Delhi is capital of India with so many interesting places but still, it is not a popular travel destination. If you are traveling to India then you will most probably arrive in Delhi or Mumbai because these two cities are connected well with international flights. Even if someone is coming to north India from other parts of India then also the arrive or pass through Delhi. Most people visiting Taj Mahal and Agra travel through Delhi.
Most of the foreign tourist avoid or spend very little time in Delhi due to various reasons. I understand it’s not an ideal destination for holidays because of pollution and traffic chaos. But there are many beautiful historical places in Delhi and interesting activities to do.
Check out Offbeat places in Delhi
Regardless of everything, there are some must-visit places in Delhi, which are worth visiting.
Today’s modern-day Delhi is made of 7 historic cities, which were developed between 1100 to 1947 AD by different rulers. These rulers belong to different dynasties that’s why the historical places in Delhi are different in design and architect. Other then these popular monuments, one can do some fun things in Delhi.
Here is my list of Must visit places in Delhi to experience best of Delhi.
Humayun Tomb in Nizamuddin
This is one of the most beautiful historical monument of Delhi. Humayun tomb is located in Nizamuddin area of Delhi. It was built by Haji Begum in memory of her husband Humanyun, who died in an accident. This beautiful structure is made of red sandstone and marble. The lattice screens, door frames with inlaid marble work in sandstone are some of the prominent features of this tomb. The entire structure is made on an elevated platform and surrounded by gardens, which are based on Charbagh concept. There are a couple of other tombs in the Humayun tomb complex.
Red Fort in Old Delhi
As the name suggests “Red Fort”, this fort is made of the Red sandstone. It was built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan when he decided to shift his capital from Agra. Along with the fort, he also developed the surrounding areas. The Red Fort has imposing high walls and there are some beautiful structures like Diwane-i-aam, Mumtaj Mahal, Naubat Khana, Lahori gate inside the compound. It is worth spending a couple of hours visiting this beautiful monument. There is a lot of history associated with Red Fort and it is an important symbol of independent India.
Jama Masjid in Old Delhi
It was also built by Emperor Shahjahan when he built the Red Fort. This grand mosque comprises four grand towers and three huge gates. Jama Masjid is one of the biggest mosques in India and can accommodate 25,000 people. It was constructed on an elevated platform and to reach the main compound you have to climb stairs which lead to the main gate. Jama Masjid is only 15 minutes walking distance from Red Fort. The famous food lane of Matia Mahal is in front of gate no.1 of the mosque.
Chandani Chowk – Dilli 6
A visit to old Delhi’s Chandani Chowk market is an experience, it’s chaotic and noisy. Chandani Chowk is not the place for faint-hearted people, it is the place for those who explore India with an open mind to experience different things. This market was developed for nobles of Delhi when Red Fort was built. Over the decades with constant development and construction, now it became an overcrowded market with narrow and noisy lanes. Despite everything, it’s one of the must-visit places in Delhi for experience, shopping and taste the traditional Delhi food.
Qutab Minar in Mehrauli
This imposing minaret is one of the most important stops in the list of Delhi Darshan places. Qutab Minar is the world’s tallest minaret, which is made up of bricks. This red and brownish color minaret is surrounded by some beautiful structures, the whole compound is known as the Qutab complex. The beautiful design of it and fine carving is done on it makes it an unmissable place in Delhi. Earlier people can climb different levels of Qutab Minar but now it is close and can be seen from outside.
Jantar Mantar in New Delhi
It is situated in the heart of Connaught Place in New Delhi. Jantar Mantar was built by Jai Singh II of Jaipur state in 1724 along with other monuments of Jaipur. The purpose of the Jantar Mantar was to calculate astronomy and astrology. The different structures in the compound were used to calculate the time and position of the planets. Nowadays this is a popular tourist attraction and no one knows how to calculate the time.
India Gate in New Delhi
It’s situated on Rajpath in the heart of Delhi. This is a war memorial built in the memory of 70,000 British soldiers died during the first world war between 1914 to 1921. Names of 13,300 servicemen are engraved on the walls of India Gate. It is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and the Gateway of India in Mumbai. In 1971 a small memorial was built to commemorate the soldier fought Indo Pakistan war. A reversed rifle, capped by a war helmet, and bounded by four eternal flames was built next to India gate in memory of these Indian soldiers and it is known as Amar Jawan Jyoti.
President House in New Delhi
This grand residential complex was built by Britishers in 1929 for Viceroy of India. The popular name for president house is Rashtrapati Bhavan. It’s situated on the western end of Rajpath and can be seen from India Gate. This is the house of President of India, who is head of state. A few years back some areas of Rashtrapati Bhavan complex were opened for the general public. To visit Rashtrapati Bhavan, you have to take an advance appointment through the official website of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Other than this you can visit it for a change of guard ceremony by making an advance booking.
Connaught Place in New Delhi
This is the commercial hub in New Delhi. This circular shape market was developed after the completion of Rashtrapati Bhavan and other major buildings of New Delhi. This area was open land with trees before the market built here. Today it is one of the pedestrian-friendly markets in India. Connaught Place is the 5th most expensive office location in the world. There are stores of many national & international brands and there are numerous restaurants & cafes. The Janpath market in Connaught place is one of the most popular street markets in India for fashion and souvenirs shopping in India.
Sacred Heart Cathedral in New Delhi
This is one of the oldest Roman Catholic cathedral and church building in Delhi. It was built in the 1930s and was financed by the colonial British India government. This red and the offwhite color painted cathedral is unlike white churches of Goa and Diu. It was built in the Italian style. The color of the cathedral is in coordination with other important monuments of Delhi. Today, Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of the most visited places during Easter and Christmas mass.
National Museum in New Delhi
This is one of the biggest museums in India and a must-visit place for people who like to explore the history of India. The artifacts displayed here are ranging from pre-historic era to modern works of art. The national museum is spread on two floors and a place to see the collection of every possible era of Indian history.
Madame Tussaud Museum in New Delhi
This is the place to be if you want to see the lifelike wax statues of famous Indian personalities. Madame Tussaud Museum is situated in Connaught Palace, the museum was opened in December 2017.
Birla Temple in New Delhi
This temple is also known as Laxmi Narayan temple and located in the center of Delhi. The temple was built in 1939 and an important stop in the list of Delhi darshan places. The temple was built with modern construction material and painted in Red & light yellow color. Unlike other Birla temples of Jaipur and Hyderabad, which are built with white marble stone. Birla temple is popular among locals as well as tourists.
Lotus Temple in Nehru Place
This is a relatively newly constructed monument in Delhi, it was completed and opened for public in 1986. Lotus temple is a place of worship for Bahai’s community in India. As the name suggests, it is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is one of seven Major Bahai’s temples built around the world. Lotus temple is built of white marble and has small water pools around it. The beautiful gardens around the temple add to the beauty of this monument. The central hall of the temple can seat 1300 people but there are no pictures, statues or images in it.
Akshardham Temple in Delhi
It is one of the popular temples of Delhi and one of the latest addition to Delhi’s must-visit places. The Akshardham Temple was built in 2005 and today it attracts hundreds & thousands of tourist from all across the world. The temple is a beautiful work of art with carved pillars and different mandapam inside the complex. Akshardham temple is spread in 100 acres of land with the main sanctum in the center of it with garden and other structures around it. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited in the temple compound. First Akshardham temple was built in Ahmedabad.
Image courtesy Akshardham Temple
Iskcon Temple East of Kailash, Delhi
This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and relatively new construction. It was opened in 1998. There are beautiful paintings and a grand library dedicated to religion & spirituality inside the temple complex. The evening aarti is one of the most popular time to visit the temple. One of the most popular festivals of India, Janmashtami is celebrated here with much fanfare. The grand vegetarian thali known as Chappanbhog is another popular attraction of the Iskcon temple.
Image Courtesy Iskcon temple
Dilli Haat INA and Pitampura
This market is an initiative of Delhi tourism dept. Dilli Haat is an open craft bazaar with small shops and stalls, where sellers from across India sell the local handmade products. This is the place to buy traditional Indian souvenirs and handicraft items. The stalls in Dilli Haat are allotted to a craftsman from across India on a rotational basis for a period of 15 days. Other than the shopping, it is a good place to enjoy traditional Indian food from different states of India. The open sitting arrangement inside the Dilli Haat makes it the best places to visit in Delhi with family or friends or solo.
Travel in Delhi Metro
The Delhi Metro is one of the best metro services in the world. The network of the metro is spread all around Delhi, it also connects both Delhi airports with the city center. The metro connects the adjoining cities of Gurgaon, Noida, and Faridabad with Delhi. There are 8 color-coded lines and the network of the metro is spread in 296 Km. Most of the popular historical places in Delhi are well connected with Delhi Metro’s network. It’s the easiest and faster way to travel in Delhi.
Eat food in Old Delhi
Don’t miss the food of old Delhi if you like to try traditional Delhi food. Most of the foreign travelers are scared of Delhi-belly and don’t eat different food. I recommend everyone to go for a food walk in old Delhi and try some vegetarian & nonvegetarian dishes. To avoid Delhi-belly eat at a place where you see the maximum crowd, food is freshly prepared and most importantly serving piping hot food. Don’t eat raw salad and drink only bottled water. The vegetarian dishes are available in Chandani Chowk area and nonvegetarian food is available in Matia Mahal area. A food walk in Old Delhi is the best way to experience the food.
These are some of mine my recommendations for must-visit places in Delhi for a first-time traveler. The safety is definitely an important issue while traveling in a new city or country.
Just be careful and use common sense while visiting new places. Avoid traveling alone at night, if you have to travel then use an app-based taxi or book a taxi from a reliable place. Keep someone in the loop about your whereabouts when going out late at night. Be attentive and don’t sleep in taxi or autorickshaw. Talk to someone or pretend to talk to someone over the phone when traveling alone at night.
Also, read these travel tips for Delhi and basic precautions that will help you remain safe.