6 tips for Delhi – these sights are not to be missed
The city is divided into several areas, the most common being the old city, Old Delhi, and the newer areas, New Delhi. As the metropolis with its 20 million inhabitants seems overwhelming at first, here are my tips.
The central hall of the temple is round. Its diameter is 75 meters. At the same time, 1,300 people can be seated in the hall, which has a ceiling height of 31 meters. There are no paintings or frescoes inside the temple. According to the creators, no superfluous decoration should distract worshippers from prayers. A few thousand people visit the temple every day. On important Buddhist holidays, up to 150,000 people visit the temple every day. Since its opening, more than 50 million people from all over the world have visited the Lotus Temple. My favorite place in Delhi.
By no means all of the world’s famous temples were built several centuries ago. The construction of the Lotus Temple next to New Delhi was completed in 1986. It is one of the most beautiful and unusual temples in India. The name of the unique religious building perfectly reflects its main peculiarity. From the outside, the temple resembles a giant lotus flower surrounded by beautiful pools and scenery. In the evening, the most important Buddhist temple in India is illuminated with the wonderful art illumination, which is why many tourists go to the temple in the evening.
The rare snow-white marble from which the giant “petals” of the lotus flower were created was used in the construction of the temple. Since its opening, the Lotus Temple has been regarded as the country’s most striking architectural sight and has been awarded several architectural prizes. The unique exterior design is not the only special feature of the temple, whose interior is just as wonderful.
Hauz Khas Village
I have to admit, I opted for a gentle start to my vacation in Delhi. Hauz Khas Village in the south is a good place to start. Surrounded by picturesque ruins, green lakes and parks, it is popular with young Indians for its stores, restaurants, bars and clubs. The streets are winding and unpaved, there are a few cows to be seen and hustle and bustle is everywhere. Nevertheless, Hauz Khas Village is a very toned-down version of Delhi as there is less traffic, the air is less polluted and everything is a little slower.
Also in the south of Delhi is the building complex around Qutb Minar, a victory tower and former minaret. The complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is very extensive and well maintained, so I spent a few hours there. You can also take a nice picnic break in the shade of the trees. However, there are no stalls on the grounds, so you should pack some provisions. Just be careful with the chipmunks. They look very cute, but when they smell food, hunger wins out over their shyness and cookies or other treats are in acute danger of being nibbled or snatched.
A centrally located favorite of many young and rather affluent Delhi residents is Khan Market, not far from India Gate. There are some nice stores to browse through here, as well as lovely cafés and restaurants to refresh yourself or end the day. I also found a few cheaper and very nice souvenirs of the city and my vacation in Delhi in the stores there.
Old Delhi, Jama Masjid
After a few days of acclimatization, I recommend immersing yourself completely in Delhi. A visit to the winding alleyways of Old Delhi is essential for this. That’s just part of a real vacation in Delhi! Instead of auto-rickshaws and cabs, it is mainly cycle rickshaws and motorcycles that drive around here. Every corner of the market specializes in a certain product range, so there are lanes of stores exclusively for wedding cards, fabrics, office supplies or spices. The small streets get narrower and narrower the deeper you get into their network. However, motorcycles and scooters find their way through even the narrowest of places. I was always prepared to jump to the side in an emergency.
Between the narrow alleyways of Old Delhi and the imposing Red Fort lies the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. It consists of impressively thick walls and 2 minarets with a wonderful view. However, there is no closed interior, as prayers are pragmatically held outside. The floor heats up so much during the day that it is only possible to walk on the narrow carpets, which are laid out like corridors. However, the view of the whole city from the top towers is worth crossing the courtyard and climbing up.
The Lodi Gardens are a very large and beautiful park in the middle of Delhi, which is very well maintained and belies the fact that some of the poorest neighborhoods are in the immediate vicinity. Nevertheless, they are charming, especially because of the old mausoleums scattered throughout the park. I always found it nice to spot couples newly in love using the gardens to meet up undisturbed.
Even if it’s a cliché, you should definitely take a rickshaw on your vacation in Delhi! It’s exciting, loud, thrilling, stuffy, bumpy, fast and I kept wondering how the driver was going to manage to squeeze through the smallest gap. He always managed it. Rickshaw riding is as far removed from our idea of regular transportation as it gets and that’s exactly why I would recommend it to anyone. The best way to soak up the feeling of Delhi is on a small green and yellow auto rickshaw. Important: Always negotiate a price beforehand.
Although I was only in Delhi for 4 weeks, the city made me want more. For more India, more knowledge about the subcontinent, more contacts with Indians and to learn more. I was advised by many other travelers to avoid Delhi and concentrate on the countryside or religious sites in the surrounding area, as the capital was too exhausting, too unfamiliar. However, I have to say that it is precisely the big difference to European cities and the constant surprises that can lurk around every corner that make Delhi so appealing to me. You shouldn’t miss out on the Delhi adventure.