Delhi is not the most popular tourist destination in India. There are only a few interesting tourist spots in Delhi, which are all relatively close to each other and therefore can easily be done in one day. It was my second time in the city and I still had no real interest in sightseeing in Delhi. But with a population of 25 million there must be nice places to visit in India's capital so I decided that although it was Monsoon season to give it a chance and I was staying 3 nights in The LaLit hotel close to all the tourist spots in Delhi.
Sightseeing in Delhi itinerary
All the above places to go in Delhi are pretty close to each other and are therefore perfect to put in a 1-day sightseeing in Delhi tour. Best thing to do is to take a ride to Old Delhi, get a feel of this turbulent district and walk to Jama Masjid and Agra Fort. Take a taxi to the biggest Hindu temple in the world and then towards the India Gate and walk to the Presidential Palace.
Tourist spots in Delhi
Visit Old Delhi and bring earplugs
This district will be in every list of top 10 tourist places in Delhi. The old town is where you will find the real Indian city lifestyle with small hectic streets where vendors, motorbikes, people and tricycles are all fighting for their little space. There are tiny little streets where you can easily get lost. Districts are named after the product they sell: silver, book shops, sarees, jewellery and of course spices. Be open-minded and amazed by what you will see here in the streets, it is like nowhere ever before!
As a man there is no need to be scary, but as a woman I would not recommend walking around here alone. Keep your belongings close to you, even better don’t bring anything with you apart from some money and a camera.
Walking around is doable although you will get hassled everywhere. If you don’t want this then take a tricycle and let someone drive you around, an hour will cost you around $2 if you know how to haggle the price down. The Old Town is super intense and everyone wants you to buy something and motorbikes will honk the shit out of you. My advice: bring earplugs!
Climb the minaret of Jama Masjid Mosque
This majestic mosque is one of the best Delhi tourist spots and cannot be missed while touring around the city. The first day I was on a tailored tour around the city and the lady tour guide just mentioned it, but said it was not interesting. Holy crap! What was she thinking? To me it is number one on the list of sightseeing Delhi! It is also located in the Old Town and can easily be reached on foot from there. The entrance fee is $0,5, but somewhere inside in a corner there is an extra ticket boot where you can buy a ticket for $2 to go to the top of the minaret.
Save money and don’t enter the Red Fort
Close to the Jama Masjid Mosque and only a few streets away from Old Delhi there is the Red Fort. You can’t miss it as the walls of the Red Fort are looming large at the horizon and it is one of the most famous tourist spots in Delhi. To enter the Red Fort you have to pay a hefty entrance fee of $10. Since there are many forts around Rajasthan that are way more interesting, I would suggest to save the money for a visit to a fort in for example Jaipur, Agra, Jodhpur. Go to my India Page to see more of my adventures from around India.
Walk from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan
The India gate looks just like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It should definitely be included in your sightseeing in Delhi tour, but it is more the surrounding that makes this landmark appealing. Walk in a straight line on Rajpath towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan and be surrounded by green lawns where locals picnic. At the end of the road is the Presidents official home another impressive compound.
Take a secret photo of the Temple of God (Swaminarayan Akshardham)
Most followers of Hinduism live in India, which makes it obvious that the biggest Hindu temple is also located in India. Being a well-educated world traveller I was surprised when I heard that the Temple of God, the biggest Hindu Temple in the world was also in the neighbourhood. Swaminarayan Akshardham as it is called is an enormous and stunning piece of architecture and I found out why the word about it is not well spread. It is forbidden to take pictures in and around the temple complex. Cell phones need to be handed in as well so even cheating is not possible. Although it is pretty far away there is a photo spot: on the Noida Link Rd.
Picture: Tripadvisor.com (it was raining cats and dogs when I was there)
Where to stay
There are of course tons of hotels and guesthouses around and you are spoilt for choice, but if this is your first time to India you might want to stay in a nice place. The Lalit Delhi in Connaught Place is a luxurious 5 star hotel, but very affordable! Its location is perfect for this sightseeing tour as it is in the middle of all the above mentioned places to go in Delhi. It even houses the no. 1 nightclub in Delhi: Kitty Sue and a delicious roof top restaurant: The Grill. Remember you are in India so a 5 star hotel wont cost as much as you may think! Get the best rates for The Lalit Delhi here.
India’s capital might not be my favourite place, but I found out that there are definitely some cool places to visit in Delhi. Dont stay around too long, but don't completely skip it either!
Going to travel around India? In 2014 I traveled 5 weeks through India, read here why I think Pushkar it is the best city in India or click here to check out my adventure in the mountains: multi day trekking in Dharamsala. Last but not least I made it to the infamous but fabulous region of Kashmir. Read about best things to do in Kasmir!
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