Delhi India - Holiday Travel Guide to Delhi City
Northern India’s largest city and capital, Delhi, is not the sort of place you travel to generally for a relaxing get away, but more of an energetic stay amongst some incredible sights and activities. With a population well over 13 million, the place is not surprisingly crowded and chaotic, and consequently polluted. But don’t be put off; Delhi is spotted with ruins and monuments indicative of its bountiful history.
As one of the supposed oldest surviving cities in the world, Delhi is perhaps as much as 5,000 years old and is said to have be build and destroyed an astonishing eleven times! So Delhi has a lot to offer those history buffs as well as those interested in architecture and archaeology, with the Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb examples of the incredible history associated with this city.
The native and national language of Delhi is Hindi, however most people also have a good command of the English language also. It is also not uncommon for taxi drivers and shop keepers to communicate with you in English therefore although it would be helpful to know some Hindi, you can be relieved to know that English is spoken by some.
Getting around the city can be quite an undertaking as traffic is usually largely congested due to Delhi’s large population. One can get around by many means, taxis and rickshaws are widely available but beware that they are likely try and charge you a much dearer rate just for being a tourist. Also, be on guard for people trying to give you advice, particularly if they try to convince you that a place is closed or not safe as most of the time they are likely to be on commission to take you to another place. It is advisable not to let out if you are a first timer to India as this marks you as an easy target. An alternative is the metro train which provides a rapid transit solution to many areas. With nearly 100 stations, the metro can be very efficient and a great way to get away from the crammed roads.
The other thing that will no doubt hit you when you arrive in Delhi is the extreme heat. With a humid subtropical climate, more intense than many other similar subtropical cities, the climate is notoriously hot in the summer months when temperatures reaching over 40oC are common place. Travelling in summer is not recommended for tourists not used to such extreme heat and severe humidity. Although variable, the monsoons often begin in June and last usually until October. Therefore the best time to visit Delhi is from February to April and then August to November as during these months the climate is enjoyable. Also take into consideration that in the short winter period, because of the increase in pollution, fog is a common feature which often leads to frequent transportation cancellations because of the low visibility.
Once the climate is overcome, there are so many things to enjoy about Delhi. Feast on some of India’s best food, from pizzas piled high with mouth watering tastes to the magnificent South Indian dosas (savoury crepes). Delhi is known for its wonderful food street stalls offering a mountain of variety to fill your stomach with wondrous flavours. Do heed caution with water and only drink bottled water to avoid water-related illnesses while it is advisable to keep well hydrated, particularly during summer months as it can be very hot and your body will need all the water you can get. This and keeping your body covered from the overwhelming sun are precautions to avoid heat stroke.
Unfortunately being new to India will increase your chances for falling victim to scams and touts. So be wary of any advice given to you as well as unsolicited directions. Therefore it is wise to keep the fact that you are new to India to yourself. If using a driver to take you around tourist spots, be wary that they are likely to take you to places you had not requested and also are known to add on “convenience charges” or other taxes to your end bill to get the most money out of you. Furthermore Delhi has become more unsafe for women as vulgar remarks and even touching is not uncommon so stay in lit places, avoid wondering off on your own and dress conservatively.
Apart from these few unfortunate things to be cautious of, Delhi is an amazing city full of glorious sights, exceptional food and fun activities.