Coming to Delhi for the first time? Or even if you’ve been a Delhiwaala all your life, here’s a curated list of things you ought to do, see and explore while in the capital city. Get set to check out the top 10 things to do in Delhi.  And remember; keep adding to your own little black book!

Top Things to do in Delhi

The Villages

When we say ‘village’, the last thing we are referring to is the image coming to your mind, of dilapidated structures, straw huts, and dawdling cattle. In fact, we mean quite the opposite. Hauz Khas Village, ShahpurJat and LadoSarai, which form Delhi’s high-endurban villages, are favourite haunts of the literati, and of Delhi’s young and fabulous. These burgeoning villages have something for every type of connoisseur – from food, to art, to culture, to heritage, to fashion and decor.

Shopping {Boutique}
Quaint or bustling, crowded or serene, off beator mainstream – whatever ambience you’re looking to shop in, this city has multiple options for you. While shopping complexes like Santushti and Meherchand form one end of the spectrum, affording the best offbeat contemporary Indian designer labels in an ambience that will harkenback to the era when shopping was a leisure activity, there are also Khan Market, Emporio, and Crescent Mall forming the other end of thes pectrum, housing the largest and most chic brands under their roofs. Spend a day at any of these, and you will go home with your wallet considerably lighter, but your home/wardrobe a lot fuller.

Shopping {Street}
Why go all the way to Bangkok to have your fill of street shopping, when Delhi provides unparalleled venues for the same? If you’re getting sick of buying clothing at heavily inflated MRPs,and are longing to haggle with vendors, head straight to Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar or Janpath. Sarojini Nagar and Janpath house export rejects from all the big labels so don’t be astounded if yousee clothing with ‘Zara’, ‘Dorothy Perkins’ or ‘Bershka’ labels on them – and don’t faint when you discover that you can pick these upfor Rs 200 or less! Lajpat Nagar forms the Indian clothing counter part for the same, and you can find great bargains on Indian wear here.

History and Heritage
Alleged to be close to 5,000 years old, Delhi is a city deeply steeped in history, and has a collection of relics from every stage in history. Therefore, if you’re a history buff,there are few places better than the Capital to explore. Make a trip to Red Fort’s light-and-sound-show to be transported back to Shah Jahan’s reign, or visit one of the foremost architectural wonders of the world, the Qutub Minar, or head to the Old Fort to admire its secular architectural style which has survived the ravages of time, or visit the Jama Masjid for an insight into the one of foremost places of worship for the largest religion in the world – and you will discover for yourself, that Delhi’s historical heritage is second to none.

Off-Beat Heritage Trail
While there are the monuments that you read about in travel books, Delhi is also home to a lesser-known heritage that is an absolute must visit. Take a walk in ChandniChowk’s narrow lanes, walk past Ghalib’s home, get great bargains on Indian wear, gorge on delicious meat the original Karim’s, and visit its preserved havelis to be transported back to another era altogether. Visit Feroz Shah Kotla, which houses an Ashokan Pillar, rows upon rows of silent dark alcoves with oil and incense lit by people propitiating Djinnsfor help, and the ruins of a mosque. Encounter an ever-evasive spiritual solace at the Nizammudindargah, which hosts qawwalis on Thursdays, or spend a day at the Mehrauli Archaelogical Park which a100-acre green expanse, with 70-odd monuments scattered around it.

Old Delhi
Still surrounded by crumbling city walls and three surviving gates, the bustling and vibrant Purani Dilli is a labyrinth of tiny lanes crowded with rickshaws, lined with 17th-century havelis,  and seems to be on a collision course – symbolizing remnants of the past while being captivated by what’s to come. There’s lot to do here,and we suggest you hire a rickshaw to get the best of what the Old City has to offer – visit Chandni Chowk, the Sisganj Gurudwara (GuruTegBahadur was beheaded by Aurangzed here), the Fatehpuri Masjid, KhariBaoli (reputed to be India;s largest spice market), and make pit stops at the Paranthewali Gali, and Karim’s to satiate any hunger pangs. Head further south to Zinat-ul Masjid (Daryaganj), or “CloudMosque,” and Rajghat, where Gandhi was cremated.

International Cuisine
They say you should expect to have your pantry wiped out in no time if you’re playing host to a Dilliwali, and we’d have to agree – Delhi is a city of foodies, and why wouldn’t it be, considering the diverse range of French, Italian, Mediterrenean, Chinese, and Fusion cuisines its restaurants have mastered. While there is the classic ‘Indian Accent’, a host of independent restaurants and cafes, like Olive, Chez Nini and Rara Avis are serving up some delectable dishes to die-hard foodies, and are a must try. The latest to join the bandwagon are Diva and Le Bistro du Parc, and we can tell you first-hand that the food at all these joints is impeccable.

Street Food
If you haven’t heard of the world-renowned Delhi-belly syndrome, allow us to enlighten you – it refers to a state of not being able to stop yourself from gobbling up the delicious street food this place has on offer, and often results in the runs. No trip to this city is complete without a taste of the gol-gappas, chaat-papri, raj kachori, aaloo-chaat, tikki and bhel-puri it is ever so famous for.

Visit the Khau Gully on the UPSC Lane on Shahjahan Road, or the Bengali Market,both of which attract people from all over the city, and of course, Chandni Chowk {which we have already told you enough about}. For all the health-and-sanitation-buffs looking to get a taste of street food, you could visit Haldiram’s which is located in pretty much every market, for some clean and healthy street food (that’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?)

Connaught Place
One of  Delhi’s major landmarks and a part of Lutyens Delhi, Connaught Place reflects a mix of modern and old-schoolarchitecture, with something to do for everyone. Catch up with a friend over coffee at D’Pauls or the United Coffee House, grab somegrub at its many many restaurants, sip on shakes from the infamous Keventer’s, shop will you drop at it’s multiple shopping venues –Janpath, Palika Bazaar, Shankar Market, and Paharganj, or get away from all the chaos at the AgrasenkiBaoli, which is a hidden tank near the Max Mueller Bhavan crossing. Connaught Place is also a haven for the culturally inclined, with the British Council, the Goethe-Institute, and a host of art galleries in the vicinity.

Local Transport
What is Delhi without its lifelines – autos and rickshaws, and most recently, the Metro. To get an authentic taste of the life of a Dilliwala, a trip on its local means of transports is essential. Be it having a near-death experience on a crazy rickshaw ride along Old Delhi’s undulating roads, or haggling with an autowaala and snaking your way through traffic in the green-and-yellow lifesavers dotting roads, or being pushed around the world-classand super-efficient metro, which is constantly blurring social differences due to diverse range of people it caters to, Delhi’s local means of transport will be an experience in themselves, irrespective of what your destination is.