Delhi Travel Review
Busy, hectic, dirty, vibrant and chaotic – a google search with these key words might well result in … Delhi!
Mostly avoided by tourists and mainly used as a starting point for tours to Agra and Rajasthan, India’s capital has far more to offer than its reputation might suggest – that is if you can get past the first shock of chaos, colors, poverty and (not always the most inviting) scents.
The city is divided into old and new Delhi. Old Delhi represents the bustling and authentic part of Delhi – “The real Delhi” as our Rikscha Driver explains. New Delhi on the other hand is more modern with broad streets and western brands available at Connaught Place, Delhi’s gigantic turnaround is the center of New Delhi.
The Red Fort is Delhi’s best known attractions. Tourists flock here to see this fort which consists of large buildings build of red sandstones of which most remain intact. The red fort is assembled in a charming courtyard.
Humayun Tomb: Similar in its shape and size however much smaller than its famous sister, the Taj Mahal, this building was built in 1565 A.D, nine years after the death of Humayun, by his widow Bega Begam. A beautiful monument which you should not miss.
The Jama Masijd Mosque is just a short stroll from the red fort and was also built of red sandstone. Walk or take a bike Rikscha after visiting the Red Fort.
A taste of …Culture & Art
The contemporary museum of Art in New Delhi showcases an expansive collection of Indian and British artists displayed on four floors. Unfortunately it does not include any current Indian artists and focuses mainly on the 19th and 20th century.
A taste of …Shopping
You will not find many of the regular high street brands in Delhi. Nevertheless, there are gazillion shops selling silver and gold jewellery, silk and pashmina schals, saris and salvar kameez . Check out Chandi Chowk, the buzzing main shopping road in old Delhi.
For a great variety of handcrafted goods such as shoes, schals, wooden deco objects, spices, embroidered blankets and much more head to Dilli Haat. This is a good place to find some souvenirs for your loved ones at home or to score a bargain on a pashmina schal. An entrance fee will be charged however as a result Dilli Haat is not as overcrowded as other markets in Delhi .
A taste of…Dining and Wining
It is fair to say that Delhi has not developed an extensive gastro scene yet. The options range from rustic eateries which serve authentic Indian cuisine on metal plates however don’t offer much of an ambiance to stylish but slightly impersonal hotel restaurants. Only the very brave or the very naïve will try out some of the local food stalls. If you do, you should preferably be equipped with an extremely robust stomach or face spending the majority of your remaining vacation in the restroom. And while we aren’t recommending to reduce your diet to potatoe chips and bottled water (and to miss out on the fantastic Indian cuisine) some caution is recommended if you want to avoid the much feared “Delhi Belly”. In any case, pack some charcoal tablets. They might come in handy.
The “On The Waterfront” offers western and Indian cuisine in a very romantic setting. The restaurant is small and surrounded by a pool and fire lamps which create a great ambiance. Don’t miss out on the dim sums which are fantastic. The cocktail menu sounds great however the bar offers mediocre drinks at best. The “Sparking rose” cocktail with rose petals, and Champagne turns out to be Prosecco mixed with what tastes (and looks) like lemonade.
The “TSK” at the Hyatt Regency is specialized on Teppanyaki. Service and quality of the food are good however it is not cheap. Be prepared to spend roughly 17’000 Rupies for two.
Where to stay:
The Leela Palace offers 5 star convenience with spacious rooms and excellent service in a 1001 night kind of ambiance and faultless service.
If you are prefer a modern and clean interior, head to the Lodhi hotel, another 5 star hotel but with considerably less bling bling.
The Hyatt Regency is located only 30 minutes from the airport. Although more a business hotel it has a reasonably nice pool area. Rooms are relatively small and a little outdated.
If you have deep pockets, the Imperial Hotel might take your fancy. Beautiful in its colonial architecture, The Imperial is a historic landmark in Delhi and. The hotel’s interior is kept in old British colonial style and every piece of its antique furniture oozes history.
Do’s: Do wear appropriate clothes. Women should avoid very short skirts and hot pants. India is still a very conservative country when it comes to dresscodes and are legs are a bit of a novum.
Don’ts: Don’t EVER drink tap water. Avoid Ice Teas and Juices as they might have been mixed with tap water
Don’t attempt to drive unless you have been trained to drive in India. Rent a car with a driver. Indian traffic obeys its own rules which have nothing to do with ordinary traffic guidelines.
Don’t be offended if you are completely ignored by Indian men if you are a women. Indian men will often address your male partner initially. While this behavior will come across rude to westerners it is not meant to be offensive.
For Desert: Did you know that the Sari dates back to 100 BC?