With over 12 million residents, Delhi, India, is not only the country’s capital city, but the sixth-largest metropolis in the world by population. Standing on the banks of the Yamuna River, Delhi is a rich blend of a past steeped in history and a vibrant, cosmopolitan present. Due to the sheer size and constant congestion of people and traffic, Delhi can seem downright intimidating at first glance. But sift through the gritty surface and travelers will discover that India’s capital is strewn with captivating monuments, magnificent museums, beautiful ancient dwellings, a thriving arts scene and some of the country’s most delectable and eclectic cuisine.
A veritable melting pot of language, culture, caste and religion, Delhi is a unique city with both Old and New World influences. Visitors can easily spend time weaving back and forth from the dramatic Red Fort, Jama Masjid and medieval bazaars of Old Delhi, and in the same day hit one of New Delhi’s many trendy cafés or hip clubs. Furthermore, Delhi travel also means diving into a world of international cuisine where everything from spicy curries and grilled kabobs, to wood-fired pizzas and fresh sushi can be found.
Delhi is not a city that can be seen in one day. To fully appreciate the complexity and vivacity of this great city, travelers must fully immerse themselves into the many aspects of culture, history and tradition that pulses through the people and streets. Whether it’s visiting the myriad of sights, including Akshardham Temple, Lodhi Garden, Humayun’s Tomb and the National Museum, or going shopping in one of the many bazaars and shopping districts for handmade crafts or beaded saris, Delhi is a one-of-a-kind experience not to be missed.
Famous for variety and spice, Delhi cuisine can consist of chaat (Indian tapas) and street food stalls selling homemade Tandoori chicken, or a five-star restaurant serving gourmet frontier cuisine, like Bukhara, in the Maurya Sheraton Hotel. Vegetarians will rejoice in the selection of mouth-watering restaurants like Sri Balaji, serving both North and South Indian dishes. For the Indian take on classic Italian food, check out Satoria in the south of Delhi. The authentic specials include a variety of pasta dishes, carpacchio and pizzas. For some cheap eats, Karim’s has been open since 1913 and serves up local favorites like Badam Pasanda (boneless mutton with yogurt and spices) and Chicken Noor Jahan.
The arrival point for many visitors into Delhi is Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). The airport is large and extremely crowded. For international flights, travelers should show up at least two hours early. Travelers arriving into the city should arrange transportation from the airport to their hotel in advance to save time. Navigating around Delhi is quite an adventure, as traffic is notoriously horrible. The Delhi Metro is now open, and provides a cheap and air-conditioned option to travel around the city. Other modes of transportation are taxis, as well as auto and bicycle rickshaws.
Delhi has a subtropical climate with high variation between winter and summer precipitation and temperatures. Summers start early in the city, around April, and have an average daily temperature of 90° F (32.2° C). Winters start in November and peak in January, with an average daily temperate of 55° F (12.7° C). Monsoon season starts in late June and can late through September, bringing about 31.5 inches of rain. The best time to visit Delhi is in October and November, as well as February and March, when the days are sunny and warm, and the nights are cool and dry.