India can be a full on assault on the senses with all its colour, noise and frenetic activitiy. The Baha'i Temple in new Dehli is a startling and wonderful contrast. Shaped like a huge lotus flower its milk white marble petals opening to the sun it is an awe inspiring sight as you approach it through immaculate gardens. Inside it is simple and beautiful with vaulted walls lit by shafts of light streaming through the star shaped window high above. And it so peaceful, inviting you to sit and rest, think, perhaps pray or just marvel. At night it's just as beautiful, lit by thousands of lights and reflected in the pools surrounding it.
In 1948 'Bapu' was murdered at the Old Birla House. The beautiful building and gardens are now a museum and memorial to Gandhi. His spartan furniture is neatly displayed in his light-filled room. On the wall is a cabinet of his “worldly goods”, among them his specs and a spoon.
Following the concrete footsteps which trace the Mahatma's last walk is a moving experience. Before he reached his daily place of prayer he was shot, and today an unassuming memorial to the great man marks the exact spot.
Inside the house, his last days are documented by text and photography displayed on wall panels, including images from the great Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the last people to meet Gandhi before his death.
There is a multimedia museum on site, with plenty of exhibits to keep the children interested.
+91 11 2301 2843
Hours: Tues.-Sun., and 2nd Sat. of every month, 10-5
Google map: bit.ly/S9hxiK
During autumn, the weather in Delhi is perfect: the monsoon rains have passed and the temperature is in the high 20s. There are some lively festivals at this time of year, including Navaratri (October 16th-23rd), during which there are ten days of street festivals, dancing, Ramlila plays and finally the burning of giant effergies of the God Ravana. The largest celebration during autumn is Diwali (November 3rd this year.) To celebrate the Hindu New Year and the triumph of good over evil, the city is filled with glittering lights - tiny clay lamps flicker from every window - and fireworks fill the skies. Delicious sweets such as the milky burfi are sold on every street corner and the roads are strewn with marigold and rose petals or colourful Rangoli patterns made from coloured sand or chalk. It's a good time to visit as hotels offer deep discounts on rooms and shops have sale bonanzas of up to 40%. I would recommend the recently built Radisson Blu hotel in Paschim Vihar, where there is a tourist concierge who will arrange independent travel by car to all the local sights as well as the Golden Triangle. We were there last Diwali as practically the only guests -Indian families prefer to stay with relatives during this special period, so we were thoroughly spoiled with cakes, fruit and sweets and the undivided attention of dozens of hotel staff.
It's a nice temple. Here you will find nice work on the wall of temple that will recall the art of Indian History. There are museums you will love to see.
Karim's is a legendary 100 year-old Mughlai restaurant in the Jama Masjid area of old Delhi. The Roti and Kebab's are unbelievably delicious. You haven't visited Old Delhi until you eat at Karim's or at least enjoy some take-away food.
India is strange when it comes to nightlife. It swings between the horrid to the obnoxiously expensive. Food is a bit of hit n miss [erm not sure we'd agree with this - Ed] There are very few places which serve authentic recipes with original and fresh ingredients outside the star hotels [Ibid]. With this fear in mind I ventured into Xes Cafe. Located in a desolate portion of a mall. I was quite apprehensive initially. But boy was I surprised! Their food is truly great. Very continental menu. Burgers with melted cheese oozing out the meat patty. Bliss:) Interiors would transport you to the 90s. A huge Pink Floyd canvas sets the mood and their DJ is bit of a maverick! So you would have rock interspersed with local pop. A gastronomically satisfying experience with nice n friendly crowd. Their chef is from UK and thankfully has carried with him the right recipes. Great place to hang out with wholesome food and foot tapping music:)
round Floor, DLF South Court Mall, Next to Select Citywalk, New Delhi
Google map: bit.ly/sSOmWw
A retreat from the vibrant chaos of Delhi, Lutyen's Bed and Breakfast is located among mature gardens, in the grounds of a beautiful colonial bungalow. Family run, with elegant rooms, free afternoon tea and home-cooked Indian dinners on request, this is a welcome change to the city's overpriced five-stars or dingy budget hostel accommodation. The rooms have wonderfully silent a/c, flatscreen tv, wifi, ayurvedic toiletries and spare towels for the pool. Many attractions within walking distance, or a short taxi/metro ride, the airport is easily accessible too. A luxurious home away from home, a real find! Doubles from £70 per night.
City of Djinns is an historical account of the city of Delhi as told from the author's personal experience of living and traveling through the different areas and enclaves of the metropolis. It is neither a history book nor a travel log, but instead fuses the two genres together to create a compelling portrayal of the city that takes you past the surface layer to an intimate exploration of the crumbling glory and decadence of India's capital.
India excels at so many things - carpets, textiles, jewellery, inlaid marble, lacquer-ware, miniature painting, pashminas ...
Chandni Chowk was once the finest market in India. It forms a maze of busy lanes and noisy alleyways surrounding the main street of the walled city of Old Delhi. It is one of the best places to buy just about everything, and to do so while experiencing the authentic chaos and colour of India.
Avoid the heat of the day and visit in the evening, when the electrical shops flash brightly with strings of garish lights, and the streets become a swirl of bangles, sandals and spices. Visit silversmiths, textile emporia crammed with jewel-coloured fabrics, and tiny shops selling handmade marbled paper.
Google map: bit.ly/jO3iJk
Blue Ginger is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants I know. It boasts modern interiors and absolutely delicious food. If you are tired of Italian, Chinese or Indian food in India (the three most popular cuisines), try this one. Besides, it is actually not expensive even though it is in the Taj Palace Hotel
BnB New Delhi is a new luxury bed and breakfast in New Delhi. We stayed here four nights and absolutely loved the place. The hospitality of host was unmatched. We chose this accommodation after going through trip advisor reviews. Absolutely recommend this place for stay in Delhi if you are on budget.
I - 9 Maharani Bagh, New Delhi - 110065, India
Tel: 00 91 11 4132 7609
Google map: tinyurl.com/3878j7u
I did the Golden Triangle myself back in March of this year, pretty much the best time to visit India I'm told, and had an absolutely wonderful time. As an ex-backpacker I'm now appreciating the luxury of a fuss-free properly planned tour so much more!
I had been told so much about India, good and bad, and wanted to make sure I got it right, so I did the Triangle reasoning that with so many destinations there was bound to be something I liked. I wasn't wrong. I spent two nights at Delhi, two at the Ramada in Jaipur and two at the Mughal at Agra.
As an Englishman and a first-time visitor to India I wasn't quite sure if I was going to be harassed down the street by crowds of hustlers, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about - there are probably too many white faces to even notice any more. What was even better was that the majority of people speak fairly good English. I remember getting a cab from the Viceroy's Palace and telling the cabbie I wanted to go to Humayun's Tomb. He didn't understand the destination the first three times I repeated it, and so out of desperation I said it again with a ridiculously put-on Indian accent. "Ah, Humayun's Tomb! Of course!" he replied.
India is, of course, rather hot, but dress properly and drink plenty of water and you should acclimatise fairly quickly. Bear in mind, of course, that England will feel even colder when you return.
So in summary I did lots of sightseeing, lots of shopping, and yes I couldn't resists a visit to the Taj Mahal. It really is quite fantastic; I didn't realise that the inside is as breathtaking as the famous outside. Walking on the marble floor made me feel like a raja. The hotels were great and the staff friendly, all the transfers were handled without fuss and about the only complaint I had was with my partner who suddenly developed a love of expensive rugs. (Really, how are you going to get a rug home? Fold it sixty-five times and put it in a suitcase?)
My own traveller's tip is to consider getting yourself a tailored suit whilst in Delhi. You will not find one of better quality for a lower price. Just hold firm on haggling.
I would thoroughly recommend Travelpack, who organised my own holiday faultlessly.
Surekha is a native of Delhi who does weekend group tours and private tours of Delhi, its history, architecture and more. She's highly informed and enthusiastic about her subject and provides the best, most informed and interesting introduction I can imagine to New Delhi (and Old Delhi). I can't imagine visiting Delhi without spending time with Surekha.
It's a boutique bed and breakfast located in a posh neighborhood with well trained staff, clean and hygienic surroundings.
If you're looking for a super cheap but clean place which has little character but is next to the train station in Delhi then this budget chain should do. It's a sort of an Indian Travelodge but concentrates on being cheap as far as I can see. The Metro is within a minutes walk as is the train station and if you can live with the small windows and the depressing view then it's just fine. I paid about £14 a night for a double bed on the fourth floor.
I have done over 4000 km in Indian trains over the last six weeks. I have not had one single problem with the food bought from the official IRCTC stands or guys going around. Look out for people with uniform shirts.
Some of the food was actually excellent
Based on the reader's suggestions here, we stayed at Inn at Delhi.
It was exactly as someone else had said before "Home away from Home".
The owners a retired couple; a history professor and a doctor that are full of energy and bustle and treated us like one of their family.
I would highly recommend staying with them and enjoying the Indian hospitality!
Inn at Delhi
Bed and Breakfast in New Delhi, India
C-34 Anand NIketan
NEW Delhi 110 021, India
site - www.innatdelhi.com
If you are travelling around India, do not book an air con train, they are far too cold. I have done over 2000km on the train system ad I recommend the no air con. Also the in the air con you keep the windows closed, and they are filthy so you don't see anything
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