If you are looking to explore the sprawling metropolitan capital of India, a whole week may also not be enough. But if you are short on time and can only devote a handful of hours to the ‘Tour Delhi Mission’, we have prepared just the right guide for you.
Spread over an area of 1484 km2, this capital is a mixed bag of one of the most eclectic sites one can find in India. The best to place to embark on what is popularly known as ‘Delhi Darshan’ aka Delhi Sightseeing, is the Heart of Delhi; Connaught place (CP). Being the largest commercial, financial and business centre in Delhi, it is well connected to most areas of Delhi.
Just below CP is India’s first underground market called Palika Bazar (Municipal Market), consisting of about 400 small shops crowded together. It is one of the best places where you can buy small knick-knacks, including curios and souvenirs to take back home.
Since it is a large complex, you should carve out at least 45 minutes from your itinerary to see most of the things the market has to offer. The market is closed on Sundays. The best means of entering the market is through the Gate 1 of the Rajiv Chowk Metro station.
In case you are planning to visit Palika bazaar, it is advisable to either go in groups or take someone who knows the market as there are chances of getting lost. Also, in the scenario that something catches your eye, be sure to bargain and get the price reduced to at least 50% of the asking price as it is common for vendors to charge 3-4 times of the actual price.
As you emerge out of the underground market, the area that becomes visible is a large lawn called the Central Park. You can relax for some time by just lying down on the grass or sit on the benches. You can even click photos with the second largest Indian tricolour that is hoisted on a 207 feet pole in the park.
The park is an important venue for holding cultural events and in case you are interested to know about the timings.
After resting for sometime, you can move towards another famous market called Janpath (People’s path) that is located on the north side of CP. It is a street market consisting of hundreds of shops set up on the side of the pavement. They are a must visit if you are planning to buy some exotic Indian stuff like clothes, jewellery, shoes and bags at affordable prices.
If not shopping, strolling on the street and seeing the display of trendy items is an equally fun experience. Beyond Janpath, you can explore the State and Central Cottage Emporiums, where you can buy authentic Indian artefacts and other exotic gift items. The market is closed on Sunday.
Similar to Palika Bazaar, bargaining is a must as even here the shopkeepers quote almost twice the amount than the actual price. You can either reach Janpath from CP or step down directly at the Janpath metro station which is present on the violet line.
If exploring India’s religious milieu is on your to-do list, then the Sikh house of worship, Bangla Sahib Gurudwara is a must visit. It’s advisable to spare at least an hour to enjoy a complete experience of this amazing pilgrimage site. You can start with the main gurudwara, where prayer sessions go on continuously and offer a beautiful spiritual experience.
You can spend some time beside the beautiful Sarovar (on-campus water tank) that is famous for its purported healing properties. To spend more time, you can take a tour of the Baba Baghel Singh Museum and Art gallery present in the basement. If you are looking forward to tasting authentic and wholesome Indian cuisine, you should visit the Gurdwara between 9 am to 3 pm IST and 7pm to 10 pm IST, when you relish the free vegetarian meal (langar) which is offered by Gurudwara every day.
The entry to the Gurdwara is free and it is open 24/7, all days of the year. It is at walking distance from Connaught place. Best time to visit is in the months from December to February.
Before entering the complex, ensure that your head is covered either with a scarf, handkerchief or any other cloth and that your shoes are left outside at the shoe counter. It is also advisable to wear decent clothes or those which are not very revealing.
At a 5-minute walking distance from Connaught Place is an 18th-century astronomical complex called Jantar Mantar. You should definitely visit it since it’s a one of a kind site with odd shaped geometric buildings which were carefully calibrated for monitoring the movement of planets and stars in the past.
It is open from 9 am to 7 pm IST and costs INR 5 (7 cents) for Indians and INR 100 ($1.5) for foreigners. You should set aside at least 2 hours for a proper tour of this place.
It is located on the parliament street and is close to Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk and Janpath Metro stations, all within a distance of 1 km. You can hire a taxi or auto rickshaw from outside the metro stations. You can also choose to go by bus since the Palika Kendra Bus stand is located right outside the entry gate of Jantar Mantar. Best time to visit is during the months of September to March due to the pleasant weather.
In case you are planning to visit in the summers, try to visit this place in the morning or evening hours. Moreover, it is highly advisable to carry a bottle of water with yourself to avoid getting dehydrated.
Eateries in CP
It is a perfect choice if you are looking to indulge in some sumptuous Mughlai/ Traditional north Indian food. They are known for their Mughlai delicacies and classy ambience and cost INR 1800 ($26.5) for two.
This is a must visit because this rare gem not only allows you to relax and savour delicious meals on the 1st floor while enjoying ghazals but gives you a place to party on its 2nd floor which works as a lounge. Their rooftop setting is one of the best venues in Delhi where you can even enjoy live events like Bollywood and Sufi nights.
They serve North Indian, Chinese, Continental and Italian food and cost INR 2000 ($29.4) for two.
It is a must visit if you want to enjoy the authentic South Indian food. The place is a vegetarian heaven because it not only offers mouth-watering South Indian delights but at unbelievable pocket-friendly prices. They charge INR 500 ($ 7.4) for two.
Another religious site where you can feel the real religious vigour of Hindus is the Hanuman Temple dedicated to the Divine Monkey God Hanuman. It is believed to be one of the 4 ancient temples which were instrumental in the epic mythological event, Mahabharata. What's more, this temple also got featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the worshippers here chanted the Hindu mantra ‘Sri Ram Jai Ram ’ non-stop for 24 hours.
Get the once in a lifetime experience by visiting the 24th location of the Madame Tussauds located at the Regal theatre, Connaught Place. Feel the marvel of getting close and personal with more than fifty life-like wax statues of some of the most famous celebrities. For discounts, you should book tickets beforehand at https://www.madametussauds.com/delhi/en/. The standard opening timings are generally from 10.am to 7 pm IST from Monday to Sunday.
As you end your journey feeling drained out, take a drink and rest on the steps of the famous Indian heritage site, Agrasen Ki Baoli, built in the 14th century by King Agrasen. It is a grand step well which was initially built for providing a continuous supply of water to the city but now serves as a cool resting area for travellers.
Revel in the hypnotic architecture of the baoli and give your tour the perfect spooky end, as many believe the well to be haunted by the spirits of the past. It is open from Monday to Sunday from 7:00 am - 5:30 pm IST and has a free access. The nearest metro station is Rajiv Chowk Metro station and you can even take autos and taxis to reach this place.
Moreover, DTC also offers many hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus services that you can avail to reach many of the locations mentioned above. The details can be seen on their official website http://hohodelhi.com
We have made sincere efforts to make this guide as useful and informative as possible, for you to enjoy an exciting and hassle-free journey in Delhi.
We hope that our Travellizy blog satiates most of your travel-related curiosities, whether you live to travel or travel to live. Stay tuned for similar articles which we will post in the upcoming weeks that will cover another interesting destination.
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May all your travels be Marvellous!