5 Reasons to Visit Delhi
1. Historical Ruins and Attractions
Delhi, the capital of India, is also its third largest city, with a population of about 16 million sprawling over some 1,500 sq. km (585 sq. miles). Its strategic location along the north-south, east-west route has given it a focal position in Indian history and many great empires have been ruled from here. The monuments and ruins of these are scattered throughout the city, often cheek-to-cheek with modern structures and highrise towers.
2. Old Delhi vs New Delhi
The vast urban sprawl of contemporary Delhi is, in fact, a conglomeration of several distinct enclaves, chief among which are Old Delhi, with its 16th– and 17th-century Mughal-built monuments and congested souk-like bazaars; and New Delhi with its wide avenues, grand vistas and colonial mansions, built by the British in the 1930s as their imperial capital. New Delhi has government buildings and also houses the Diplomatic Enclave where all the embassies are located. The picturesque 12th-century ruins of citadels built by the first Islamic rulers can be seen in the Qutb Mehrauli area, and the affluent new middle class suburbs of South Delhi lie close by. Slums and shanty towns dot the outer fringes of the city.
3. Essence of Modern India
All the contrasts and contradictions of India are particularly visible in the capital: denim-clad youngsters rubbing shoulders with robed sadhus (holy men), and bullock carts travelling along side the latest luxury cars. Plagued by the subcontinent’s highest levels of pollution, growth, and poverty, Delhi’s delights are not immediately apparent. Yet Delhi is in many ways the essence of modern India, with its vivid paradox of old and new, rich and poor, foreign and familiar. Apart from ancient forts, there are also magnificent museums, temples, mosques, and a busy cultural scene and, for shopaholics, all the riches of India twinkle in Delhi’s emporiums.
4. Shopping at its Best
Delhi has some of the best markets in India making it a buyers delight when it comes to shopping for clothes, shoes, jewellery, souvenirs and anything else. The congested souk-like bazaars of Old Delhi contain some of the finest Indian clothing, jewellery, and a kaleidoscope of saris. Head to the bijoux boutiques in New Delhi for an astounding array of handicrafts, textiles, and carpets.
4. Excellent Starting Point for Exploring North India
Apart from its many attractions, Delhi is an excellent starting point for exploring North India and the rest of the sub-continent, not only because of its ample transport connections and relatively sophisticated infrastructure, but because the history of Delhi, one of the oldest cities in the world, is essentially the history of India.
Events & Festivals in Delhi
Delhi comes alive during one of her festivals so consider planning your trip to Delhi during one of these festivals to enhance your holiday experience.
- January is attractive with Republic Day parade and processions in New Delhi. The parades in New Delhi are eye feasting and impressive
- August attracts tourists with Independence Day celebrations
- February to March is amazing with the city illuminated with colours from Holi celebrations
- September thrives with the Ganesh Chathurdhi festival and religious rituals associated with it
- October to November is the best festive season in Delhi with the festivities of Deepavali being the highlight. Fairs, fireworks and religious rituals make Deepavali the top celebration in Delhi
Being the capital city of India, Delhi has a fantastic infrastructure connecting it with the rest of India. Within Delhi, there are so many modes of transport making it easy to travel around by public transport.
Getting to & from Delhi
Delhi has good air, rail and road links to the rest of the region. The main points of entry are Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi train station, Old Delhi train station, and the Inter State Bus Terminal (ISBT).
By Air – Most major international airlines operate to Delhi, one of the best-connected cities in south Asia. Delhi has separate domestic and international airports that lie 8km (5 miles) apart; a free hourly shuttle bus runs between them.
The International Airport lies 20km (12 miles) southwest of Connaught Place (the city center), 40 minutes to an hour away. The cheapest way (but one to be avoided) to get into town is to catch a State Transport bus, but a more comfortable way is to travel by taxi. It’s best to book a taxi at the official prepaid taxi kiosk just outside the arrivals hall.
By Train – Of the five stations, most trains arrive at either New Delhi Station, a 10-minute walk from Connaught Place, or at Old Delhi Station in Shahjahanabad. Trains to Agra leave from Nizamuddin Station, south of Connaught Place. Head to the prepaid auto-rickshaw and taxi counters outside the entrance.
By Bus – There are several bus companies and tour agencies that can organise tickets for buses heading to and from Agra. For other locations, it is not advisable to travel by bus due to the long and uncomfortable journey; taking a train is a better option.
Getting around Delhi
Several modes of transport operate throughout the city making it easy and affordable to get to and from the Delhi tourist places. The most efficient and affordable way to travel around Delhi is on the Metro. Buses also ply around Delhi and taxis are easily available everywhere in the city. However, traffic congestion makes delays quite common.
Click on one of the sections on the right for more information about Delhi.
Tell us what you think. Are you planning to start your Indian holiday in Delhi? If you’ve been to Delhi before, what was the main reason for your visit?
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