Try something different spending holidays in Delhi, a city dripping with history and religious tradition.
The capital of India is one of the biggest metropolises in the world, and smoothly fuses the two worlds of Old Delhi and New Delhi. It will mesmerise you with its many art galleries and beautifully adorned palaces, exotic jewellery, and lively nightlife.
Book a flight to Delhi and discover the history and culture of a great nation.
According to Indian legend, ‘Indraprastha’ was the first of Delhi’s many incarnations when the Pandavas brothers constructed a fortress there thousands of years ago.
It was in the eighth century that The Tomar Rajput became the first of many dynasties to rule the country, founding a city named ‘Lal-Kot’ in the Mehrauli area of Delhi today.
Early in the 13th century, after several armed struggles for control of the city, Qutub-ud-din Aibak made ‘Dhilli’ capital of the Delhi Sultanate. He himself became the first sultan.
After Aibak’s death, the city once again fell in to the hands of leaders from Central Asia, followed by a number of dynasties during the medieval period. During this turbulent period the city was badly damaged during conflicts, and had to be rebuilt on several occasions.
In the early 16th century, Zahiruddin Babar founded the Mughal Empire. For a time, the nearby city of Agra became the capital, dealing a blow to Delhi’s standing. In 1739, Nadir Shah, a Persian shah, defeated the Mughal army, and another volatile period saw Delhi once again at the centre of several bloody battles.
Against this troubled backdrop the British gradually become the dominant force. They took control of Delhi in 1857 and destroyed parts of Old Delhi to build New Delhi in English Colonial style.
After World War I, a movement for independence gathered momentum at home, inspired by the peaceful protests of Mahatma Gandhi. When India finally secured its independence in 1947, Delhi kept the seat of the Indian government.
An unmissable sight in Old Delhi, this impressive fort was the residence of the Mughal Royal Family in the 17th century. The British made the fort their military base in 1857, after they exiled Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. It remained that way until India declared independence in August 1947—a light and sound show at the fort marks the start of the annual festivities commemorating that event. The fort has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
These picturesque gardens cover 13 acres, and blend British and Mughal architectural styles to great effect. Three distinct sections are filled with different species of butterflies, hundreds of varieties of roses, 13 different types of dahlias and a striking collection of marigolds. Indian Moulsari trees dot the perimeter, while fountains, waterway canals and an emerald carpet of grass give the gardens an ‘Eden-like’ quality.
This cylindrical tower is located within the Qutb Complex in South Delhi and has 378 steps that climb over 70 metres to the top. The first Muslim Turkic Sultan, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, commissioned the monument to be built in 1193 AD, but it wasn’t finished until 1386 AD under Firoz Shah Tughlaq. The formidable tower is flanked by a grand mosque and many tombs.
The India Gate, standing over 40 metres tall, is a significant memorial site. Completed in 1921, it symbolised the entry for British rulers arriving at the Viceroy’s Palace. More recently, it has been converted in to a war memorial. The two massive columns have been engraved with the names of Indian soldiers of the British Army who were killed during the First World War and Afghan War. The arched gateway is stunning to look at – especially when illuminated from below. Nearby activities include boating and picnicking.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Delhi is host to many religious festivals—there is usually at least one taking place each month. These joyous events unite people of different religious and cultural backgrounds, accepting differences in a welcoming, peaceful manner. They are filled with traditional music, dance and brightly-coloured costumes.
Delhi’s most comprehensive arts centre holds a daily range of activities including art exhibitions, theatre shows, Indian and foreign films, and cultural talks. It also boasts fitness facilities, a spa, a rooftop swimming pool and six restaurants for members to enjoy—non-members have access to a selection of restaurants and activities.
In production since 1975, this is India’s longest-running show. One-hour nightly concerts feature 20 well-known artists dancing classical, tribal and folk dances, including Manipuri, Kathakali and Bharatanatyam. You can purchase tickets on site.
There is nothing you can’t find in Delhi’s shops and markets. Chandni Chowk is a famous street for shopping in the old city, full of carpets and jewellery.
Ansal Plaza is a modern shopping centre selling designer clothes and cosmetics.
Central Cottage Industries Emporium is a state-run store featuring crafts from all over India. It has furniture, paintings, wood carvings, clothes and religious statues.
At the Delhi Cloth House, men’s wool suits can be purchased for Rs5000-25,000 (£70-350), including materials.
This major theme park boasts thrilling roller coasters, car racing, 3D films, and many other action-packed activities. Meanwhile, the Oysters Water Park is a great place to cool off on hot days. Perfect for families, the park also has plenty of restaurants and gift shops.
Boating is possible in many man-made and natural lakes around the city. There are all kinds of vessels on offer, from leisurely pedal boats to water scooters. There are even boats designed to look like crocodiles, ducks and dinosaurs.
The 185-room Metropolitan Hotel is nicely positioned near Connaught Place and key shopping areas. The hotel is luxuriously designed with the latest technology and the highest-quality facilities. A fitness centre, spa and open-air swimming pool will keep you relaxed in the bustling city.
The Lalit Hotel is a stunning high-end hotel. Also located in Connaught Place, it features a fitness centre with swimming pool, round-the-clock room service, a beauty salon and live entertainment.
Hotel Tara Palace is a three-star hotel offering the best quality in terms of value. Located in the famous Chandni Chowk, the free airport transfer and complimentary drinks are an excellent way to start the holiday. Among the usual amenities are practical offerings like broadband internet, currency exchange, and an on-site restaurant.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel is a palatial building, with a design inspired by ancient Gupta-style architecture. On top of 513 luxury rooms there is a Regency Club equipped with every amenity imaginable. There is a pool, a secretarial service, fitness centre, continental breakfast, free newspapers and Jacuzzis, to name a few.
The Ajanta Hotel is a comfortable hotel offering free airport pickup. The welcoming staff will help you set up tours and find your way around the city.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport connects Delhi to other states and international cities. The most common way of getting to and from the airport is in a prepaid taxi.
You can also take a bus from the airport to Connaught Place via the New Delhi Railway Station. The buses come either every 30 minutes or once an hour, depending on which part of the day you travel. One journey costs Rs50 (70p).
Many hotels in Delhi offer an airport pickup service, usually costing Rs400-700 (£5.50-£10).
Delhi public transport has drastically improved in recent years, making it the easiest place in India to get around.
The new Metro train system is modern and has a user-friendly, automated ticketing system. Both underground and overground trains operate from 6a.m. until 11p.m.
There are also special tourist cards available, which grant unlimited travel over one day (Rs70, £1) or three days (Rs200, £2.80).
The buses in Delhi will take you anywhere, but some services are best avoided, depending on traffic and type of vehicle—ask for advice at your hotel. Public buses generally run from dawn until 10:30p.m.
There are also many auto rickshaws, but usually they will not turn their meters on. It is important to find out the tariff before you start your journey.
Taxis are a bit more costly than rickshaws, but are safer and can be easily stopped on the streets or called on the phone.
If you plan a car hire in Delhi, be aware that drivers can be aggressive and roads chaotic in Delhi.
Karim Hotel (16 Gali Kababian), a popular eatery in Old Delhi, has been handed down through four generations since 1913 and is known for serving the best grilled meats—don’t miss the Tandoori chicken—in the city. Also, try the mutton kebabs with diced green chillies and the badam pasanda curry.
Nagaland House (29 Aurangzeb Road) is located in a white villa on a stylish boulevard lined with beautiful homes. Its specialties include stewed pork with leaves from a local yam, called nushi.
Andhra Pradesh Bhavan (1 Ashoka Road) is a canteen famous for the spicy fare that is typical in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The restaurant is usually lively, with scores of people dining under the harsh fluorescent lighting. There is a set menu and side dishes that can be ordered from wandering waiters. A local favourite is the basmati rice accompanied by spices and chicken, vegetables, or mutton.
Swagath (14 Defence Colony Market) has the best representation of a middle-class Delhi resident’s typical dinner. The décor is average but you won’t forget the delicious food in a hurry. The restaurant offers some of the best seafood in the region, including prawns prepared in typical Chettinad-style.
Atrium (1 Janpath) is the Imperial Hotel’s tea room. Sit near the fountain and marvel at the decadent Raj-era design from the 1930s while feasting on tea and cakes.
There is a compulsory vaccination for yellow fever for travellers older than one year who are coming from an endemic area.
-Standard injections for tetanus, diphtheria, polio and measles (one dose of trivalent vaccine will suffice).
-Hepatitis B if you will go on extended or frequent visits and hepatitis A if you do not already have immunity.
-A rabies injection is vital if you will be travelling in rural areas, particularly if you plan to hike.
-Japanese encephalitis shots if you will stay longer than one month in rural areas.
Consult your local GP before leaving home if you are travelling with children.
The water is not for drinking, and you should only use bottled water for drinking and cleaning your teeth. Avoid beverages such as Lassi, which could be mixed with tap water or ice.
There are skilled Indian doctors who study in the West and the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi is well equipped.
Pickpockets are common in crowded areas. There are also gemstone scams to be wary of. Women should avoid travelling alone due to the likelihood of harassment and the risk of sexual assault.
Avoid walking at night or carrying jewellery or lots of cash. Lock the door when travelling overnight in trains.
India has been targeted by terrorists several times in the last few years, with tourist sites and hotels among the vulnerable locations. Stay vigilant and co-operate with the increased security measures adopted by local police.
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