By Editors

The crew at LBB is thoroughbred, third generation, bonafide Delhi folk. With over two years of presenting the best Delhi has to offer, we’ve put together a list of 8 must-do’s, and further sub-divided them into categories, so you can zero in on exactly what it is you’re looking for. As locals and travellers, we’ve come to realise the huge gap between what we as Delhiites do and love, and what it is that travellers are looking to do. For a wholesome, optimum Delhi experience, we’re trying our hardest to bridge the gap in our curated list. Because, you know what they say, When in Rome…

That said, keep your manners, hone your reflexes, women ignore the staring, and everyone else, tune out the noise. There’s lots to see, even more to eat, and plenty to take home. Let’s get you started.

LANDMARKS AND MONUMENTS

Delhi has a massive history, a giant place in the history of the nation dating right back to Mughal times, and to the more fresh British colonial occupation memory. As luck, history and Delhi egos will have it, each ruler, reign and dynasty left behind a memory, manifested as a monument, and so we have an endless supply of sights to take in. Make your way to the light and sound show at Purana Qila, and UNESCO World Heritage Sight Red Fort, try and wrap your arms {and head} around the Ashoka Pillar at Qutub Minar, visit the Jama Masjid, take a vow of silence at the Lotus Temple, get a glimpse of India Gate in Lutyens Delhi, and do the walk up Raisina Hill all the way till Parliament at night for a breathtaking view. Don’t miss: Jantar Mantar, Humayuns Tomb, Raj Ghat, Safdarjung’s Tomb, Rajpath, Connaught Place, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Salimgarh Fort. You need to dedicate a day to Old Delhi and its labyrinth of alleys, by-lanes and overpopulated streets. Take in the Sisganj Gurudwara, Fatehpuri Masjid, Khari Baoli and the Zinat-ul Masjid.

How Best to See: LBB recommends the HOHO bus service, Delhi’s version of the Hop-on Hop-off, to get a comprehensive overview of the city, removed from the thought of having to navigate a labyrinth of public transport and all its loop holes. Find out more about the service, here. 

If you’re visiting in the months October-March, we recommend getting close with Delhi on foot. Click here, for a full list of guided walking tours.

Locals Love: Us locals tend to take our diverse diaspora of heritage and architecture for granted, but that said, it participates in everyday life. Olive Bar and Kitchen is a huge Delhi favourite, set against the Qutub Minar; wedding shopping and sourcing through the by-lanes of Chandini Chowk is another local hit. As done to death as it is, ice cream at India Gate {mostly after hours} is still ruling generation after generation of Delhi, as is the drive up Rajpath.

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

Delhi’s museums and galleries often fall prey to bureaucracy, inefficient management, and a lack of up-keep. That said, some of them have still preserved some iconic moments from our history, from Indira Gandhi’s blood-stained sari, to where Mahatma Gandhi spent his last 144 days. The National Museum has also just reopened its jewellery exhibit after 10 years, so that’s definitely something worth exploring. LBB recommends The National Museum, The National Gallery of Modern Art, Gandhi Smriti Museum, Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, and Tibet House, and if time is one of your travel buddies, then the National Rail Museum and Sulabh International Museum of Toilets. Get a whole list of museums and their contents, here. 

How Best to See: Always call ahead and find out operational hours. Websites may be inaccurate or not regularly updated. Most museums also remain closed on Mondays, and have special show times and exhibits. Besides the aforementioned, most of them are well connected by the Delhi Metro and are fairly easy to locate.

Locals Love: You’ll still find many a family with kids at The National Rail Museum, and everywhere else, mostly school field trips. As for locals venturing into museums, The NGMA still draws a lot of attention, courtesy their winning art exhibits and installations by popular artists.

SHOPPING CENTERS

Now we’re talking, and you’re shopping. Delhi houses EVERYTHING under the sun, from Zara, Forever 21, Promod, and all their rip-offs, to the Guccis, Fendis, Tods, and most definitely all their rip-offs. If you’re a spend thrift, you’ll find your soul mate, and if you’re a budget baby, your soul mate is here as well. Now you know why we’re the land of match making. For high-street, almost high-end, fashion, lifestyle and decor options, but mostly still homegrown brands, check out Meherchand Market {Lodhi Road}, Khan Market, Shahpur JatHaus Khaz Village and Connaught Place. The good news is they’re also urban hot spots, so you’ll be able to spot alternative Delhi, lunching and brunching in some of the city’s most popular joints {we’ll tell you where in just a bit}.

BUDGET BUYS: For the budget babies, who’ve heard Delhi is a treasure chest of sorts, for once hearsay is correct. But we feel it’s our duty to warn you about the less than desirable quality. Also, do not buy anything for the price first quoted to you. Bargain Bargain Bargain. For souvenirs, shawls and knick knacks to take home, a stroll down Janpath will suffice {refer to the CP guide}. Dilli Haat is another must-do, as are Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar, for high street fashion and budget Indian clothes.

How Best to see: For the high-street, almost high-end stores, you’ll be okay getting a cab/rickshaw to the market and doing it solo. As for the budget buys, we sincerely recommend asking a local to join you. Get in touch for any assistance at editors@lbb.in.

Locals Love: IT ALL! You’ll find us everywhere; there is no market mentioned above that locals have grown tired of, or that serve only as tourist hot spots. Special shout out to Lajpat Nagar for fabric, Sarojni Nagar for export rejects, and all the hoods for shopping, eating and making merry.

PARKS AND WALKING TRACKS

This might serve you better if your trip is longer. If you’re looking for walking tracks, greenery, a sanctuary away from what you’ll come to realise is an overwhelming city, or just for the sake of burning some butter chicken induced calories, we recommend Lodhi Gardens {refer to Lodhi Guide}, Nehru Park, Deer Park, Garden of Five Senses and Jahanpanah City Forest. If you just want some downtime, and don’t care to be cut-off, the India Gate lawns and Central Park in Connaught Place are great for people watching and enjoying local musings. The Mehrauli Archeological Park, spread over 200 acres and adjacent to the Qutab Minar makes for an interesting walk. It contains 100 historically significant monuments, and a lot of the aforementioned walking tours will take you through it.

How Best to see: Most parks are free and open to public use. If going after hours {especially women}, stick to large groups and carry awareness as a tool. For the Mehrauli Park, we recommend getting a tour.

Locals Love: Lodhi Gardens is a city hot spot, for runners, lovers and picnic parties. Garden of Five Senses and Nehru Park also periodically organise open air gigs and festivals, stay tuned {with us} for event updates.

PLACES OF WORSHIP

There’s very few other cities that will give you the chance to see multiple religions represented as fiercely as what you will see in Delhi. Secularism for the win. We hope. What’s a good folktale about India without religion in a starring role. We won’t disappoint. Take in the Akshardham Temple {largest Hindu temple}, spread over 100 acres, the Laximarayan Temple {Hindu}, spread over 7.5 acres, the Cathedral Church of Redemption, also known as Viceroy Church {used by the viceroy of British India}, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib {Sikhism} {ask for three helpings of the prasad}, the ISKCON Temple, popularly known as the Hare Krishna temple {Hinduisms}, the Jama Masjid {Islam}, the Lotus Temple, and the Hanuman Mandir. Told you we wouldn’t disappoint.

How Best to See: Indians are super sensitive about culture, tradition, and rites and rituals. And each religion has separate tenets. You can most definitely visit them alone, but get a sense of what’s expected out of you beforehand, like the Bangla Sahib will require you to cover your head. Always dress modestly.

Locals Love: This is not applicable. With hectic devotees, you can be sure every temple, gurudwara and mosque is always sufficiently crowded.

FOOD AND EATING OUT

Food and religion are in serious competition for us Indians. There is no dearth of cuisines in the good ol’ Capital, and we’ll give you all the inside info.

INDIAN AND STREET FOOD

We have iron cast stomachs, and wouldn’t suggest braving street food if you’re not from here. Delhi Belly is a reality. For a sanitary version, try Haldirams, Nathu Sweets, Evergreen Sweets or Bikanervala. If you’re looking for an adventure, refer to our Street Food Guide here and here for the best of it. As for North Indian food, you have the couture and budget versions; budget favourites are Pandara Road near CP, Karims, Al-Kauser and Moti Mahal. As for high end versions, we recommend with all our heart Indian Accent {top pick}, Bukhara, and Kainoosh. In the spirit of secularism, if  you want to experiment with authentic food from other states, try this guide for state food, and this for Bengali.

INTERNATIONAL CUISINE

We’ve had a recent onslaught of international chains, and world famous restaurants. There’s nothing you won’t find. LBB staffers recommend Le Bistro du Park and Chez Nini for french food, The Hungry Monkey, Monkey Bar, Olive Bistro, Set’z and Tonino for international cuisine. We guarantee you’ll be spoilt for choice. Explore the website for insider tips.

How Best to See: Make a reservation and knock yourselves out. As for street food, we recommend Delhi food walks for a comprehensive overview.

Locals Love: For Indian food, you’ll find many of us in Pandara Road after a hectic night. Like we said, food is like religion; you’ll find us everywhere.

SUBURBS

If you have time in Delhi, and really want to get to know the city, we recommend making a trip to Cyber Hub, Gurgaon to admonish any preconceived notions you might carry about snake charmers and elephants on the streets. Even if you don’t, Gurgaon is the burbs of skyscrapers, Fortune 500 companies, and power suit clad working professionals.

How Best to See: There is a direct Metro line into Gurgaon, but getting around Gurgaon is tough cakes. We recommend renting a car for the day.

Locals Love: Cyber Hub! What was an industrial, office space, has now made space for a a strip of restaurants, bars, bakeries and coffee houses.

FESTIVALS AND CULTURAL PERFORMANCES

We can’t over sell the vibrancy of the city during a festival, and if planning a trip, we recommend making it around Diwali {month of October-November}. As for performances in the city, we recommend The Qawwali at Hazrat Nizamuddin, held every Thursday night, and a guided tour of the Kathputli Colony in Delhi, a place that still has on call a host of traditional Indian performers, including musicians, dancers and puppeteers. The light and sound show at Purana Qila and Red Fort are both winners, As for other events, stay tuned to our website for periodic updates.

How Best to See: For the Qawwali, stick to a big group and don’t make the trek solo {especially women}. For the Kathputli Colony, stick to a guided tour; get all the info here. 

Locals Love: You’ll still spot many a local at The Qawwali nights in Nizzamuddin

If there’s any help or guidance you need, feel free to reach out to us at editors@lbb.in