For a city with a population larger than Australia’s, it’s incredibly green and in parts, quite serene.
There are birds everywhere and monkeys in the most unexpected places. But then of course it’s chaotic in parts too, wonderfully so.
The smog is thick, the crowds are colourful and life beams at every corner. It’s a place where just riding in a tuktuk is an exhilarating adventure. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to see Delhi in all its beauty and bizarreness. Leave your phone at the hotel room, look up and soak in life at its most vibrant.
If you’re short on time, here’s my recommendation for a great day to soak up what makes this place really tick.
What to do:
Spend a good chunk of time in Old Delhi. This is my favourite part of the city; it’s where buzzing scooters compete with camels and market stalls that sell everything you can think of … and a whole lot more.
The bazaar in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk, is where the real magic happens. Opposite the famous Red Fort, this 17th century marketplace is best accessed via the Delhi metro system stopping at the Chandni Chowk Station.
Soon you’ll enter a mesmerising rabbit warren of sparkling jewels, vibrant fabrics, incense, carpets and incredible aromas of food cooking everywhere.
When you go, go to buy. Especially jewellery. You won’t find better costume jewellery anywhere else in the world.
To get into the thick of it and delve deep into the alleyways I highly recommend touring the market on a rickshaw. It’s fun and thrilling all at once and was my favourite experience in Delhi.
What to eat:
Jalebi from the famous stall in Chandni Chowk. Jalebi is essentially a spiral of batter soaked in a sugary syrup, and it’s just delicious.
What to buy:
Everything. Even if your haggling skills aren’t up to scratch, it’ll still be way cheaper than what you’d pay at home. I bought a few scarves and my only regret is that I should have bought more. There’s of course wonderful shopping all over India but looking back, what’s on offer at Chandni Chowk was the best.
There are streets and districts within the market dedicated to specific items like Khari Baoli for spices, nuts and dried fruits or Moti Bazar for beautiful shawls and Kucha Choudary Market for everything to do with cameras and photography. Looking for shoes or glasses, then Ballimaran Market is what you’re after and for anyone planning a wedding, head to Kinary Bazar for everything you’ll need.
How to get around:
The eRickshaws are great for the markets but to see the whole city, get a guide.
If you’ve never been to India before, Delhi and where to begin can be quite intimidating. When I arrived I walked down the road to another hotel for dinner and even then that was a challenging adventure.
Luckily from the next morning onwards, I had a guide and a driver with me at all times to help navigate the sites, assist me in haggling and even just help me cross the road. I thoroughly recommend planning ahead to organise a guide to make the most of your trip to this fascinating place.
Published under license from Well Travelled.