Things to do in New Delhi

Things to do in  New Delhi

Seven cities in one

One corner of India’s Golden Triangle, which also includes Agra and Jaipur, Delhi is a pulsing urban sprawl of attractions new and old, where visitors find vestiges of ancient kingdoms and colonial-era buildings coexisting with signs of modern development. India’s capital is home to the country’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid, as well as the vermillion Red Fort, the remarkable Baha’i Lotus Temple, and the colorful Chandi Chowk market. Besides eating like a local, haggling at the bazaars, or visiting the spiritual sights in New and Old Delhi, you can use the city as a perfect jumping-off point for a day trip to the Taj Mahal or Rajasthan.

Top 15 attractions in New Delhi

Taj Mahal

Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and certainly one of India’s most famous landmarks, the Taj Mahal is a living testament to the grandiose and the romantic. Lovingly built from white marble by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the structure is decorated with carvings of flowers and inlays of precious stone arranged into intricate patterns that can be admired both from its impressive exterior and interior. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see for every traveler to northern India.More

New Delhi Parliament House (Sansad Bhavan)

Designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, the Parliament House (Sansad Bhavan) is a striking sandstone building and home to both houses of the Parliament of India. This round building was inspired by the Great Stupa of Sanchi and the Ashoka Chakra—the same circular symbol found in the center of the Indian flag.More

India Gate

India Gate is a 138-foot (42-meter) war memorial in the heart of New Delhi, reminiscent of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. Built in 1931 and designed by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, designer of most of New Delhi, it’s a must-visit photo stop on a Delhi tour.More

Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar is a brick minaret built in 1193 by Muslim conquerors of Delhi. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Delhi’s most visited tourist attractions. At 240 feet (73 meters) high, it’s also an impressive engineering feat—all the more notable for surviving for so many centuries.More

Humayun's Tomb

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Humayun's Tomb is the final resting place of Humayun, whose father Babur founded the Mughal Empire. It's considered one of the earliest examples of true Mughal architecture; ironically, the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II, was captured here during the 1857 Indian Rebellion.More

Lotus Temple (Bahá'í House of Worship)

Known as the Lotus Temple for its unusual, 9-sided floral shape, the Delhi Bahá'í House of Worship is one of the most visited architectural sites in the city, if not on the planet. Constructed entirely from white marble imported from Greece, this impressive structure stands in a 26-acre (10.5-hectare) garden featuring extensive landscaping and nine ponds.More

Red Fort (Lal Qila)

The UNESCO World Heritage–listed Red Fort (Lal Qila) traces its roots back to the middle of the 17th century, when Mughal Emperor Shahjahan moved his base from Agra to Delhi. For the two centuries that followed, this gargantuan sandstone complex served as the royal residence of the Mughal Empire. Today, it’s one of the city’s most popular attractions, often visited in tandem with nearby Chandni Chowk.More

Jama Masjid (Masjid e Jahan Numa)

Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid(Masjid e Jahan Numa) is the largest mosque in India and an unmissable stop on any Delhi itinerary. Built between 1644 and 1658 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the mosque’s red sandstone and white marble domes, minarets, gateways, and arches are both grand in scale and elegance. Devout Muslims still come here to pray five times a day, while travelers stop by to marvel over the details.More

Chandni Chowk

One of India’s oldest markets, Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk (Hindi for moonlight square) is a perpetually busy area filled with narrow, congested lanes, each specializing in a different product such as spices, jewelry, hardware, and stationery. It’s also a great spot to practice your haggling skills—and the photo opportunities are extraordinary.More

Office and Residence of the President of India (Rashtrapati Bhavan)

At the heart of New Delhi is one of its most remarkable buildings, the Office and Residence of the President of India (Rashtrapati Bhavan). The 320-acre (130-hectare) complex comprises a palatial 340-room main building and sprawling Mughal gardens. Many visitors come to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, complete with horses and a brass band.More

Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah

Known locally as “Baby Taj,” the Tomb of I'timad-ud-Daulah is a gorgeous white structure that actually predates the larger and more famous Taj Mahal by a few years. It was the first Mughal building created entirely in marble, and its existence marks the transition from sandstone to marble in Mughal architecture.More

Swaminarayan Akshardham

One of Delhi’s biggest, newest, and most grandiose attractions, Swaminarayan Akshardham is a gorgeous temple complex. The vast grounds house not only a place of worship, but also an animatronics experience, an IMAX-style theater showing a film about the temple’s namesake, and a theme park–style boat ride.More

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Delhi’s Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most important Sikh sites of worship in the Indian capital. The white marble gurudwara (Sikh place of worship with its golden domes and large sacred pond was founded in the mid-17th century when the 6-year-old guru Harkrishan Dev stayed at the site. As at all Sikh gurudwaras, visitors are welcome, and it’s a beautiful sight.More

Raj Ghat

Raj Ghat is a large outdoor complex that houses the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, who was cremated here in 1948. His cremation spot is marked by a black marble memorial, and an eternal flame is kept burning here in his honor. The words "Hey Ram" are inscribed on the side of the memorial, allegedly the mahatma's last words.More

Khari Baoli

One of the largest wholesale spice markets in Asia, Old Delhi’s Khari Baoli is well worth a visit for the intensity of its sights and smells alone. Along with fresh spices of all shapes, sizes, and colors, this market sells myriad nuts, herbs, dry fruits, and grains—often displayed in heaping, photo-worthy mounds.More

Trip ideas

Don’t-Miss Dishes in New Delhi

Don’t-Miss Dishes in New Delhi

Top activities in New Delhi

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All about New Delhi

When to visit

Delhi’s summers are oppressively hot, and the winters are short but cold and foggy. The best time to visit is between these periods, especially after the monsoon when the air is clear and rain is unlikely, October–November. Major Hindu festivals can be a lively and interesting time to visit, especially Dussehra (October), Diwali (November), and Holi (March), although avoid these times if you dislike crowds.

Getting around

The Delhi Metro makes getting around the city very easy. The underground and aboveground trains are regular, affordable, air-conditioned, and reach most sites of interest to tourists. There are also separate carriages for women, which can be more comfortable than traveling in mixed carriages. Tuk-tuks (auto-rickshaws) and taxis are also widely available and fill the gaps where the metro doesn’t reach. Buses are usually crowded and are subject to heavy traffic delays.

Traveler tips

Delhi is a huge city with many different neighborhoods (or “colonies,” as they’re often called here). While many travelers stay in or around Paharganj or Karol Bagh, there are more appealing places with fewer tourist-focused scams. You can find independent guesthouses and homestays in quieter, more atmospheric neighborhoods such as Hauz Khas, Nizamuddin East, Defence Colony, Lajpat Nagar, or Greater Kailash.

Local Currency
Indian Rupee (₹)
Time Zone
IST (UTC +5)
Country Code

A local’s pocket guide to New Delhi

Elen Turner

Elen studied Hindi in Delhi and has been told (on more than one occasion) that she speaks Hindi with a Delhi accent. It’s her favourite city in India, and she returns at every opportunity.

The first thing you should do in Delhi is...

visit Humayun’s Tomb. The formal Persian gardens are so peaceful, and the beautiful tomb is a stunning precursor to the more famous Taj Mahal.

A perfect Saturday in Delhi...

Spend the day in Hauz Khas Village, eating in the fantastic restaurants, browsing the boutiques, and wandering amid the ruins and deer park.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Old Delhi. The main artery, Chandni Chowk, is congested and a bit overwhelming, but if you take a walking tour, you’ll discover all the best local spots down back alleys.

To discover the "real" Delhi...

Instead of staying in Paharganj, find accommodation in upmarket Defence Colony, Nizamuddin West, or Hauz Khas Village.

For the best view of the city...

climb to the top of one of the minarets at the Jama Masjid in Old Delhi.

One thing people get wrong...

is leaving Delhi as soon as they arrive. Many people transit through without stopping on the way to Rajasthan or Agra, but there’s thousands of years of magnificent history and culture to explore here too.

People Also Ask

What is New Delhi best known for?

New Delhi is one of 11 districts that make up the megacity of Delhi; many of its buildings and landmarks were constructed under the British just over a century ago. Notable sights include colonial-era houses in Lutyens’ Delhi, India Gate memorial, Indira Gandhi house, and the presidential residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan.

What do tourists typically do when visiting New Delhi?

Most tourists in Delhi explore the Mughal-era district of Old Delhi and other heritage sites scattered throughout the bustling capital. Old Delhi is home to two blockbuster attractions: the Red Fort and Jama Masjid. Many visit Humayun’s Tomb and the colonnaded shops of Connaught Place (or CP), and sample restaurants.

How can I spend 2 days in New Delhi?

Take the metro to Chandni Chowk station and explore Old Delhi by foot or rickshaw. Try a food-related tour to sample the district’s street food offerings, from sticky fried jalebi sweets to Mughal-inspired kebabs. Browse pedestrian districts such as Hauz Khas or Khan Market, and stroll through ruin-dotted Lodhi Gardens.

What are the main attractions in New Delhi?

Delhi attractions span nearly 1,000 years. Star with the ruins of Tughlaqabad Fort or Qutub Minar. Then, visit later landmarks: Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb, Hauz Khas complex, and Lodhi Gardens. Add British-built sites, from Connaught Place to India Gate, and the Akshardham temple, a 21st-century icon.

Is New Delhi worth visiting?

Yes. Delhi is a historically rich and culturally significant Indian city. It's the capital and a major hub for museums, heritage sites, food, and shopping. Some use it as a hub for the classic “Golden Triangle” itinerary to Agra and Jaipur, but Delhi offers plenty to do on its own.

Is New Delhi dangerous for tourists?

Yes and no. Delhi is a sprawling megacity of almost 20 million people. It can feel safe—in part because of tight-knit neighborhoods, many of which are gated nightly. Still, exercise caution and be on the lookout for pickpockets and scammers. Take trusted transportation and communicate with your hotel directly.

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