Delhi is a thoroughly inscrutable onion of a city: every layer you peel off reveals an even deeper layer of history. Rebuilt eight times by its many conquerors, it has been the seat of the Hindu, Muslim and British Empires. All of them have left their mark in the architecture, customs, food and people of this relentless city. Now they are all undergoing a new transformation as the capital of modern India.
Indian Rupee (INR) Rs1 = 100 paise
Fire Brigade: 101
The Times of India
Shops in New Delhi are open from Mon-Sat 9am-7pm. Shops are open on Sundays at their own discretion. General business hours are from Mon-Sat 9.30am-5.30pm. Note that museums and tourist sites could be closed on Mondays.
City: Approximately 302,000
Municipal area: Approximately 22 million
The Government of India Tourist Office
Defence Colony, New Delhi
+91 11 246 47005
The plain area to the west of the Yamuna River, where Delhi lies today, has been a centre of civilization for millennia. Indraprastha, the city of the Pandavas, is mentioned in the 3,000-year-old Mahabharata Hindu text, a city sited where the Old Fort now stands. Delhi is a city of metamorphosis in terms of physical buildings, people and culture from the early Hindu rulers to the arrival of Islam. There was a succession of Islamic dynasties, reaching their zenith with the architectural wonders of the Mughals, and in particular Shah Jahan, builder of the Red Fort and Jama Masjid. His city, Shahjahanabad, is today’s Old Delhi with its tangled, intoxicating streets and bazaars.
All of this contrasts with the imperial project of the last rulers of India, the British, who in 1911 decided to build their own imperial capital to the south of Old Delhi. The broad boulevards and geometric order of New Delhi give the capital its other distinct half. Designed by Lutyens, the European classical grandeur now has a distinctly Indian flavour, and much of New Delhi is fast acquiring the shiny glass-and-steel look of the modern Asian metropolises. You will find all races, faiths and customs of every region of India alongside one another on the streets of Delhi.
New Delhi is a bustling city full of people and beautiful architecture. There are numerous temples spread over the region, all worth a visit for anyone who is interested in these architectural wonders. Just walking the streets of New Delhi is a unique experience. You will soon notice that this city has many things to fall in love with.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
National Gallery of Modern Art
Indian cuisine is justifiably famous throughout the world. With its use of spices, it conjures up the most subtle and explosive tastes. New Delhi is a feast for food lovers, bringing together not just the best in North Indian cuisine, but also offering excellent regional styles, Far Eastern cuisines and contemporary fusions.
In 2010 Indians drank 837,000 tonnes of tea and 108,000 tonnes of coffee. India has been a nation of tea drinkers for centuries, but in the past decades coffee has been on the rise. There are cafés all over the place in New Dehli, and big café chains are starting to appear more and more around the city. However, you will still find small tea shops in every corner where you can grab your daily cup of tea.
Alcohol is not deeply engrained in Indian culture, though New Delhi’s bar culture is fast becoming world-renowned. The best bars are found in the more upmarket hotels with ordinary drinking holes, still very much all-male affairs.
This area of almost 22 million people offers world class nightlife, often increasingly glitzy and expensive. There are plenty of places to rub shoulders with the rich and beautiful in New Delhi’s hotel clubs and bars. If you are looking for something more traditional, you can also find some of the best in Indian music and dance here.
Delhi is a shopper’s paradise with just about anything you can think of available somewhere at some price. One thing that often intimidates visitors from abroad is the art of haggling, though, with a few days practice, it can become an integral part of the shopping experience and puts the hunt for a bargain in your own hands.
The area around Connaught Place has a number of state-run emporiums where you can buy Indian handicrafts at fixed prices. The Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath has six floors of merchandise, while the regional State Emporiums on Baba Kharak Singh Marg focus on the arts from their particular region. The thoroughfare of Janpath, running south from Connaught Place, is also a top spot for textile shopping.
Central Cottage Industries Emporium
Aap Ki Pasand Sancha Tea Shop
Indira Gandhi International Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport is a major hub for domestic and international air travel. The domestic terminals (1A and 1B) are located 15 kilometres from the city centre and the international terminal is a further 8 kilometres out. All international visitors must have a valid visa for entry.
A free shuttle bus service operates between the terminals. Metro, taxis, buses and rickshaws are available at the airport to take you into the city.
The metro is the fastest and most comfortable way to reach the city centre. The first train leaves the airport 5.15am and the last at 11.15pm. The first train leaves the city at 5.35am and the last at 11.35am.
Address: Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi
Phone: +91 12 4337 6000
The Delhi Metro is a network running from the north to south and east to west, crossing at Connaught Place. It is by far the easiest way to get around this traffic-choked city. The Tourist Cards offer unlimited travel for one day or three days. You can also buy a normal card.
Delhi also has five network railway stations to destinations around the country, the main one being New Delhi Station, a chaotic place with an international travel bureau on the first floor.
Address: New Delhi
Phone: +91 11 2256 1231
The bus system in New Delhi is cheap and serves many routes. According to western standards this might not be the most comfortable way to travel around town. There are both red and green buses.
The main bus station is called Delhi Inter State Bus Terminal and is located north of the Old Delhi train station.
Address: New Delhi
The rickshaws, also called “auto”, are similar to tuk tuks. This is an affordable way to travel around the city if you are going short distances. Remember to negotiate on the fares before getting in.
Stamps can be purchased from post offices, newsagents and some travel stores. Local post offices are generally open Mon-Fri 10am-5pm and Sat 10am-12pm. The large General Post Offices have longer opening hours, Mon-Fri 9.30am-6pm and Sat 9.30am-1pm.
General Post Office:
Address: New Delhi GPO, Ashok Road, New Delhi
It is easy to hail a taxi or rickshaw on the street, especially in the city centre, at the airport or train stations. To avoid the hassle of haggling for a price, try the Delhi Traffic Police Pre-Paid Taxi Booth at the airport or book taxis through your hotel. For short journeys around the city, auto-rickshaws are fast, convenient and inexpensive, while the cycle rickshaws are far more atmospheric and peaceful.
+91 11 42424242
+91 11 44224422
In New Delhi you will find pharmacies in most shopping centres.
Address: G - 8, Marina Arcade, Outer Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Phone: +91 11 4140 2222
Country code: +91
Area code: 011
230-240 V, 50 Hz AC