Are you planning a visit to Delhi in the next few months? If so, believe me when I say the trip will be well worth it as there are plenty of places to visit in Delhi. The city is the capital of India as well as the second most populous city in the country, behind only Mumbai. It is also home to some incredible wealth. Interestingly enough, wealth is not something we typically think of when considering India’s institutional caste system.
Be that as it may, the first thing visitors usually observe about Delhi is that its geographic footprint is distinctly different from cities such as London and Beijing. Rather than being a continuous metropolitan area that starts at the city centre and works outward, Delhi is more of a cluster of smaller cities that have been all unified to create the ‘metro’ region. There is good reason for this.
The land that is now Delhi has been inhabited for thousands of years. Over its history, it has been under the control of numerous nations and empires, serving as the capital in many cases. Through one conquest after another, the city has been essentially levelled and rebuilt countless times. And with each rebuild, certain older portions of the city have remained while new parts have been built up around them.
The last thing you should know before we talk about places to visit in Delhi is the fact that this city is one of the most expansive in the world. It covers almost 575 square miles and is home to some 25 million people. Very few other cities in the world come close to Delhi in terms of geographic footprint.
Great Places to Visit in Delhi
New Delhi is essentially divided into both old and new sections for tourism purposes. Among what is considered ‘Old Delhi’ you will find dozens of historical sites, buildings, and neighbourhoods heavily influenced by religion. The New Delhi is more about financial growth and expanding culture. The newer portions of the city are sometimes known as Lutyens Delhi, after city designer Edwin Lutyens.
Here are my personal recommendations for places to visit in Delhi when you next happen to be in this vibrant city:
Sansad Bhavan is India’s House of Parliament, designed by Lutyens and Herbert Baker. It is one of the most impressive buildings in Delhi and one of the most visited spots in the city. Sansad Bhavan was officially opened in 1927, following six years of construction. It is still in use today as the seat of the Indian government. The circular building is also home to a museum that includes some very important artefacts relating to the history of India’s government. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 11am to 5pm. Entry is free for children and just Rs 10 for adults.
The Lodi Gardens used to be known as Lady Willington Park. Established in 1930, Lodi Gardens is dotted with numerous monuments and tombs that tell part of the colonial history of the city. Like Sansad Bhavan, the Lodi Gardens are one of the most popular tourist spots, and definitely one of the nicest places to visit in Delhi. Within the gardens is the National Bonsai Park, home to a wide variety of miniature trees. Plan your visit for just before dusk and you will be amazed at the remarkable beauty of the bonsai. The gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset; admission is free.
Red Fort Complex
The Yamuna River is home to an island that contains what is now known as the Red Fort complex. The complex is a series of fortified structures built between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The original Red Fort was commissioned in 1638 when the Mughal Empire decided to move its capital from Agra to Delhi. Over the centuries, the complex has undergone numerous renovations that have included the construction of additional battlements and other buildings. The complex is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Entry will cost you Rs 250.
If you’ve seen and been impressed by the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you’ll probably be equally impressed with Delhi’s Qutub Minar. This 73-meter tower was built as a monument to Islam after the defeat of India’s Hindu ruler in the twelfth century. Its five stories include individual balconies made of different materials to symbolise different things. You can see the tower daily from sunrise to sunset. If you want to check out the interior, plan on spending approximately Rs 250 per person. This has to be one of the most impressive places to visit in Delhi.
National Museum, New Delhi
As the name suggests, this museum plays a significant role in educating visitors about the history of the city as well as India as a whole. It is one of the largest museums in India, as well. The National Museum offers everything from historical relics to modern art. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm; admission is Rs 300 per person.
National Rail Museum
Rail transport has been particularly important for the development of Delhi over the centuries. You can see just how important when you visit the National Rail Museum, a 10-acre site that includes both indoor and outdoor displays. There are more than 100 exhibits of full-sized trains that at one time traversed India’s railways. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9.30am to 5.30pm. Entry is Rs 20 for adults and Rs 10 for children. This museum is probably one of the more exciting places to visit in Delhi for kids.
Tourists who appreciate the opportunity to mingle with the locals will love Chandni Chowk. This is one of Delhi’s oldest and most famous public markets, situated in the old portion of the city. It dates back to the Mughal Empire of the seventeenth century, and it’s very close to other famous landmarks, including the Red Fort complex. When you go, be prepared to negotiate with shop owners. Also, make a point of trying some of the excellent street food. Entry to the market is free; the individual stores all have their own operating times, although all are closed on Sundays.
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- Humayun’s Tomb: By ABHIJITJAWANJAL (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Sansad Bhavan: By Nikhilb239 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Red Fort: By Mahesh Bhanupanth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Bada Gumbad, Lodi Gardens: By Karthiknanda (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Qutub_Minar: By Cool sneh13 (Template:Freely licensed) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- India National Museum: By Miya.m – Miya.m’s file, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7020410
- National Rail Museum: By Bruno Corpet (Quoique) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12627594
- Chandni Chowk: By Bahnfrend (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons