3 Days in Delhi - Beauty, Chaos, and Color
Only have 3 Days in Delhi? Here is my guide to where to go to maximize your time here!
(Entry Fee: 200 Rupees)
An underrated, mostly deserted attraction - you're greeted by this stunning view as you enter.
I found the intricate plasterwork on the inner ceilings of the main tomb to be absolutely spectacular.
The red color of the tomb comes from the sandstone and buff stone. This was the first place we saw when we landed in Delhi and it was a nice warmup to all the Mughal architecture we were about to see!
(About 800 Rupees per person)
Great restaurant focusing on Asian food. Don't know what to get? Any of the two person bowls are recommended.
(Entry Fee: 500 Rupees)
Humayun's Tomb, the inspiration behind the iconic Taj Mahal, was built by Hamida Banu Begum, the wife of the second Mughal emperor Humayan. It's a large sprawling complex with over 100 graves (many unmarked) and lush gardens to relax in away from the din of the city.
Soda Bottle Opener Wala
(650 Rupees per person)
Walk around Old Delhi (try to do motorized tuk tuk to get there)
I found the view at the top of Gadodia Market to be quite stunning. This middle floors of this spice market building is mostly comprised of dried pepper vendors, so bring a scarf to cover your mouth since the smell might be irritating to your throat.
After that wander around the small meandering streets of Old Delhi. It might be a bit overwhelming if you're not prepared for the chaos, noise, and smells of it all.
If you can, try to make your way slowly to the Haveli Dharampura Hotel. The original haveli was built in the late 1800's but was abandoned and discovered in much deteriorated shape. The owner took 6 long years to beautifully restore it, keeping in mind the original character and Mughal architecture.
If you're not a hotel guest, they charge a small fee for you to enter and walk around, but I think if you eat lunch or have some tea you can also enter for free that way.
If you didn't eat lunch at the Haveli Dharampura, there is actually a McDonalds on the way to the Red Fort. I recommend eating there because I was unable to find anything safe to eat inside Old Delhi. Also, McDonald's inside India is pretty delicious! I especially liked the Puri Puri Fries and the McAloo Tiki. Remember, cows are regarded as holy in India, so you won’t find any beef served anywhere!
(Entry Fee: 150 Rupees)
The Red Fort, where the Prime Minister gives the annual Independence Day Speech, is a symbol of national pride. It was constructed by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan when he decided to move the capital from Agra to Delhi. It took 10 years to complete the fort due to the complexity and scope of the project.
An interesting fact about the Red Fort, is that wasn't always red. It was originally white due to its limestone facade. But when parts of the limestone started falling off, the British painted everything red.
Walk around Hauz Khas Village and then eat at
Rang De Basanti Urban Dhaba
One of the best restaurants we had for Indian Food.
Recommended: Chai, Naan, Aloo Moti Karare, Dal Makhani, and anything the server recommends! :)
Make sure you check out Natural Ice Cream - they had some of the most flavorful and fresh tasting ice cream I've ever had. They use so much fruit in their ice cream along with very high quality milk. For me it rivaled the best ice cream shops in San Francisco, Portland, and Italy.
My favorite flavors were custard apple (sitaphal), pistachio, ginger honey, chikoo, grape, and carrot halwa. The flavors sound simple, but each scoop was simply bursting with natural flavor. You could really see they put a large amount of fruit in each batch of ice cream.
(Entry Fee: Free!)
Akshardham is one of the largest comprehensive Hindu temples in the world. It was completely back in 2005 and was a group effort from over 11,000 artists and many more volunteers.
The main temple has the most intricate, detailed handicraft and artwork. I'm not sure if I'd try any of the paid activities such as the light show or the cultural boat tour. I found them overly kitchy and cheesy.
Since this attraction is free, it tends to draw massive crowds. Try to go early to miss the afternoon crowds.
Also, they don’t allow backpacks, purses, phones, and cameras inside. So don't bring any of that with you or you'll have to wait in a long cloak room line to check it all in. We had to wait over an hour to check our stuff.
Jantar ('instrument') Mantar ('calculation') directly translates to 'calculation instrument'. It was built in 1724 by Jai Singh who had a keen interest in science and astronomy.
Jantar Mantar contains many astronomical instruments that do cool things such as determine the position of the sun, read horizontal and vertical angles, and obtain the meridian altitudes.
If you have extra time you can check out the Lodi Gardens
It's free and a nice swath of greenery in the middle of Delhi.
Modern 5 star Haute Indian Cuisine. Worth checking out if you want a memorable gastronomic experience.