Top 5 things to do in Delhi

Hello there. Today I have the pleasure of having Shalini Baisiwala in this space, writing about her top 5 things to do in Delhi, the capital of India. 

An interior designer by profession, she travels to far off places in India and brings them alive with her writing and travel stories. Do stop by her blog ShalzMojo and relive some beautiful journeys with her.
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My top 5 things to do in Delhi

There is a very popular saying “Dilli Dilwalon ka shehar hai!” Loosely translated, it means that Delhi is the city of large-hearted people. It’s a city with a great buzz in terms of food, things to do, visit, history, architecture, shopping and then, of course, it’s the capital city of India. 
My genuine love affair began with the city in 1997 when I first came down here to work. Since then I have explored its nooks and crannies to my heart’s delight and naming my top 5 things to do out here is very very very tough. Still, for the sake of writing this post, I shall give it a try.
The best season to visit Delhi is in winters as the summer months are quite brutal here. Winters are also a time for lots of venues to hold cultural and food events which are very popular with the locals.

Exploring the monuments
Being a history and architecture buff, this city has delighted me with its many remnants of the past that to date stand a vigil over the new city. I have spent many a Sunday morning (in winters) at these haunts with just my camera for company. One is spoilt for choice and can choose to hop on board the HOHO city bus tour service which takes you to visit 20+ such spots. Though my top two favourite are Humayun’s Tomb and Lodhi Gardens, I would recommend you to visit as many as possible.

Checking into the Museums
Delhi is home to a plethora of museums, each with something unique to offer. Some have an art gallery and cafe attached to them too, making it a multi-option venue for a visit. The Crafts Museum near Pragiti Maidan is my all-time favourite as it houses textiles from all over India and has some truly gorgeous works to drool over. The museum shop and Café Lota are two other charming spots to lighten your pockets and satiate the tummy to your fill. Don’t miss the army of terracotta horses in the courtyard and if you are lucky, you might chance upon craftsmen working on their crafts and selling them too. Other notable museums are NGMA, National Museum, and Rail Museum.

Tripping down lanes in Purani Dilli
The older part of the town is a congested medley of lanes and by lanes, some not wider than shoulder width. This is the hub for all things wholesale and the crowds here might make even a seasoned traveler pass out. Yet it’s a must visit on my list for what you get here are the unique experience of eating some delicious Delhi fare. From Poori-sabzi to nagori-halwa to samosa chaat to Daulat Ki chaat – this place has it all. If you are lucky, you will get to savour the warm buttery naan khatai that are made only during the winter months. The shops and their wares will make Diagon Alley pale in comparison. You will need ten heads and an equal pair of eyes to take it all in. From wedding trousseau to spices to glass bottles to……………… list is never ending of the variety of stuff available here on sale. Head out here for just the experience of savouring its multifaceted allure.

Dilli haat & Dastakar
These two are the hot spots for flea markets for everything arty and crafty. Both have been designed with the aim to promote goods made by artisans and to ensure they get a good price for their works. The icing on the cake is the plethora of food joints in these places which cater to the local cuisines of the Indian states. So one can get an authentic meal of choice from any region of India and savour the variety on offer.

A walk down the Mughal gardens
Every winter the Mughal gardens in the presidential estate are thrown open to the public to enjoy the spring flowering. It’s a no camera/phone zone; so one can’t click pictures but it’s heartening to see the beautifully laid out gardens. There are sections for bonsai, succulents, spices, medicinal herbs, etc – all tended with loving care even as the multi-coloured flowers compete for attention.

The Presidential estate has a wing open for a public tour which is fabulous to say the least. One gets to peek in at the grand architecture of the majestic building which has housed many an erstwhile Indian statesman.
So there you have it, my list of top 5 things to do in Delhi. Oh alright I sneaked in the 6th too but it’s like a post script and doesn’t count as a point on its own 😉

Have you been to New Delhi? What’s your favourite thing to do out here?
Sharing a favourite post of mine that I did about a boutique stay in Rajasthan- Rawla Narlai
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About Shalzmojo

An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.
This post is part of the December bloghop #mymojo with Shalzmojo

9 thoughts on “Top 5 things to do in Delhi

  1. Ha ha haSunita- you cracked me up with that! But I think he was gobsmacked by the sheer audacity of Purani Dilli and that made him feel better! 🙂

  2. Thanks for this lovely post Shalini. I remember visiting most of these places. But I must tell you that once when my husband's boss ( a Dutchman ) received some earth shattering news he was so disappointed that he wanted to go to the worst place on earth to feel better. So the driver told us to go to Purani Dilli! And sure enough when we went there he did feel better – was it because he genuinely liked the place or did he think it was a worse place to be in compared to the place he was in when he saw it? I still haven't figured that one out

  3. Those places look very interesting and I am a fan of good architecture. I haven't ever been to Delhi and to be honest, after struggling with the air in Bombay, I'm a bit afraid to even think about coming to Delhi! Might just live vicariously through Shalz' Insta feed. 😛

    1. Yup the air is pretty bad here. I am surprised you found air bad in Mumbai- I thought it was pretty clean. Guess things are pretty bad in Delhi – more than we realise. Happy to feed your travel demon with my posts Sanch! 🙂

  4. Definitely a Delhi girl ( woman ?) here! Dilli haat is amazing! Can’t miss that! Plus, I need to still explore the Mughal Gardens and I think I will coming Jan 🙂
    Good pointers Shalz!

    1. Thanks Z – and if you wanna meet up and do the Mughal gardens walk; let me know! I would love to meet up with you! 🙂

  5. I lived in Delhi between 1999 and 2013 and during this time I visited none of the 5 spots mentioned by Shalini. It was way earlier in 1989 when we lived in Guwahati and visited Delhi for medical tourism. It was then we did some sight seeing and of course my favourite was Appu Ghar, what else could appeal to a child below the age of 10 🙂

    1. Oh I remember Appu Ghar- what a novelty it used to be in the late 80s and then it just went bad after a few years. Wonder what you found interesting there Anamika? But then kids are easier to please at such places I think. Hope Dhruv was not disappointed there.

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