New Delhi hotels
The New Delhi Rundown
Delhi is a bottleneck of epic scope, even for India. Census estimates place the population of the National Capital Territory in the 16 million range but with an infamously high margin of error, who can say? The truth is that nobody can declare just how many people live in the leviathan metropolis with absolute conviction. As is the case with much of chaotic, enigmatic India, one can only hazard a guess.
With that, there can be no question about what New Delhi, the heart of the National Capital Territory, can do to tenderfoot travellers. The capital city of the most populous democracy in the world exerts a formidable impression. A sea of humanity and manic hive of activity, New Delhi has the power to amaze, astonish, intimidate and stupefy.
Focus your mind beyond the bedlam and hubbub, however, and a new picture of New Delhi develops. The hyper-diverse, international city is a foremost intellectual hub, after all, with a prolific arts, culture and literary scene. A jumble of jargons echo in markets, cafés and restaurants and dramatic UNESCO World Heritage Sites pop out of the ether. As the political heart of India, New Delhi has a noble side too, stalwart historic landmarks to discover and a desirable quality of life. Visit now: new energy in the wake of the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup (with the 2020 Summer Olympics possibly on the horizon) has done wonders for civic confidence and élan.
New Delhi’s Top 10
10. India Gate is impossible to miss. The national monument of India graces the heart of New Delhi and commemorates the tens of thousands of lives lost in military service to the British Raj.
5. Akshardham, only open since 2005, is a new New Delhi icon and one of the most extraordinary Hindu temples in India. While the immense complex has many points of interest, from lush gardens to a musical fountain, the core stone monument is the obligatory focus of attention.
9. Feroz Shah Kotla is a premier home of first-class cricket. Indeed, India’s national team has not lost in New Delhi in over two decades. More impressively, perhaps, is the fact that the oval envelops the ruins of a sultanate fortress that pre-date the modern era.
4. National Museum is the colossal, magnificent archive of record in India and the best museum in the country.
8. Tughlaqabad Fort was built by the powerful Tughlaq dynasty in the early 14<sup>th</sup> century. Though left incomplete, the complex spans over 6 km.
3. Qutb Minar and its Monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of incomparable worth, just south of Delhi. The archaeological site is a prominent example of early Indo-Islamic architecture and contains several spectacular monuments, of which the red sandstone Qutb minaret is the most notable.
7. Laxminarayan Temple is a colourful, lavish tribute to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Built in 1622, the temple is ornately adorned with depictions of Hindu mythology.
2. Humayun’s Tomb is a Mughal mausoleum magnum opus that won UNESCO World Heritage status in 1993. Built in 1570, the complex was the first garden-tomb in South Asia and inspiration for the Taj Mahal.
6. Jama Masjid is a masterpiece of 17<sup>th</sup> century Mughal architecture. The largest mosque in India can accommodate over 25,000 worshippers.
1. The Red Fort Complex, a requisite target for Old Delhi tourists, is a shadow of what it was in the halcyon era of Mughal Imperial rule. Still, despite the ravages of time and modern development, Lal Qila is no less brilliant and stands as a pinnacle expression of creativity and architecture.
New Delhi History
- Red Fort – An amazing fort made out of red sandstone built by the Mugalt Emperor Shal Jahan.
- Diwan-i-Am – A hall for the emperor’s public audiences with the platform of his throne made out of marble.
- Diwan-i-Khas – The hall for the emperor’s private audiences is built out of marble.
- Khas Mahal – The emperor’s home in New Delhi with a tower overlooking the river.
- Humayun's Tomb – One of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Delhi.
New Delhi Art & Culture
- Swatantra Sangrama Sangrahalaya – A museum on the history of India’s independence covering the years from 1857 to Gandhi.
- Museum of Art – Offers modern art from India and the subcontinent.
- Gandhi Smriti – The place where Mahatma Gandhi was martyred and includes a museum dedicated to his life.
- India Habitat Centre – Home to an ever-changing selection of art exhibits, films and plays.
- National Museum – This museum in New Delhi offers an unparalleled collection.
New Delhi Shopping
- DLF Emporio – One of the most luxurious malls in India and home to international designer names.
- Chatta Chowk – A covered bazaar area and place to find great souvenirs.
- Malls of Saket – This major shopping in New Delhi is made up of several malls rolled together in one.
- Connaught Place – A historical shopping area and landmark with Western-style shops and great products.
- Janpath – A bargain hunter’s paradise and place to find all kinds of odds and ends.
Gay & Lesbian New Delhi
- Cibo – A bar and lounge in New Delhi that offers Italian food.
- Kuki – A lounge with a trendy setting with great people to meet.
- Kalph Kaya Spa – A small, friendly place with massage rooms and wet and dry steam rooms.
- Peppers – One of the oldest places around and a great place for those who like to dance and party.
- Zoo Bar – Hosts a big gay party every other Saturday night.
New Delhi Outdoor
- Rajpath – A lovely area full of grassy lawns and a wonderful place to visit in the evenings.
- Mughal Garden – One of most popular gardens in New Delhi and beautiful place to visit.
- Lodhi Garden – Located in the heart of the city and a peaceful area for afternoon walks and park picnics.
- Bahá'í Lotus Temple – Stunning temple built in the shape of a lotus with 27 petals and an incredible concrete monument.
- Hayat Baksh Bagh – Home to a grand garden with fountains, streams and acres of green grass.
New Delhi Sport
- New Delhi hosts the annual Delhi Half Marathon race.
- India’s national soccer team’s home stadium is the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Dehli.
- The Dr Shyama Prasad Mukharjee Swimming Complex is home to 3.7 acres of swimming and diving pools.
- The Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium is home to the Delhi Cricket Association.
- For some great squash tournament games, check out the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
New Delhi Local
From the exquisite Bahá'í House of Worship, or Lotus Temple, to the Cabinet Secretariat, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib Sikh shrine to the Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace, the myriad districts of New Delhi are singularly full of major achievements in architecture old and new.
Rajiv Chowk, or Connaught Place, is one of India’s predominant financial nerve centres. The de facto central business district of New Delhi is the radial point for most major thoroughfares in the city and, as a result, congestion is a constant. CP has a lot of inherent appeal, however, from Central Park to Palika Bazaar, ancient Agrasen ki Baoli step well to the Imperial luxury hotel.
Old Delhi contains a hall of fame ensemble of monuments, all of which emanate from the Red Fort. The original Mughal base of power that is the old city is cordoned off by four major roads: Gokhle Marg, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Shraddhananda Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Marg. Historic landmarks of note within the 6.1 km<sup>2</sup> zone include Jama Masjid, Raj Ghat Mahatma Gandhi memorial, Kashmiri Gate and Khari Baoli spice market.
Outside the walls of Old Delhi a host of other gems unfurl, from Humayun’s Tomb to the ancient stone fortifications of Tughlaqabad. Hauz Khas Village is a relatively upscale residential and commercial area built amid a collection of 13<sup>th</sup> century Islamic structures. Inherent and adjacent points of interest include a fine eco-bazaar, Green Park Market, and the posh shops of Ring Road, South Ex.
Chittaranjan Park is the epicentre of Bengali culture in India’s capital. The neighbourhood is home to a veritable who’s who of Delhi society, from politicians to novelists, and, like the rest of South Delhi, some of the most expensive real estate in the city.
West Delhi, as the home of Indira Gandhi International Airport, is the Delhi point of arrival for most. A major growth area, with significant pockets of new wealth, West Delhi is home to many upscale neighbourhoods, like Rajouri Garden, and malls and restaurants.
The colossal, residential area of Dwarka, home to 1.1 million people, dominates South West Delhi. The Sub City is one of Asia’s most populous suburbs and has a relatively new and efficient infrastructure network. Some of the best hotels, hospitals and schools in Delhi reside in Dwarka.
New Delhi Eat & Drink
Sleek supperclubs, street food wallahs, markets and plazas, back alley dives, roadside lunch stands and homestyle kitchens: New Delhi is flush with gustatory goodness. One can make a reasonable case, in fact, that pleasure in food is the cultural lifeblood of the city. “Where did you eat last night?” is a deadly serious question here. The range of cuisines on hand, from Punjabi to Mughlai, Chinjabi to Halal, is most impressive of all.
Haldiram’s (1454/2 Chandni Chowk), as a vital introduction to the world of savoury snacks, or chaat, is a must.
Blue Ginger (Taj Palace Hotel, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave), like a lot of top Delhi tables, is a luxury hotel restaurant, which in this case, serves excellent Vietnamese cuisine.
China Garden (G.K 2, M-block Market, 73 New Delhi) is a Delhi icon and pioneer of Indian/Chinese fusion cuisine.
Sagar Ratna (Defence Colony Market, Defence Colony, South Delhi) is popular Delhi choice for spot-on South Indian classics like dosas and thalis.
Karim’s (various) is a holy sanctuary of Mughlai cuisine, with reams of international accolades.
Bukhara (ITC Maurya Sheraton, Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave) is one of the most elegant restaurants in the city, with immaculate plates and prices to boot.
The queues seldom abate at Saravana Bhavan (8/54 Desh Bandhu, Gupta Road, Karol Bagh) for good reason: the Tamil fare is dangerously addictive.
Véda (27 H-Block, Connaught Place) is a glitzy restaurant and lounge with a supperclub, DJ-booth vibe.
Chor Bizarre (Hotel Broadway, 4/15A, Asaf Ali Road) serves unreal Kashmiri classics. So good, in fact, the restaurant has a location in Mayfair, London.
Italian cuisine is big in Delhi and while authenticity is often elusive, Sartoria (18A Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi)delivers with good ambiance, service and food quality.
New Delhi Events
Aside from recent one-offs like the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, New Delhi has a boisterous calendar of events.
Important religious festivals abound, of course, and include colourful Diwali in October/November, Holi in February/March, the Jain holiday of Mahavir Janma Kalyanak in March/April, and Eid ul-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan in August/September.
The Qutb Festival is held over three days in November or December at the UNESCO World Heritage Qutb complex. The premier cultural event features a slew of traditional artforms.
The biennial World Book Fair is a prominent Delhi event, held at Pragati Maidan convention centre in February. The major literary showcase has drawn over 1 million visitors in the past.
The biennial Auto Expo, also at Pragati Maidan, is one of the most important auto shows in the world.
Spring Festival, or Vasant Panchami, celebrates Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of arts, knowledge and music, with many symbolic, joyful traditions.
Delhi’s International Mango Festival may be the most vibrant fruit-centric festival in the world, with two days of juicy events every July at Talkatora Indoor Stadium.
Dhyan Chand National Stadium is a major global venue for field hockey and hosted the 2010 Men’s Hockey World Cup.
The inaugural Indian Grand Prix was held in 2011 at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, some 40 km south-east of New Delhi.
The Delhi Daredevils represent the National Capital Territory in the Indian Premier League of Twenty20 cricket. The season runs from early April to late May.
When To Go
Any city at the mercy of a monsoon humid subtropical climate will inevitably face wide seasonal fluctuations and a barrage of storms. In Delhi’s extreme case, conditions vary enormously between summer and winter and storms can come in the form of rain or dust.
While the Delhi winter is short - November to January - the Himalayas have a tendency to push back heavy fog and subzero winds in fits and spurts. Overall, however, winter temperatures run from 45°F (7°C) to 83°F (28°C). In summer, the mercury soars to well above 90°F (32°C) and, more often than not, 100°F (38°C).
In terms of rain, the peak period is July to September, when over 75% of the annual Delhi average falls.
What To Miss
Undoubtedly, a city like New Delhi has a few tourist traps. Connaught Place is one most often cited but, in truth, is difficult to avoid. Pick and choose your spots in CP and make sure to get out and explore the rest of the National Capital Territory.
Throughout Delhi, freelance tour operators swarm obvious marks at Western hotels, major attractions and the like. While not inherently bad to secure the services of a knowledgeable local, consult your gut instinct before you transact and try to get a solid reference from a trusted source.
Avoid popular, open-air attractions like the Red Fort and various temples in the afternoon. The sun is merciless in Delhi and will exact a toll on those from fairer climes. The earlier a start you get, the better. Conversely, evening sun provides beautiful, ambient light at certain star points of interest in the city.
Indira Gandhi International Airport, fresh off a superb facelift, looks better than ever and, indeed, needs to be. The transport hub is one of the busiest in Asia. The efficient Delhi Airport Metro Express will get you to the heart of the city in 17 short minutes.
Over 1.5 million people ride the Delhi Metro on a daily basis, a number sure to climb in the years ahead. The new, still under construction, mega-infrastructure project is a boon to the metropolis and incredibly convenient for tourists. At present, the rapid transit system features 140 stations over 6 lines.
Because Delhi is infamously problematic for pedestrians, especially at night, short trips for hire are a necessity. Whether taxis, auto-rickshaws or cycle rickshaws, establish a price beforehand and remember to haggle: drivers expect it.
The capital of India, within the state of Delhi, is a 5,000 year-old city steeped in history. Be that as it may, modern New Delhi is the product of neat and tidy 20th century British Empire urban planning. When the colonial capital of Calcutta proved insufficient for colonial rule, the traditional financial heart of India was chosen as a replacement in 1911.
The British left no stone unturned, both in a literal and figurative sense, in the conversion of New Delhi into a suitable base of political power. With plenty of architectural evidence left today from the ancient, medieval and colonial eras, New Delhi is a frenetic metropolis with a lot to offer.
The red sandstone fort of Lal Qila is one of the most indelible landmarks in New Delhi. In typical Mughal Imperial style, the formidable base was built in the mid-17th century to ward off invaders. Re-enactments of major events in the India's history take place daily in front of the majestic Lahore Gate.
As the capital of the most populous democracy in the world, New Delhi has an abundance of valuable administrative and political attractions. Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India today, but for decades was the palatial home of the British Governor General. The original classical facade has since undergone several additions that reflect the design schools of India.
The Parliament or Sansad of India is the legislative and federal heart of the country. The impressive structure was built by the British in 1913.
Gurudwara Rakab Ganj is a magnificent white marble Sikh temple built in the 18th century, with a lush network of adjacent gardens.
The unforgettable Bahai Temple is one of the most conspicuous buildings in New Delhi. The structure features a white marble roof that bears a startling resemblance to a lotus flower.
New Delhi is without a doubt, the museum capital of India. The best of the lot are the National Museum, Mahatma Gandhi Museum and Museum of Natural History.
Apart from national and spiritual celebrations, which abound throughout the year, New Delhi has a rich selection of festivals on tap.
The Food and Wine show in mid-January offers a smorgasbord of gourmet stalls, with emphasis on local cuisine.
The Mango Festival celebrates the harvest of the iconic and beloved fruit of the region in July.
Naga Panchami, held in late July and August, is a holiday of snake worship, with myriad charmers of the mystic reptiles around New Delhi.
The month of October features a regular stream of important festivals and holidays, from Gandhi Jayanthi, celebrating the life of Mahatma Gandhi, to Kalkaji Mandir, the Festival of Nine Lights, Durga Puja, with parades celebrating the Goddess of Power, to Diwali at the end of the month.
New Delhi's climate is typical of a northern city in India, with hot, cool and wet seasons. Temperatures in the summer months can be unbearable, with arid conditions and water shortages. February, March, October and November are the most comfortable and therefore, popular months to visit New Delhi.
- Winter (December to January) 7-22°C
- Spring (February to March) 11-29°C
- Summer (April to September) 21-39°C
- Fall (October to November) 12-32°C
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