How to Spend a Day in Delhi | India Gate, Humayun's Tomb & Markets
If you're heading to northern India, chances are the crazy, chaotic, bustling city of Delhi will be your first port of call. There's so much to explore in this vibrant metropolis however, Delhi can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned of travellers. This is my guide to a day of sightseeing in Delhi!
Delhi is India's capital city and home to nearly 19 million people - a city of crowded streets, atmospheric markets and national monuments. I visited Delhi for a couple days last year during my Nepal, India and Hong Kong trip. While Delhi wasn't my most favourite place in India, I enjoyed the experience of immersing myself in the city's smells, culture, sounds and sights!
I was with my friend Rhi and as two young female travellers, we attracted lots of attention while sightseeing even though we dressed modestly. We felt safe walking around together during the day but wouldn't go out at night by ourselves. We were on an Intrepid tour while in India, but had a day and a bit by ourselves to see Delhi before our tour started.
Start your morning with a sunrise bike ride
The coolest thing I did while in Delhi was a sunrise cycle tour around the city. We left super early while it was still dark to avoid as much traffic as possible. Along the way we traversed super chaotic roads, dodged tuk-tuks and risked our lives at roundabouts - but it was so much fun!
Biking is such a great way to see a city. It was just my friend Rhi and I and our two tour guides - plus we had a support car following us! Our tour guides were two young locals with great knowledge about the city. They also made us feel super safe and guided us safely through the maze of streets. The tour I did was an Intrepid Urban Adventures tour but unfortunately, according to their website, they don't run this tour anymore. However, I found a number of similar tours here on Trip Advisor.
Our tour finished at India Gate - a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the First World War that looks strikingly similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Hop on the metro to visit some of Delhi's famous monuments
Riding Delhi's metro system is an adventure in itself. The Delhi Metro is the largest and busiest metro in India. On our first ride we pushed ourselves into an overcrowded carriage not realising that there were super spacious carriages at the front of the train reserved solely for women! Nevertheless, the metro is super cheap (rides cost under $1 each way) and connects the city well.
Humayun’s Tomb is a Unesco World Heritage Site built in the 1500's for a Mughal emperor. Said to have inspired the design of the Taj Mahal, Humayun's Tomb is sometimes nicknamed 'Baby Taj'.
Delhi's Red Fort was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years. The palaces, halls and gardens inside its gates are a haven from the surrounding chaos of Old Delhi. I love the symmetrical architecture!
Jama Masjid (Mosque):
I find the architecture of mosques absolutely stunning and Jama Masjid is no exception. The red sandstone and white marble mosque was built by more than 5000 artisans over 6 years and is the largest of its kind in India. When visiting, you are required to pretty much completely cover any bare skin and we were given some pretty funky gowns!
Take a tuk-tuk through the streets of Delhi
For an authentic experience, why not take a tuk-tuk through the streets of Delhi? No doubt, you'll be met with many tuk-tuk drivers offering you a ride. Once you negotiate a price, you'll be chugging along on what is pretty much a glorified lawn mower with the driver honking the horn every...five...seconds...
Riding in a tuk tuk!
Explore Old Delhi's Chandni Chowk Market
Chandi Chowk is located in the heart of Old Delhi and its one of the city's oldest and busiest markets. The streets are crammed with merchants selling everything from vegetables to jewellery to antiques or spices. This crazy place sure is a sensory overload!
Sample north Indian street food!
While you're wandering the streets why not sample some authentic Indian street food. Look for stalls popular with locals and those which refresh their food regularly to ensure you won't get 'Delhi-belly'! Samosas are my favourite - although they were quite spicy!
Have Curry and Naan Bread for dinner - of course!
What better way to finish a day of sightseeing than with a delicious curry and fresh naan bread! My favourites are dal makhani and aloo palak!
First curry and naan in India!
You can read more about my adventures in India here!