Must-see Attractions for your Delhi City Tour
Before you visit this fascinating city, take a look at the top tourist places in Delhi and make sure you’ve got them covered in your plans. Delhi is a busy, sometimes chaotic, vibrant city with many things to see and do. Unless you’re staying for a long time you won’t be able to see everything. So picking the best attractions for your Delhi City Tour is an important part of your travel planning.
In this article, I’m going to look at the top tourist places in Delhi. We visited India in February and spent time in Delhi. Of course, we didn’t see it all and I’m sure we’ll be back sometime in the future. Everyone we meet, who’s been to India always want to go back! So here’s my list of places I think you should include when you’re sightseeing in Delhi.
Index of Top Tourist Places in Delhi
- Red Fort
- Qutub Minar
- India Gate
- Connaught Place
- Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
- Humayun’s Tomb
- Lodhi Garden
- Chandni Chowk
- Lotus Temple
- Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib
Getting around Delhi
Wherever you choose to stay in Delhi, you’ll need to find a reliable way to get around. We found the Delhi metro to be clean and generally uncrowded. Indeed, it’s a cheap and reliable way to get around. It doesn’t always go everywhere you want to go though. In that case, you can jump in a taxi or hail a tuk-tuk from the nearest metro station.
On the other hand, you might prefer to just tour Delhi by taxi. You can negotiate a half-day or daily rate with pretty much any taxi driver in Delhi. You’ll also find plenty of taxis and tuk-tuks waiting near all the major attractions. Or just call up an Uber or Ola taxi when you need one. We used both, Ola, in particular, is a great option right across Northern India.
Lal Qila or The Red Fort is an impressive red sandstone structure built to symbolise the might of the Mughal Empire. Within the fort’s solid walls you’ll find a number of inner buildings which were the home of the Emperors, their families, courtiers and servants. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, you’ll find plenty here to explore for an hour or two, maybe longer. It’s one of those iconic buildings which should be on everyone’s must-see sights when visiting Delhi.
The Red Fort opens daily from 6 am to 9 pm except for Mondays, when it is closed. Tickets cost 600 Indian Rupees per person but children under 15 are free.
If you would like to read about the Red Fort in detail, click on the image below:
Qutub Minar is a brick built minaret which you’ll find in the district of Mehrauli, in southern Delhi. Built in the early 13th century, Qutub Minar is, in fact, the tallest brick minaret in the world. It’s an impressive structure and one you’ll want to see during your visit to Delhi. The tower sits in a park complex among various other interesting building, including a mosque and several tombs. The complex is open from sunrise to sunset and entrance tickets cost 600 Rupees per person. Under 15s are free.
To read about the Qutub Minar Tower and Complex in detail, click on the image below:
When you’re sightseeing in Delhi you really must see India Gate. Originally called the All India War Memorial, the gate is dedicated to those who died during the First World War. 13,300 names are engraved on the memorial although it commemorates far more. In reality, as many as 80,000 men died fighting in the British Indian Army in places as far afield as France, Belgium, Persia and the Far East. At the base of the archway, you can see the eternal flame, which is, of course, a universal symbol of the immortal soldier. Accordingly, it rests on the tomb of the unknown soldier. India Gate will no doubt remind you of the Arc de Triomphe or Marble Arch. Moreover, I’m sure you can think of many triumphal archways around the world. It’s a great photo stop but with an important role in remembrance as well.
Getting to India Gate
At the present time, the Indian government is constructing a National War Memorial and museum in the area behind the Gate. That will be amazing for future visitors but it does make getting to the gate trickier for those of us visiting now. However, if you arrive by auto-rickshaw or taxi there is a large car park opposite. You do have to cross a 4-lane road to access the Memorial park area but thankfully there are traffic lights so it’s not too bad.
In order to get to India Gate by metro, take the blue line to Pragati Maidan Station. You’ll still have to walk for about 20 minutes though so you might want to take an auto-rickshaw from the station. A better option if you’re on a convenient bus route is to take a bus as there are several stops near the gate. Look for the 166, 47A, 501, 502 or 894 bus.
Connaught Place is in New Delhi’s Business District but it’s also a hit location with tourists. Here you can browse upmarket clothes shops or haggle for souvenirs with the street vendors. It’s divided into the inner and outer circles and not surprisingly, it is circular in shape.
However long you spend in Delhi, you’re likely to end up here at some point. As well as the shops, it’s an entertainment hub with bars, restaurants and even a cinema. Above all, you’ll find it buzzing with people throughout the day and in the evening as well which makes it a great place to head to for dinner.
To get to Connaught Place just hop on the metro. Rajeev Chowk Metro Station is right in the middle of the inner circle and is on both the blue and yellow metro lines. Of course, you’ll have no problem finding a taxi or auto-rickshaw to bring you here as everyone knows where it is. Likewise, it’s very easy to grab one of the many waiting taxis and auto-rickshaws to take you home again.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
A visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib should be right at the top of your must-see list while in Delhi. In fact, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most famous Sikh temples or gurudwara in Delhi. It is associated with the 8th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishnan who stayed here in the mid 17th century. He shared water from the house with cholera and smallpox sufferers and eventually contracted and died from the disease himself. As soon as you enter you’ll notice the pool, known as the Sarovar. The water from the pool is particularly important to Sikhs because of its association with Guru Har Krishnan.
Obviously, one thing Delhi is not short of is UNESCO World Heritage sites. Humayun’s Tomb is another one. Built in 1570, it is particularly significant because it was the first garden tomb built anywhere on the Indian subcontinent. As I have noted, the Mughal Empire is strongly represented in these historic Delhi buildings and this is the tomb of Emperor Humayun. In fact, the tomb contains the graves of many of the Mughal emperors that followed him as well.
The gardens and tomb are open from sunrise to sunset every day. Visit early morning or in the evenings to avoid the crowds and heat. Foreigners pay 600 rupees to enter the site with a discount of 50 rupees if you pay by credit card. Of course, as with many Indian monuments, children under 15 can enter free of charge.
Humayun’s Tomb is not located close to any of the metro stations so getting here by public transport can be tricky. Travel to either Nehru Stadium on the violet metro line or Jor Bagh on the yellow line. At both stations, you will find auto-rickshaws which will take you to the tomb.
The beautiful Lodhi Gardens is so much more than just a city park. You’ll find it not far from Humayun’s Tomb and it’s a short hop by auto-rickshaw. The nearest metro stations are Jorbagh metro station and the JLN metro station.
Inside the park, there are several tombs for former rulers of India. For instance, Muhammad Shah from the Sayyid Dynasty and Sikandar Lodi of the Lodi Dynasty. In addition, the tomb of Shish Gumbad houses the tombs of an unknown family. So as well as a lovely place to walk, you’ll be further immersed in Delhi history.
Lodhi Gardens is open from sunrise to sunset year round and is a free public park. After you’ve spent time wandering the grounds and admiring the tombs, it’s a great place for a picnic. You’ll have plenty of company if you do decide to spread out on the grass and eat here as it’s a popular picnic spot for locals and tourists.
Chaotic, crowded, dirty, busy! All those things you’ve heard about India. This is where you’ll find them. In abundance! Chandni Chowk is the market area of Delhi. Located in the Old Delhi area not far from the Red Fort, it might sound like your idea of hell but you really have to see it for yourself to really understand it. Don’t let all those adjectives put you off visiting Chandni Chowk. Yes, it’s all those things but somehow it still manages to enthral and amaze you. Put aside the negatives and focus on the energy, the atmosphere and the sheer pace of life here. If you want to experience the heart of Delhi then this is where you’ll find it.
Chandni Chowk is a tangle of lanes, all filled with shops and vendors. You can buy pretty much anything here, from jewellery to clothes, food and antiques. Don’t forget to haggle in the markets if you’re buying. It’s expected. If you’re set on something, in particular, it’s probably worth hiring a guide but if you like to get lost wandering around then this is the place for you.
One thing you absolutely must do when visiting Delhi is to take a food tour which includes Old Delhi. This is where you’ll find Delhi street food at its best. Freshly cooked, cheap and tasty. Here, you can experience the real India. We visited the Chandni Chowk area on our Delhi Food Tour. If you’d like to read about it in more detail then click on the image link below.
The stunning and original Lotus Temple is actually a Bahá’í Temple. Only eleven Bahá’í temples were built around the world and now only ten remain. Everyone is welcome inside because the Bahá’í faith teaches that people of all religions may gather together in their places of worship.
The temple is open from 9 am to 5.30 pm every day except Monday and entry is free for all. Allow time to wander in the peaceful gardens as well as exploring the temple. To reach the temple, take the violet metro to Kalkaji Mandir.
Before entering the temple you should remove your shoes and once inside, silence is required. Also, absolutely no photographs inside the temple.
Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib
Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is not as large and imposing as Gurudwara Bangla Sahib but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your list of places to visit in Delhi. From the outside, it is quite plain and blends into the Old Delhi neighbourhood. Inside, it is as welcoming as any Sikh Gurudwara and the decorations are impressive.
Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib is dedicated to the Ninth Guru Satguru Tegh Bahadur. He was killed on this site by order of the Mughal Emperor when he refused to convert from Sikhism to Islam.
As usual, you must cover your head when entering the Sikh temple. I’m used to covering up to enter places of worship but it’s more unusual for men. These orange scarves were available for anyone who needed one. You also need to remove your shoes and they have a storage cloakroom to keep them safe while you’re inside.
We visited Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib during our Delhi Food Tour. If you’d like to read more about it then click on the image link below.