India’s capital city and former colonial centre, Delhi is as exciting and beautiful as it is testing and bewildering for the tourist. There are many temples and buildings of interest including the Kali Bari Mandir temple, Lotus temple and the Red fort. A trip to India gate and on to the parliament buildings is also thoroughly recommended, as is a walk around Old Delhi and Connaught place. There is also great shopping in the quirky streets of paharganj and Old Delhi but beware of the scammers and touts who will hound you from dusk to dawn – especially in Paraganj.
I stayed for 4 days in Delhi, which was perhaps one day too many. Three days in Delhi is plenty to see all the sights, but it is ecommended to then head out of the smog and crowds as India has plenty more to offer besides a giant crowded city. A day trip around the beautiful free Kali Bari Mandir Hindu temple and the Lotus temple is a good first day itinerary to get you started with Delhi’s religious sights. Second day, a trip to the Red Fort followed by India Gate, Parliament and Rashtrapati is a great tourist view. Third day – Old Delhi, Connaught square and paharganj will complete a shopping tour to show you the life led by Delhites.
Doing Business in Delhi
It seems more and more common that people from the UK head to India on business, and as a result, the economist has created this audio guide to Delhi. This website is targeted at travellers or backpackers rather than Buinessmen, however I thought this guide was a really good description for the traveller as well as a businessman, on life and surviving in Delhi.
Beware of the many scams and money making schemes out there against the western tourist. First off, many sights in Delhi, such as the Red Fort charge a tourist rate, which whilst not a bank breaker at 250 Rupees, is many times higher than that charged to Indians. Avoid
using anyone who comes to you in the street and says they offer official government tours. They are lying. There is only one government tour office. This tour is very cheap and highly recommended and is not sold by a third party on the street. Do not use these people – you will be heavily ripped off (Government tour is 150Rupees, tout tour wil be 1500.) Another classic scam is for a taxi driver to take you to places other than those you wish. I got taken all over Delhi to a carpet shop and some temple I didn’t wish to see by some unscrupulous driver. Don’t be afraid to be firm with Indian Taxi drivers and say no.
Taxis in Delhi
Taxis in Delhi are all green and yellow rickshaw tuk-tuk’s. You can hail one down almost anywhere. Beware that almost all Delhi taxi drivers will try to set a price with you first and say their meter is broken. This is rubbish – they all work (they are their lively-hoods!) and you will probably see them turning it off when they see you . I only managed to find a few taxi drivers willing to use a meter and the price is vastly lower than those offered by other fixed price drivers. If you do accept a fixed price, never accept anything more than half the offered price. For example – a trip from India Gate to Red fort by Meter will be 25 Rupees. I was being offered 100-150 Rupees by most fixed price only drivers. Never get in a taxi without first agreeing a price or seeing the meter switched on.
Travelling Delhi to Amrtisar & Delhi to Agra
Very close to Delhi is Amritsar in Punjab, with its beautiful href="/india/amritsar">Golden temple and elaborate Border ceremony. This is 5 hours away by train. Also, Agra with the world famous Taj Mahal is a short 3 hour train ride. Book your train tickets on Indian Railways here.