Delhi has served as the capital of India for various dynasties and is presently the country’s national capital. Anyone visiting Delhi will observe how the city’s old legacy coexists with the everyday rush and bustle of a modern metropolis, which is what makes tourism in Delhi so special.
Because it is the nation’s administrative center, the city is home to major structures such as the Supreme Court, Parliament, and Rashtrapati Bhavan, among others. On the other hand, ancient monuments dating back to the early eras of the Mughal era may be found narrating tales from the past. So, with this succinct Delhi travel guide, come fall in love with Delhi.
The topography of the medieval fort Purana Qila on the banks of the Yamuna River follows the literary description of the fortress Indraprastha in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata; however, no indications of an ancient constructed environment have been discovered. Delhi was the capital of two significant empires, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire, which ruled large areas of South Asia from the early 13th century until the mid-19th century.
The Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Red Fort, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the city, date from this period. Sufism and Qawwali music had their beginnings in Delhi. Nizamuddin Auliya and Amir Khusrau are two significant figures associated with it. The Delhi Khariboli dialect was part of a linguistic evolution that resulted in Urdu literature and eventually Modern Standard Hindi literature. Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Ghalib are two prominent Urdu poets from Delhi.
The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was centered in Delhi. New Delhi, a southern region of Delhi, was designated as the British Indian Empire’s capital in 1911. Delhi was converted from a Mughal to a Punjabi metropolis during the Partition of India in 1947, losing two-thirds of its Muslims citizens, owing in part to the pressure exerted by Hindu refugees from western Punjab. New Delhi remained the capital of the Dominion of India after independence in 1947, and the Republic of India in 1950.
Delhi is India’s wealthiest metropolis (behind Mumbai), with 18 billionaires and 23,000 millionaires living there. In terms of human development, Delhi is ranked sixth among Indian states and union territories. Delhi has India’s second-highest GDP per capita (after Goa). Despite being a union territory, the NCT of Delhi’s political system today is more akin to that of a state of India, with its own legislature, high court, and executive council of ministers led by a Chief Minister.
The federal government of India and the local administration of Delhi jointly administer New Delhi, which acts as both the nation’s capital and the National Capital Territory of Delhi. Delhi is also the hub of the National Capital Region, which was established in 1985 as a ‘interstate regional planning’ area. The first 1951 Asian Games, 1982 Asian Games, 1983 NAM Summit, 2010 Men’s Hockey World Cup, 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2012 BRICS Summit, and 2011 Cricket World Cup were all held in Delhi.
The Delhi region has traditionally been connected with seven cities. The earliest, Indraprastha, is described in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata (written between 400 BCE and 200 CE but portraying an earlier period) as a city situated on a knoll on the banks of the Yamuna. The topographical description of the Mahabharata mirrors the location of Purana Qila, a 14th-century CE fort of the Delhi Sultanate, according to art historian Catherine B. Asher, but the connection ends there.
The excavations have uncovered “uneven discoveries of painted gray pottery indicative of the eleventh century BCE; no indications of a constructed environment, much less fortifications,” yet the Mahabharata tells of a highly decorated city with encircling fortification.
The first architectural artifacts originate from the Maurya period (c. 300 BCE), including an inscription of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273–235 BCE) unearthed near Srinivaspuri in 1966. Delhi is home to the ruins of several major cities. The first of them was in the present-day Delhi’s southern outskirts. In 1052 CE, King Anang Pal of the Tomara dynasty constructed Lal Kot and other temples. In the mid-12th century, Vigraharaj Chauhan conquered Lal Kot and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora.
Muhammad Ghori, an Afghan invader who made a concentrated effort to capture northern India, defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain in 1192. Until Ghori returned to his city, Ghor, Qutb-ud-din Aibak was assigned the task of overseeing the captured lands of India. Qutb-ud-din took control of Ghori’s Indian territories after he died without an heir in 1206 CE, laying the groundwork for the Delhi Sultanate and the Mamluk dynasty.
He started work on the Qutb Minar and the Quwwat-al-Islam (Might of Islam) mosque, India’s oldest extant mosque. Iltutmish (1211–1236), his successor, completed the Turkic conquest of northern India. He was succeeded as Sultan of Delhi by Razia Sultan, Iltutmish’s daughter. Prior to the British Raj, she was the first and only woman to govern over Delhi.
For the following three centuries, Delhi was ruled by a Turkic and Afghan dynasty known as the Lodi dynasty. They constructed various forts and townships that are now part of Delhi’s seven cities. During this time, Delhi was a prominent center of Sufism. Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji (1290–1320) deposed the Mamluk Sultanate (Delhi) in 1290. The Delhi sultanate expanded its influence south of the Narmada River in the Deccan under the second Khalji king, Ala-ud-din Khalji. During the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325–1351), the Delhi Sultanate expanded to its highest extent.
He transferred his capital to Daulatabad, Maharashtra, in central India, in an attempt to put the entire Deccan under his dominion. He lost control of the north by moving away from Delhi, and was obliged to return to the capital to reestablish order. After then, the southern provinces broke away. The Delhi Sultanate began to lose control of its northern territories in the years following Firoz Shah Tughlaq’s reign (1351–1388).
Timur captured and devastated Delhi in 1398, slaughtering 100,000 captive civilians. The Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451) continued Delhi’s fall, until the sultanate was confined to Delhi and its environs. The Delhi Sultanate regained control of the Punjab and the Gangetic plain under the Afghan Lodi dynasty (1451–1526), regaining dominance over Northern India. However, the sultanate’s resurgence was short-lived, as Babur, the creator of the Mughal empire, destroyed it in 1526.
Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, invaded India in 1526, defeating the last Lodhi sultan in the First Battle of Panipat, and establishing the Mughal Empire, which ruled from Delhi and Agra.
During the reigns of Sher Shah Suri and Hemu from 1540 to 1556, the Mughal dynasty ruled Delhi for more than three centuries, with a sixteen-year break during the reigns of Sher Shah Suri and Hemu. Shah Jahan established Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi, which served as the Mughal Empire’s capital from 1638 and is now known as the Old City or Old Delhi.
The Mughal Empire’s authority waned fast after Aurangzeb’s death in 1707, while the Hindu Maratha Empire of the Deccan Plateau rose to prominence. Following their victory against the Mughals in the First Battle of Delhi, Maratha soldiers commanded by Baji Rao I destroyed Delhi in 1737.
In 1739, the Mughal Empire lost the massive Battle of Karnal in less than three hours to the Persian army headed by Nader Shah of Persia, which was numerically outnumbered but militarily superior. Following his invasion, he sacked and looted Delhi, taking with him vast sums of money and valuables such as the Peacock Throne, the Daria-i-Noor, and the Koh-i-Noor. The Mughals, now severely weakened, were unable to overcome this crushing defeat and humiliation, which also opened the way for more invaders, including the British, to arrive.
After forcing the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah I to beg for mercy and handing over the keys to the city and the royal treasury, Nader eventually agreed to leave the city and India. The Marathas became the protectors of the Mughal throne in Delhi after a treaty was signed in 1752.
Despite not being captured by the Afghan Empire and being its subordinate state under the Mughal emperor, the city was sacked again by Ahmad Shah Durrani’s army in 1757. The Marathas then fought the Mughals and took possession of Delhi. By the end of the century, the Bharatpur State and the Sikh Empire had both taken possession of Delhi.
Delhi is located at 28.61°N 77.23°E in Northern India. The state of Haryana borders the city on the north, west, and south, while Uttar Pradesh borders it on the east (UP). The Yamuna flood plains and the Delhi ridge are two notable aspects of Delhi’s geography. The Yamuna River served as the historical border between Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, and its flood plains provide excellent alluvial soil suitable for cultivation but are prone to flooding.
The Yamuna, a Hindu holy river, is the sole significant river that runs through Delhi. Ghaziabad and the eastern part of Delhi are separated by the Hindon River. The Aravalli Range in the south feeds into the Delhi ridge, which encircles the city on the west, northeast, and northwest sides.
It is a dominant feature of the region, reaching a height of 318 m (1,043 ft). In addition to the wetlands created by the Yamuna river, Delhi still has approximately 500 ponds, which sustain a diverse range of bird species. Despite environmental degradation owing to waste dumping and concretization, Delhi’s ponds support the biggest number of bird species known to use ponds anywhere on the planet. Existing policy in Delhi limits the conversion of wetlands, which has resulted in the city’s ponds being vital bird refuges inadvertently.
Delhi has a humid subtropical climate with dry winters and a hot semi-arid climate. The warm season lasts from March 21 to June 15, with average daily high temperatures above 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit). The hottest day of the year is May 22, with an average high of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and a low of 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).
The cold season lasts from November 26 to February 9, with average daily maximum temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). The coldest day of the year is January 4th, with an average low of 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) and a high of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit).
The wind shifts from north-westerly to south-westerly in early March. The weather is scorching from April through October. At the end of June, the monsoon arrives, bringing with it an increase in humidity. The short, moderate winter season begins in late November and ends in January, with heavy fog a common occurrence.
Temperatures in Delhi typically range from 2 to 47 degrees Celsius (35.6 to 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit), with the lowest and highest temperatures ever recorded being 2.2 degrees Celsius (28.0 degrees Fahrenheit) and 48.4 degrees Celsius (28.0 degrees Fahrenheit), respectively.
The yearly average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), with monthly average temperatures ranging from 13 to 32 degrees Celsius (55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit). The highest temperature ever recorded in July was 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1931. The average annual rainfall is 886 mm (34.9 in), with the most of it falling during the monsoon months of July and August. The arrival of monsoon winds in Delhi occurs usually on June 29th.
How To Reach Delhi
It’s nearly impossible to travel India without stopping at New Delhi, the country’s capital, which coexists peacefully with the past, present, and future in a state of blissful turmoil.
Even if Delhi is only a layover, there is still much to see and do before heading to the Himalayan mountains or Rajasthan’s deserts. Feel nostalgic at the ancient monuments, discover a culinary explosion in old Delhi, or go groovy in swanky South Delhi. But first, keep reading to learn how to get to your destination, the lovely city of Delhi.
1. By Air
Delhi is undoubtedly well connected, as the capital of one of the world’s fastest expanding economies. T1 is for domestic flights and T3 is for international flights at Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Free Shuttle Services run at regular times between the two terminals. Daily flights connect all major Indian cities to the national capital. The Delhi Airport Metro link, pre-paid taxi services, buses, autos, and, more recently, private meter cab operators Ola and Uber make the city easily accessible from the airport.
2. By Train
The Northern Indian Railways’ headquarters are in Delhi, making it a rail transportation hub. Old Delhi Station (DLE), New Delhi Station (NDLS), Delhi Cantt (DEC), Sarai Rohilla (DDE), and Nizamuddin Station are the five stations in Delhi (NZM). The majority of the stations are located in densely populated areas of Delhi, providing excellent connectivity.
The metro, like the yellow-green CNG three-wheelers, is almost ubiquitous. For the price, you may need to haggle hard. You might also take Delhi Transport Corporation buses, however the routes are frequently complex and require many changes.
3. By Road
If you have access to a car, the best method to get to Delhi is to use one of the many national highways that run through the region. Enjoy the well-kept roads and numerous dhabas along the way, all serving delectable parathas. Delhi takes pride in having India’s highest road density and excellent connectivity with the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Haryana.
4. Traveling through Delhi
Delhi, a large and active city, requires a well-functioning transportation infrastructure. Thankfully, after many years of construction and infrastructural development, Delhi is today one of India’s most well-connected metropolises. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) have built a dense network of roads and railroads. The city’s red and green buses run often and at a low cost to connect all parts of the city.
The Delhi Metro’s six lines provide air-conditioned train travel within the city convenient, quick, and inexpensive. If you don’t enjoy public transportation, you can also hire a cab or an auto rickshaw, which can be found in every corner of town or even on your smartphone.
Weather In Delhi And The Best Time To Visit
Delhi’s climate is divided into four seasons: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, and winter. Delhi weather reflects both extremes due to the city’s closeness to the Himalayas and the Thar Desert. While summer temperatures can reach 45°C, winter brings bitter cold, with temperatures plummeting down minus 5°C.
Summer begins in early April and lasts through the end of May. The monsoon season begins in late June and ends around mid-September. The winter season begins in November and lasts until January. From October to March is the finest season to visit Delhi. The beautiful weather in Delhi makes today an ideal time to take in the city’s beauty and charm.
1. Spring (February – March)
The weather in Delhi changes from winter to summer about the middle of February. The days gradually become warmer after mid-February. The weather is very good at this time of year, with warm days, cold nights, and an average temperature of 20-25 °C. Because of the pleasant weather, now is the greatest time to visit Delhi and enjoy its many sights and activities.
The arrival of summer is signaled by day temperatures exceeding 30 °C by the end of March. In February, it rains on occasion, with hailstorms thrown in for good measure.
2. The Summer (April – June)
Summer begins in early April and lasts until the end of June or the beginning of July, i.e. until the monsoon arrives. The average high temperature reaches 40°C by the end of April or the beginning of May, while the average low temperature exceeds 25°C. May is the hottest month in Delhi, with temperatures reaching 45°C or more.
The ‘loo,’ which are extremely hot and dry winds created by Delhi’s proximity to the Thar Desert, are a feature of the Delhi summer. Dust storms are also a product of this issue, which are created by dust-carrying hot winds blowing in from the desert. All of these variables combine to make Delhi’s summers exceedingly hot and dry, while thunderstorms in May provide some relief.
3. The monsoon season (July – September)
Temperatures begin to drop around the middle or end of June, while humidity progressively rises. By the end of June or the first week of July, the monsoon has arrived in Delhi. The usual high and low temperatures are between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. The wettest months of the year are July and August, with monthly rainfall amounts of around 250 mm.
The rain causes a significant drop in daytime temperatures, however the increased humidity causes some discomfort. The atmospheric moisture level drops by the end of September, and the monsoon season finishes in early October.
4. Autumn (end of September – beginning of November)
The end of the monsoon ushers in the brief fall season, which begins in early to mid-October and lasts until early December. The weather in Delhi is mild throughout this season, with pleasant nights and a general dryness. By late October, maximum temperatures have dropped below 30 °C, following by a gradual reduction in average temperature.
The minimum temperature falls below 20 degrees Celsius. After the low months of summer and monsoon, Delhi sees a rise in tourist activity in the autumn. Autumn, along with spring, is the greatest time to visit Delhi and take in its sights and sounds. The great holidays of Dussehra and Diwali are also celebrated at this time, attracting travelers from all around India and overseas.
5. Winter (December – January)
Winter officially begins in late November or early December. The average minimum temperature falls below 10°C as the day progresses. The cold winds from the upper parts of the Himalayas, which experience snowfall, cause severe cold in the second half of December.
Winter is at its most intense in January, with average high temperatures of 20°C and below, and average low temperatures that plummet below 5°C and linger close to 0°C. Heavy fog is another winter event that restricts visibility and makes days feel colder by blocking out sunshine. By mid-February and beyond, the minimum temperature has risen beyond 10 °C, and the days are progressively becoming warmer, signaling the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Tourist Attractions in Delhi
Delhi, often known as Dilli, is one of India’s seven Union Territories. It is a city that is said to be one of the world’s oldest existing cities. So far, Delhi’s territory has been reincarnated 11 times. Every emperor that has ever laid their reign within the confines of this flat country has left a piece of its allure in the architecture and people.
The rich culture and vast history that have molded the face of Delhi are reflected in all of the historic monuments and structures that surround this lively capital. Delhi’s current role as the capital and nerve center of the Indian government further adds to its beauty. Here’s a handy list to take in your pocket while visiting the capital. From the Red Fort to the Qutub Minar, India Gate to Chandni Chowk, here are the finest tourist attractions in Delhi.
1. The Red Fort
The Red Fort (Lal Qila) is a well-known Delhi historical site. It is one of the city’s oldest structures and a popular tourist attraction. It exudes a majestic air that radiates off its red sandstone walls and enchants visitors with its opulent allure.
The Red Fort, which was erected by the legendary Mughal emperor Shahjahan, contains numerous colossal buildings within its walls, which can be approached by a massive entryway known as the Lahore Gate. In the nights, a sound and light show depicting Mughal history is a popular tourist attraction.
2. Connaught Place
Connaught Place (CP), commonly known as Rajiv Chowk, is the most vibrant shopping district in Delhi. After the opening of the Rajiv Chowk metro station under it, CP grew out into one of the primary sites for premium shopping outlets, drawing its roots from the British colonial administration.
If you’re in Delhi for souvenir buying, don’t miss the nearby Palika bazaar, which caters to all shopper’s needs from modern to traditional marketplaces.
3. Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque. It should be visited at least once when wandering the streets of Delhi, as it is located directly across from the Red Fort.
It has been meticulously kept and recalls the Mughal rulers’ residence in the city. Though admission to the Masjid is free, you may be charged if you wish to climb the minar all the way to the top, which provides a panoramic view of Delhi. Visitors are restricted to keep their visits to a bare minimum, and photographing during prayers is prohibited.
4. Kebab Lane
In Delhi, you won’t be able to avoid eating street cuisine. Their recipes and flavors have garnered a prestigious reputation both within and outside of the country. And if you find yourself in a street lined with eateries, you’ve arrived to Kebab Lane, Delhi’s gourmet heart. There are many of options to choose from in this lane, which is located to the south of Jama Masjid. In the sphere of street cuisine in Delhi, the kebabs, biryanis, and royal tandooris have set a standard.
5. Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk is a key location for experiencing the original and authentic Indian bazaar. It is a little piece of Old Delhi that still survives at the heart of the city. This spot is guaranteed to give you a picture of life in Delhi, as it is teeming with commotion and vibrant individuals with voices bargaining over pricing. Chandni Chowk is a collection of intersections with places of worship, bazaars, eateries, and affordable hotels. The crowds and stores crammed into every nook and cranny are guaranteed to astonish you.
6. Chawri Bazaar
Chaat, an Indian street snack that literally means ‘to lick,’ is especially popular at Chawri market. Chawri Bazaar is unquestionably the cleanest spot to eat chaat. Apart from chaat, Chawri market also provides a crowded cycle-rickshaw excursion to the Jama Masjid or the Red Fort, which allows you to experience Delhi as it appears in movies.