Okay, let’s get one thing straight, New Delhi is actually just a district in the monstrous city of Delhi in India. New Delhi contains the capital of India so it’s confusing and many people think they are separate cities so don’t feel bad if you fall into this group. With a population of around 13 million Delhi can seem chaotic every hour of the day. There is a lot to see here, but to be honest you’d be best off figuring out the things you’d like to do and going through them as quickly as you can before moving on to someplace less insane.
What To Do
Delhi is the closest big city to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, and instead of staying in Agra most people prefer to take a train to Agra in the morning and then come back the same day. There are special buses in Agra that meet the train and offer full city tours of the Taj and several other attractions and this is a great way to see it without having to relocate to the raggedy city of Agra for the night. But Delhi has plenty of attractions of its own. The massive Red Fort should be on everyone’s list. This sandstone fort was completed in 1648 for the same emperor who commission the Taj Mahal and the striking design will make up for its deteriorating condition inside.
The Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is an architectural masterpiece in East Delhi. This recently opened temple contains 10,000 years of India’s art and culture and is a great way to learn a lot about India in a short time, especially if you are in a mood to get out of the city quickly. Connaught Place looks really cool on the map, but this former colonial center has seen better days although there are a lot of decent hotels in this area.
Most hotels can arrange for a city tour with a local driver. Since the city is so spread out this can be a great option, particularly if you want to see a lot but don’t want to linger too long in this chaotic city. Amazingly enough these private tours can be rather cheap so even singles or small groups can afford to be chauffeured around by a guide.
If you are already in India you may consider using the country’s extensive train network to reach Delhi, but if you are coming from anywhere else you’ll want to book a flight into Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (code: DEL). Being a huge city and the capital there are many carriers flying into Delhi so deals are not too hard to come by. The airport is not near the city center, but you can hire a prepaid taxi to your hotel from a booth in the airport. Some hotels will provide a taxi for free so there is extra incentive to book ahead.
Where To Stay
There are loads of hostels in Delhi and even more hotels in Delhi, but they aren’t as cheap as in most of the rest of the country. The cheapest well located places tend to be in the notorious backpacker ghetto called the Paharganj. It can be fun, but it’s crowded and run down so if that doesn’t appeal to you consider a nicer place near Connought Place.