburbs of Gurgaon and Noida. Many shopping districts are over crowded on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
See district articles for specific listings.
For clothing, you can go either to the bazaars, or to Western-style shopping malls (mostly in the southern areas).
For computers and software, the best place to look is Nehru Place IT market complex in South East Delhi, an interesting combination of modern technology products and old world marketplace sales techniques. You can find cheap hardware here as well as both original and pirated software. There are also several similar markets in other parts of Delhi, mostly in the Western districts.
The Indian book industry is huge, producing annually about 15,000 books in English, and obviously far more in Hindi and other native languages. Delhi is hub of this industry, so small, specialist bookstores abound. Locally produced books can be very inexpensive and many popular Western titles are published and available here for a fraction of their original cost.
In general, good places to buy books are in Central Delhi (Daryaganj neighborhood and the Nai Sarak Bookshop Area), plus shopping malls in the south of the city.
The Daryaganj Sunday Book Market is a flea market-book market open on Sundays from 10am to evening, with a vast selection. Bargain for best prices.
- Ankur (Romeo), 4374/4b, Ansari road Delhi-2, ☏ . Assamese tea
Delhiites complain about many things in their city, but the food will satisfy even the most demanding gourmet. Not only can you find some of the best Indian food on the subcontinent, there is also an increasing number of excellent (if often pricey) international restaurants offering cuisine from around the world. When ordering, do remember that Delhi is about 1,000 km from the nearest ocean, so vegetarian, chicken and mutton dishes are the way to go.
Do visit Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk. This street has shops that make and sell solely parathas (stuffed Indian bread). These are available in all the possible flavours and stuffing you may imagine, with hundreds of varieties from bitter-gourd to ice cream.
Delhi has arguably the best street food in India. However, do not eat unhygienic or open food. There are plenty of restaurants offering street food in a potentially more hygienic environment.
You can join local groups of foodies who go out regularly to sample and savour what new and old dishes the city has to offer. If you want a fully customized food tour tailored specifically for you, then Food Tour In Delhi is a good choice. The guests can explore street food of Delhi in a fun and safe manner. Their tours cover food joints which are in business for 50 to 120 years and serve some of the best street food in world. The tours cover winding streets of Old Delhi as well as swanky upscale markets located all over the city. The food tours are lead by chefs and culinary experts with extensive experience and offer facilities such as pickup and drop, unlimited food which covers all major varieties of food available in city. Another one of the most active groups is Food Enthusiasts of Delhi. They organize regular food walks, better known as Raids to various parts and joints in the city. It's a non-commercial group, brought together by passion and love for food.
If you want to eat chaat, the North Indian street side snack food, Delhi is the place to be. Like Spanish tapas or Greek mezze, chaat can cover a vast variety of things, but Delhi style tends to mean a deep-fried pastry shell, stuffed after cooking with potatoes, lentils or almost anything else. They're then topped with yogurt, chutneys and chaat masala spice mix and eaten fresh.
Some typical chaat items are paapdi chaat (a mix of small round fried crispy things with yogurt and other sauces), paneer tikka (cubes of cottage cheese baked in a tandoor with spices), pani puri or golguppa (small round hollow shells filled with a potato-based filling and a spicy sweet blend of sauces).
The best place to go for chaat is the Bengali Market (near Mandi House Metro Stn) near Connaught Place in the centre of town. The restaurants are high quality and the food is great. There are ATMs as well. One of the best known restaurants there is Nathu's. But for the really good chaat you have to make your way to Old Delhi, and particularly to Ashok's near Chawri Bazaar. While connoisseurs insist that the best chaat is prepared on the street, most travellers try to find a comfortable middle ground between hygiene and authenticity.
- Amritsari Kulcha Wala, Paschim Vihar Red Light, (near Jwala Heri Market). If you are into amritsari kulcha, you probably can't miss this. People on dieting beware: the amount of butter that the vendor puts in is huge. However, without it you will not enjoy the Amritsari Kulcha so much. It is kind of a road side dhaba or shack. ₹60 for two kulchas is what he charges. It is actually on Outer Ring Road, Adjoining to a park wall. You can ask anybody about the Kulcha wala and they will be able to tell you the direction in Paschim Vihar/Meera Vihar Outer Ring Rd.
- Andhra Pradesh Bhavan Canteen, Ashok Road (near Man Singh Road). Open for lunch and dinner this is a favorite of local Delhi foodies who are looking for an authentic Andhra meal. They serve all you can eat veg/non-veg thalis for ₹ 80-150. For carnivores, you have a variety of non-veg options (chicken/fish/mutton) but the mutton fry is recommended. The service is quick and efficient (slipshod and aggressive), and the joint crowded and noisy. Another favorite is the Karnataka Bhavan canteen beside Ansal Plaza near Mool Chand offering all possible South India food.
- Bitto Tikki Wala, (also known as BTW), Netaji Subhash Place, Pitampura. The best aloo tikki (potato and vegetable burger) available in town. It has a branch in Sarita Vihar, Near Apollo Hospital and Badarpur border. It has branches all over the city now, in shopping areas.
- Egg parantha Wala, Lajpat Nagar, (opposite to Surya hotel). This guy owns a shack and has been running the parantha business for ages.
- Haldiram's, 1454/2 Chandni Chowk (just west of the fountain) and other outlets around town. This is a famous manufacturer of Indian snacks and sweets that has now gone global. This always-packed, two-story outlet in the heart of Chandni Chowk was its first in Delhi and dates back to 1924. The ground floor houses a vast array of sweet and sticky Indian confections, while the first floor has a popular vegetarian restaurant. This is a great place to try authentic and hygienic Delhi chaat and other Indian snack foods. Try the Raj Kachori, a mixture of different types of stuffing with sweetened yogurt and chutneys in an oversized hollow dough shell. All chaat is under ₹ 50, or you can get a full daily thali for ₹ 90. Choley Bhature, and the various Dosas are great options to try as well from their Southern Indian selection. Be sure to save room for dessert, as Haldiram's offers some of the best rasmalai, rasgullah, gulab jamun and other tasty delights in India.
- Kake Di Hatti, Chandni Chowk near Old Delhi Railway Station. The most extensive varieties of naans (Indian bread) you will find in Delhi. They make the biggest and best tasting naans for your money.
- Nangarg, Rajgur Marg Road (side road off of Main Bazaar), Paharganj. A really good hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves vegetarian and non-vegetarian food for about ₹ 60. The workers there are genuinely good people, which can be hard to find in this area. You'll have more luck finding a sign that says "Veg-Nonveg" than their actual restaurant sign.
- Tadka, 4986, Ram Dwara Rd, Nehru Bazar, Paharganj, (side road off of Main Bazaar). A notably clean restaurant by Paharganj standards. Serves only vegetarian food, a full thali for ₹ 60. Their tea is really good and their most popular dish is paneer masala.
You will find McDonalds, KFC, Subway and Pizza Hut in malls and throughout the city. The Indian menu without beef and with lots of veggie options can be interesting even if you would otherwise steer clear.
- Tafree Cafe, F-12, 13 Second Floor, Connaught Place, Delhi (Near Metro Gate No 5, New Delhi), ☏ . Mon-Sun 11AM-1AM. It is known by these services Restaurants, Restaurants & Bars, Fine Dining Restaurants. ₹100-200.
- Gulati Restaurant, 6 Pandara Road Market. Voted as the best North Indian Restaurant. ₹639 for buffet.
- Kitchen Cafe Roof Top @ Hotel Shelton, 5043 Main Bazaar, Pahar Ganj, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 24 hours daily. Great view and ambiance.
- Moti Mahal Delux, Several locations. Famous for their tandoori chicken and North Indian food. Their family-sized naan is delicious and the size of a 4 year old child. Home of where the original Dal Makhani, Butter Chicken, and many of the other dishes now highly popular in the UK were first created.
- Sagar Ratna, Several locations, ☏ , . Considered by many to be the best place for authentic South Indian food, Sagar does justice to the reputation. The menu features dosas, idlis, vadas, uttapams, rasam and thalis. A/C. There's likely to be a queue for seats during peak hours and definitely on Tues nights. Has many branches.
- Sagar Ratna (at Ashok Hotel), 50-B Chanakyapuri, ☏ . The upmarket version, is quieter, better laid out and more expensive.
- Bukhara, Maurya Sheraton, Regularly tops the charts as India's best restaurant (and certainly among the priciest), the roast lamb and the Bukhara Dal here are renowned. Always make reservations or be ready to stand in a queue for about 2 hr. ₹ 2,000+.
- Chor Bizarre. Hotel Broadway, 4/15A Asaf Ali Rd. Now franchised worldwide, the original restaurant serves Kashmiri food in an eclectic surrounding like a chor bazaar (thieves market). The buffet is laid out inside an old car. ₹300-₹400 for each dish. A bit on the pricey side (relatively for India), but worth a splurge. If going by foot, look out for the Delhi Stock Exchange on same strip 0.5 km from here.
- Naivedyam, East Patel Nagar, (opposite Jaypee Siddharth Hotel), Offers quality South Indian meals and service at great prices.
- Punjabi by Nature, Rajouri Garden, MGF City Square Mall (Lifestyle). One of Delhi's best-known Punjabi restaurants. ₹ 800 or so, more if you order seafood.
- Barbeque Nation, B-1 623, Opp. District Center, Janakpuri. Offers an option where customers can make their food on their personal grills, which are embedded in each table. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian BBQ starters, a main course buffet, soups, salads, desserts and a variety of liquors.
- Pirates of Grills, C-12, Vishal Enclave, Rajouri Garden, ('Rajouri Garden metro'). Same concept as Barbeque Nation, Janakpuri
- Enoki. The Grand, Nelson Mandela Rd, Vasant Kunj-II. Pseudo-rustic yakitori (Japanese chicken kebab) restaurant offering fairly authentic food, including a limited range of sushi and sake. ₹ 1,000+.
- Mamagoto, Khan Market, One of Delhi's most popular Japanese restaurants, the fun manga style interiors and great food are a great experience.
- Sakura, Level 1, Hotel Metropolitan, Bangla Sahib Marg, ☏ . Japanese style restaurant, carries the tag of being one of the most expensive restaurants in India.
- Side Wok, Khan Market. Japanese, Chinese and other Asian food. Some choice of sushi. Beautiful decor. No alcohol. Mains about ₹ 400.
- Felafel Man, Main Bazaar, Paharganj. (About a 10 min walk down Main Bazaar from New Delhi train station). Small shop selling falafel rolls and sabeekh. Multilingualcook, the rolls come with hummus, tahini and mineral water washed vegies. Don't forget to wash it down with the seasonal fruit lassi, so thick it takes some effort to suck it up the straws.
Delhiites have eagerly adopted Thai food into their culinary pantheon, although the recipes and ingredients are often rather Indianised.
- EGO Thai, Friends Colony Market.
- Chilli Seasons, Lodhi Colony market.
- Culinaire, Greater Kailash 2.
- The Kitchen, Khan Market, ☏ , .
- Thai High, ☏ . Mehrauli. Should go at night for a view of the lit up Qutab Minar.
- Turquoise Cottage, A 5 , Green Park , Main Aurobindo Marg, South Delhi, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. True to the name, the decor is turquoise and stylishly rustic, but the food is Thai-Chinese and, while somewhat adapted to Indian tastes, quite tasty. Also check out the popular The Other Side bar downstairs. Reservations recommended. ₹ 500.
- Tibetan Food, (near Shivaji Stadium-which actually is a bus stand, Connaught Place). Tibetan food, run by Tibetan refugees.
Chinese is Delhi's most popular non-Indian cuisine. For a long time, only Indianised Chinese was available, but high-quality options are available today.
- Mainland China, Vishal Enclave, Rajouri Garden metro station. Oriental/Chinese cuisine. Other branches at Greater Kailash 2 and Saket
- Nan King, Chinese food in a nice location with a private lounge. Good for groups or a special occasion.
- Rice Bowl 18/31 East Patel Nagar Market, New Delhi – Chinese/Oriental food.
- The Yum Yum Tree, ☏ . As much as a fantasy-land as a restaurant, it's one of the largest Chinese restaurants in the city. The influence is from Singapore, and the Dim Sum Menu is good. The cuisine here is extremely high quality. Sectioned into separate areas. The Grill for a quick lunch, or the more formal dining area for dinner. Includes a funky bar called New Friends Colony.
- Gung The Palace, Ground floor. D-1B, Green Park, South Delhi. A very up-market place with good food. 1st floor features a live karaoke, but the ground floor is the place to be. Book in advance for the ground floor.
- Afghan Restaurant, H-7, Krishna Market, (near Gurdwara, Lajpat Nagar I). Owned &: run by members of the Afghani community settled in the area. Very tasty biryani.
- The Lazeez Hotel And Restaurant, I-87, Afghan Restaurant, (near Centeral Market, Lajpat Nagar II). Owned &: run by members of the Afghani community settled in the area.
- Iraqi Food - E-178, Lajpat Nagar-I.
Delhi's nightlife scene has changed in the last decade. There are plenty of modern, cosmopolitan places to separate you from your rupees. In a desperate attempt to keep the sex ratio vaguely equitable, many lounges and clubs have couples only policies (that is, no single men or men-only groups), enforced with varying degrees of strictness. While everything is theoretically to shut down by 01:00 things can keep going much longer.
Coffee / Tea
The coffee culture in Delhi consists mostly of large, heavily standardised chains. The two most common, Barista and Cafe Coffee Day, can be found in multiple locations across the city, most notably around Connaught Place. The partly UK-based Costa Coffee has also made a foray into the market.
- Chill&Chai @ Khoj, S17 Khirki Extension (opposite Saket Select Citywalk). A great tiny place for good coffee, tea and international food inside one of Delhi's best known cultural centre KHOJ. Mediterranean style with cool terrace
- Independent coffee shops are harder to find in Delhi, but they do exist, and are worth seeking out.
- Aap ki Pasand Tea Shop, Sterling House, 15 Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryaganj (opposite the post office, walking distance from Red Fort), ☏ . A great place to sample Indian chai and the exotic Darjeeling and Assam teas and purchase the same. Located in an old colonial era building, its teas have been savoured by Bill Clinton, Gorbachov, Koizumi and are taken as official state gifts of India.
Indian bar food, hookah and an amazing lounge experience. The crowd that frequents these two places is young, hip and trendy.
- Hookah, ☏ . Basant Lok (in Priya Cinema complex), Vasant Vihar. 3 level bar-restaurant offering surprisingly good (but pricy) Middle Eastern food. They offer a wide range of drinks and an even wider range of flavored water pipes. There is no outdoor seating, nor do they offer hot drinks.
- Toast by Lazeez Affaire, Rajouri Garden, West Gate Mall (level III). Great collection of flavored tobacco sheesha, and drinks, international food, Greek, French, pan European and Indian cuisines.
- Mocha, Defense Colony.
- Ziya- The Morockin Cafe, ☏ . This is a chain of neuvo Middle Eastern cafes with a wide range of drinks, food and flavoured tobacco. Budget prices.
- Aqua, Poolside bar at the Park Hotel (close to Connaught Place), has a lounge atmosphere and an extensive drinks list.
- Aura, (at the Claridges).
- Decibel, Chanakyapuri. One of two clubs in the Samrath Hotel next to the Ashok Hotel. ₹ 500 entrance fee.
- Elevate. Noida (adjoining South Delhi).
- F Bar & Lounge (by Fashion TV), Chanakyapuri. (in the Hotel Ashok). Trendy bar and night club. Claimed to be the largest bar in Delhi in 2008). Cover charge is redeemable against drinks. Fri, Sat is ₹ 3,000, free on Wed before 22:00.
- IndoChine's Forbidden City, South Delhi (Lado Sarai, adjacent to Qutab Golf Course). Singapore chain that opened in Delhi in 2007. Madame Butterfly restaurant upstairs serves very good Chinese food. The BarSaVanh loungebar is downstairs, very cool ambience outside. Meal for two around ₹ 3,000.
- Manre, Bar/lounge, Saket Market, City Mall. Open bar on Thursday for ₹ 800.
- Orange, (Ashoka Hotel). Nightclub.
- The Other Side, ☏ . 81/3 Adhchini (basement of Turquoise Cottage), Sri Aurobindo Marg. Ssmoky brick-walled basement covered with Western memorabilia. Eclectic music with an emphasis on rock, expect anything from Beatles to AC/DC. It is a good crowd, particularly on Wednesday's media nights. ₹ 500 minimum for drinks and food. Couples only.
- Shalom, N-block market, GK-1. Cool Mediterranean-themed lounge bar/restaurant with chill-out music.
- T.L.R., 31 Hauz Khas Village. Delhi's cozy, arty refuge for tourists, expats and locals comes alive in the evenings. Live bands, DJ nights and pub quiz.
- Toast, Bar & Grill by Lazeez Affaire, Rajouri Garden, West Gate Mall (Level III). Flavored tobacco sheesha, drinks, international food, Greek, French, pan-European and Indian cuisines.
- Urban Pind/Bar/Cafe, Greater Kailash I (GK-1), block N, number 4. Bar/lounge on 3 floors. Regular events like Salsa, open bar for ₹ 720, electro night, great expat nights.
- Xes Cafe, Saket, DLF South Court Mall. A the quintessential coffee shop. Good food with an eclectic bar menu. Loud music.
Gay and lesbian Delhi
- Amigo, Bar
- Peppers, Bar.
Prices quoted may not include taxes of up to 22.5%, calculated based on the published rack rates - not necessarily the price that you actually pay, which could be discounted. Smoking is not allowed in Delhi hotels.
Delhi has plenty of budget accommodation options, priced from ₹400-2,500. Many of them are located in the city centre (Central Delhi and New Delhi), while others are further south, in the affluent southern areas or towards the airport.
Delhi's chronic lack of quality hotels has led to a mushrooming of guest houses of widely varying quality and price. The new official 'Delhi Bed and Breakfast scheme' has also contributed a range of private rooms available for bed & breakfast accommodation. These rooms range from cheap dumps to classy rooms in the best areas of Delhi.
Most of Delhi's expensive hotels are located in New Delhi, roughly along the axis between Connaught Square and the airport.
A few are located in areas further south.
Prices in this category are generally over ₹8000.
Many first-time travellers to India find themselves falling victim to scams and touts, and unfortunately Delhi has a lot of both. Be on guard for anybody trying to help you by giving you unsolicited directions or travel advice. Do not blindly rely on the advice of taxi and auto drivers. If this is your first time to India, do not openly admit it, as this will make you more vulnerable to touts.
Delhi is among the three unsafest cities for women in India. It is not uncommon in some areas to receive lewd remarks or even physical touching. If you are arriving into Delhi at night, stay in either the airport lounge or well lit areas until daybreak if this is your first trip to Delhi and if you haven't booked a hotel. Try to avoid walking around alone in lanes without many people after sunset and be cautious when hiring cabs at night. Dress conservatively (preferably in Indian clothing so as to blend in). Learn to shout and consider carrying mace/pepper spray.
Carry your cash, passport, and cards in a secure money belt, with only enough cash for a few hours at a time in your wallet or other accessible place. Some recommend carrying an expendable wallet with a few ten rupee notes in it in an obvious place such as your hip pocket as a decoy to Delhi's ubiquitous pickpockets.
Several tourist agencies have been known to swindle tourists, such as by changing their travel plans or charging them extra commissions and fees. The best way to secure train tickets is by navigating through Indian Railways' website. If you have problems booking online - the Indian Railways site is unreliable - you can buy tickets in person. The best place to do so is at the Tourist Information Centre, these are located within transit hubs. Be very careful, there are many scammers surrounding the train station looking for anyone on foot and out-of-place who will "help" you find a "ticket office for foreigners," usually located in a nondescript building some blocks from the train station, where you will be overcharged and cajoled into signing up for cars, tours, etc. When in doubt, look at reviews for the information center you are at (for example, on Google Maps). Some scammers will stand at the entrance to the train station and physically try to block you from entering, demanding to see your tickets (never mind that you need to enter the station to buy tickets!). Remember - you should be able to enter any train station just by going through a metal detector. Nobody will check your tickets before you get on a train.
You should also book your flight tickets online, as all the airlines have online booking systems. Otherwise, prepare to spend a good hour sorting through the charges that the tourist agency will charge.
If arriving late at night at the airport or train station, be very wary of taxi drivers trying to scam tired and unprepared tourists. A common scam is to drive you an area of town where there are roadworks or a roadblock, and tell you that the path to your hotel is blocked off and it's not possible to take you there. They'll then suggest to take you to another hotel, where they receive a commission for bringing customers. They may take you to a number of hotels first which all say they are full up, so as to increase your desperation, and hence openness to paying more. There have been reports also, of bringing tourists to a "travel agent", who will feign ringing your booked hotel to confirm that either the way is blocked, or they are overbooked and there is no room available. If you've let on that you were only staying in Delhi for the night, they may also try to convince you, that there are no hotel rooms available anywhere, and sell you an extremely overpriced private car ride to your next destination. This can be a very confusing and tiring process if you've just come off a long flight, short on sleep.
If you're arriving after midnight, it is therefore highly advisable to have accommodation pre-booked and arrange pick-up from the airport or station with your hotel, or at least have the phone number with you, so that should you get lost or caught in a sticky situation you have someone reliable to call up.
Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world, with pollution levels often in the "very unhealthy" or "hazardous" range. Keep an eye on air quality data and consider wearing a surgical mask or other approved N95/N99 mask, especially if spending an extended time in Delhi or North India.
The Delhi Police is a 70,000-strong force serving the capital region. While most of the police officers are honest and helpful, you may find some officers who may be corrupt and unhelpful.
For police assistance during an emergency dial 100.
Police vehicles (called PCR vans) are parked on almost every major intersection.
For non-emergencies, or to report a crime, visit the nearest police station.
Summer begins in early April and continues till the end of June, with the heat peaking in May. By the latter part of April or during early May. The temperatures regularly exceed 40 °C (104 °F), meaning that proper hydration is of the utmost importance. Keep yourself covered in summers to avoid a heat stroke. Drink a lot of water, 3 litres a day, particularly in the summer.
Winter arrives in Delhi by late November or early December and continues till mid-February. In winter there can be seasonal fog; on particularly foggy days, it can be difficult to see across the street. If you are flying in or out Delhi during the winters, be aware of fog-related flight delays.
Drink only packaged bottled water, to avoid water-related illness. Sticking to freshly, well-cooked food will lessen your chances on acquiring the "Delhi belly".
Cell phone coverage in the city is excellent. There are many service providers offering a wide variety of plans. Among them are Airtel, Vodafone, Jio, Reliance, and Tata Indicom. It might be a good idea to buy a cell phone and use one of those prepaid plans to get yourself connected while you are in the city.
Phone numbers in Delhi begin with 011, typically followed by eight digits. To call Delhi from outside India you will need to dial the international prefix for your country, followed by India's country code 91. If you want to dial a landline no. from a mobile, then you have to add 011 before the number.
Delhi emergency numbers
Here are the Delhi emergency contact numbers
- Police, ☏ 100.
- Fire Department, ☏ 101.
- Ambulance, ☏ 102. or dial the nearest local hospital
- Women`s Helpline, ☏ 1091.
Power outages and water shortages are common in Delhi, often occurring multiple times a day with summers being particularly bad. Better accommodation have water tanks and generators to alleviate the inconvenience, but keep a flashlight handy at night and do your part by not wasting too much water.
- Laundry service is offered in most hotels, even in budget accommodation. If you would rather save the money and do it yourself, buckets are found in almost all bathrooms - but perhaps wash it out well first.
- Exercising outdoors is not recommended due to the level of pollution and swimming in rivers is also not recommended. Instead, look for a hotel with a gym or a pool since many offer day passes. You can always try a morning or evening walk in the parks.
Embassies & High Commissions
- 10 Afghanistan, 5/50 F Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , , (visa section), ✉ email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternative website.
- Algeria, 2/2, Shanti Niketan, New Delhi-110 021, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- Angola, 5, Poorvi Marg Vasant Vihar, Vasant Vihar, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 11 Australia, 1/50 G Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, ☏ . M-F 8:30AM - 1:00PM & 2:00PM - 5:00PM. High Commission is also accredited to Bhutan
- 12 Bangladesh, EP-39, Dr. S. RadhaKrishnan Marg, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ (ext. 89-94), .
- 13 Belgium, 50-N, Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri, 110021.
- 14 Bhutan, EP-4, Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 15 Brunei, August Kranti Marg. High Commission of Brunei Darussalam
- 16 Cambodia, Outer Ring Road, 110017, New Delhi.
- 17 Canada, 7/8 Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 08:30-17:30, F 08:30-13:00. Alternative website.
- 2 China, 50 D Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , .
- 18 Czech Republic, 50, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:00-11:00.
- 19 Egypt, 1/50M, Niti Marg, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri 09:00-11:00.
- Finland, E-3, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , (visa section), fax: , (visa section), ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:00-12:00. The embassy is also accredited to Bangladesh.
- 20 France, 2/50-E Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 21 Germany, 6/50-G, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , fax: . Alternative website.
- 22 Greece, EP-32, Dr S. Radhakrishnan Marg, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , (Emergencies), fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 23 Indonesia, 50-A Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021, ☏ (/43/44), fax: (General Inquiries), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 24 Iran. M-F 09:30-13:00.
- Ireland, C17, Malcha Marg, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , fax: .
- 25 Israel, 3, Doctor Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam Marg, 110011, ☏ .
- 26 Italy, 50E, Chandra Gupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 09:00-13:00, 14:00-18:00, F 09:00-13:00.
- 27 Japan, 4 & 5, 50-G Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. M-F 09:00-13:00, 14:00-17:30. Alternative website.
- Macedonia, Hauz Khaz Enclave K 80 A, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 28 Malaysia, 50-M, Satya Marg, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ .
- Maldives, C-31, Anand Niketan, New Delhi, ☏ , fax: .
- 29 Mexico.
- Mongolia, 34, Archbishop Macarios Marg, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 30 Myanmar, 3/50F, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, (If using public transport to get to the embassy, bus 604 leaves from the PALTKA KENDRA bus stop, which is opposite The Park New Delhi Hotel, and between the Jantar Mantar attraction and the Bank of Baroda. This bus stop is also on Sansad Marg about 400 m north-east of the State Bank of India. Depending on the traffic, bus 604 will take about 30 min to get to the stop near the Myanmar embassy. Bus 604 will drop you at a bus stop on Shanti Path about 75 m north of the roundabout of Shanti Path and Panchsheel Marg. It’s a 10-min walk from this bus stop to the embassy. The visa application office is at the entrance of the embassy on Nyaya Marg, which is two blocks south of Panchsheel Marg and one block west of Shanti Path.), ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Visa application time is 10:00-11:00. Visa pick-up is the next day at 16:00. To pay for the visa, you must pay with a bank draft in Indian Rupees (₹2,800)—the embassy will not take cash. If you have all the other required paperwork, then getting a bank draft before going to the embassy will save you an extra trip. The bank draft needs to made to “EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNION OF MYANMAR”. Paying cash for a bank draft can be done at the main branch of the State Bank of India (SBI). The main SBI branch is on Sansad Marg between Jay Singh Marg and Ashoka Road (Patel Chowk). Small sub branches of the SBI bank will not do a bank draft for cash. Nor will other banks.
- 31 Nepal, Bara Khamba Rd, 110001, ☏ , .
- 32 Netherlands, 6/50 F, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M-F 09:00-17:00.
- 33 New Zealand, Sir Edmund Hillary Marg, ☏ .
- 34 Norway.
- 35 Pakistan, 2/50 G Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , .
- 36 Palestine, Jesus & Mary Marg, ☏ .
- 37 Paraguay, ☏ , fax: . Official M-F 09:00-17:00, consular & visitors 10:00-13:00.
- 38 Peru.
- 39 Poland.
- 40 [dead link] Russia, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rwanda, 41, Paschimi Marg Vasant Vihar, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 41 Singapore, E-6, Chandragupta Marg, 110021, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 42 Slovakia, 50-M, Niti Marg,, ☏ .
- 43 South Africa, Vasant Vihar.
- 44 South Korea, 9, Chandragupta Marg, 110021, ☏ .
- 45 Spain.
- 46 Sri Lanka, 27, Kautilya Marg, Chanakyapuri, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. High Commission is also accredited to Bhutan
- 47 Sweden, 4-5, Nyaya Marg, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ .
- 48 Switzerland, Nyaya Marg, 110 021, New Delhi, ☏ .
- 49 Turkey.
- 50 United Arab Emirates, EP 12, Chandragupta Marg, 110021, ☏ .
- 51 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 09:00-17:00.
- 52 United States of America, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, 110021, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
Delhi is a major international transit hub for trains, planes and buses as well as a great connection point for domestic destinations within India. It's also a great base for exploration of the famous Hill Stations.
- Agra and the Taj Mahal are a 3-6 hr drive or 2-5 hr train ride each way. By road Taj Mahal can be reached in 3 hrs through Yamuna Expressway from Delhi. Book tickets in the train cars with seats far in advance, and look for the seats put aside especially for tourists. You can also rent a car and driver for the day and shouldn't pay more than ~₹ 5,000 roundtrip (if not less). The Taj Mahal is closed on Friday.
- Bandhavgarh National Park and the Bandhavgarh Fort, are the "Tiger Reserve" at M.P. This is a tiger preservation project and has the highest density of tigers in India.
- Char Dham- Delhi is the starting point of the famous pilgrimage centres Badrinath (the abode of Vishnu), Kedarnath (the abode of Shiva), Gangothri and Yamunothri (the origin of sacred rivers, Ganges and Yamuna respectively).
- Corbett National Park, the first national park of the country, is around 5 hours' drive from Delhi
- Dharamsala, the seat of the Dalai Lama's government in exile, is 10-12 hr to the north. Tickets can be purchased from Main Bazaar Tourist offices, Majnu ka Tilla Tibetan Settlement or the I.S.B.T.
- Gurgaon, a southern suburb of Delhi, is a 1 hr drive or a metro ride away.
- Jaipur and Rajasthan are reachable by plane or overnight train.
- The holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh, in the foothills of the Himalayas, are a 5-6 hr bus or train ride away.
- Kathmandu, in neighbouring Nepal, is a roughly 36+ hr by coach, or longer (but more comfortably) on a combination of train and coach.
- Ride the Maharajas' Express, a luxury train running between Delhi and Mumbai.
- Mussoorie - one of the original British hill stations in India; also known as The Queen of the Hills.
- Nainital - another beautiful hill station in the Kumaon hills with the magnificent Naini Lake.
- Oshodhara Nanak Dham, Murthal, Sonepat - An Osho Ashram, famous for its 21 level Spiritual programmes. 1/3/6/9/21 day meditation programmes are available. It has airconditioned accommodation with all inclusive charges as low as Rs. 1000 per day. It is about an 1.5 hr drive or 2 hr in a bus. Details at www.oshodhara.org.in.
- Shimla - the summer capital of British India and the queen of all hill stations in India. It has many scenic and historic locations and is about an 8 hr drive or 10 hr in a bus. A direct flight from Delhi takes just 1 hr to reach Shimla.
|Routes through Delhi (National Highway routes)|
|Rohtak ← Bahadurgarh ←||W E||→ Ghaziabad → Moradabad|
|END ← Merges with ←||W E||→ Mathura → Agra|
|Ludhiana ← Kurukshetra ←||N S||→ Noida → Agra|
|END ←||N S||→ Gurgoan → Jaipur|
|Routes through Delhi (Asian Highway routes)|
|Ludhiana ← Kurukshetra ←||N E||→ Ghaziabad → Moradabad|
|Rohtak ← Bahadurgarh ←||W N||→ Kurukshetra → Ludhiana|