India’s sprawling capital, Delhi is most visitors’ first impression of the country. And what an impression it is! Traffic-filled streets, a cacophony of noise, packed bazaars and markets and the towering spires of mosques and temples rising from above the chaos, Delhi has to be seen to be believed. Spend at least a couple of days, and don’t miss the Jama Masjid mosque, Humayun's tomb or the rather quirky Lotus temple.
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If you’ve never been to Delhi before, brace yourself. This is India at its crazy, busy and colourful best. Among the constant rush of traffic and people are pockets of calm: the pretty gardens of Humayun’s Tomb, the handsome architecture of the Red Fort and the gleaming white of the Lotus Temple to name just a few. But the greatest insight into life in Delhi can be found by simply watching the people, browsing the bazaars, haggling with the shopkeepers and listening to the ever-playing soundtrack of honking horns, calls to prayer and squawking birds. There’s no place quite like it.
Did you know?
Believe it or not, Delhi is one of the world’s greenest cities, with around 20% of its area covered with forests and parks.
Delhi is home to the world’s tallest free-standing brick minaret, the Qutb Minar, which towers 73m above street level and was struck by lightning in the 14th century.
Topping the list of the quirkiest museums in Delhi is the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, which displays lavatories, chamber pots and toilet seats from 50 countries.
After Nairobi, Delhi is the most bird-rich city in the world, with around 200 different species, including the black kite and the rose-ringed parakeet.
How to get around
Hail a Cab
There’s no getting away from it: driving Delhi’s traffic-clogged streets can be a slow and frustrating process. Compounding this, the must-see sights are all fairly spread out, so walking between them isn’t really an option. But it’s all part of everyday life in the Indian capital, so your best bet is to embrace the chaos and enjoy it. The city is served by a comprehensive Metro and bus system, both of which get very busy, so you’ll probably find that taxis, auto-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are your best bet. Ask your hotel to call you one, or hail one off the street, and remember to agree a price before you get in.