New Delhi is the capital of India and is filled with must-see landmarks, cultural attractions and fun activities. Although Delhi and New Delhi are used interchangeably, the latter actually refers to the bustling metropolitan district that makes up part of the larger city of Delhi. The capital was designed by British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and and Sir Herbert Baker. The entire city’s style was created as a symbol of British power, giving rise to the region’s melting pot of culture and architecture. New Delhi was inaugurated as India’s new capital in 1931.
With the city being renowned for its temperamental climate and polluted air, it’s important to carefully choose when to visit this vibrant city. Avoid travelling to New Delhi between April to June, as uncomfortable heats upwards of 40°C are known to be common. Similarly, December and January experience extreme climates, with cold snaps dropping temperatures down to around zero. However, if you book your trip between February to March or October to November, you will miss the worst of the weather and monsoon rains. The temperatures around this time will be at a blissful 20-30°C, with azure skies and warm evenings to enjoy.
New Delhi is one of the liveliest and most exciting cities on the globe. We’ve compiled this travel guide to help you plan your holiday, but we always encourage you to get out there and explore this stunning city for yourself.
- The unique architecture found around the city isn’t a simple accident. It was founded in the early 1900 (1911 to be exact) by George V, who was emperor of India at the time. As such, the city was originally designed by British architects giving many places their distinct look.
- While environmental advancements might not be the first thing you’d consider when thinking about New Delhi, its public transport is actually a bit of a trailblazer in this regard. The public transport system in the city runs on compressed natural gas.
- That’s not all on the environmental front either. The city also has about 20% of its landmass filled with forests.
- New Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. This is partially due to the incredible expansion of its telecommunication, tourism and technology industries.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle:
If you’re not willing to barter in New Delhi, then you’re likely to get ripped off. If they know you’re a tourist, they’ll know you’re likely have money on you and will do what they can to take as much as possible. So get good at negotiating if you want to grab a bargain.
- Carry water on you:
Delhi doesn’t just get hot: it can also be incredibly crowded, particularly in certain parts of the city. With that in mind, make sure you keep well hydrated to keep yourself healthy on your travels.
- If you want a late night, get the drinks in early:
Despite Delhi being a packed modern city, they still like to keep to their bedtimes. Very few bars remain open past midnight and shops shut considerably early than that, so make sure you’re prepared for your evening entertainment.
- If you can, check out the city during a festival:
The only way that a place like New Delhi can get even more exciting is if you choose to go there during either Diwali or Holi. The atmosphere during these times is something you’re unlikely to ever forget
Getting Around in New Delhi
With New Delhi offering so much to travellers, it’s no surprise that things can get hectic in the hustle and bustle of India’s metropolitan jewel. The public transport can often reflect this, but there is a choice of different travelling options to help you get to where you need to be.
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For the less discerning visitor who wants the authentic local experience, the city has an extensive public bus service, which is a cheap and effective way of getting from A to B. But you get what you pay for in India’s capital. These busses can be very hot and crowded by western standards. However, if you want to get a taste of what it’s really like to live in the heart of southern Asia, you won’t get further for cheaper in any major capital. Look out for the red and green government run DTC busses over the privately run orange variety.
Taxis are also available by the thousands, at varying levels of price and comfort. On the lower end of the scale, there’s yellow and black ambassadors, which are unlikely to come air conditioned but are reliable veterans of New Delhi’s busy streets. Rates can vary greatly, so it’s better to agree on a fee up front before starting your journey.
If you’re willing to pay a little more, you’re sure to get your money’s worth with a radio taxi. These can be hired via phone and are of a much higher standard of vehicle, comfort and convenience. They are available 24/7, but be aware that there’s a 25% late night charge. Unlike ambassadors, tipping is not expected.
Never get into an unlicensed taxi. You should also be wary of drivers offering to take you to particular shops or shopping districts. Drivers are known to take a cut from sales gathered through their recommendation and it will likely be overpriced.
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Auto rickshaws are available for even less than the ambassador cabs and can be great for short journeys. These can be deemed a little too rustic for western tastes if you’re planning a long haul though. You can flag down these three-wheeled vehicles in the street. Similar to the taxis, it is advised that you try to negotiate a price with the driver before you start your journey. Avoid the prepaid desks in stations, as these can try and overcharge you by as much as triple the actual price.
Alternatively, you can book prepaid rickshaws from auto stands throughout the city. These are run by the police. All you have to do is tell them your destination and pay for your journey upfront, including a 5 rupee service fee. You will then be given a coupon and directed by a policeman to the next available auto rickshaw. This is an easy and safe way to travel, with all the fees covered before you even step foot in the vehicle.
The Delhi metro
Perhaps the best way of getting around the city is through the state of the art Delhi Metro, which is a beacon of progress and a lasting legacy of India’s economic development. You can get a smart card for 150 rupees, which can be topped up whenever you wish to ride. Tourist cards are also available and give you unlimited use for one day (100 rupees) or three days (250 rupees).
The metro is the most modern way to travel throughout Delhi, as well as being the easiest way of visiting the city’s history.
Flights to New Delhi
When flying into New Delhi, you will arrive in the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Situated just 16km away from the New Delhi centre, it serves the city as one of the busiest airports in the world and the 10th busiest on the continent. It’s therefore no surprise that there are many different national flights landing here, with around 486 journeys taking place between Mumbai and Delhi every week alone.
Alternatively, you can opt to travel to the well-connected New Delhi Railway Station via train. However, depending on where you depart from, rail journeys often are longer and can be more expensive than flights. The city also enjoys various public and private bus services that link New Delhi to cities across the country.
Visit the Expedia website to find the best prices for flights to New Delhi.
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