New Delhi, the capital city of India, is a mesmerizing blend of historical grandeur and modern sophistication. For those pondering things to do in New Delhi, exploring the majestic India Gate, a war memorial arch, and visiting the Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site that stands as a testament to the Mughal era, are top activities.
The city’s bustling Chandni Chowk market offers a sensory overload, with its narrow lanes filled with shops selling spices, traditional clothing, and street food. Nearby, the serene Lotus Temple, known for its unique flower-like architecture, provides a tranquil space for reflection amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.
Beyond its historical and cultural attractions, New Delhi is also renowned for its diverse culinary scene, with restaurants and street vendors offering a plethora of Indian dishes, from butter chicken to chaat. For those seeking the best places to visit in India, New Delhi’s blend of ancient monuments, cultural experiences, and modern amenities makes it a must-visit destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in New Delhi, India
1. India Gate
The India Gate stands as a towering memorial in the heart of New Delhi, dedicated to the soldiers who died during World War I. Its grandeur and the surrounding lush gardens are a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening when the monument is beautifully lit and the weather is cooler, and enjoy an ice cream from one of the many vendors.
2. Red Fort
The Red Fort is a historic fortification that served as the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an impressive example of Mughal architecture with its massive red sandstone walls.
Travel Tip: Attend the sound and light show in the evenings to experience the fort’s history in a dramatic presentation.
3. Humayun’s Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and a stunning example of Mughal architecture, often seen as a precursor to the Taj Mahal. The tomb is set within beautiful formal gardens and is the final resting place of the Mughal Emperor Humayun.
Travel Tip: Visit during the late afternoon to avoid the heat and catch the soft light, perfect for photography.
4. Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world and an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture. The complex includes several other historic monuments and is one of Delhi’s most visited sites.
Travel Tip: Buy a combined ticket that allows access to other nearby monuments to make the most of your visit.
5. Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship notable for its flowerlike shape and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The temple is open to all regardless of religion or any other distinction, as emphasized by Bahá’í law.
Travel Tip: Keep in mind that as a place of worship, visitors should maintain silence inside the temple, making it a great place for reflection.
6. Akshardham Temple
Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom, and bliss. It showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions, and timeless spiritual messages.
Travel Tip: Security is tight, so don’t bring electronics or bags, as they are not allowed inside and the queue for the storage can be long.
7. Chandni Chowk
One of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is a chaotic whirl of activity and an essential experience for any visitor. The market’s narrow lanes are filled with small shops selling fabrics, spices, jewelry, and electronic goods.
Travel Tip: Explore the market on foot or by rickshaw, and definitely try some local street food.
8. Rashtrapati Bhavan
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India. The grand presidential palace is noted for its large, majestic gardens, open to the public during certain times of the year.
Travel Tip: Plan your visit around the change of guard ceremony, which is a spectacle of military tradition and pomp.
9. National Museum
The National Museum in New Delhi is one of the largest museums in India. It holds a variety of articles ranging from pre-historic era artifacts to modern works of art.
Travel Tip: English-language guided tours are available and highly recommended to enrich your understanding of the vast collections.
10. Connaught Place
Connaught Place, often abbreviated as CP, is known for its vibrant atmosphere and is a popular shopping and nightlife hub. Its Georgian-style architecture houses a variety of high-end shops, restaurants, and bars.
Travel Tip: CP is perfect for evening strolls, and the central park often hosts cultural events that you might be able to catch.
11. Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar in New Delhi is an astronomical observatory with 13 architectural astronomy instruments. It is one of five such observatories across India and has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Travel Tip: Hiring a guide can provide a deeper insight into the historical and astronomical significance of the instruments.
12. National Gallery of Modern Art
For art enthusiasts, the National Gallery of Modern Art offers a glimpse into Indian modern art with a collection that includes works from the 1850s to contemporary times. The serene setting and the beautiful colonial-era building are added attractions.
Travel Tip: The museum offers free guided walks on certain days, check their schedule to enhance your visit.
13. Raj Ghat
Raj Ghat is a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, marking the spot of his cremation. It is a serene and contemplative place set within a large, peaceful park.
Travel Tip: Remember to remove your shoes before entering the memorial platform as a sign of respect.
14. Dilli Haat
Dilli Haat is an open-air market and food plaza, showcasing art, handicrafts, and cuisines from across the various states of India. It’s designed to feel like a traditional village market, called a haat.
Travel Tip: The market has an entry fee, but it’s worth it for the quality of crafts and atmosphere; it’s also a great place to find unique souvenirs.
15. National Zoological Park
Also known as the Delhi Zoo, the National Zoological Park is home to a large variety of species, offering an enjoyable experience for families and wildlife enthusiasts.
Travel Tip: Plan your visit during the weekdays to avoid the crowds, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved.
16. Purana Qila
Purana Qila, or Old Fort, is one of the oldest forts in Delhi, with a rich historical past and is believed to be the site for the legendary city of Indraprastha. The fort has a tranquil ambiance and the light and sound show in the evenings can be quite magical.
Travel Tip: Enjoy boating in the small lake next to the fort for a different perspective of this ancient structure.
17. Hauz Khas Village
The Hauz Khas Village is a fashionable neighborhood known for its electric nightlife, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants around a historic reservoir. The adjacent Hauz Khas Complex is a fascinating glimpse of medieval history.
Travel Tip: The area can get quite crowded during the evenings and weekends, so visiting during the daytime can be more relaxed.
FAQ About Things to Do in New Delhi, India
What are the must-visit historical sites in New Delhi?
The must-visit historical sites in New Delhi include the iconic Red Fort, Qutub Minar, India Gate, and the Humayun’s Tomb, all of which offer a glimpse into India’s rich history and architecture.
Can I explore New Delhi’s street food scene?
Yes, exploring New Delhi’s street food scene is highly recommended. Areas like Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazar are famous for their culinary delights, offering a variety of local dishes such as Chaat, Chole Bhature, and Kebabs.
Are there any guided tours available in New Delhi?
Guided tours are plentiful in New Delhi, ranging from historical walks, food tours, to heritage and cultural tours. These tours can offer insightful experiences into the city’s heritage and contemporary life.
What are the best shopping destinations in New Delhi?
New Delhi is a shopper’s paradise, with markets like Dilli Haat, Khan Market, and Sarojini Nagar offering a range of items from handicrafts to designer wear.
Is there any park or natural space for relaxation in New Delhi?
Lodi Gardens is a popular urban park in New Delhi, perfect for a relaxing walk or picnic. The garden encompasses historical tombs and is well-maintained with lush greenery.
Are there any museums worth visiting in New Delhi?
New Delhi has several museums that showcase the art, history, and culture of India. The National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art are two prominent museums that are worth a visit.
What are some cultural experiences I can have in New Delhi?
In New Delhi, you can attend classical music performances, watch traditional Indian dance shows, and visit the National School of Drama for theater. Additionally, festivals like Diwali and Holi offer vibrant cultural experiences.
How can I experience New Delhi’s nightlife?
New Delhi has a dynamic nightlife with various clubs, bars, and lounges. Popular areas like Hauz Khas Village and Connaught Place offer a range of venues that cater to diverse music tastes and atmospheres.