OK to be fair was I was in Delhi for a little longer than a day but if you’ve only got a day to spare in this chaotic city you can fit everything you need to see into it.
Start your day in old Delhi and visit the Java Mosque, one of the biggest mosques in India and built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the same man who is responsible for the building of the Taj Mahal. You’ll definitely be able to recognize some similarities in the architecture between the two structures.
Next stop visit Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib, a Sikh temple. Make sure you have time to visit the community kitchen on the grounds of this temple. It provides food and drink to anyone who needs it without discrimination. The kitchen is so efficient, I’ve never seen anything quite like it!
Now it’s time to lose yourself in the chaotic streets of Old Delhi, spoil yourself with a bit of shopping or simply marvel at all the goods on offer. If your feeling brave grab yourself a street samosa, just make sure they cook it fresh in front of you!
When you’re done in Old Delhi jump on a tuk tuk and high tail it to Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market! When people say India is an assault on the senses this is what they’re talking about! There are so many different smells, people everywhere, horns honking and salesmen yelling but it is exciting! And it gives you a real taste of India. Wander through and admire the colourful spices and everything else that is on offer. There are some retailers that are packaged to customs standards so you can even take your own little piece of the market home with you, I picked up some mango infused green tea. Before you leave the spice market look up and find yourself a high rooftop, chances are you’ll be able to get up there and from the safety of the rooftop you can look down and take in the chaos that truly is Delhi.
It might seem like a lot but you can fit all of the above into half a day for the next half of your day I’d recommend hiring a car and a driver, you can hire a tuk tuk if you’d like and it will be cheaper but for me I couldn’t pass up an air conditioned vehicle especially considering the midday heat. The first stop for your vehicle of choice is the Parliament buildings and India gate, a war memorial for the 82,000 Indian soldiers who died in the first world War.
Next stop is the World Heritage Qutb Minar complex. The most notable landmark amongst the archeological remains and historical monuments found at this site is as the name suggests the towering Qutb Minar. Standing at 72.5m the Minar was built as a celebration of Islam and is the highest stone tower in India.
To finish up your day spend the rest of your time exploring Humayun’s Tomb. This incredible world heritage site houses the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Built by his son Akbar it was the first garden tomb commissioned in India. Take your time and explore the gardens and various other monuments found within the complex.
A few additional sites that were closed when I did my exploring include the Lotus temple and the Red fort, worth looking into if you have some more time. I was told that if you’ve visited the Red Fort in Agra it’s counterpart in Delhi is very similar so maybe give it a miss if you’re on a schedule.
All I can say is Delhi is one very exciting city with a lot to see! You could split this guide in half and do it in 2 days if you have the time or pick and chose what interests you most. You’ll be exhausted by the time you finish no matter what you chose to do and like I said earlier and what many have said before me India is an assault on the senses but if you’re open to the chaos you’ll be able to see the magic and beauty that lies within this crazy place.