Populous, loud, buzzing, bashing, political, historic, gastronomic, fashionable and fun, Delhi adorns many hats, playing multiple personalities with proper panache. The capital city of India, Delhi, is one of the top most tourist destinations on people’s checklist. After all it is the heart of India, located at the center of the country and has plenty to offer for anyone seeking for new experiences or sights. Delhi is a heady mix of tradition and modernity, significant as both a religious center and India’s international gateway.
I remember my time in this city with my friends, when we had taken up the challenge to see all the major tourist destinations of Delhi in 2 days. Now I know slow travel is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the culture and the beauty that the new place has to offer, but unfortunately we are not always so luxurious and liberal with our time and money, right? So we girls embarked on our Delhi sightseeing journey which was insane, overwhelming, and amazing. Delhi can be difficult yet endearing at the same time. Here is my curated list of things to do when you are in capital city for 48 hours
1. Get a Glimpse of India Gate: A doppelganger/ twin sibling of the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, India Gate is a magnificent stone arch built as a memorial to Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in WWI. An eternal flame burns beneath the enormous structure and its walls are inscribed with the names of more than 100,000 soldiers who fought for the battle.Time required: 1 hour max
Pro Tip: For a real déjà vu, try to see the India Gate at night when the monument is luminously lit up and the beautiful fountains around it give the place a truly magical look
2. Appreciate the of the Architectural Wonders of Old city:
Red Fort: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort was once a home to the emperors of the Mughal dynasty. This historic complex is built by Shah Jahan of Taj Mahal fame. Its tall red sandstone walls, dramatic arches, romantic balconies and ornate tile work are sights to behold.Time required – 3 hrs max
Pro tips: Aim to visit as early as possible in the morning before the crowds arrive. If you’re not staying late, it’s recommended that you leave by 4 p.m. to avoid the insane rush hour traffic. a discount is provided on cashless payment
Jama Masjid: Again built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, Jama Masjid is one of India’s largest mosques in India. Built at a cost of 1 million rupees, this mosque offers you a panoramic view of Old Delhi from the top of its minarets. For less than £1 it’s undoubtedly the best way to soak up the city.Time required: 1 hr max
Pro Tips: Plan your visit as the mosque is shut to visitors from noon until 1.30 p.m. when prayers are held. Also note that it gets particularly busy on Fridays, when devotees gather for the communal prayer.
3. Relish the taste of India at Haldirams: With branches across the country, Haldirams is perhaps one of the oldest and most popular vegetarian restaurants in the city. You can try variety of Indian sweets, savories and street food items here in a hygienic, visitor-friendly environment. Their cloud-like fluffy dhoklas, crispy tangy pani puri and delectable Bengali sweets are like food made in heaven.Time required: 2 hrs
Pro Tip: Don’t just settle with one sweet. Try them all
4. Explore history at Qutub Minar: This 240 feet tall building is also a renowned UNESCO world heritage site. This minaret was built by the first ruler of Delhi and is named after its creator Qutb-ud-din Aibak. It’s the tallest brick minaret in the world, made of red sandstone and marble, and inscribed with verses from the Quran.
Time required: 2 hrs max
Pro Tip: This place is one of the tourist place that’s nearest to Delhi International Airport, so if you got some layover time, you can flock to this place.
5. Tour the Humayun’s Tomb: The monument that is regarded as a prototype of Taj Mahal, Humayun’s Tomb is another UNESCO World Heritage site, built in 1569 after Emperor Humayun’s death. Set in a large square garden, Humayun’s Tomb is a first distinct example of proper Mughal style architecture, inspired by Persian architecture.Time required: 1 hr max
Pro Tip: To best appreciate Humayun’s Tomb, visit it first before you see its superior cousin, Taj Mahal.
6. Seek splendor and solace at Taj Mahal: A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Wonders of the World, no picture can encapsulate the true grandeur of this monument. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna, Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz. Set against a soft blue sky, Taj Mahal is an epitome of beauty with its picture perfect symmetry, immaculate white marbles and the rhythmic union with changing hues
Time required: 2hrs max. ( Note that it will take you about 4 hrs to drive from Delhi to Agra, Taj Mahal)
Pro Tip: Sunrise, sunsets and full moon night is the best time to see this beauty.
7. Find Peace at Lotus Temple: Open to all castes and creeds, the temple is an ideal place for anyone who wishes to meditate and pray. The universal symbol of peace, a lotus flower, gives the temple not only its name but shape as well. The temple is a place of Baha’i faith and interestingly, this temple has no idols, religious pictures, or outward symbols of religion. The lotus design was chosen because of its symbolic importance to many world religions, including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.Time required: 1 hr max
Pro tip: Don’t go for the view, go for the tranquility
8. Go café hopping at Hauz Khaas Village: The Hauz Khas Complex is a enthralling urban village a little south of New Delhi. The entire village is dotted with numerous ancient stone monuments, a scenic lake, and a dozen of cafes, bookstores, art galleries and boutiques attracting the hip and happening crowd of the city.
Pro tip: Visit one of these cafes to experience the social life thereKunzum Travel Cafe: For travelers, who like to meet, exchange stories, read up travel books in the library and write about their journeys over a cup of coffee. TLR Cafe: Get a drink and enjoy the live gigs, karaoke sessions, pub quizzes and comic nights here
Gunpowder: Enjoy dining with a view of the deer park that hangs right below your table at this South Indian restaurant
Social Offline: From quirky glassware to exquisite drinks and appetizing food, Social offline makes for one of the most buzzing and cool places in Delhi.
Elma’s Bakery: A quaint vintage looking bakery apt for high-tea, authentic scones, and delicious slices of cakes.
9. Visit Magnificent Temple of Akshardham: Considered to be among some of the largest Hindu temples in the world, Akshardham is an archetype of remarkable architecture that can leave you mesmerized. It is a Hindu place of worship, complete with exhibits, boat rides, light water shows and verdant gardens. Inaugurated in 2007, the temple looks like it could be centuries old. Adorned with intricate and detailed carvings, this magnificent building attracts countless visitors for its grandiose beauty.
Time required: 4 hrs max
Pro Tip: Do not miss the light water show
10. Experience the street food at Parathe Wali gali: Nestled in Chandni Chowk, the narrow lanes of Parathe Wali Gali is home to some of the most lip-smacking paranthas (fried bread). The alleys are packed with customers at most times of the day. The recipes offered by some of the stalls are said to be generations old. The paranthas or the breads are stuffed with varieties of scrumptious vegetarian fillings and served with curd, salad and chutneys.
Pro Tip: Try Classic Aloo and Paneer Parathas
11. Pay your respects to the Father of the Nation at Raj Ghat: This is a memorial dedicated to one of the most famous freedom fighters in the world, Mahatma Gandhi. There is an “eternal flame” at one end of the memorial that signifies the endless struggle our ancestors went through for getting freedom. Every Friday, a prayer is conducted at the memorial, and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are narrated here.Time required: 1 hr max
Pro Tip: Hit the museum if you want to know more about Gandhiji’s life
12. Strike a pose with celebrities at Madame Tussaud’s: Experience your very own star-struck moment with the opening of Madame Tussaud’s in the capitol of India. Sprawling over 2 floors, the attraction had five themed areas including history and Leaders, Sports, Music, Film & TV, and Hollywood Party. The museum specializes in immortalizing our favorite stars in the form of spectacular wax figures that are sure to make you think you’re meeting your idol in person.Time required: 2hrs max
Pro Tip: Go crazy with paparazzi