"All the different ages of man were represented in the people of the city... minds set in different ages walked the same pavements, drank the same water, returned to the same dust."[City of Djinns, William Dalrymple]
Delhi has been India’s capital for over 100 years – in 1911, the capital of British held territories in India was transferred from Calcutta to Delhi, and the name 'New Delhi' was given in 1927. This new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931. But long before that, this area of northern India had been a magnet for myriad invaders, conquerors and settlers for centuries. It has since developed into a huge, often chaotic metropolis, but, with its historic monuments, colourful markets and noisy bazaars, is now a fascinating, dazzling place that intrigues the visitor and offers plenty of unique experiences. It is the contrast between old and new – the frenzy of the old Islamic capital set against the spacious and gracious, British-built imperial city – that perhaps best encapsulates Delhi’s enduring appeal.
Our included holiday arrangements in Delhi
All our holidays in northern India are based on flights to Delhi and we book a room in a city guesthouse for you at both the start and end of most holidays. This can be either for an overnight stay or for a few hours to freshen up; the exact arrangements are detailed in each holiday’s itinerary.
You may well wish to spend more time here than our included arrangements allow, and we can arrange additional nights at either of our guesthouses. We are also able to organise a car and driver (or a guide) who will happily take you wherever you wish to explore. This is by far the best and easiest way to see the city and cars can be booked for either a full day (8 hours) or half a day (4 hours). Please discuss your plans with us so we can provide you with a quotation.
Sightseeing in the Capital
There is so much to see in India’s capital that it would be impossible to list all the sights here, though highlights include:
• The 17th-century Red Fort, built by the Moghal Emperor, Shahjahan
• The Qutub Minar, the highest stone tower in India, built by Qutbuddin Aibak, the viceroy of Mohammed Ghori in 1192
• The Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque capable of holding 25,000 people
• The India Gate, designed by Lutyens and built in 1931 in memory of the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I
• Raj Ghat, a peaceful spot on the banks of the Yamuna River where a flower-covered black stone commemorates Mahatma Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1948
• Humayun’s Tomb, built by the emperor’s grieving widow, Haji Begum, in 1570, and one of the first examples of Moghal architecture in India
Alternatively, head to one of the many markets and bazaars offering arts and handicrafts of India, to savour authentic ethnic cuisine and to be entertained by street performers; or the colonnaded Connaught Place, full of enticing shops and restaurants.