The capital of India, New Delhi (popularly known as Dilli), is also the country's third-largest city and the industrial hub of North India. It is a well-planned and well laid-out city, with lots of parks, good hotels, and a growing nightlife. Delhi also boasts of high quality roads. Apart from being politically significant, Delhi is also a major travel gateway, and is the base for travelling to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.
A city with a very rich historical and cultural background, Delhi has a large number of historically significant buildings and monuments dating as far back as the Mughal era. Today's Delhi actually comprises New Delhi - extending from Connaught Place southwards till Gurgaon, and Old Delhi - which is the 17th century walled city of Shahjahanabad. The Old City, chaotic in comparison to the newer, planned parts of town, has narrow, crowded lanes and by-lanes, constant traffic snarls, and high pollution levels.
Delhi is connected to most of the important international cities. A good number of international airlines offer services to and from Delhi. Domestic carriers Indian Airlines, Alliance Air, Sahara and Jet Airways connect Delhi to the rest of the country. The airport, called the Indira Gandhi International Airport is located at Palam, about 20 kms from the city centre. The domestic terminal is a few kms ahead of the International terminals. The heart of the city, Connaught Place, is about 15 minutes away from the airport.
Delhi is a very important rail junction. Apart from connecting with the usual big cities, Delhi connects remote locations in North India to the rest of the country. The main booking office is at the New Delhi Railway Station, located close to Connaught Place in the heart of the city.
The ISBT terminals (Sarai Kale Khan near Nizamuddin railway station, and Kashmiri Gate near New Delhi railway station) in Delhi have regular bus services to destinations in and around Delhi. Travelling by bus or train is the best way to experience and see the Indian countryside. However, buses don't always spell comfort.
Within the city, buses and auto-rickshaws are the common modes of public transport. Taxis are also easily available, with almost every area having its own taxi stand. The quality and frequency of bus services vary from area to area within the city. You need to be careful of the auto-rickshaw drivers, who often tamper with the meters. Cars and taxis can be hired on a half/full day basis from various agencies and hotels.
Delhi is a city of extreme hot and cold. It is best visited from October to March; winters are the ideal time of the year for those who are unaccustomed to a hot, humid climate. Summer temperatures can go up to 45?C and more, and the heat is quite oppressive. Typically around July, high humidity levels set in, making life miserable out on the streets. Winter temperatures range from a maximum of around 20 - 22 degrees C to a minimum of 3 degrees C. Delhi's thick smog in December-January, usually ends up throwing rail and flight schedules out of gear.
There is plenty to choose from in Delhi when it comes to eating out. North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Continental cuisines or American-style fast food are available in most of the main marketplaces. International chains such as McDonald's, Domino's, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Wimpy, and TGIF are all here. Some of the places worth checking out include
. Sagar, in Defence Colony for Udipi food
. English Dairy, a popular dhaba in Connaught Place for inexpensive vegetarian food
. Berco's and Fa Yian, for Chinese food
. Karim's and Nizam's, for Mughlai food
. Nirula's for a mix of Indian and western fast food
Most speciality food restaurants in the capital are in the luxury hotels and up-market localities like Greater Kailash, Defence Colony, Connaught Place, South Extension and Vasant Vihar.
Some of the restaurants worth checking out:
|Angeethi||Indian||Asian Games Village, Siri Fort Road||91-11- 6493995, 6493945|
|Baluchi||Indian||Hotel Holiday Inn Crowne, Barakhamba Road||91-11-3320101.|
|Baradari||Indian||Hotel Samrat, Chanakya Puri||91-11-603030.|
|Bar-e-Kabab||Mughlai||Ashok Hotel, Chanakya Puri||91-11-600121.|
|Brindavan||South Indian||M-45 Greater Kailash Market Part-I||91-11-6421208.|
|Delhi ka Aangan||North Indian||Hotel Hyatt Regency, 1 Bhikaji Cama Place||91-11-6181234|
|Essex Farms||Multi-Cuisine||4 Aurobindo Marg, Near IIT Gate|
|Karim||Mughlai||Jama Masjid||91-11-4698300, 4635458|
|Moet's||Multi-Cuisine||50, Defence Colony Market||91-11-4626814|
|Park Baluchi||North Indian||Hauz Khas Village||91-11-6859369|
|Ego||Continental||4 Community Centre, New Friends Colony||91-11-6918185|
|Berco's||Chinese||E-8, Connaught Place||91-11-3323757|
|Chopsticks||Chinese||Asian Games Village, Siri Fort Road||91-11-6492348, 6493628.|
|The Golden Dragon||Chinese||22-23 Panchsheel Enclave, DDA Market||91-11-6436682|
In keeping with Delhi's strong literary tradition, there are many bookstores all over the city. Following is a list of bookstores in the major market areas of the Capital.
|Bookshop||Add 1||Add 2||Add 3||Tel|
|Bahri & Sons||Opp. Main Market||Khan Market||4694610|
|Book Centre||69||Yashwant Place||Chanakya Puri||4671645|
|Book Shop||E-72||South Extension ? I||4649294, 4648557|
|Children Book Trust||Nehru House||4||Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg||3316970|
|Crossword||Ebony, 2nd Floor||D-4||South Extension ? II||6257645, 6256146|
|ED Galgotia & Sons||17-B Block||Connaught Place||3322876, 3755150|
|English Book Store||17-1||Connaught Circus||Connaught Place||3722031, 3329126|
|Faqir Chand & Sons||15-A||Khan Market||4618810, 4645540|
|Famous Book Stores||25||Janpath Bhawan||New Janpath Market||3311510|
|Full Circle||34||Santushti Complex||Race Course Road||6881304, 4655641|
|Midland Book House||Aurobindo Place Market||Hauz Khas||6867121, 6962718|
|Om Book Shop||45||Basant Lok||Vasant Vihar||6143530|
|Sehgal Bros.||F-38||South Extension ? I||4647783|
|Tesksons Book Shop||South Extension Market -I||4617030|
|The Book Shop||14-A||Khan Market||4697102|
|Times Book Gallery||25-A||Khan Market||4625066, 4699135|
Delhi has the reputation of being a city with zilch nightlife ? but it perks up if you have the money. The city has several discos, bowling alleys, pool and snooker joints, some excellent golf courses, loads of cinema halls and some excellent eating places. Unfortunately, most of these are in five star hotels or reserved for the rich and well connected. The good thing about Delhi, though, is that the cultural scene is vibrant. Music concerts, plays, dance performances and film festivals happen regularly.
|Boys 'n Girls||Hotel Vasant Continental||Basant Lok, Vasant Vihar||6148800|
|Mirage||Hotel Crowne Plaza||New Friends Colony||6835070|
|CJ's||Hotel Le Meridien||8, Windsor Place, Janpath||3710101|
|Annables||Hotel Inter Continental||Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place||3320101|
|My Kind Of Place||Hotel Taj Palace||Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave||6110202|
|Someplace Else||The Park Hotel||15, Parliament Street||3733737|
|Ghungroo||Hotel Maurya Sheraton||Sardar Patel Marg, Diplomatic Enclave||6112233|
|Float||Hotel Park Royal||Nehru Place||6223344|
|Djinns||Hotel Hyatt||Bhikaji Cama Place, Ring Road||6791234|
|Fireballs||32nd Milestone||32nd Milestone Complex, Delhi - Jaipur Highway, Chander Nagar|
Every locality in Delhi has a marketplace of its own. Just about anything one could ask for can be found here. The larger, oft-frequented shopping areas include Connaught Place, Janpath, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, South Extension, Hauz Khas, Lajpat Nagar, Greater Kailash, Kamla Nagar, Sarojini Nagar and the newly built Ansal Plaza.
State emporia are located at the famous Baba Kharak Singh Marg, near Parliament Street - these are the best places to pick up handicraft items. The Central Cottage Emporium in Jawahar Bhavan at Janpath is worth a visit for anything ethnic. For those interested in antiques, Sundar Nagar is the place to go to. To pick up ethnic curios at budget deals, Chandni Chowk has one of the largest market areas in Delhi, where you will find just about everything under the sun for sale at reasonable prices.
For clothes and accessories, you'll get budget deals at Janpath, Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar. Branded garments are available at all major markets in Delhi. Dilli Haat, near AIIMS, developed by Delhi Tourism, has been designed to be an upscale version of a traditional, weekly marketplace. The Haat offers a kaleidoscopic view of the richness and diversity of Indian culture and handicrafts.
If shopping interests you, and you wish to experience a slice of Indian culture at the same time, then Delhi is the place to be.
Delhi, like the other metro cities, is home to all communities, and they celebrate all the major festivals of India.
The Kite-flying festival is held on Makar Sankranti (January 14).
The Garden Tourism festival, held in February every year, provides the opportunity to see many rare varieties of plants and flowers. Cultural programmes are organised based on various themes.
The International Mango festival, held in July, attracts crowds from near and far to taste the best mangoes of India.
Holi, in February/March, the festival of colour, is celebrated with much exuberance. It marks the end of winter. Water balloons and coloured powder are thrown around with reckless abandon.
Dussehra/Navratri, in September/October, is a nine-day festival that celebrates Lord Rama's victory over the demon king of Lanka, Ravana. It is marked by the burning of a Ravana effigy.
Diwali, in October/November, is the festival of lights that celebrates Lord Rama's return home from exile. Decorative oil lamps are lit at night. The third day of Diwali is Lakshmi's (the Hindi goddess of prosperity) big day and this is traditionally the beginning of the new financial year. Plenty of fireworks light up the sky!
Christmas, December 25, and New Year's Eve, December 31, are celebrated in much the same fashion as they are in any of the world's big cities.
Indira Gandhi International Airport: 5652011
Arrival info: 144
Departure info: 145
Domestic Airport (Palam): 5665126, 5696351
New Delhi station: 3366177, 3366101
Old Delhi station: 2511934, 2525357
FRRO: 3318179, 3319781