Thought to be the oldest existing city in the world, Delhi is an enormous, sprawling metropolis, home to the Indian Government’s executive, judiciary, and legislative authorities and around 25 million residents. The area is divided into eleven districts, each of them a crazy and fascinating amalgamation of ancient and modern. Medieval barricades stand proudly beside massive shopping malls, and colonial-era residential districts are home to mausoleums and bustling night bazaars. Delhi is polluted, crowded, and chaotic, but endlessly awe-inspiring all the same and is home to some beautiful green areas and parks.
In the vast and ancient Delhi region, New Delhi is a colonial oasis built by the British architect Edwin Lutyens in 1931. The region is full of historic museums, galleries and monuments, grand government buildings, impressive parks and beautifully manicured gardens. The city was designed as a symbol of British imperial power and influence, and it certainly leaves a lasting impression.
One of these imposing monuments is India Gate, constructed in 1921 as a tribute to the soldiers who fought in the British Indian army in World War I. In the southern part of New Delhi, you’ll find Humayan’s Tomb, the building that inspired the Taj Mahal, built in 1570 for Mughal’s second emperor. Not far away, the stunning Lodhi Gardens are serene and unbelievably green, particularly beautiful in spring. Enjoy the sunset here and escape the buzz of city chaos.
Head to the Qutab Minar, world-renowned as the tallest minaret in existence and an example of Indo-Islamic style architecture. Once you’ve visited Connaught Place and checked off the usual tourist must-sees, drop by the less-visited Agrasen Ki Baoli stepwell, and experience absolute serenity in Chilla Nizamuddin.
Before you take to the streets of Old Delhi, you might need to take a deep breath. Chaos, crowds, and hustling reign here – it’s not for the faint-hearted. But if you’ve got the patience and a sense of adventure about you, Old Delhi is a truly extraordinary city. It’s as ancient as it gets, estimated to be around 5000 years old. It was once glittering and glorious, with noble mansions, splendid mosques, and pristine gardens. Today, the walled city is mostly crowded and dilapidated, but the ruins of an ancient and fascinating time are still there waiting to be explored, and its charm remains to be seen in the narrow winding streets and colourful corners.
While the magnificent sandstone ruins of the Red Fort, a 17th century former residence of the emperor of Mughal, it isn’t often included in ETG tours. Despite this, you’ll see amazing forts and palaces throughout your time in India as we wouldn’t suggest exploring too many at the beginning of your trip! Take the time to get lost in the maze of narrow bazaars in the Old City and savour the assault of sounds, smells, spices, and colours. The oldest and most popular market is Chandni Chowk – great for spices, perfumes, and jewels. Dariba Kalan is a silverware hotspot, and Kinari Bazaar is affectionately known as the Wedding Market. Here, it is all about the senses, sounds, smells and experiences.
Located 20 miles to the south west of New Delhi, Gurgaon is well located to stay for a night before you fly home. If you’re looking to spend a day or two relaxing at the beginning or end of your holiday, Tikli Bottom is a graceful Lutyens-style country house on farmland and is an ideal spot for relaxing or exploring the undulating countryside.
Holiday Ideas Including Delhi & Around:
Temples, Jungles & Trains
Cross India from east to west, enjoying the incredible history, religion, remote jungles and wildlife along the way.
The Birdlife of North India
Discover birdlife in scenic, rugged landscapes on safaris in national parks, journeys along rivers and walks.
Wildlife and Adventure in Kipling's India
An extraordinary journey taking in Rudyard Kipling's old haunts. Incredible wildlife, cycling, trekking, camping and luxury!
East to West: Highlights of the Gangetic Plain
An immersive city and rural journey across the Indo-Gangetic Plain, taking two weeks.