Three Days in Delhi, India
How to Make the Most Out of Your Quick Trip to India’s Capital
Delhi is the second most populous city in India, which is the second most populous country in the world. Everywhere you go the city is hustling and bustling with crowds of people, and with these people come an incredible sensory overload of an abundance of colors, smells, sights, and sounds. Delhi is such a culturally vibrant place that you must put on your travel list, if only to visit for a few days.
Day One: Old Delhi
Before you set out on your first day in Delhi, you should know that there is an Old Delhi and a New Delhi. Old Delhi was founded long ago by the Mughal Empire, and while it had its time of being the center of luxury and high-class citizens, it is now very congested and overrun with poverty. Despite what you may be thinking, this is where I recommend starting your trip. Old Delhi has so many sights to offer and is thought of by locals to be the “Real India”. Be prepared for a full day of walking and sight-seeing. If you have more time in the area, it would not be a bad idea to split this into multiple days. If you only have one day to give Old Delhi, then the best way to get around is on a tuk tuk or rickshaw and allow your driver to be your tour guide.
One of the top sights to see is the Red Fort. Its was once the home of the Mughal emperor and continues to be a beautiful structure well worth a visit. While there you can pay to go inside, but it is also surrounded by walking trails that allow you to get nice views free of charge.
Another must-see is Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. The Mughals were a Muslim empire and brought great Islamic influence in the region that can still be seen all over the current, predominately Hindu city.
Finally, while in Old Delhi, you do not want to miss out on having your driver take you through all the back street markets and neighborhoods. There is a street dedicated to almost any product you can imagine: spices, gold and silver, wedding items, shoes, etc. In addition to this, their are neighborhoods that are inhabited by believers of specific religions. For example, you can visit a Jain neighborhood complete with a temple.
Day Two: The Taj Mahal
On your second day, take a taxi down to the city of Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and cross a world wonder off your bucket list! It can be difficult to find a clear way to catch a bus or train down to Agra from Delhi, so I suggest hiring a taxi for the day. It may be more expensive, but is also much more reliable. If you can find some people from your hostel or hotel to join you, it will help decrease the cost and you may make new friends! The Taj Mahal is open from sunrise to sunset, and it is best to get there as early as you can due to the increase of crowds as the day goes on. Besides, it would be incredible to catch the sunrise! Once you arrive and enter the attraction, if there is a long line you can skip it by hiring a tour guide. They give you priority to get inside, and therefore save you time. Once you are in, enjoy one of the most stunning structures you will ever encounter. If you are without a tour guide, do some research before hand so you can fully appreciate the history of this elaborate edifice.
Day Three: New Delhi
New Delhi is the current capital of India and was designed by the British during occupation. On your final day in the city, check out its markets for some killer souvenirs. Some options include Janpath Market and Khan Market, but many will tell you that the latter is overrun with tourists and has lost its authenticity. So head to Janpath for the true Indian experience and handicrafts. You will also find excellent restaurants in this area when you work up an appetite. After you finish shopping, drop off your goods at your hostel or hotel and head to Akshardham Temple. This massive temple represents traditional Hindu architecture and culture that you cannot miss. Try to catch it at sunset to experience beauty without comparison. If you are not too tired at this point, complete your evening in Lodhi Garden. Here you can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and reflect on your time in Delhi.
My trip to Delhi concluded with much to reflect upon. Never in my life had I traveled to a place so culturally different than my own. It really opened my eyes to the way billions of people live everyday. I saw poverty I had always heard about but never seen with my own two eyes. It left me so thankful for what I have and aware of how much I have to give. India’s culture is rich with beauty and vibrancy. I learned that, without exception, every nation has something vital to offer to the world. I hope that your journey to India leaves you thoughtful and inspired, as it did me.