India’s capital, Delhi, is great fun to explore. There are so many places to visit, from bazaars hidden in the maze of winding streets, to ancient mosques and forts, such as the 15th-century Red Fort and the sprawling Jama Masjid Mosque, whose courtyard accommodates 25,000 people.
Delhi is basically two cities: the old and the new areas merge to form one vast metropolis. New Delhi is much smaller than its older counterpart, with wide avenues and modern buildings. Old Delhi is fascinating, with many captivating attractions to visit, including Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Then there's the 72.5m Qutb Minar, the second-highest minaret in India and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Humayun’s Tomb, which inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal.
Why travel to Delhi
- To explore the sights, sounds and smells of Delhi in its bustling bazaars, and savour the flavourful cuisine, considered the best in the country.
- Delhi is home to numerous historical monuments, parks and gardens.
- To visit Connaught Place, inspired by the Royal Crescent of Bath, with numerous restaurants and shops hidden under Palladian archways.
- To discover the magic of both the old and the new parts of this character-filled city.
- You can visit the Taj Mahal from Delhi on a special 3-day (or longer) tour.
Delhi’s treasures are quite unique. With its sprawling malls and busy street markets, it offers a variety of fabulous shopping experiences. Visit the city on a Thompsons Holidays package to explore its numerous tourist attractions, temples, and historical monuments, and indulge in its fabulous food.
Things to do in Delhi
Delhi is a vibrant city that is full of cafes, bars, bustling markets and other fun places to keep you entertained. Between the captivating museums, beautiful art galleries, lushly landscaped gardens, parks, and fascinating memorials, there’s so much to do in Delhi that it's hard to know where to start. You can also travel further afield to see the famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, both bucket-list attractions that cannot be missed on a trip to India. Delhi is a sparkling city, the country’s cultural centre, and it offers a treasure trove of delightful activities and sights.
What to do in Delhi
- See the impressive Lotus Temple at night when it is lit up against the night sky.
- Enjoy a picnic in the picturesque Lodhi Garden.
- Take the kids to one of Delhi’s exhilarating amusement parks.
- Visit India’s largest temple, Jama Masjid, where up to 25,000 come to pray every Friday.
- Spend a day at the Akshardham Temple in East Delhi, with its displays, Hindu place of worship, boat rides, water shows and lush gardens.
- On a weekend, explore the President of India’s official residence, the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- Enjoy a fun-filled evening in the bars and restaurants at Connaught Palace.
- Go boating at the Old Fort, Purana Qila.
- Take a ride in a rickshaw through Old Delhi’s commercial hub, Chandi Chowk.
- Marvel at the magnificent marble Chhatarpur Temple in South Delhi.
- Pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat.
Whilst Delhi dates back to the 12th Century, New Delhi is modern, built by British Emperor George V in the early 1900s. This combination of ancient and modern makes Delhi a most fascinating place to discover, and the city’s numerous attractions are just waiting to be explored on a trip to India.
Know before you go...
- February and March, and November and December, are the best times to visit Delhi as the weather is pleasant and the flowers are in full bloom.
- Summer (April to July) can be unbearably hot and humid, with temperatures up to 45°C.
- Winter can be very cold, with temperatures as low as 5°C.
- From July to mid-September, it's the monsoon season in Delhi.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to New Delhi: 10 hours, 28 minutes.
- There are regular flights from South Africa to Delhi, with high demand for flights during the June and December school holidays.
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter India.
- You can apply for a visa through the Consulate General of India in South Africa or online through Indian Visa Online.
- Time zone – Delhi is 3 hours and 30 minutes ahead of South Africa.
- Currency in India: Indian Rupee (INR).
- Credit cards are accepted in big-city hotels, shops and restaurants. In more remote areas, cash payments are only accepted.
- Don’t accept change if the paper money is old, torn, dirty or marked.
- No Indian currency can be exported or imported. Convert your Rupees back into another currency before leaving.
- Tipping is not an Indian custom, but you have to pay for all services, even if you ask directions.
- Ask tour guides up front what they expect to be paid.
- Most hotels include a service charge of 19%.
- Where tipping is at your discretion, 10% is acceptable.
- India has 22 official languages. Hindu is the most spoken language (it’s also the fourth most spoken language in the world!)
- English is widely spoken – in fact, it’s one of India’s official languages. However, it is not easily understood by locals.
- You can learn a few common phrases or carry a phrasebook with you to help you communicate in restaurants, shops and when asking for directions.
- Almost 80% of the Indian population practice Hinduism.
- Other religions include Islam, Christianity and Sikh.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively and modestly. Cover heads, arms, legs and shoulders before entering.
- Drinking water is not safe in India. Only drink bottled water.
- No vaccinations are currently required but travelling to India involves certain health risks. Please contact your doctor before you leave.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, layers for the cooler evenings and colder months.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Delhi has an excellent bus system – operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). Other forms of transport include the Delhi Metro, rickshaws (cycle, auto and e-rickshaws) and taxis.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Delhi, India - Sightseeing [954 KB]
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