Things to Do in Delhi: A fascinating blend of ancient and modern, Delhi is the capital of India and the starting point for many tourists visiting the country. At least two days are required to cover the city, although you can easily spend a week there and not run out of things to do. Here’s a start.
18 Top Things to Do in Delhi
- Admire Historical Monuments
Delhi’s long history includes many different kingdoms and kingdoms, the remains of which are scattered throughout the city. Most date back to the times of the Delhi Sultanate (which ruled from the 13th to the 16th centuries) and the Mughal Empire (which ruled from the 16th to the 19th centuries). These include Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Qila and Safdarjung Tomb. The monuments are mesmerized between 7 pm. And at 11 p.m. Purana Quila has an excellent evening sound and light show that also tells the story of the monument.
Jama Masjid, Akshardham, and Lotus Temple in Old Delhi are on most tourists’ itineraries. However, there are many other temples in Delhi that have special visual, educational or cultural value. The serene Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, the most prominent Sikh temple in Delhi, offers a respite from sightseeing near Connaught Place (its spacious community kitchen is charming). Birla Mandir and Chhatarpur Temple are relatively new temples that are famous for their amazing architecture. Dress conservatively by making sure your legs and shoulders are covered.
- Get Lost in the Lanes of Chandni Chowk
Descending into the depths of Chandni Chowk in Delhi’s old city is not for the faint of heart. The main street (and the surrounding market area) is one of the most congested places in India; It’s turbulent and full of activity! The tangle of lanes will take you back in time to the glory days of Mughal rule in the 17th century when Emperor Shah Jahan’s capital was at the Red Fort. You will discover some of the best street food in Delhi, vendors selling all kinds of stuff, Purani Havelis, places of worship of different religions, and British buildings like the Town Hall.
- Feast on Indian Food
Simply put, Delhi is a foodie’s delight! Rich, mainly meat-based Mughlai and Punjabi dishes are the specialty of the city. However, there are plenty of delicious options for vegetarians as well. Read our guide to the best foods to eat in Delhi and the top restaurants in Delhi to learn more.
- Relax in a Park
Delhi is blessed with vast parks, many of which are right inside the monuments so that you can combine leisure with sightseeing! The most extensive is the 90-acre Lodhi Garden, which houses a series of tombs and other structures mostly from the dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate. There are more at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park near Qutub Minar, while the 20-acre grounds of the Garden of Five Senses are decorated with sculptures. Adjacent to Humayun’s Tomb, the remarkably beautiful nursery has been converted into a sprawling urban biodiversity park with Mughal-era monuments.
- Discover Old Step Wells
Terraced wells were used to collect and store rainwater, and their architecture is particularly interesting. Hidden in the unlikely center of the city near Connaught Place is Agrasen ki Baoli, an ancient and grand stepwell that dates back to the 14th century. Inside the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, there are a few more terraced wells – the picturesque Raj ki Baoli of the 16th century and the comparatively plain but old Gandhak ki Baoli of the 13th century. Others are located around the forts such as Tughlakabad, Purana Qila, and Red Fort. Among the little-known ruins of the Firoz Shah Kotla Fort is a huge circular stepped well.
- Learn About India at the Museums
The National Museum of Delhi is one of the largest museums in India. A large part of it is devoted to objects from the Indus Valley Civilization (also known as the Harappan period), which dates back to 2,500 BC. The new Kranti Mandir museum complex inside the Red Fort covers 160 years of Indian history leading up to independence from British rule.
The village-themed National Crafts Museum is a must-see to learn about India’s diverse handicrafts and see the artisans at work; The Sanskriti Museum in South Delhi is also dedicated to indigenous arts and crafts. The Sangeet Natak Akademi’s Performing Arts Museum is a lesser-known museum that houses a collection of musical instruments, masks, and puppets from all over India. Meanwhile, the National Rail Museum is one of the top things to do in Delhi with kids.
- Check Out Indian Art
The art scene in Delhi is booming, with many new galleries complementing the more established ones. Take enough time to peruse the National Gallery of Modern Art’s extensive collection of 15,000-odd works, from the early 19th century to the early 21st. You will find India’s largest collection of modern art at the Delhi Art Gallery in Hauz Khas Village. The Art Heritage Gallery, at the Triveni Kala Sangam art complex near Connaught Place, also displays modern art from India’s top artists. Delhi’s oldest contemporary art gallery is Dhumimal in Connaught Place, established in 1936. If you are into tribal art, do not miss out on visiting the world’s first Gond Art Gallery in Delhi.
- Admire the Street Art
Vibrant murals adorn the walls of buildings in Lodhi Colony, India’s first open-air public art district (between Khanna Market and Mehr Chand Market). St+art India Foundation added new murals in 2019 as part of the third edition of the Lodhi Art Festival. More murals can be seen in the urban villages of Shahpur Jat, Hauz Khas, and Khirki Extension in South Delhi. There is also a wall just outside Agrasen ki Baoli with street art on it.
- Explore an Urban Village
Delhi’s contrasting urban villages have been linked to the edge of the city as part of its rapid expansion. Over 100 of them now exist, Hauz Khas being the most famous. Its monuments from the 14th to 16th centuries of the Delhi Sultanate stand out from the plethora of charming boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and bars. About 10 minutes away, the charming Shahpur Jat was built on the remains of the 14th-century Siri Fort and is famous for its young designer boutiques and health cafes. Head south to Saidulajab village, next to Saket, and mingle with creative types along the Champa Gali (street).
- Pay Homage to Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi is respected for his role in India’s struggle for independence from British rule. You can pay homage to him at the Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River, the place where he was cremated. The peaceful memorial has an eternal flame, where prayer meetings take place every Friday at 5.30 pm. Other attractions at Raj Ghat include the National Gandhi Museum and Gandhi Darshan Exhibitions. The place where Gandhi died is also in Delhi and has been converted into Gandhi Smriti Museum; It is closed on Mondays.
- Spend Sunset at India Gate
India Gate, at the eastern end of the Rajpath, is an ideal sunset spot in Delhi. The British built the memorial as a tribute to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the British Army during the First World War. It is illuminated for a few hours after sunset. To avoid the crowd, enter from the Indian Coast Guard Headquarters. Beforehand, stop by the new National War Memorial, dedicated to Indian soldiers who died in the wars after India’s independence.
- Shop ‘Til You Drop
Shopaholics will love Delhi! Virtually everything is available here, including handicrafts from across India. Tip: Buy all your souvenirs in Delhi at the end of your trip so that you don’t need to take them with you during the trip. Read our guide to find out the best places to shop in Delhi.
- Go on a Walking Tour
A walking tour is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the city. One of the most popular is Masterji Ki Haveli’s Old Delhi Bazaar and Food Walk, which will guide you through the lanes of the local market and end at a renovated heritage haveli for a cooking demonstration. Or take the street life of Delhi City Walk to hear the story of street children; It is led by underprivileged children who have been trained as guides. For more information, we have rounded up the top walking tours in Delhi.
- Take a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Sightseeing Tour
Delhi Tourism operates a hop-on-hop-off bus service that covers over 25 tourist destinations in the city and is a flexible and convenient way to reach the main attractions of Delhi. Air-conditioned buses have disabled access, an onboard tourist guide, and live commentary in English and Hindi. Foreigners can expect to pay Rs 999 for a one-day pass or Rs 1,199 for a two-day pass (rates are lower for Indians). Discounted fixed itinerary bus tours are held on Mondays when many monuments are closed.
- Ride a Segway Through Lutyen’s Delhi
The guided one-hour Segway tour is a novel way of sightseeing in the heart of New Delhi, designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker after the British moved their capital there in 1911. You can see the Rajpath, the previous stately government buildings like Rashtrapati Bhavan (the residence of the President of India), and Parliament House. Tours depart hourly from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets cost Rs 2,000 per person till 9 pm. An inexpensive guided Segway tour of the Lodhi Arts District is also available.