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Capital of India - New Delhi
 
About New Delhi


New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The foundation of the city was laid on December 15, 1911, and was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, leading 20th century British architects. Inaugurated on February 13, 1931, by Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India, the city is known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards and is home to numerous national institutions and landmarks. It is situated within the metropolis of Delhi and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. New Delhi is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is 42.7 km2.

Welcome to New Delhi, one of India most iconic travel destinations and home to an amazing array of sights, activities and events. Even first time visitors to New Delhi will quickly be enthralled by how fun and fascinating New Delhi really can be. For those looking a glimpse of the real India, or just a fun night out, New Delhi mixes old world charm with a modern and vibrant night life. Click the general information links below for further information.

Delhi is the capital of India as well as one of its most important travel destinations. The city is absolutely huge and is overflowing with historic monuments, architecture and temples that all reflect the diversity of the culture and the many influences that the city has seen throughout the centuries. The city is a fascinating blend of century old houses and tradition villages who have continued to live a simple life to modern sky rise complexes and trend designer boutiquies. Delhi has become an excellent starting point for visitors and pilgrims visiting Agra and the world-famous Taj Mahal. With the majestic Himalaya Mountains situated to the north, the city is a popular destination for hikers and trekker, nature lovers and explorers. The city offers visitors a quality selection of accommodation ranging from the ultra-modern hotels with every imaginable amenity, to the more modest lodgings from the budget traveller.

Delhi, in the North of India, is the capital city of the country, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Home to a population of 14 million, the city is made up of Old Delhi and New Delhi housing India’s finest museums, galleries, shopping, dining and entertainment, as well as a good array of sights and cultural attractions; all of which can be found here in this bustling finance and cultural centre of one of the world’s most populous nation. New Delhi is undoubtedly the gateway into India and has something for everyone wishing to experience Indian culture and its way of life.

A vibrant combination of past and present, New Delhi will delight you with its amazing ancient architecture and fine museums. Archeology findings date Delhi back to 1000 B.C.; and the ruins of seven ancient cities can also be found around the bustling metropolis. The city also boasts top hotels and restaurants as well as excellent shopping at Connaught Place and markets like Delhi Haat. Whether you have the budget of a backpacker or five-star traveller, there’s something for you in New Delhi.

From the 12th to 19th century, Old Delhi was ruled by Muslim leaders, and evidence of their presence in the city is well represented by the many mosques, forts, and monuments of historical interest. New Delhi, on the other hand, was a more-recent British creation and as India’s biggest city, it offers easy access to other parts of the country, as well as an outstanding number of attractions. Agra, home of the famous Taj Mahal, is nearby.

As the capital of India, New Delhi is a destination for leisure-seeking tourists as well as global businessmen and visiting diplomats. Since the city plays a crucial role in welcoming visitors to the country, here some of the finest hotels in India are found. There are five-star establishments like The Oberoi and The Taj, as well as a plentiful collection of cheaper accommodation for those on a different budget. Moderately-priced accommodation however is low on supply. For this reason, you’ll find average rooms are usually quite booked up and you should definitely place a reservation if you are particular about your hotel.

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History


According to Sanskrit texts, the Pandavas and Kauravas fought for the city of Indraprastha. It supposedly is on this ancient city that New Delhi is built. Although no remains of Indraprastha are found, there are ruins dating from 736 AD still standing around New Delhi today. The fortress La Kot is one example. Built by the Tomara Rakputs (who were eventually ousted by the Turkish General King Qutb-ud-din Aibak). The Turk then went on to the construct the Qutb complex – a structure that is a popular tourist destination today.

Although Old Delhi has a history dating back a thousand years, New Delhi was developed by the British and is only nearly a hundred years old. During British rule, India was made to shift its capital from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1931. At that time, the population of the city was less than a tenth of its population today. 70, 000 people lived here then. And today, Delhi is home to an approximate 8, 000, 000 residents.

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Weather

Night View of New Delhi New Delhi

New Delhi has three distinct seasons: summer, winter and monsoon. The best time of year to enjoy the city is during the dry winter months. The city’s high season is from November to March. During this time, most people find it easier to go around the places interests due to the cooler weather.

The peak months of December and January sees the most visitors to the country, thereby turning the usual hustle and bustle of city life in a lively frenzy as the city welcomes the influx of visitors. Few dare to brave the Indian summer. From April to June, you’ll find lots of available accommodation, although it is recommended that you avoid New Delhi during this time unless you are a seasoned traveller well accustomed to the heat of a very hot climate.

Visitors are also recommended to avoid the monsoon months of June to September. These months are crucial for an agricultural society dependent on rainfall to ensure a good harvest. However if you are not a farmer, and is just a holiday maker seeking fun and adventure, the rain can put a damp on your spirits.

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New Delhi Travel Tips


While taking you off the beaten track and into the exciting back streets of New Delhi, they can also help you navigate through the many layered cultural nuances that make India such an exciting holiday destination. After a few times and a couple hours on the ground in New Delhi, you’ll be buzzing around town like a local. Click the travel tip links below for further information.

Business Hours

Banks: 10:00 to 14:00, Monday to Friday; 10:00 to 12:00, Saturday
Post offices: 10:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday; 10:00 to 14:00, Saturday
Government offices: 07:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday
Business centres: 08:00 to 21:00, Monday to Saturday
Shops: 09:30 to 19:00, daily

Cautions

As with any big city in the world, New Delhi can pose threats to visitors. It is a fast-paced bustling metropolis that is home to some eight million inhabitants, it is easy to get lost.

Women need to be especially careful about travelling alone. They should not get in taxis or rickshaws by themselves, and need to make sure their hotel room is always properly locked and bolted.. Petty theft is a huge problem and it’s best to take no valuables with you to New Delhi. If you bring anything of value, then lock it up in your hotel’s safe. Carry a money belt instead of a wallet or purse and be especially mindful of your belongings when travelling on public transport or while pushing through large crowds in areas like marketplaces.

Since 2002, it has been an offence to give money to beggars at traffic lights and begging has been illegal since the 1959 Beggars Act. Nevertheless, begging is commonplace and you should not be alarmed if you are approached by children or adults asking for money.

Don’t accept food and drink, or even cigarettes, from strangers. There have been incidences of travellers being poisoned or drugged, and then robbed. Tourists should be aware of scammers. If you’re approached and hassled by people wanting to sell you things or be your guide, just say ‘no’ firmly as many times as it takes. Don’t lose your temper; just be solid in your stance. If you use a credit card , don’t let it out of your sight. Some shops will run off a few copies and then forge your signature.

Electricity: 220V, 50Hz; plugs are two round pronged.

Health

Risks include: dengue fever, cholera, hepatitis A and B, malaria, dysentery, meningitis and typhoid. No vaccinations are required to enter the country unless you are coming from a yellow fever affected area. However, it’s advisable to make sure your hepatitis A and B vaccines are updated. You should take care not to get bitten by mosquitoes as they can carry diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. Depending on where in the country you are visiting, you may want to take additional precautions.

Only drink bottled water, and even use it to brush your teeth. Don’t forget that this is the home of the infamous ‘Delhi belly’ and many visitors fall victim to stomach problems while visiting. Even if you are not a vegetarian, it’s advisable to become so temporarily while in India as the quality of meat is often questionable.

If you’re going to be eating with your hands, then make sure you wash them thoroughly or carry around alcohol wipes. If you get a stomach bug, you can purchase Imodium A-D (loperamide) or Pepto-Bismol over the counter, and should make sure to re-hydrate with electrolyte beverages.

The HIV and hepatitis B infection rates, both transmitted through blood, are relatively high here and you should avoid getting tattoos and piercings, and stay away from getting a haircut where they use a razor to shave the back of your neck. Always practice safe sex.

East West Medical Centre: +91 462 3738
Emergency services: 102

Language

There are 18 officially recognised languages in India, and thousands of dialects. The dominant Hindi language is the most commonly spoken in New Delhi and in fact has 250 million speakers throughout the country. In the more tourist-frequented areas, you won’t have trouble finding someone who can speak English.

Currency

The Indian rupee (Rs) is India’s currency, and comes in denominations of Rs1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 banknotes. Coins come in denominations of Rs5, 2 and 1, as well as 50 and 25 paise. There are 100 paise in a rupee.

Currency Exchange

You can’t exchange Indian rupees outside of the country; and thus if you’re going to get to your hotel, you’ve got to exchange a little money at the airport exchange bureaux when you arrive. However, exchanging more is not advisable as the rates are among the worst available. If your hotel has an airport transfer service, then arrange for pick-up before you arrive. Ask for a receipt when exchanging money and hold on to it until you leave the country, in case you want to change rupees back to your currency before leaving. It is illegal to take rupees out of the country.

The best exchange rates are offered by the banks in New Delhi; however, it’s even better to withdraw cash from the ATMs, as they are convenient and give the most competitive rates. You’ll find no shortage of unauthorised moneychangers, but it’s inadvisable to use them. . Don’t accept banknotes that are torn or damaged badly, as others will not accept them from you. It’s a good idea to keep a wad of smaller bills for tips. At small shops, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to change anything larger than an Rs500 note, so try and keep a good supply of Rs100s.

ATMs are widely available in the city and they typically accept Cirrus and PLUS. Most ATMs allow you to withdraw Rs10,000 at a time, which is roughly US$200. Credit cards are accepted in the larger restaurants, hotels and shops, with Visa and MasterCard being the most popular; expect a two per cent service charge. Traveller’s cheques are accepted at banks, hotels and some restaurants.

Customs

A Tourist Baggage Re-Export form should be filled out by those bringing a laptop computer, special camera gear or video equipment. This is to protect you, as you may be asked to show the form when you leave India. Bringing in any livestock or pork products, live plants or gold and silver bullion is not permitted.

If you bring more than the equivalent of US$10,000 into India in a foreign currency, then you must fill out a declaration form at the airport. Adults 18 years and over can import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco; 2 litres of alcohol; and 60ml of perfume.

Etiquette

Public displays of affection are frowned upon and you should save them for the privacy of your hotel room. You should always use your right hand for handing over objects, eating, or doing anything as the left hand is considered the toilet hand. Feet are the lowest part of the body and you should never point with your feet or touch anything or anyone with them. If you accidentally do so, then apologise immediately.

Getting angry in public is also not a good idea so you should keep your temper in check. If you can’t get the price you want when bargaining, then just walk away. When taking photos of someone, be sure to ask first. The namaste greeting is used in India and this consists of pressing your palms together and tilting your head forward slightly. You should always remove your shoes when entering a home or temple. You can dress casually but conservatively. Women should always dress modestly in India and should never wear shorts or revealing tops, even on the beaches. Even men don’t wear shorts in India.

Dining Etiquette
It’s normal to share food and drinks, and you’ll find Indian families sharing huge meals may invite you to join them. When dining, the table will be filled with several dishes, and everyone will spoon them onto their own place – so you get to try everything. Hindus consider the cow to be sacred and Muslims consider the pig to be filthy; thus you will not find much pork or beef offered in Indian restaurants. If you don’t see it on the menu, don’t ask for it. Many restaurants also don’t serve alcohol. Tipping is normal at restaurants and 10 per cent is the norm.

If you go to an Indian’s house for dinner, it’s polite to bring a gift; just remember that most Hindus do not drink alcohol and are vegetarians. Indians usually eat with their hands; although this is not done in upscale restaurants. You should use your right hand only while eating, and in some places you should only use the first two fingers and thumb.

Visa and Passports

Visitors must apply for a tourist visa at their nearest Indian consulate before travel. Tourist visas are valid for up to 6 months after entry, and are usually issued without trouble to citizens of most countries. You should submit two passport-sized photos with the application and fee. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months past the date of your expected entry.

Foreign tourists in groups of four or more sponsored by recognised Indian Travel Agencies and, with an itinerary, can be granted collective landing permits for a specified period of time (up to 30 days upon written request). US citizens can sometimes be issued with 10-year visas and more information is available at the nearest Indian embassy.

Tourist Information Offices

The Government of India Tourist Office in Delhi can be reached at: +91 332 0342, +91 3320005 or +91 3320008. There’s also a Government of India Tourist Information Counter inside the Indira Gandhi International Airport: +91 329 1171. There are numerous government tourist offices and you can reach the main one in Delhi at: +91 460 1500, +91 4623782 or +91 4694859.

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Sightseeing

Taj Mahal India Gate Birla Mandir
Gandhis Tomb Red Fort Bahai or Lotus Temple

Visitors looking for a variety of cultural attractions in New Delhi will be not leave disappointed with so many options to choose from. New Delhi also offers numerous renowned heritage sites that India is famous for around the world. Click the sightseeing links below for further information.

New Delhi boasts an extensive collection of museums, monuments, parks, and galleries. The list below highlights a few of the many places of culture that are popular venues on tourists’ routes. There are many more other areas that are worth a visit, but these should top any visitor's list of where to go in New Delhi.

Old Fort or Purana Quila
This ancient fort boasts three gates and is surrounded by a moat fed by the River Yamuna. The fort’s wall was constructed by Humayun, while the buildings in the fort are credited to Sher Shar. Must-sees within the fort include Sher Mandal and the Quila-I-kholina Mosque.

Crafts Museum
This is the ideal place to shop for crafts and antiques. There are more than 20,000 pieces to choose from in five galleries. Some originals are very expensive, but there is a shop where you can purchase copies and replicas at a reasonable price.

National Museum in New Delhi
150,000 artefacts and pieces spanning 5 millennia are found under one roof.. This is one of the places where you should hire a guide to make the most of your day. The highlights include 12th century religious statues, gem collections, and a collection of intricate mini paintings.

Feroz Shah Kotla
This is where you'll find the ruins of Ferozabad. The original structure is built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in 1354. Today the remains of the mosque and well are still standing, despite having much of its materials removed and used in other constructions

Hazrat Nizamuddin
It can be exciting to navigate the narrow lanes to this tomb of the saint Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia, dating from 1325. This is really a great attraction once you get here, but beware of the touts and hawkers that can make it uncomfortable in the tight streets on the way; Hazrat Nizamuddin can only be reached on foot and women are advised to cover their heads.

Humayun Tomb
A must-see sight of the region is the red sandstone tomb of Humayun' that was built by the emperor's widow, Haji Begum, in 1565 AD.. The design by Persian architect Mirza Ghyas was said to have inspired the Taj Mahal.

Qutab Minar Purana Quila Rashtrapati Bhavan

Jantar Mantar
This observatory was spearheaded by Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), a keen astronomer of the Mughal court. Jantar Mantar is the first of the five observatories and houses an array of amazing instruments built of the same era.

Red Fort
Probably the most visited site in New Delhi, the Red Fort was the seat of Mughal power from 1639 to 1857. It was created out of red sandstone and covers almost two kilometres. Also called Lal Quila, the fort features sound and light shows in the evening.

Shahjahanabad near New Delhi
Old Delhi is known for its old Indian mansions and the best way to view these colossal homes is on a rickshaw. Be transported back in time as you travel through the labyrinth of narrow lanes, and enjoy a glimpse of India's rich and interesting past. You will instantly be transported back in time as you wind your way through the labyrinth of narrow lanes. Old Delhi is all about the mystery of old Indian mansions and the serene views from cycle-rickshaws.

Tughlaqabad
A spectacular fort built by Ghiasuddin Tughlaq in 1324, Tughlaqabad was later abandoned after a curse was laid on it by a Sufi mystic who condemned it to be a “barren land and infertile ground where no one but herdsmen will roam”. Its spectacular buildings, mosques, palaces and towers were once important places of power, but are now merely splendid ruins, unoccupied and a barren landscape of empty halls and rooms.

Jama Masjid
This mosque was built by Shah Jahan in 1656 and is the largest in Asia, able to hold up to 25,000 worshippers at a time. Non-Muslims cannot enter during prayers. Be sure to dress in accordance to Muslim tradition – women should have their hair covered - if you are visiting this mosque.

Dilli Haat
There are more than 200 stalls selling arts and crafts at this marketplace. All items are very affordable and the markets are great for souvenir shopping as you buy direct from the craftspeople and artisans themselves. Items range from artwork and silver jewellery to furniture and unusual souvenirs.

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Top Things to Do


There’s no way you can really tire of the sightseeing in New Delhi, as you could literally spend weeks or months here and never see every nook and cranny of the metropolis. However, if you are looking for more in the way of activities, there’s also plenty of those for the choosing. Entertain yourself with some classic folk music and dancing, or sit back and enjoy one of the latest Bollywood films. There’s also great nightlife in New Delhi and plenty of outdoor activities for those yearning for a break from the city centre bustle.

The city offers something for everyone, but while you are in Delhi, do as the locals do – learn more about the Indian way of life and the many activities that locals enjoy. From folk dancing to Indian classical music to the latest Bollywood flicks, Delhi is the development centre of India’s prolific entertainment industry and hosts many concerts every year.

Enjoy the nightlife. The best bars and nightclubs are found in the upmarket hotels like The Taj and The Oberoi. Rick’s and Club Bar are institutions in their own right and are very popular with visitors.

Get a bird’s eye view of New Delhi. The best way to enjoy a view of the city is from the air. Hire a hot-air balloon, or even a hang-glider equipped with instructor to get up in the skies for a fun day of a different type of adventure.

Have a cup of tea. India – the tea powerhouse of colonial days – continues to produce the world’s best black teas today. The tea-sipping culture is prevalent everywhere in Delhi, where there are ubiquitous roadside stalls serving the famous chai The Indian way of enjoying a cuppa is slightly different – chai is served hot, sugary sweetened with condensed milk, and often flavoured with ginger or cardamom.

Meditate at a retreat. The birthplace of yoga – it should come as no surprise that spiritual health seekers flock to India for a trip of cleansing and detoxification. Meditation at a Vipassana centre is offered fee-of charge, providing you have the will to go through a 10-day vow of silence in exchange for a rewarding often life-changing experience.

Take in a show. There are charming dance performances and traditional musical shows all over the city. A prominent show is at Dances of India (phone: +91 2323 1228), but most visitors will go to the light and sound show at the Red Fort. India International Centre (phone: +91 2461 9431) also offers a good choice of cultural performances as well as Indian film screenings.

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Transportation


New Delhi Map

Airport Taxi Auto-rickshaws Bus Car Rental

The cheapest and fastest way to get around New Delhi India varies depending on who you talk to. While New Delhi has no shortage of transport options available for either holiday makers or corporate travellers, HotelTravel.com’s guide can help you get from the airport and back or navigate around New Delhi with ease. Getting around New Delhi by car can be a real treat if you have some extra time as it has some of the best roads in India. Click the transportation links below for further information.

Airports

Most foreign visitors entering India from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, located around 20 kilometres from the city centre. The international terminal here services 35 airlines flying around the world, while the domestic airport houses three terminals catering to a variety of airlines from Indian Airlines and Alliance Air to Jet Airways and Air Sahara. The international and domestic terminals are eight kilometres apart and the distance is served by a free shuttle bus leaving every hour. The domestic airport has two terminals, 1A (Indian Airlines) and 1B, also connected by free shuttle bus.

Getting from the airport to the city is easy by taxi. You can ask at the information desk for a prepaid taxi to avoid price haggling outside. There are also buses and rickshaws, but these are not recommended to the inexperienced visitor, or those who are not travelling light. There is a premium car park near Terminal 2 and the standard car park opposite Terminal 1. Long- and short-term parking is available at the airport.

Public Transport

Auto-rickshaws ply the streets and typically don’t have meters, so be sure to negotiate your fare before getting in. There are usually extra charges for carrying heavy bags or stopping at multiple destinations.

Driving yourself around India can be quite an experience and many international car hire companies are present. Another good choice, if you don’t want to get behind the wheel, is to hire a chauffeur-driven car. The more travelled tourist highways provide some good facilities including frequent rest areas and petrol stations, as well as accommodation and places to eat.

There is a massive network of bus services and you can get bus schedules and routes from the local tourist offices. Delhi has a subway, but women travelling alone and inexperienced travellers should avoid this method of getting around.

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