I had always wanted to visit Delhi, so much so that when I got to know of a long weekend, I packed my bags to visit the capital of India. Needless to say, Delhi is not a place that can be fully enjoyed in just 3 days. So here are my top seven things to do if you are planning to have the quintessential Delhi experience:
1. Shop till you drop at Sarojini/Janpath- Delhi is truly the shopper's paradise. With more than enough options in clothing, shoes, electronics, and jewelry, you will buy a lot and still not find your wallet lighter than before. Due to the great cultural mix, Delhi, as a shopping destination remains unparallel. The city provides shopping opportunities to all consumer types irrespective of age, gender, budget, preference of brand, and retail experience.
2. Marvel at the Qutub - If you want to experience a step back in time then this is the place to be. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Located in the Qutub Complex, the Qutub Minar is the centerpiece of this ancient precinct. The tower was built in the 12th century as a Victory Tower by Qutb-ud-din Aibak who later became the Sultan of Delhi. The Minar has been added to over the years and attempts were made to replicate and improve on it but all in vain. The remnants of this failed attempt can be seen nearby (Smith's Folly).
3. Explore Majnu Ka Tila - Also known as the Little Tibet of Delhi, this is a fascinating blend of Tibetan and Indian culture. If you are in the mood of some soul searching and cleansing then this is the place to be. As soon as one enters this colony, the atmosphere seems to be very different from that of mainstream Delhi. The close-knit buildings and the very narrow lanes provide relief from the scorching Delhi sun. The walk through the colony is filled with the soft hum of the gong of monasteries and the smell of incense in the air. The lanes are famous for the various cafes and junk jewelry stalls. One can find Tibetian momos and noodles being sold at every corner of this place. Places to try - Ama Cafe and Tee Dee.
4. Soak in the nightlife at Hauz Khas - Hauz Khas is the perfect place for unwinding. Pick any pubs or cafes to relax in. Their menus too, very helpfully, suggest the perfect dish to pair with your drink. With good music and limitless seating, one can get a taste of the Delhi nightlife! Some places worth trying out are the Hauz Khas Social, Maquina, and Yes Minister.
5. Humayun's Tomb - The tomb of the great Mughal Emperor Humayun, was built way back in 1572 by his wife Bega Begum. It’s said to be the first garden-tomb to be built in the Indian subcontinent and is one of the first monuments to be made using the combination of red sandstone and white marble in India (and it is also said to have inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal). The tomb is set in 12 hectares of serene and beautiful gardens, and it is quite an experience to just take a stroll through them while marveling at the grandeur of Humayun’s Tomb. It’s amazing how such a magnificent structure is nestled in the middle of the city and transports you back in time, all while offering the most peaceful surrounding.
6. India Gate - Originally known as the All India War Memorial, it is an important landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 82,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the British Indian Empire in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Burning in a shrine under the arch of India Gate since 1971 is the aptly named Amar Jawan Jyoti (the flame of the immortal soldier) which marks the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The three flags of the Armed Forces of India can be seen here: the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force.
7. Binge on the best Momos - Delhi is the melting pot for all cuisines but what better than the authentic Tibetan momos. It's safe to say that momos have now become the staple food of a Delhite. Their stuffings have rapidly evolved from their humble chicken and cabbage beginnings to crazy experiments like vodka and soup!