Delhi: Our Short Stay Guide

Sprawling across the plains of north India as far as the eye can see, Delhi, India’s capital has moved far beyond city status into the realms of metropolis. With a population of 25 million and counting, Delhi positively thrums with activity.   From the top of the towers of its burgeoning business districts to below ground.   Here a glossy new Metro whisks a quarter of the inhabitants a day through its tunnels.

It’s mesmerising, intriguing, and just a bit dizzying. The city continues to creep outwards like ink on a piece of blotting paper.  At its core, remains an older Delhi or in fact, several older Delhi’s.  Each is full of history, culture, and colour.

A walk Chandni Chowk market in Old Delhi with our guide Robinson

Old Delhi, is a heady confection of winding alleyways. Best known for its thronging bazaars and tantalising aromas from countless street-food stalls.

There is also the spacious New Delhi of the British Raj.  Clean and green with wide spacious Boulevards. Edwin Lutyens’ grand design for the city took almost 20 years to conjure into existence beginning in 1912.

And dotted across the two are the creations of earlier rulers, from refined Mughal tombs to crumbling Tughlaq fortresses.

Ugrasen ki Baoli, an underground structure for wateer storage in Delhi.

In Delhi there is no such thing as rush hour.  Instead, think of it as a non-stop 24 hour rush.  This city never sleeps!

Things to do

In the evening, take a tour of the old Chandni Chowk market.   Old Delhi at night has a completely different vibe when compared to Old Delhi during the daytime.

Start at Kanwarji’s, a sweet shop and an Old Delhi institution. Continue through Ballimaran’s plentiful bakeries and chai shops, eating at the different food stalls as you go.  Wander towards Jama Masjid and its glittering bazaars which remain open till the small hours of the morning. 

A walk Chandni Chowk market in Old Delhi with our guide Robinson

Have your ears cleaned. Yes seriously!  There are men who are experts at that!  And they make a good living doing so.  Look for a guy wearing a red hat and a pin sticking out from beneath it. He is an ear cleaner.

Ear cleaning man by fruit stand in Chandni Chowk market

Pack a picnic. In the evenings, India Gate is beautifully illuminated.  Nearby the fountains add to the spectacle with their colourful lights. The gate stands at one end of Rajpath.  And the surrounding area is often referred to simply as India Gate.  The lush green lawns around it are a popular spot for picnics and leisurely strolls.


You cannot visit Old Delhi and not stop by the Sunehri Bagh Masjid.  This stunning mosque was constructed during the Mughal era. It was completed in 1656 after a six-year build. A listed Grade-III heritage structure, it consists of two storeys, and comprises a Bangla dome and four minarets.  Prayers are said here 5 times a day and at busy times, over 25 thousand worshippers pray together there. 

Visit to the Masjid-i Jahan-Numa, commonly known as the Jama Masjid of Delhi, one of the largest mosques in India

The Sikh Sisganj Gurudwara Temple is next-door to Sunehri Masjid.  It is one of the nine historical Gurdwaras in Delhi. It was first constructed in 1783 as a small shrine by Baghel Singh.  And was built to commemorate the martyrdom site of the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. It was here that he was beheaded on the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb on 11 November 1675. However, before his body could be quartered and exposed to public view, it was stolen under the cover of darkness by one of his disciples. 

New Delhi

In new Delhi, Ugrasen ki Baoli, often called Agrasen ki Baoli, is stepwell, built during the 15th-16th century.   A truly peaceful spot in the heart of noisy Delhi this protected monument is well worth a visit.  This popular tourist attraction has featured in many films.  

Visit the Presidential Palace, or Rashtrapati Bhavan It is the home to the President of the world’s largest democracy.  It is emblematic of Indian democracy and its secular, and inclusive traditions. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker it stands on a 330 acre estate.  In the past it served as the imperial residence of the British viceroys. 

Take a drive along the Rajpath past the Parliament House and secretarial buildings.  You will past the India Gate, memorial.  It honours Indian soldiers killed during WW2 and the Afghan war.

Visit Qutab Minar, the 12th century tower of victory built by a slave king and the prototype of all minars (towers) in India. 

Be sure to visit the 16th century Humayun’s tomb. This stunning tomb was is said to be the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.


If we suggested that Kolkata was not a city for shopping, then in Delhi the opposite is true.  But don’t try to do so until after 1130.  The ladies of Delhi are far too busy running their households before then so good shops do not open!

For sale in Central Cottage Industries Emporium

If you need a bespoke suit made, or a shirt tailored head to Grover in Khan Market.  Inside 24 hours it will be ready for collection.

Anokhi shop n Khan Market

Khan Market is the place to shop for clothes.  The selection of small boutique shops is vast. And the stock they sell is of good quality.  Prices are a fraction of those in Europe.  Shops that found favour with us included Amrapali for jewellery, Cord, Manan, Anokhi, and Ogaan for clothes.  Nicobar and Fabindia had some great household items that were unusual and desirable.

Eating and drinking

Buttered Chicken, Dhal Makhan (Black lentils) and Pindi Channa (chickpeas) are some of the delicacies that Delhi is famous for.

If you cannot tear yourself away from shopping in Khan Market the Khan Chacha Rolls does a good line in fast food

For good locally brewed beer try the Connaught Clubhouse Brewery.  Not only is the German style beer good and cold, but the food is also cooked for European tastes.  It was disappointing but the beer was good!

Michael enjoying the beer in Connaught Clubhouse restaurant and microbrewery

Our guide recommends restaurants on Pandara Road.  His recommendations included  Pindi, Havemor, Gulati and Chicken Inn!  We cannot vouch for any of them!

Another restaurant on Pandara Road is a lot more fun.  Chor Bizarre brings authentic Indian cuisine in a setting that is unabashedly Indian. Their chefs have endeavoured to stay true to the actual origin of each regional dish, honestly recreating flavours that one would normally associate only with home cooked food of that region.

Part art, part kitsch, part imaginative, part contrived, the interiors of Chor Bizarre have been put together with frivolity and sheer joie de vivre in mind.  Chor Bizarre – A play on the phrase Chor Bazaar, or Thieves’ bazaar issaid to serve the best Kashmiri food in India. 


Haveli Dharampura is an 18th century Mughal era heritage property that is now an hotel.

A rich well-connected family saved this 200-year-old ruin from dereliction 10 years ago.  They painstakingly restored it over six years retaining the property’s original architectural beauty while adding modern amenities.

Ornate wooden doorways and antique balconies were all restored.   Lakhori brick walls and lofty ceilings were all brought back to life.

A gallery of black-and-white photos tells the story of this extraordinary building, which has been awarded UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Built from red sandstone typical of the Mughal era, the haveli has two floors that face inward over a marble quad.  It features rooftop bar and restaurant that looks across Old Delhi to the Jamad Masjid.

Throughout the week, the property hosts entertainment such as Kathak Dance and classical music, high tea and pigeon flying.

Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?  And certainly, it could be.  Sadly though, the hotel suffers from poor management and low-quality staff training.  This means the rooms are dirty, the maintenance shocking, and the service is awful.  Such a tragic waste of a once beautiful asset. Instead try the Imperial or the Oberoi hotels.