A newly wed Indian couple taking photos at Humayun's Tomb
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A First Timer’s Guide To 3 Days In Delhi Itinerary

Delhi is a bustling city that combines in harmony both the ancient and modern world with over 4,000 years of history. There is nowhere else like it in the world! It is chaotic and vibrant with plenty to keep you busy while touring this 3 days in Delhi itinerary.

Get ready to have your senses greeted and potentially overwhelmed until you acclimate to life in Delhi. And before you know it you might even fall in love with it!

In India in general but especially in Delhi, it is a place where I came to understand the phrase “in chaos there is order”

It is a fast-paced and hectic city where somehow everything makes sense and flows. Keep reading to see the list I’ve put together for the best things to do in Delhi for any first-timer’s visit. Enjoy exploring all the exciting Delhi attractions below!

The tall minaret tower of Qutub Minar made of red sandstone and intricate carvings located that is a must to see on this Delhi itinerary

Where Is Delhi?

Delhi is the capital of India with a whopping 7 million people or about half of the population you will find in Mumbai. Overall, it is the third largest city in India with a true mix of modern meets old world.

Delhi is located in Northern India about 100 miles (160 km) south of the Himalayas, 125 miles (200 km) northwest of Agra, and 163 miles (262 km) northeast of Jaipur.

Sitting on the steps of Jama Masjid which is one of the best things to do in Delhi using this 3 days in Delhi itinerary

Delhi is part of the Golden Triangle that links Delhi with Agra (Taj Mahal) and Jaipur forming a virtual triangle. These three cities are high traffic destinations for visitors as they all have some of the most amazing sights to see in India.

For more information on visiting Agra and Jaipur, refer to my posts 11 Fascinating Places To See In Agra, India and The Best Places To See In Jaipur The Pink City!

And if you are looking for a tropical oasis and relaxation visit a Guide To The Backwaters Of Kerala – On An Alleppey Houseboat in southern India!

Is It Delhi or New Delhi?

When you are researching about visiting Delhi, you may be confused when seeing Delhi, New Delhi, and even Old Delhi. So, which is it? Well, they all reference the same general area but there are a few key differences.

Officially when you are referring to the entire city then use the term Delhi. Both Old Delhi and New Delhi are areas within Delhi. The oldest or most historic section of the city is known as Old Delhi and has a strong Mughal architecture influence.

A white temple that can be seen between two palm trees in the distance from Humayun's Tomb

In contrast, New Delhi refers to the newer section of the city that was established in 1931 when it was a British territory. You will notice more modern buildings and an influence of British architecture here.

So, if you are telling friends where you are headed to, you can just say “I’m headed to Delhi!”.

Travel To Delhi

Most likely if you are flying into India from another country then there is a good chance that you will fly into Delhi as it is one of the largest airports in India.

The Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) is where you will arrive whether you are flying domestically or internationally.

There are three terminals with the majority of domestic flying in and out of T1 and the majority of international flights using T3. To find the best deals, search flight options to Delhi begin exploring today!

If you are coming from cities such as Agra, Varanasi, and Jaipur, taking the train is the easiest way to travel.

The main train station in Delhi is New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS) and it happens to be the busiest in India! For that reason, add in some buffer time to catch your train.

Men selling a variety of colorful fruits along the side of the road in Old Delhi

Plus, taking a train beats driving as you need to have a little risk tolerance driving the highways of India! And that is with a driver…

Unless you are a local, I would highly advise against driving yourself. It is cost-effective and safer to hire a driver. If you do travel by car avoid driving at night or when it is very foggy.

Whether you are traveling between cities in India via car or train, don’t be surprised if there are delays. It is just part of traveling in India… So have some patience!

Accommodations In Delhi

The first three options are centrally located near all the main Delhi attractions. You can also find plenty of restaurants, shopping, and parks in this central region.

The Oberoi New Delhi – located in New Delhi a short distance south of India Gate.

Taj Palace New Delhi – located in New Delhi about 15-minutes from India Gate.

Le Meriden New Delhi – located in New Delhi about 5-minutes north of India Gate.

Roseate House New Delhi – near the airport and good location if you have a very early flight.

Beautiful and intricate inlay work design on the ceiling of a mausoleum in Delhi

Delhi Tours To Take

New & Old Delhi Full Day Tour – This 8 hour guided tour will take you to see the most popular sights in both Old Delhi and New Delhi. This tour is a great option if you are limited on time and want to get the most into a day!

Old Delhi Street Food Tour – Calling all foodies who want to try the best Indian street food! This guided walking tour will take you through the streets of Chandni Chowk and the largest spice market in the world.

Gandhi’s Journey in Delhi Tour – This 4-hour tour takes you along the life journey of Gandhi to important places where he lived, was killed, and his memorial.

Agra Day Trip From Delhi – Although I highly recommend visiting Agra over a few days, this day trip will take you to see the most popular spots in Agra including the Taj Mahal from Delhi. A driver, entrance fees, a guide, and lunch are all included! If you choose to do this, then add a 4th day to this Delhi itinerary.

An Organized Tour by Intrepid Travels – If traveling to India on your own sounds a little daunting, then taking a completely guided tour is a great option. They will handle the logistics, modes of transportation, and lodging so you don’t need to worry about a thing!

Dress Code In Delhi

If you are from the United States, Canada, Europe, or Australia then expect to dress more conservatively than at home. By nature, both males and females dress in modest attire even when it’s hot!

For men, I would recommend wearing jeans, khakis, or thin hiking/ travel pants with a short-sleeve shirt.

For women, you want to be respectful to the culture in India and the key is not to show a lot of skin. If you want to dress in local attire then you can buy a vibrant colored sari to fit right in. I also purchased leggings with a matching kurta which is a long shirt with ¾ length sleeves.

Me standing in front of a temple within the Red Fort dressed conservative in long pants and long sleeve top and scarf.

Otherwise, I wore my travel pants in black that can be used for hiking or anywhere as they have quick-drying material. I usually wore tops with ¾ length sleeves, sometimes a short sleeve on hot days but nothing too low cut.

I would say wearing shorts or a short skirt is a big no. Rather wear a long skirt and a top instead. In many temples or attractions, you may be expected to cover your head with a scarf so always have one handy!

When you visit various sights be prepared to remove your shoes. So, don’t wear new or super nice socks as they will get very dirty…

Me standing next to an intricately carved pole within the temple at Qutub Minar in Delhi is one of the most popular Delhi attractions to see

Bring a pair of shoe pouches to hold your comfy walking shoes when you need to take them off. You can throw in your bag instead of risking them being taken among the countless others.

One of my favorite travel accessories is this travel clip that you can use to clip a sweater or pouch of shoes to your bag for easy access. That way you won’t accidentally set it down and forget it somewhere!

Essential Tips For Visiting Delhi

  • Always make sure to have cash in small denominations as places might not take credit cards.
  • The currency is the Indian rupee (INR). Use the XE Currency app to help assist with determining the exchange rate.
  • I would avoid using ATM machines located on the streets as they are likely not as well maintained and easy to lose your card in.
  • Keep your money and passport tucked away in this money belt or this scarf with a hidden pocket.
  • When you receive change, count it! It isn’t uncommon for them to give you less money back than they should.
  • Arrange for a taxi from your hotel and agree upon a price before taking off.
  • Only drink bottled water or water you have purified yourself. Carry this water purifier bottle to get rid of germs.
  • If you do buy bottled water, make sure the seal of the cap has not been broken! A local told me that sometimes bottles are filled with tap water and sold as new…
  • At each Delhi attraction or anywhere in India, you will notice that there are two prices, one for locals and one for foreigners. If you don’t live in India then you pay the foreigner price.
  • Hindi is the main language spoken but most will speak English as well.
  • Carry a portable power bank to keep your phone always charged!
  • Be aware that most bathrooms are a hole in the ground that you need to squat over. It may seem intimidating at first but you get used to it quickly!
  • Carry plenty of Kleenex, alcohol wipes, and hand sanitizer!

Bonus Tip: If you are looking for a filtered water bottle that will keep you safe on your journeys then read my post, 7 Best Filtered Water Bottles For Travel And Hiking!

Map of Delhi Attractions

Here is a map of all the things to do and see in Delhi that I list in this itinerary. Makes planning and navigating the city easier for you!

This map was made with Wanderlog, a trip planner app

Things To Do In Delhi

Delhi Itinerary Day 1 – Old Delhi

Old Delhi

Wandering the streets of Old Delhi is like stepping back in time with the walled city of the Red Fort the prime attraction to see. Old Delhi is incredibly chaotic and exactly what I imagined India to be like prior to traveling here.

In every direction you look, you will be bombarded with sensory overload with sounds, smells, and sights that can overwhelm at the same time as they delight!

There were moments that I would smell the worst scents and then within seconds inhale the most intoxicating aromas. It really is a party for the senses…

The hectic streets of Old Delhi where there are tons of bikes, rickshaws, pedestrians and power lines overlapping in every direction

It is tough to find a spot among the busy streets of Old Delhi with so many bikes, rickshaws, people and animals

In Old Delhi, it is a world like no other where people, rickshaws, bicycles, cows, dogs, and monkeys all collide yet live cohesively together! All the sights in Old Delhi will be off the main drag of Chandni Chowk and the areas surrounding it.

It amazes me how many power lines are overlapping in what looks like a mess and not cause fires!

Red Fort (Lal Qila)

The Red Fort is an enormous red sandstone walled fort that was the luxurious center of Delhi life during the Mughal Empire (1600s). If you close your eyes you can envision what it would be like to live here in the ancient Mughal ruled era.

The historic Red Fort is the most visited site in Old Delhi and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort also happens to share the same architect who built the Taj Mahal in Agra!

The impressive outer wall of the Red Fort in Delhi made of red sandstone and beautifully carved craftsmanship

The very tall Lahore Gate entrance of the Red Fort in Delhi made of a deep red sandstone and shops lining the corridor into the complex

The Diwan-i-Am building in the Red Fort complex which is a series of red sandstone columns an intricate carvings

As you enter the Red Fort complex, you will walk through the main gate, known as Lahore Gate. You can even see marks left by bullets hitting it in the 1800s.

The majority of the buildings you will see are made of red sandstone but a handful are constructed of white marble and beautiful in contrast.

There are few buildings to make special note of to see with the first being Diwan-i-Am which is a series of red sandstone columns that creates a visually appealing walkway of arches.

A series of red sandstone columns an intricate carvings of the Diwan-i-Am in the Red Fort in Delhi

The most luxurious building is that of Diwani-i-Khas as it is decorated in both white marble and inlay work with stones

Talented craftsmanship in the inlay of the white marble and beautiful flower patterns of the Diwani-i-Khas at the Red Fort

Next, walk on to see the royal living quarters bathed in white marble and opulence. The most luxurious building is that of Diwani-i-Khas as it is decorated in both white marble and inlay work with stones.

The Moti Masjid is the beautiful Pearl Mosque that has a simple yet striking architecture that captures your eye.

The beautiful Moti Masjid is also known as the Pearl Mosque for its white exterior

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset, except for Mondays (closed). Admission for foreigners is INR 500 (rupees).

Tip: Go back after dark and enjoy the Sound & Light Show. The time depends on the season offering both a show in Hindu and in English.

Sisganj Gurdwara

Upon leaving the Red Fort, walk down the long main street in front of you known as Chandni Chowk. Chandni Chowk is a hectic street with a lot going on and might seem mind-boggling at first. I found that my eyes and ears couldn’t take in everything fast enough!

As you make your way taking in the daily life of locals, stop to see the Sikh temple, Sisganj Gurdwara.  It is the ninth Gurdwara which is a Sikh house of worship. Each Gurdwara was built on a site where something of great importance in their history took place.

Sisganj Gurdwara is one of the most important because the Sikh Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded in 1675 because he refused to convert to Islam. His death represented martyrdom and later the temple you see today was built in 1930.

Note: Sikhism is a monotheistic faith and the 5th most celebrated religion in the world. They believe that everyone is equal with no caste system. It is free to enter the shrine.

Kinari Bazaar

Located further down along Chandni Chowk from Sisganj Gurdwara is Kinari Bazaar that is known for its laces, beads, embroidery, and everything you would need to dress up for a wedding. It is fun to walk among the colorful market stalls and watch as locals purchase garments for their big day!

Tip: Closed on Sundays.

Paranthe Wali Gali

If you have worked up a hunger then head to Paranthe Wali Gali to taste the most delicious paratha! Paratha is an Indian flatbread that can be found at one of many sellers along this busy lane. Made fresh they are divine…

Two stuffed Paratha flatbread made with fenugreek leaves. Served with chilled yogurt and vegetables.

You can try a variety of parathas with fillings ranging from peas, potatoes, pumpkin, and more. You can’t go wrong with any of the vendors on this street as you will be blissfully happy biting into one.

Tip: Two popular spots are Babu Ram Parantha and Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan Paranthewaia and located right off of the main street of Chandni Chowk.

Lunch At Karim’s Restaurant

I heard about Karim’s Restaurant from a local and so glad I decided to take their advice as is it is one of the most delicious meals in Delhi! Located just a 5-minute walk from Jama Masjid (south of it), this is a great place to eat before or after you visit Jama Masjid.

Entrance to the famous and delicious Karim's Restaurant

Definitely come with an appetite as you will want to try an assortment of dishes that are heavenly on your taste buds. Karim’s is a legend for serving Mughal-style food fit for royals since 1913 cooking the dishes the same ever since.

The restaurant has been run by the same family for 4 generations making the tastiest kebabs, curries, and more. I may have eaten more than I should but I couldn’t get enough… I enjoyed each bite, savoring the memory of this incredible Indian meal!

Tip: You may also see it referred to as Karim’s Hotel as there is also a hotel located here.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India and quite an impressive sight to see! Of all the mosques I visited in India this one is the prettiest with beautiful and very grand architecture.

Jama Masjid was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1650 and at full capacity, it can hold 25,000 people in its courtyard.

Photo of half of Jama Masjid mosque made with red sandstone and white marble. It is one of the best things to do in Delhi.

A long open-air corridor in Jama Masjid in Old Delhi, India with an arched walkway and carpets throughout

A photo of Jama Masjid mosque with its domes and minaret towers

Shah Jahan is the same emperor who envisioned and built the famous Taj Mahal. The mosque is constructed mostly of red sandstone and sprinkled with white marble throughout.

If you make your way across the courtyard, pay the fee to climb the 121 steps of the minaret tower on the south side. The views of the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk, and the rest of Old Delhi is spectacular! You get a bird’s eye view of Old Delhi from a quiet viewpoint.

The tall minaret tower of Jama Masjid with people entering the base to climb the stairs to the top

At the top of the minaret tower looking down at the top of Jama Masjid and the huge square of the complex

A side view looking down the corridor with a series of arches and talented carvings on the red sandstone

Tip: Females will be offered a large dress like robe and must cover their head with a scarf. I had on long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and I still had to wear the covering offered.

You will also need to remove your shoes upon entering. Don’t leave your shoes but throw them in this shoe bag and clip to your bag or purse.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset except when prayers are being held from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm. Admission is free although you do need to pay a camera fee which is well worth it at INR 300 (rupees).

Chawri Bazaar

Chawri Bazaar Road branches off from Jama Masjid and is a market that is known for selling copper, brass, and paper products. As with the other markets in Old Delhi, it is fun to wander and see the everyday life, selling of wares, and colorful activities.

A delicious street food vendor in Old Delhi serving up hot food to order. Trying street food is a must on any Delhi itinerary.

You can also find an assortment of delectable street food and spices among the narrow lanes of Chawri Bazaar. Maybe even grab yourself a Kulle Chaat which is a combo of spices, chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, lime juice, and salt inside of a carved out vegetable or fruit!

Tip: The bazaar is closed on Sundays.

Raj Ghat – Gandhi Memorial

Raj Ghat is a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi also known as Gandhi who is a famous figure around the world. He was a non-violent leader in fighting for India’s independence from British rule. His peaceful demeanor and humble living led him to champion for peace and passive resistance.

He was known for partaking in hunger strikes in hope of inspiring peace, was imprisoned for civil disobedience, and ultimately became the prominent face for India in regaining its independence.

The Raj Ghat memorial for Mahatma Gandhi in Delhi is a black marble platform covered in flowers and an eternal flame

Sadly, he was killed by a Hindu fanatic in 1948 and this memorial Raj Ghat marks the spot where his body was cremated. Today there is a raised black marble platform that is covered with flowers and an eternal flame in remembrance.

Note: If you didn’t already know who Gandhi is, he might seem familiar as his face is on the front of a rupee note.

Hours & Admission: Open daily sunrise to sunset and admission is free to all.

Delhi Itinerary Day 2 – New Delhi

New Delhi

Today you wake up to tour an entirely different side of Delhi, New Delhi. It is in complete contrast to Old Delhi where it feels as if you have left ancient India and are now seeing modern Delhi. You will quickly notice the newer buildings, more parks, many hotels, and a little less chaotic.

Humayun’s Tomb

One thing I can say about India is that they have the most spectacular tombs that I have ever seen. Humayun’s Tomb is no different as it is a huge building constructed in Persian style architecture with two tones of red sandstone and white marble.

It looks more like a palace than a tomb! Humayun’s Tomb is one of my favorite places to visit in Delhi for its beauty.

Entering the complex of Humayun's Tomb which is one of the best Delhi attractions to see for its architecture

Seeing Humayun's Tomb for the first time is a wow moment as it has stunning Mughal-style architecture in red sandstone and white marble.

A close-up of the red sandstone and white marble exterior of Humayun's Tomb with gorgeous inlay work and carvings.

The tomb was completed in 1570 for the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun. The design and craftsmanship is exquisite with a series of archways, a few tiers, and topped with a bulbous white dome. It reminds me a little of a fancy birthday cake!

Three white marble tombs inside of the Humayun mausoleum

A side and close-up view of the enormous size of Humayun's Tomb in Delhi

One of many buildings and structures among the garden complex of Humayun's Tomb

After you walk up the steps and explore the tomb itself, turn around and walk the gorgeous garden complex surrounding the tomb. You don’t have crowds here so it is a very peaceful spot to wander and take in the stunning memorial from a distance.

Note: Humayun’s Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset. The admission for locals is INR 35 and INR 550 (rupees) for foreigners.

Jantar Mantar

There are a number of Jantar Mantar’s in India which are scientific observatories that were used to determine time, the month and pick out stars and planets in the sky. They did this using sundials and other geometric shapes that were advanced tools for 1725 when it was built.

If you have already been to Jaipur then make sure you see the Jantar Mantar there as it is the biggest one in all of India. Each structure or instrument you see serves a different purpose in measuring time or celestial objects.

A red stone structure that is a scientific tools used to determine time and find celestial objects and a popular sight to see during your 3 days in Delhi

After you leave Jantar Mantar, it is a 10-minute walk to Connaught Place. Connaught Place is where many hotels, shops, and restaurants are located with a small circular Central Park in the middle of it.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission for locals is INR 25 (rupees) and INR 300 for foreigners.

India Gate

After leaving Connaught Place and grabbing a bite to eat, make your way to India Gate. Visually, India Gate resembles that of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as a tall arched monument.

Its height reaches 138 feet (42 meters) and built in 1931. India Gate is a war memorial to all those fallen soldiers who fought in the British Army during World War I.

India Gate is a tall arched monument and a dedicated memorial to fallen Indian soldiers and made of tan sandstone and resembling similarities with the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

It is built with yellow and red sandstone that has a warm glow when illuminated at night. There are beautiful parks and plenty of green spaces surrounding it. You could even have a picnic here if the weather is nice.

A bright green and yellow autorickshaw in front of the tan colored India Gate arched memorial

It is a lovely walk from India Gate along the broad and spacious boulevard known as Rajpath. At the other end are the Parliament buildings and Rastrapati Bhavan. Rastrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India that you can tour by reserving a ticket ahead of time online.

The walk will take about 40 minutes from India Gate to the opposite end but it is worth it.

Hours & Admission: India Gate is open daily at all hours and is free to visit.

National Museum of New Delhi

If you enjoy wandering museums and learning about history then check out the National Museum of New Delhi. I didn’t get the chance to visit myself but there is a lot of Indian artwork, armor, jewelry, and artifacts all ranging over a 5,000 year period which is impressive!

It is one of the best museums in India and if it is a hot day it is the perfect place to escape from the heat.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm except for Mondays (closed). Admission for locals is INR 20 (rupees) and INR 200 for foreigners.

Lodi Gardens

If you want to end the day in a serene oasis then head to Lodi Gardens which is a large city park covering 90 acres and a stark contrast to the hectic streets of Delhi.

As you walk through the vast gardens you will notice old domed tombs from the Lodi Dynasty scattered in the park.

One of the biggest dome tombs surrounded by a grassy park in the Lodi Gardens which is one of the best attractions in Delhi for outdoor space.

A beautiful old dome of a tomb from the Lodi dynasty of the 1400s located in the Lodi Gardens

Walking among the huge Lodi Gardens is like walking in an outdoor museum as with this stunning domed tomb

It is a popular spot for walkers, runners, and families picnicking on the many grassy areas. I was amazed by the number of gigantic palm trees that must be well over 100 years for their sheer size.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset and it is a free park to visit.

Delhi Itinerary Day 3

Qutub Minar

Qutub Minar is a phenomenal piece of architecture as it is the tallest brick minaret tower in the world at 238 feet (72.5 meters)! It is no wonder that it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Qutub Minar was constructed in 1192 with Mughal architecture like many of the sites in Delhi. And if look closely enough at the sections going up, you will notice a different pattern in each.

The Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret tower in the world in various shades of red and tan colors and detailed carvings in the entire tower

A close-up view of the detailed and intricate carvings in the structures around Qutub Minar that is remarkable the level of craftsmanship and a green parrot can be spotted on a brick

The level of detail that is carved into every inch of the minaret tower is unreal! How the craftsmen who worked on it were beyond talented… It is believed that Qutub Minar was built as a way to call people to prayer. It might even have signified the victory of Muslim rule in India at that time.

An exotic small green parrot is sitting on one of the bricks and one of many that you can spot Delhi attractions

A very cool structure with a series of columns with a roof covering with fine craftsmanship carvings on all of it located at the Qutub Minar complex

There are 379 steps to the top that is said to have an amazing view. But we will never know as the tower has been closed to tourists climbing it since 1981. Don’t miss out on seeing other notable monuments and tombs throughout the complex too!

And keep your eyes open for the prettiest green parrots that can be found perched on bricks all over.

Note: You might see Qutub Minar spelled Qutb Minar and/or Qutab Minar. All refer to the same minaret.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission for locals is INR 35 and INR 550 for foreigners.

Lotus Temple

Once you see the Lotus Temple, it is easy to see that it is called that because it is in the shape of the lotus flower. With the surrounding nine ponds, it really does look like something you would find in nature. The Lotus Temple is officially called the Bahai Temple as it is a Bahai faith house of worship.

Walking up the path and gardens to the Lotus Temple in the background that looks like a lotus flower

The Lotus Temple welcomes people from all faiths and does not discriminate. What I found interesting is that each Bahai Temple in the world is known to have a grand architectural aesthetic. Let’s just say each Bahai Temple is visually unique!

A close-up view of the flower looking Lotus Temple that is a stark white with blue pools surrounding it

The white marble temple was built in 1986 and is one of the most visited sights in Delhi for its architecture. Take a few minutes to sit inside, close your eyes and take in a quiet moment before heading back onto the energetic streets of Delhi!

Hours & Admission: Open every day except for Mondays (closed). The temple is open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in the summer and from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm in the winter months. Admission is free for all to visit.

Dilli Haat

Dilli Haat is a colorful open-air market or bazaar that is a great place for shopping and finding fantastic souvenirs. It is very calm and clean here which is a different experience than shopping in the markets of Chandni Chowk!

So many gorgeous and colorful scarves, saris and fabrics that make for the perfect souvenir from Dilli Haat market in Delhi

There are numerous vendors that are selling handicrafts by local artisans. You can find items such as sandalwood carvings, silk & wool fabrics, bags, saris, and jewelry.

I might have picked up a few vibrant silk scarves that I still use often! The vendors you see one day might be different the next as the craftsmen are rotated every 15 days.

Several tasty Northern Indian dishes served with naan bread and rice for lunch at Dilli Haat

If you time it around lunch then grab yourself a delicious meal from the outdoor food court. One of my favorite meals in India was here as I ate it up not leaving a bite behind… You might even get lucky and be entertained by a cultural or musical performance too!

Hours & Admission: Open daily from 10:30 am to 10:00 pm. The admission price for locals is INR 30 (rupees) and INR 100 for foreigners.

Tomb of Safdarjung

There is no shortage of remarkable examples of architecture in Delhi and the Tomb of Safdarjung is one of them! The tomb of Safdarjung like many of the tombs in India look more like palaces with very grand intricate carvings and inlay work.

This particular tomb was built for Safdarjung who was the Prime Minister of India during the 1700s. As with Humayun’s Tomb, there is a large garden area surrounding the tomb and a quiet place to escape the crowds.

A blue sky day and view of Safdarjung Tomb memorial lined with palm trees and viewed from the main gate entrance

There are striking similarities between the architecture of the Tomb of Safdarjung, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Each is made of red sandstone and white marble with a Mughal influenced design.

Note: If you have seen the 2013 movie “Jobs” then you will likely recognize the Tomb of Safdarjung featured in it along with Humayun’s Tomb and Jama Masjid. The movie is based on the famous Steve Jobs who started Apple.

Hours & Admission: Open daily from sunrise to sunset. Admission for locals is INR 25 and INR 300 for foreigners.

Akshardham Temple

This is one attraction in Delhi that I wish I had visited. It is located a little further away than the sights listed and is a huge Hindu temple complex. From what I have heard, it is a gorgeous temple with outstanding architecture and well-manicured gardens.

So why didn’t I go? Well, I was deterred because you are not allowed to take in your phone, camera, or bags. So basically, you can only take in your wallet and one bottle of water. But on my next trip to Delhi, I will plan on visiting just for the experience of seeing the intricate carvings on the temple, the water show, and gardens.

Hours & Admission: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, closed on Mondays. The admission price is INR 170 for adults, INR 125 for seniors, and INR 100 for children.

Best Time To Visit Delhi

The best months to visit Delhi are from October through March where the days won’t get too hot as the rest of the year. I’ve been in October, December, and January all with excellent weather.

The temperatures will be warmer in October ranging from 68 F to 81 F (20 C to 27 C). In December and January, it will be a little cooler but the days are still nice with temperatures ranging from 50 F to 72 F (10 C to 22 C). The evenings and early mornings will get pretty cold and possibly foggy at that time.

A domed building with three arched entryways in red, white and tan colors in the garden complex of Humayun's Tomb

I would highly avoid April through September as the temperatures will be scorching hot, high humidity and monsoons. During these months, the temperature will range from 100 F to 106 F (38 C to 42 C)!

How To Get Around Delhi

For short distances or if you need a ride from your hotel to see one of the top Delhi attractions then hopping into an autorickshaw is the cheapest way and fun!

If you are not taking a tour that includes a driver to sights that are a little further away or if it is really hot then I recommend hiring a driver for the day. It is very economical and worth it!

A full day of paying a driver was cheaper than getting a taxi to the airport in California so I say that is the way to go.

A bright colored yellow and green autorickshaw is a common way to get around Delhi

You can ask your hotel to arrange a driver and see Delhi at your own pace. Because the temperatures can get very hot and humid, always ask for a car with air conditioning.

Although I didn’t use it, you can also use Uber to get around if you have Wi-Fi on your phone. Personally, I found it less stressful to have a driver for the day that we knew would be waiting for us. And as a bonus, he would hold our belongings in the car if we didn’t want to carry something.

Is Delhi Safe To Visit?

Overall, yes but as a female, I would not feel comfortable going solo. There is crime in every city of the world but as a female, I found that of any country I have been to the men gawked, stared, made lewd gestures, and groped me a number of times.

And this was when I was with my parents on one trip and my ex-husband on the other trips! I never had any specific issues beyond that but if I had been by myself, I probably would have had a different experience.

In the bigger cities like Delhi, rape has been an issue at times but again it is in all cities so take that with a grain of salt. Dress conservatively and you should get less attention.

A close-up view of inlay work that is black set into white marble and surrounded by red sandstone

I don’t want to deter someone from visiting but I encourage females to not go solo. Use common sense by not going out at night, avoid travel at night if possible, and don’t be too overly friendly with men.

I know it doesn’t seem fair but they could perceive that as an invitation. Now having said that, I met many men that were extremely nice, respectful, and very hospitable to have a conversation with.

India is a beautiful country with beautiful people that I hope everyone can experience one day!

Do I Need A VISA?

Yes! Look into your country requirements but for the U.S. a passport is required that has 6 months validity from the time you travel to India. The passport must have 2 blank pages.

Applicants need to apply for a Tourist VISA that is if you are traveling as a tourist. If you are traveling for business or other reasons then look into those requirements too. The tourist VISA is good for 180 days and allows for multiple entries into India.

A lattice work of white marble that looks like a screen to a window in a beautiful pattern that is all one piece

Note: You CANNOT get a VISA upon arrival so make sure you apply in advance of your trip.

Prior to travel, speak to your healthcare professional to make sure all vaccinations that might be needed are up to date such as tetanus, hepatitis A and consider taking malaria chemoprophylaxis (pills). On each trip to India, I chose to take precautions with malaria to be on the safe side.

Have a wonderful time and enjoy seeing the best things to do in this Delhi itinerary!

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56 Comments

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you find the info helpful for a future trip to Delhi! Yes, lots to see in Delhi! 🙂

  1. This is a great comprehensive overview. Exactly all the tips I would want to know before visiting a new place. I feel ready to visit Dehli 🙂 And the size of all those tombs really is remarkable.

    1. I’m so glad you find the tips helpful especially for any first-time visitor! It’s jaw-dropping to see how big and beautiful the tombs are. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ann, I’m glad you find the guide helpful! Have a wonderful time when you visit India again! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Rachel! Delhi and all of India is a magical and exciting place that I hope you enjoy as much as I did. 🙂

    1. Yes, there is a lot to do and see in Delhi as it is such a big city to explore. Have a great time when you do make it there. 🙂

  2. This first timer guide is so insightful! I visited India and Delhi a long time ago with a group and it was really amazing. I think you gave a lot of important info for people have never visited India before!

    1. Oh thank you! I’m glad you find the guide helpful. I’m sure you remember that India can be a little overwhelming at first so always nice to have good tips prior to going. 🙂

  3. Great post. I found Delhi a hard city to love but this has made me want to return there and give it a second chance. The food alone makes it worthwhile!

    1. Thank you! Delhi can definitely be an overwhelming city to adapt to at first. A shock to the system! On my second visit, I was very relaxed as I knew what to expect so maybe you will have a similar experience. 🙂

  4. I would love to go back to Delhi to properly see the city! Also Indian food is my absolute fave so I was salivating over all your food!!! I need to also read your food tour post later 🙂 🙂 you know that’s my nam!!

    1. The food in India was phenomenal but I think some of my favorite meals were in Delhi. I can’t find Indian food here at home that can even compete. lol. 🙂

  5. Love how you split your itinerary into Old and New Delhi! I would love to experience all the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi but the sights of New Delhi look interesting too. The street food looks so delicious.

    1. Thanks Carina! It was helpful to see all the sites in one area of Delhi per day so I thought it might be helpful to others too. Omg, the food is really amazing! That is enough to require a visit! 🙂

  6. Absolutely loved this post! The detailed descriptions, travel and dressing tips are awesome! I’ve always wanted to go to India. Bookmarking this guide for when I get my chance!

  7. Wow, so many great architectural gems! I have a guest post on my blog about Qutub Minar so I’m familiar with this recommendation. The rest looks very interesting.

    1. The architecture in Delhi and all of India is pretty jaw-dropping for sure! One day you will have to see Qutub Minar and the rest of the sights yourself! 🙂

  8. Another comprehensive guide Vanessa. I’m going to use your shoe pouch tip for other countries in Asia. Old Delhi really appeals to me and I’d love to see the Jama Masjid, such beautiful architecture. Going to save this for when we make it to India.

    1. Thank you so much Wendy! The shoe pouches have saved me from losing shoes in a pile when needing to take them off to visit temples, etc… Plus I still use them for every trip so that they don’t get my clothes and other things dirty. I even throw in a wet swimsuit sometimes! One of my favorite pieces of travel gear. Yes, Jama Masjid is a spectacular place to visit with its architecture and old-world feel. 🙂

  9. Awesome! Very valuable article about Delhi, now I know the old and the new plus the tips! One of the things that draw me to visit India is the food.

    1. Thank you! Yes, the food is a major reason to visit India as it is quite amazing with all the flavors and spices. Trying the various foods is a great way to tour both Old and New Delhi! 🙂

    1. Omg, the food is outstanding, and yes is reason enough to visit Delhi! Plus all the incredible architecture just adds to the draw. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you find it easy to read! The Lotus Temple is so different and beautiful that it is a must to see. 🙂

  10. This is a fantastic itinerary!! So many things. And I love all the tips especially about what to wear. I absolutely love chickpeas so that Kulle Chaat sounds like a must!

    1. Thanks MacKenzie! If you love chickpeas then you will definitely love many Indian dishes especially Kulle Chaat. I’m glad you found the what to wear tips helpful for anyone visiting for the first time! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie! I really appreciate that! Happy to hear that the guide and tips are perfect for a first-time visitor to Delhi! 🙂

  11. As a person who has lived in Delhi before shifting to Australia, I think you have given a lot of info. This is very helpful for people who have never visited India. Gazing is quite common in old Delhi (not sure why) and is not restricted to foreigners. I have faced it too and I was born in India ahaha.

    1. Thank you! That means a lot as someone who has lived there! 🙂 That’s interesting to know local females get the same treatment as foreigners as I didn’t realize that.

  12. This is such a helpful and detailed post! I hope to visit Delhi one day and take this guide to help me, it looks incredible!

    1. Thanks Helena! India is a fabulous country that I hope you get to visit one day as it is so unique and interesting. 🙂

  13. Extremely informative post for those who’re yet to visit Delhi Vanessa! We live in Delhi NCR & are happy to see a foreigner do justice to the craziness that Delhi is. About the female safety bit, we agree completely. Even after being born in India & lived all my life here, I would still think twice before going out at night alone or to secluded areas. & Indians have a fetish with staring. Don’t mind us! 😀 Having said that, there are chilled out, safe places in Delhi where you can wear anything & not have to worry about attention. Apart from Old Delhi, most places in Delhi are tolerant towards skirts & dresses, provided not too short. Hope this helps further!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words and it means a lot coming from someone that is a local! I always try to do my best to respect local traditions and attempt to not stand out. Lol. I usually don’t wear short skirts anywhere but good to know that dresses are more acceptable in most areas of Delhi. That definitely helps especially anyone reading this, thanks! 🙂

  14. I know less of Delhi than I do the other Indian cities. Which doesn’t detract from it. Humayun’s Tomb and the Mosque are truly immense, I’d be seeking them out first. Another really thorough blog with expert detail Vanessa.

    1. Many thanks John! Yes, I think you would love seeing Jama Masjid and Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi as their architecture is jaw-dropping to see! 🙂

  15. Great write up on Delhi! I’ve been to every single place you mentioned. I was living as an expat in Delhi before I was sent back to the USA (three guesses why…). My husband is still there, actually. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back soon.

    1. Thank you! Oh no, that is so sad you had to leave him. I can only imagine how hard that has been but hopefully, you can get back there soon. Glad you have enjoyed touring Delhi while living there as it is an exciting city! 🙂

  16. Love to see your new post. whenever i see the name Qutub Minar and India Gate, it means Delhi. These both places are the symbol of New Delhi and I love to visit both places. Subscribed your blog for regular updates.

    Thanks a Lot
    sanya Sharma.

    1. Thank you so much! Both are beautiful places in India indeed! I hope you enjoy my future posts! 🙂

  17. This Delhi itinerary is just perfect to explore in 3 days. I recommend this Itinerary to my friends, and also i have subscribed. 🙂 love this blog every time.

  18. I visited Delhi for two days on my own back in 2019 and really enjoyed my experience! It looks like we did a lot of the same things, but I missed the Red Fort and would love to go back sometime to see that. Although my itinerary was jam-packed similar to yours, I feel like it was the perfect amount of time to see much of what Delhi has to offer! Great blog post. Xx Sara

    1. I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Delhi too! There is a lot to see and it is a fast-paced city but worth it. Yes, the Red Fort is an incredible place to visit and hope you get to go back one day to see it in person! 🙂

  19. These are great tips and ideas! Thank you so much for posting and sharing. We are planning our India trip for next year and this is by far the best insight I’ve seen! When we’re back we’ll let you know how we made out but I’ve bookmarked your site as a reference. Great job!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it! I’m glad my tips are helpful in the planning of your trip. Enjoy and have a wonderful time. Yes, do let me know how your trip goes! 🙂

  20. This is such a fantastic blog, and your insights can be an excellent guide for anyone. I definitely think that people should research a lot about the place they are visiting beforehand and also be aware of their surroundings once they are there. I felt very safe in Delhi, but I know that not everyone does. Again, great job on this guide!

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