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New Delhi, Top 26 Things To Do In India’s capital

New Delhi is a magnetic fusion of ancient architecture, colourful bazaars, picturesque parks and temples.

With no less than three UNESCO World Heritage Sites within its boundaries, there’s much to see during your stay.

Top Things to do in New Delhi the capital for India

Top Things to do in New Delhi the capital for India

New Delhi is home to many different ethnicities and religions, and because of this, they have some of the finest food and best festivals in India.

There are dozens of historic sites to visit including India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan and Qutab Minar, plus you can enjoy amazing shopping and nightlife!

New Delhi, is not only Indias largest city and capital its also the world’s second-largest city’s when it comes to population.

New Delhi is one of the oldest city’s in the world with its history stretching back to at least 6th BC.

So it’s no surprise that New Delhi got tons to offer, from historical World Heritage sights, modern architecture, strange smells, great restaurants, colours, and madness that you usually would think of when you hear about India’s capital.

Most people have a love and hate relationship with New Delhi, I know Indians that refuse to visit their own capital, and I know foreigners that visit the city once a year.

I have been coming to New Delhi and India since 2009, and I can easily say that things have changed drastically in the city over the years, from having a non-existing public transportation system to now, one of the best subway systems in the world.

Making New Delhi a very easy city to explore with public transportation, in fact, all sites except 2-3 can be reached with subway.

Top Things To Do In New Delhi

Visit the Lotus Temple

lotus temple new delhi

The amazing looking Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple in New Delhi stands in complete architectural contrast to Akshardham.

This award-winning temple in New Delhi has been recognised for its conceptual style throughout the world.

It consists of 27 marble petals which geometrically conform to create the lotus flower, and there are nine entrances to the temple symbolising anatomical openings in the human body.

This innovative structure is surrounded 26 acres of pretty ponds and gardens, and if you time your visit right, you can attend one of the temple’s classes which help to spread peace and truth across humanity.

lotus temple new delhi

Lotus Temple

The temple is open to everyone, but you’re not strictly not allowed to take photos inside the temple, the lotus is surrounded by a big green park, its a very relaxing place, but get there early in the morning, before the crowds start to arrive.

Nearest Metro Station: Kalkaji Mandir. (Purple Line).
Opening Times: Tue-Sun 9 am to 17.30, Mondays closed.
Entry Fee: FREE.

Visit Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb is one of New Delhi’s top attractions.

The opulent resting place of the Mughal Dynasty’s second emperor was constructed 1565 – 1572 built on the instruction of his wife, 9 years after his death.

Humayun’s Tomb was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.

It’s located in the eastern quarter of the city and is one of the best-preserved Mughal landmarks in the country, and it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993.

In fact, the architecture is so unique it is said to have inspired the Taj Mahal in Agra! The complex serves as the main tomb of the emperor, his wife and family.

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb

During your visit, you can see the sandstone and marble tombs, admire craftsmanship and symbolism, stroll through beautiful Charbagh gardens and learn more about the history of the Mughals.

Nearest Metro Station: JLN Stadium (Purple Line), then a short tuk-tuk ride.
Opening Times:
Every day from 9.30 AM to 16.30.
Entry Fee:
600 Rs for foreigners, 40 Rs for locals.

Enter the City through India Gate

India Gate

India Gate

Located on the Rajpath in central New Delhi, this towering stone gate is also a war memorial.

India Gate stands tall at 42 metres high in remembrance of over 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives during and after the First World War.

The monument bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.

The structure was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, one of Europe’s foremost designers of the time.

India Gate

India Gate

As you walk around, you’ll see four eternal flames set beneath the arch and names of the soldiers etched into the stone.

In the evenings, the magnificent gate illuminates with lights and colours of the Indian flag, the spectacle enhanced by nearby fountains.

Nearest Metro Station: Central Secretariat (Yellow and Purple Line)
Opening Times: 24/7 Every day.
Entry Fee:
FREE.

Discover Indian Transport at National Rail Museum

Delve into the history of Indian rail travel at the National Rail Museum.

Spanning 10 acres in the upscale diplomatic district of New Delhi, this museum has over 100 exhibits relating to Indian railways.

With artefacts, photographs and a variety of trains to explore, it’s a must-visit for rail enthusiasts.

You can see the Fairy Queen – the world’s oldest operational steam train, Saloon of Maharaja of Mysore and electric locomotive 4502 during your visit.

The museum is suitable for all the family too, as the main attraction is a toy train which circumnavigates the grounds!

Visit Jama Masjid Mosque, The Largest Mosque in India

Jama Masjid New Delhi

Jama Masjid Mosque

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India and can hold up to 25 000 people during prayer!

The mosque was built between 1644 and 1656. The Mosque is located only a short walk from “Red Fort.”

Tourists are not allowed inside during praying hours.

Nearest Metro Station: Chawri Bazaar (Yellow Line).
Opening Times:
7 am to 12. and 13.30 to 18.30
Entry Fee:
The complex is free to enter, but foreigners have to pay 300 Rs to be allowed to take photos even if it’s only your mobile phone.

Visit The Tomb of Safdarjung

Tomb of Safdarjung New Delhi

The Tomb of Safdarjung

Safdarjung Tomb is an impressive tomb built in red sandstone; it was the last garden tomb of the Mughals empire constructed in 1753- 1754. 

The Tomb of Safdarjung is located just across the street from Lodhi Gardens.

Nearest Metro Station: Jor Bagh (Yellow Line).
Opening Times:
9.30 AM to 16.30.
Entry Fee:
300 Rs for foreigners, 25 Rs for locals.

Visit The Red Fort

Lahore Gate entrance at Red Fort New Delhi

Lahore Gate entrance at Red Fort

The Red Fort is probably the most famous sights in New Delhi; it´s one of the most important buildings in Indian history, it was constructed in 1648 by the fifth Mughal Emperor and become the home to the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857.
It became a Unesco world heritage site in 2007.

Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk (Yellow Line).
Opening Times: Tue-Sun 9:30 AM – 16:30, Mondays closed.
Entry Fee: 500 Rs for foreigners, 35Rs for locals

Step Back in Time at Purana Qila Fortress The Old Fort

Purana Qila is a wonderful example of a medieval fortress in south Delhi.

The site has been continuously inhabited for 2,500 years and located on the banks of Old Fort Lake next to Delhi Zoo.

One of the best ways to view the exterior is via paddleboat ride on the nearby lake.

However, should you wish to enter inside through one of the three gates, there are a few highlights inside not to be missed – Qila-I-Kuhna Mosque, Purana Qila Museum – showcasing artefacts dating from 1400 A.D. and Sher Mandal, a fascinating octagon-shaped observatory.

If you stay later in the day, there’s also an evening light and sound show which allows you to see the fortress from a completely different perspective.

Nearest Metro Station: Qutab Minar (Blue Line). Then a short Tuk Tuk ride.
Opening Times:
Open every day from 9.30 am to 16.30.00.
Entry Fee: 
300 Rs for foreigners, 30 Rs for locals.

See the Largest Hindu Temple Akshardham

New Delhi’s largest Hindu Temple Akshardham is a spiritual place of worship, dedicated to harmony and learning which opened only back in 2005

It was constructed by 8,000 volunteers from around the world and took over 30 million hours to create.

The heart of the complex is the Mandir – built from marble and carved sandstone dedicated to the timeless beauty and peace for God on Earth. Inside the inner sanctum Garbhagruh, you can make an offering or pray to the deities.

One highlight is Gajendra Peeth – a temple, intricate in design with stone elephants surrounding the base, alongside statues and figurines.

Visitors to the sacred complex can stroll the open gardens, courtyards and water features whilst finding their inner peace.

There are exhibitions on prayer and compassion, plus teachings about Hinduism here. At sunset, an impressive water show takes place – a multimedia spectacle with lasers, videos, water jets and underwater flames all set to a symphony of sound. 

It´s said that 70%! of all tourists that visit New Delhi visit Akshardham.

PS. There’s a strict no-photo rule of the temple; there´s a big fence surrounding the whole complex so you can’t even take proper photos from outside.
Your not even allowed to bring your mobile phone to the complex (There´s a locker room outside)

Nearest Metro Station: Akshardham (Blue Line).
Opening Times:
9.30 am to 18.30
Entry Fee: FREE.

Relax At The Lodhi Gardens

Bara Gumbad in LodhI Garden

Bara Gumbad in LodhI Garden

Lodhi Garden is not only the most peaceful parks in central New Delhi, the park it “dotted” with ancient tombs and other buildings dating back all the way to 1444.
It´s the perfect place to hide away from the crazy traffic and hassle in New Delhi for a few hours.

Nearest Metro Station: JLN Stadium (Purple Line) / Khan Market (Purple Line).
Opening Times:
Everyday from sunrise to sunset.
Entry Fee:
FREE.

Admire The Architecture of Qutab Minar

This impressive 72.5-metre high structure is the world’s tallest brick-built minaret.

Qutab Minar can be seen from across the city, but if you want to view it up-close, you’ll find the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mehrauli district of New Delhi.

Construction began on this minaret in 1199 under instruction of Qutb-ub-din-Aibak, and it was completed in 1220 by his son-in-law.

Once inside the complex, wander the tree-lined pathways, through archways and around the minaret, admiring elaborately decorated stones with geometric patterns and ancient calligraphical inscriptions.

Nearest Metro Station: Qutab Minar (Yellow Line). Then a short Tuk Tuk ride.
Opening Times:
Open every day from 7 am to 17.00.
Entry Fee: 
600 Rs for foreigners, 40 Rs for locals.

Pay Your Respects At Raj Ghat

Ghandi,New Delhi

The spot where Gandhi got cremated

Raj Ghat is Gandhi’s memorial.
The black marble platform that marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation on 31 January 1948.

Nearest Metro Station: No metro close by. 
Opening Times: Open every from 6 is to 18.00
Entry Fee: 
FREE

Wander Buddha Jayanti Park

If you need a relaxing day in New Delhi, this grassy park is the perfect place for a leisurely picnic and bask in the sunshine.

The tranquil vibe of Buddha Jayanti Park allows contemplation and meditation whilst overlooking a golden Buddha statue on an island.

Legend states that the sapling of the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha was enlightened resides here.

The gardens are popular with joggers and yoga enthusiasts during weekday mornings and with families playing outdoor sports and games at weekends.

Wildlife Spotting at Okhla Bird Sanctuary

If the constant hectic buzz of New Delhi has become too much to bear, head towards Yamuna River and visit Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

A haven for birds and wildlife with around 302 species, it’s a place to photograph nature whilst enjoying serenity in the city.

The sanctuary spans around 4 square kilometres, so there are plenty of areas to explore, and there’s a lake where many birds flock for food and water.

If you’re a keen ornithologist, you’ll look forward to spotting rare species such as the Indian vulture, Baikal teal, and the sociable lapwing.

Visit Th Agrasen ki Baoli Stepwell.

Agrasen ki Baoli new delhi

Agrasen ki Baoli stepwell

Agrasen ki Baoli is 103 steps deep, steep well right in the middle of New Delhi.

There´s are no known historical records about who built Agrasen ki Baoli, but it is believed that it was originally built by the legendary king Agrasen during the Mahabharat (3124 BC) period and rebuilt in the 14th century.

It´s very surprising that an ancient site like this can survive in the middle of one of the most expensive areas of New Delhi, it’s literally surrounded by skyscrapers.

PS. The places it’s said to be haunted.

Nearest Metro Station: Barakhamba (Blue Line)
Opening Times: Everyday from 9 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee:
FREE.

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi, India

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most important Sikh temples, and it’s known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru.
It´s currently nr one on TripAdvisor of things to see in New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: Patel Chowk (Yellow Line).
Opening Times: 24/7 Every day.
Entry Fee: FREE.

See the Home of India’s President at Rashtrapati Bhavan

If you wish to continue your discovery of palatial architecture in New Delhi, the next building on your itinerary should be Rashtrapati Bhavan – home to the President of India.

The structure – a vast H shaped building, covers 5 acres with 340 rooms set across 4 floors.

The masterpiece is a symbol of the country’s strength and traditions. If you arrive on Saturday or Sunday at certain times of the month, you can see the Change of Guard Ceremony.

On all other days, take a guided tour of the main building to see Durbar Hall, the Banquet Hall, North Drawing Room and more.

You’ll learn about Indian politics and heritage in the museum and afterwards, stroll through beautiful Mughal gardens, rich with water features, flora and fauna.

Go Shopping At Dilli Haat

New Delhi,India

Dilli Haat market

Dilli Haat is not really a sight.

It’s a permanent open-air market that has stalls from every state across India selling local traditional art and fabrics from all over India, if you don’t have much time, or forgot to buy something when discovering India, so is this the place to buy your Indian Memory.

There´s an own section that sells authentic food from all around the country (I had the best momos that I have ever had in India from the Arunachal Pradesh stall)

Dilli Haat offers a hassle-free shopping experience.
Nearest Metro Station: I.N.A (Yellow Line)
Opening Times: Everyday from 11 AM to 21 PM
Entry Fee:
25 Rs for locals, 100 Rs for foreigners

Shop in the Bazaars of Chandni Chowk

Chandni Chowk is an area of New Delhi teeming with energy and activity. Old rickshaws still pass you in the street and aromas of delicious Indian culinary treats emit from street food stalls.

It’s difficult to believe this area was once a grand promenade where stately processions were held for the Mughal elite.

Today, it’s a mesh of labyrinth alleyways where vendors promote their wares to tourists and locals.

The great news is, it’s remarkably easy to navigate, as most bazaars are grouped into sections determined by the type of goods they sell.

You can browse everything from silk fabrics, antiques, perfumes, jewellery and saris to spices, wedding essentials, books and electronics!

If you’re looking for the ultimate New Delhi shopping experience, this is the place to be.

This is also the perfect place for foodies, as Chandni Chowk is famous for its street food and renowned for its samosas and deep-fried parathas!

Spend a Day in Old Delhi

If you desire a completely different experience but don’t want to travel too far, head for Old Delhi.

This district is often overlooked by tourists, but they’re missing out.

Booking.com


With colourful bazaars, street food, mansions and mosques, this place is packed with unique attractions.

You’ll see cows as they walk the streets, pass faded grand mansions which belonged to nobility and step inside cafes which have stood still with time.

This former capital of the Mughal Empire is a place to reminisce, turn back the clock and experience life as it was before the empire’s fall in the mid-1800s.

Hangout In Hauz Khas Village

Hauz Khas,New Delhi

Firuz Shah Tughlaq Tomb in Hauz Khas

Hauz Khas is not only one of New Delhi’s hippest areas.

The name Hauz Khas comes after an ancient water reservoir, and there are tombs of Muslim royalty from the 14th to 16th centuries around the park.

Just outside the park is Hauz Khas neighbourhood, some of the happiest places to go out drinking or enjoy food in New Delhi is in this area.

One of the bars offered UNLIMITED beer for 300 Rs. A good reason to visit the place on its own.

Nearest Metro Station: Green Park / Hauz Khas (Yellow Line)
Opening Times: 24/7
Entry Fee: 
FREE

Jantar Mantar

new delhi,india

The Jantar Mantar observatory

Jantar Mantar is an old astronomical observatory, it was constructed in 1724 and was one of 5 observatories designed by Jan Singh 2.

The four others are located in Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi.

Nearest Metro Station: Patel Chowk (Yellow Line)
Opening Times: Every day from sunrise to Sunset.
Entry Fee:
300 Rs for foreigners, 25 Rs for locals.

Hangout In Majnu Ka Tilla

majnu ka tilla new delhi

The Tibetan Monastery in Majnu ka Tilla

Manja Ka Tilla is the biggest? Tibetan refugee district in New Delhi.

Over the years has Manju Ka Tilla become a small tourist hub for foreigners that don’t want to stay in the busy and loud area of Paharganj.

Except for the Tibetan Monastery, so is it nothing else to see, but there numerous shops selling Tibetan souvenirs, Restaurants selling authentic Tibetan food.

3 of my personal favourite coffee houses (Ringo being the best with proper black coffee to 70Rs) is located in Manju Ka Tilla.

Nearest Metro Station: Vidhan Shabha (Yellow Line, then a 10min tuk-tuk ride)
Opening Times: 24/7 Every day.
Entry Fee: FREE.

Visit The Nizamuddin Dargah Shrine

Nizamuddin Dargah is the world-famous mausoleum for the world’s most famous Sufi saints, and it’s visited by thousands of Muslims every week.

Nearest Metro Station: JLN Stadium (Purple Line).
Opening Times:
5 AM to 22.30 every day.
Entry Fee: 
FREE.

Visit The ISKCON, The Lord Krishna Temple

Lord Krishna Temple in New Delhi

International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)

ISKCON or International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Is the main Lord Krishna Temple in New Delhi, its located only a short walk from the Lotus Temple.

Nearest Metro Station: Nehru Place (Violet Line).
Opening Times: 24/7 Every day.
Entry Fee: 
FREE.

Take a daytrip to Taj Mahal

Agra,India,Mehtab Bagh Park

Taj Mahal seen from Mehtab Bagh Park 

If you want to see one of India’s most iconic attractions, you can visit the Taj Mahal within a day trip from New Delhi. High-speed train services operate from the city, arriving in Agra within a few hours.

This marble, palatial wonder on the southern banks of Yamuna River was built between 1632 and 1653 for Mumtaz Mahal – empress consort of the Mughal Empire. The 17-hectare grand complex is set in picturesque, sculpted gardens, containing a mosque, house and the tomb of Shah Jahan – the 5th Mughal emperor.

If you’re interested in Indian history and unrivalled architecture at one of the world’s most photographed landmarks, this is the place to visit.

 

How Do Dress In New Delhi

If you a woman and planning a trip to India, be sure to check out this guide: What to wear in India: A packing guide for women

How to Get to New Delhi

You can fly to New Delhi easily from many locations in the world.

Indira Gandhi International Airport 12 kilometres from the centre is the main entry point into the city and most major airlines including Delta, American, United, KLM, Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France operate to and from here.

Once you arrive at the airport, you can rent a car to get into the city, catch the airport express metro, bus or a taxi.

You can also reach New Delhi from other Indian cities by train.

The country has excellent rail networks with regular services to New Delhi to and from Agra, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi and Puri.

Buses are the cheapest travel option; however, the journey can take much longer and can be very uncounterable.

Several companies offer services in and out of New Delhi with most buses from the east such as Kolkata arriving at Anand Vihar station and from the south into Sarai Kale Khan bus station.

Are you planning a trip to Mumbai and looking for a travel guide? Click here to read Mumbai(Bombay) City Guide: India’s City of Dreams.

Looking for ideas for weekend trips from Delhi? Be sure to check out this great guide.

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[…] The truth is, it’s mayhem. And we’d be lying if we said it was our favourite city in India because it certainly isn’t. That said, if you can see past the madness, there is a lot of interesting things to do in Delhi. […]

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Tuesday 27th of March 2018

I think that your scores for most tourist sites are too low. Qutub Minar was extremely interesting. I hired a private guide who charged me only 200 Rupees for my hour that I had to visit. He was archeology professor and was extremely knowledgeable. The entire complex was created by the Mohguls from destroyed Hindu temples and relics. The most pure iron pillar in the world is also here. Yes the 500 Rupee price is high, however, your prices all need to be updated as all state sites cost 500 Rupees to enter if there is an entrance fee. Another fascinating site is the Jantar Minar which is in the city core surrounded by huge hotels and corporate buildings. The entrance is 250 Rupees and is sponsored by one of the hotels. Astrology buffs will love this place and it has very cool light patterns for photography opportunities. I went to the Nizamuddin Dargah one evening and heard the Sufis singing and the harmonium being played. Remember to take a large scarf to cover your hair and remove your shoes. Take extra rupees to give to those begging in the inside dark hallways. Visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib early in the morning at 6am and hear them singing here as well. Have your breakfast as they provide everyone with food. Loved the break from the craziness of Delhi at Lodhi Gardens and Humayun's Tomb which is only a fifty rupee rickshaw ride from Jor Bagh metro station. There is so much to see and I am already looking forward to my next trip to Delhi and India.