Delhi, the capital city of India, is an overwhelming and chaotic city. It’s the City of Djinns and 25 million people. It’s dirty, it’s exhausting and it’s full of people that want something from you. But, it’s also a city with history, incredible sights and hidden gems. We have only briefly visited this city. When we arrived in India it was our first real stop and we stayed for two days. The second time we came there when we were leaving India, and we only stayed the night. For us it was definitely enough. In this post we will tell you about things to do in Delhi, and we recommend which temples to visit, where to sleep and where to eat.
Things to do
Walk around and enjoy the chaos
It can make you mad, walking around in Delhi. Everyone wants something from you. However, try to put this aside and just smile and keep walking. I noticed that there is really so much going on in the streets. So, if you are just aware by how crazy this city is, and just walk around to observe it, it’s quite entertaining.
The second time we arrived in Delhi, I suddenly realized how much was actually going on. Jeffrey pointed out that there was a dog chasing a monkey. I saw how another dog was pooping in the middle of the street. Monkeys on the roof, people having arguments, people burning trash, dogs fighting, dogs playing, two people walking handing hand, people screaming… It never stops!
Just walk around, or maybe go in a rickshaw, and enjoy the chaos.
Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi is a Hindu house of worship, where spiritual, devotion, learning and culture all come together in harmony. Akshardham means the divine abode of God. It’s an eternal place of peace and purity. All this can be found in the beautiful architecture of this temple.
This is arguably the most beautiful temple we have ever seen in our lives. I think I’ve never felt the power of a place so much before, it had such a magical vibe. Unfortunately, in this temple you aren’t allowed to take photos. But this does add to how special this place is. You really have to go there and see it for yourself.
Of course, it’s nice to know beforehand that you aren’t allowed to take photos. Then, you already know that you don’t have to bring your camera. Luckily there are lockers, but it’s on your own risk to leave it there. You aren’t allowed to take a bag inside, you have to put this in your locker too.
As we didn’t take any photos inside this incredible temple, simply take a look at some images on Google here to see why you have to go.
- There is no entree fee!
- More than 300.000.000 volunteer hours went into making this complex
- Over 8.000 volunteers from all over the world helped building it
- Exhibitions are held on Hinduism.
- Inspired by HH Yogiji Maharaj.
The Red Fort
The Red Fort was constructed under order by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, when he moved from Agra to Delhi. It was build in the north-eastern side of the newly founded city Shahjahanabad, which is now known as Old Delhi. The name of the fort comes from the red colored sandstone. The fort is really large and certainly is very impressive!
We found the Red Fort very beautiful and interesting to see. It was a bit expensive for foreigners (500 rupees), while for Indian people and visitors of SAARC, it’s very cheap (30 rupees). This is the case with most entree fees in India. At first we were doubting to go in, but we are happy we did.
Inside you can find many gorgeous buildings with incredible details and lots of usage of beautiful marble. Examples are the Diwan-i-Am (“Hall of Public Audience”), Rang-Mahal (“Painted Palace”), Diwan-i-Khass (‘Hall of Private Audience’) and Tasbih-Khana (‘chamber for counting beads for private prayers’). You can find more about these buildings here.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
This temple is created into a center of pilgrimage for thousands of people every day. It is said that the water, brought by Raja Jai Singh, is taken to cure ailments. In this temple one can also find a hospital, a girls school and an art gallery.
When we were there, it wasn’t so busy. This was probably because a large part of the temple was in construction. That also made it seem less impressive to us. However, it’s definitely worth seeing when it’s completely renovated again. Also, there is no entrance fee, making it accessible to anyone.
Other temples worth seeing
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit all the worthy temples in Delhi, but we made a small list for you. If we ever return to Delhi, we will definitely check them out ourselves. Also, click on the name of the temple for more information!
- Hanuman Mandir, Jhandewalan
- Chhatarpur Mandir
- Lotus Temple
- Gauri Shankar Temple
- Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir
Where to sleep
Like we said at the start of this article, Delhi is a tiring place and can be quite overwhelming. In chaotic places like Delhi, it’s important to stay at an accommodation where you can find rest. Friends recommended Smyle Inn to us and we weren’t disappointed. It’s a great budget hostel located in the heart of Delhi. It has actually been voted Best Hostel in India by Hostelworld!
The room was basic and comfortable, with private bathroom, hot shower and good wifi. They also have computers you can use, and there is a travel desk that can help you plan your trip. We used the travel desk to organize our train tickets to our next destination.
We stayed at their hostel both times we were in Delhi, because we were really satisfied. When we arrived in Delhi and came to Smyle Inn for the first time, we got the Superior Room. What we noticed most here is that we heard no noise from outside whatsoever.
The second time we stayed at Smyle Inn was the night before we left India. This time we booked the Standard Room. Other than being a bit smaller, we felt that this room was as comfortable as the Superior Room. This time we thought we might hear more from the noise outside, but only heard a dog bark close to our window once.
Where to eat
Honestly, we didn’t find that many great places to eat in Delhi. As we just came from Nepal, we were quite unimpressed. There we found countless amazing hip restaurants in cities such as Kathmandu and Pokhara.
However, both Jeffrey and I are a huge fan of Indian food, and we did find some restaurants with delicious meals. Also, most restaurants in Delhi are really cheap! However, they do often put an extra 10% tax on it, without stating it on the menu, which is annoying.
The Drunkyard Café
This was located close to our hostel. We just arrived in Delhi and were walking around, searching for a good place to have some lunch. Unfortunately, we barely saw anything, but this place seemed okay. So we went in and had our first meal in India here (apart from the street food we had on the way during the bus ride). The interior is a bit tacky, but we sat comfortable and the food was quite tasty.
We came back to this place on our last night in India. Jeffrey had a burger and I had falafel. It was around 600 rupees in total.
We met a lovely British couple on our second day in Delhi and we decided to have dinner together. They had read positive stories about Tadka online, so we went there. The restaurant was clean, had a wide range of Indian dishes and the food we had was very, very tasty. We both had a Indian curry, palak paneer and paneer butter masala, and shared naan and plain rice. It was more than enough.
The interior wasn’t special at all, but I guess the food made it all worth it. We payed around 300 rupees per person, drinks included.
Everest Bakery Café
We had breakfast here, as it was right opposite to our hotel. It was a nice small place. The menu wasn’t very extensive, but enough choices to keep you there. We both had sandwiches and smoothies, which were tasty and cheap!
We feel like we haven’t visited the best places to eat in Delhi. So we did some research and found this list with the Best Romantic Restaurants in Delhi for some inspiration for your next visit!
Have you ever visited Delhi in India?