13 Fun & Almost Free Things to Do in Delhi With Your Friends

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One of the top five most expensive cities in India, Delhi isn't considered much of a traveller's delight. Often mistaken for having just a drinking and cafe culture, visitors don't exactly get to experience the fun things to do in Delhi in a budget friendly way.

Sometimes it takes little or no money to get to the heart of a place. Here are some of those soulful, exciting yet inexpensive things to do in Delhi and also some of the most iconic places to visit in Delhi.

1. Spend a day climbing at the Indian Mountaineering Foundation

You won't expect a mountaineering foundation to be in Delhi, but the city is cut out of the Aravali Hills and what the capital lacks in natural challenges is made up for in state of the art technology. IMF, Moti Bagh is now home to the International Standard Artificial Climbing Wall and needless to say, it is one of the most adventurous things to do in Delhi that can make your day super fun without spending too much money.

Credits: SoDelhi

Photo of Indian Mountaineering Foundation, Benito Juarez Marg, South Campus, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Charges: Rs 150 for a 4-hour shift and Rs 500 for one month as per current rates.

Location: Indian Mountaineering Foundation, 6, Benito Juarez Road, New Delhi

Contact: +91 11 24111211, +91 11 24117935

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2. Experience culture and diversity at the JNU campus

Jawaharlal Nehru University has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. But the university campus is beautiful. It is spread across a whopping 1,020 acres of land in the heart of Delhi and exploring this vast forest cover is one of the fun things to do in Delhi on quiet evenings. This land contains the highest natural point in Delhi, the smartest people from all across India and some really cheap but delicious food.

Photo of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Must visit in JNU: Parathasarthy Rocks, Ganga Dhaba, 24x7 and keep an eye out for any of the number of cultural events and sessions that happen every day.

Note: You can't take any vehicle inside JNU without the student ID card. It is best to just walk in to the campus.

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3. Do early morning bird-watching at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, spread across 4 square kilometres, is one of the 466 important bird areas in India. Things to do in New Delhi definitely includes exploring this vast bird sanctuary. In fact, Delhi is the second most bird-rich city in the world. But the birds are best spotted early in the morning, not anywhere near the 'dancing cars' or the car-o-bars.

Photo of Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Sector 95, Uttar Pradesh, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Noida Plaza, N Block, Pocket K, Sector 95, Noida

Tip: Visit in the morning. Don't throw your garbage there. In fact take a bunch of friends along and do a small cleaning drive.

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4. Get your shopping fix at the flea market of Sarojini Nagar and Janpath

If you have been in Delhi even once then you are aware of the fandom around Sarojini Nagar and Janpath. Going shopping here is like volunteering for a treasure hunt and for the shopping lovers in Delhi, this is one of the most fun things to do in Delhi especially on the weekend. To avoid the crowd, I suggest you make a trip during a weekday. Picking some sub-standard things on the way, you will probably make your way to the most remarkable find.

Photo of Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Tip: Mondays are great for Sarojini Nagar shopping, since apparently the market is supposed to stay shut but every shop takes out stuff for clearance at dirt cheap prices.

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5. Read/ buy/ flip through books at Delhi's several book cafes

Got a bunch of hours to spare? Then chuck those malls and head to any of these stunning book cafes where you can spend time with great literature and food. If you love to spend peaceful afteroons all by yourself, this is definitely the best thing to do in Delhi for you.

Credits: Ivy & Bean

Photo of Ivy & Bean, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: 119, Sishan House, Shahpur Jat

Price for two: Rs 1,000

Contact: 011 41090119

Where: N 81, Oxford Bookstore, Connaught Place

Price for two: Rs 500

Contact: 011 33503291

Where: 5 E, Dada Jhungi House, Top Floor, Shahpur Jat

Price for two: Rs 100

Contact: 098105 56284

Credits: Another Fine Day

Photo of Another Fine Day, Golf Course Road, Sector 43, Gurgaon, Haryana, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: MPD Towers, DLF Golf Course Road

Price for two: Rs 700

Contact: 0124 4386155

May Day Cafe & Bookstore

Where: 2254/2A, Ground Floor, Shadi Khampur, West Patel Nagar

Price for two: Rs 200

Contact: 011 25709456

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6. Jog on the stunning trails of the Jahanpanah Forest

The most polluted city in the world owes its status to rampant development and concrete expansions. But somewhere in the middle of it all is the Jahanpanah Forest. This treasure is tucked near Chirag Delhi, Greater Kailash (GK), Alaknanda, Hamdard Nagar, Madangir and Ambedkar Nagar. The forest is spread across a massive 800 acres and makes for an amazing place for a jog amidst nature despite being in the middle of the capital.

Credits: SoDelhi

Photo of Jahapanah Forests, Jahanpanah City Forest, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Greater Kailash, Chirag Delhi

Tip: Don't get too deep into the forest on your first visit. Chances of getting lost here are pretty high.

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7. Check out India's best contemporary artists at NGMA

The National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi is worth every bit the hype. The massive gallery has a collection of 14,000 art pieces, which get shuffled throughout the week, and also debuts pieces of new artists. Exploring the art scene of Delhi at this gallery also makes it's way to the list of fun things to do in New Delhi. From Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma and Abanindranath Tagore to Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gill and S.H. Raza, this gallery is a wet dream for art enthusiasts.

Photo of National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Where: Jaipur House, Sher Shah Road, Near Delhi High Court, India Gate, New Delhi, Delhi 110003

Tip: The gallery remains open from 10 AM to 5 PM. Make sure to take an entire day out for this place – a couple of hours are not enough.

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8. Experience some real qawwali at Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah

Delhi is the hub of culture and diversity. From glorious Sunday masses to Thursday Qawwali, there is something for everyone. You might have marked your favourite qawwali videos on YouTube, but watching it first hand is a completely different experience. And Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is already a favourite with Bollywood, so there is no chance you wouldn't like its energy.

Photo of Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Timing: 6:00-7:30 p.m. and 9:00-10:30 p.m. on Thursday nights

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9. Join Raahgiri For a fit morning

This car free citizen initiative by Delhiites is getting popular with every passing day. The New Delhi Municipal Council and the city's police department came together to host a car free day in Connaught Place Inner Circle. This weekly street event in the capital city helps citizens to reclaim the streets and makes for one of the best things to do in New Delhi to connect with the community. The event sets stage for Zumba, Aerobics, and Yoga. Raahgiri is the only time of the week when Delhi residents come out on the streets of Connaught Place with cycles, footballs, frisbees to kick start their day.

Image Credits: Raahgiri Day, New Delhi

Photo of Inner Circle, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Click here for Delhi Raahgiri Schedule.

Timing: The event starts at 5:30am on scheduled Raahgiri Days in CP.

10. Spend a sunny afternoon at Lodi Garden

This 90 acre park right the heart of Delhi is an old jaunt for Delhiites to get some sun on the weekends. Lodi Garden is located between Khan Market and the Safdarjung Tombs on Lodhi Road. The park has several quiet corners to relax and if you love reading or listening to music by yourself during sleepy evenings in Delhi, head to Lodi Garden and walk around the massive park until you find a peaceful spot, just to yourself.

Image Credits: Abhishek.rai777

Photo of Lodi Garden, Lodhi Road, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

Tip: The Bara Gumbad and Sheesh Gumbad located at the centre of the park and the tombs of Muhammad Shah are unmissable spots to explore on your visit.

11. Find the right mix of Old and New Delhi at the Hauz Khas Complex

The Hauz Khas complex is just the perfect spot to spend your day exploring city with an epic historical past. This complex in South Delhi houses an age-old water tank, a mosque, the tomb of Feroz Shah and an Islamic seminary. The Northern side of the complex is connected to the Hauz Khas Market and Delhiite exploring the market area often sit and relax at the ruins of the complex to enjoy the evenings on the quiet side of Hauz Khas. Taking a stroll around this serene complex is one of the best things to do in Delhi.

Image Credits: Nvvchar

Photo of Deer Park, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Sreshti Verma

12. Cycle with the Pedal Yatri in Delhi and Gurgaon

It's essential to land on the correct Facebook group while you're on a hunt for cycling events in and around the city. Pedal Yatri is one such group where cycling enthusiasts from around Delhi and NCR share information about their recent adventures and invite members for weekly ride plans.

Check out Pedal Yatri's facebook page.

Image Credits: Pedal Yatri

Photo of 13 Fun & Almost Free Things to Do in Delhi With Your Friends by Sreshti Verma

13. Chill on a Metro Line

My suggestion is the Blue Line. Though every Delhi Metro line has an awesome number of attractions at every stop, but I have travelled the most on the Blue route and it's definitely my favourite. The maximum fare of a ticket is Rs 50, so pick the first stop of any line and travel all the way till the end. Or even get a tourist metro card of Rs 150 for a single day. Believe me, it is really not that boring. In fact, you will get a hard and fast dose of the city without spending a lot of money, but if gets too monotonous you can get off at any of the following stations and hop back on the Metro again.

Credits: Shalu Khandelwal

Photo of 13 Fun & Almost Free Things to Do in Delhi With Your Friends by Sreshti Verma

Top stations on Blue Line:

Akshardham: Visit the famous Akshardham Temple

Pragati Maidan: Head to the massive Pragati Maidan (you can plan your visit around International Trade Fair, Book Fair, etc) or grab a bite at Cafe Lota

Connaught Place: The station for Connaught Place is the busiest one! Get out here for CP and do just about anything.

Karol Bagh: Station for one of the oldest markets in India.

Rajouri Garden: With three massive malls and a popular fashion market, Rajouri Garden is a favourite of West Delhiites.

Janakpuri West: Visit the District Center, which has several restaurants and a PVR.

Dwarka Sector 10: Every main food joint and market in Dwarka can be found in this sector.

Best places to stay at in Delhi

Luxury: The Leela Palace, The Roseate, The Lodhi

Mid-range: Courtyard by Marriott, Haveli Hauz Khas, Thikana

Budget: Treebo Amber, Optimum Palm D'or, Hotel Sunstar Grand

Hostels: GoStops Delhi, Zostel Delhi, Jugaad Hostels

Homestays: Saket B&B, Nina Kochhar's Homestay, Sandeep's Homestay

So let go of the stereotypes about how expensive Delhi is and discover it the local way. If you know more fun and free things to do in Delhi, hit the comment section below and tell me all about it.

Have you visited interesting spots in your own city? Share the story of exploring Delhi with travellers on Tripoto.

2 Comment(s)
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Sorry to inform all, but one cannot even just walk into the JNU campus without an ID card now....
Sun 07 10 16, 14:07 · Reply (1) · Report
My mum goes every evening! She has been going there for walk since years!
Wed 01 25 17, 14:16 · Report
That's a really useful post even for a person living there all their life!
Fri 07 01 16, 04:47 · Reply (1) · Report
Yeah, I agree....
Sun 07 03 16, 21:21 · Report