Old meets new in the fast-paced metropolis of Delhi with bustling bazaars, historic relics, and enticing eats at every corner. Here’s how we’d spend a day in India’s capital city.
Bike back in time
Cycle back into history by joining a bike tour of Old Delhi. By starting early in the morning, you’ll get to see a quieter side of the city before rush hour hits. Begin in the neighbourhood of Mehrauli and bike to the ancient tombs of Balban and Iltutmish which date back to the 12 century. Then pedal through the Sanjay Van, the Haunted Forest of Delhi, to the ruins of Lal Kot, the fortified first city of Delhi and the remnants of the Begumpuri Mosque in Jahanpanah. Ride on to the famous Qutb Minar minaret, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the tallest pre-medieval tower at 73 metres high. Complete the circuit back at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park and wander through its scattered, time-ravaged monuments.
You’ll have undoubtedly worked up an appetite after all that cycling, so head to Karim's Restaurant for a taste of their famous Mughlai kebabs which are made from a generations-old recipe. Then head out to the streets to find a kulcha vendor and discover why flatbreads are so revered in this country, whether they’re topped with betel leaf, areca nut, lime, and sweet rose preserve or fried into paratha. Visit a chaat street chef to see how the crunchy, savoury, and saucy elements of this iconic Indian snack come together. Jump on the Metro to the Connaught Place and walk through the variety of street stalls at this shopping centre. Here, you can fill in any remaining pockets in your stomach with a visit to Nizam's Kathi, an age-old eatery which serves up some of the best kathi rolls in the city.
Following Gandhi’s footsteps
See the city through the eyes of Gandhi, one of Delhi’s most famous residents. Begin at the peaceful Gandhi Smriti, where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life and where he was assassinated. The building has since been reopened as a museum dedicated to Gandhi with relics, photographs, and artwork that will give you a deeper understanding of his philosophies of non-violent resistance and progress through peace. Discover the site of Gandhi's cremation, Raj Ghat, and pay tribute at the eternal flame that burns there. Next, head to Akshardham to marvel at one of the most magnificent and picturesque temples of the Hindu faith and learn about the crux of this ancient religion. Round out your Gandhi experience with a satvik meal. Gandhi consumed this vegetarian regimen of unprocessed, natural foods cooked over an open flame that to help calm his mind and energize his body and soul.
To market, to market
See how Delhi comes alive in the evening by visiting its bustling markets. Wander through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk, one of Delhi’s oldest markets, to see vendors hawking everything from clothes, electronics, books, and furnishings. This labyrinthine market was built in the 7th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Take a break from the market to visit the nearby Jama Mosque, which was designed by the same architect of the Taj Mahal. Admire India's largest mosque, especially its golden spires and mesmerizing reflecting pool. Then hop on a local cycle rickshaw to Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market, and learn about how these spices are used in Indian cuisine. Head up to the market’s roof to catch the sunset before heading off to Dilli Haat which stays open until 10pm. Here, you can pick up some last-minute souvenirs and enjoy some final tastes of Indian street food.
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