Explore the network of frenzied and constantly moving streets of New Delhi, India’s historic capital. Walk tree-lined boulevards and learn about the tumultuous past that saw the city destroyed and reincarnated several times. The result is an eclectic mix of government buildings and architectural styles from throughout the ages.
Qutab Minar exemplifies New Delhi’s mixed heritage, having been built by Muslim leaders in 1193. Its legend states that it was built on the ashes of 27 destroyed Hindu temples. A short car trip away can land you at the Presidential Palace (Rashtrapati Bhavan), which combines British and Indian architecture from an era of colonial rule.
Stop often at the city’s many Mughal gardens for a breath of fresh air. These manicured parklands feature Islamic and Persian-influenced designs, spotted with fountains, pools and canals. Humayun’s Tomb is a stunning showcase of Mughal-style landscaping. Explore a carefully planned garden, split into square lawns by walkways and waterways that represent the rivers of Islamic paradise.
Enjoy New Delhi’s diverse spiritual heritage at one of many temples around the city. Learn about anamorphic and multi-limbed gods at the Swaminarayan Akshardham, the world’s largest Hindu temple. Across the city, carvings on the façade of the Birla Mandir Temple depict harrowing tales of Hindu mythology. After a visit, explore the commercial heart of the city, Connaught Place, where markets, shops, restaurants and cafés cater to hungry and curious travellers.
One of New Delhi’s most popular draws is its spiritual retreats. Learn about traditional worship or observe devotees praying at the ISKCON Temple. Join an “ohm” chant, salute the sun and then revitalize your body with a vegetarian meal within this complex.
Visit New Delhi between September and March, when you can avoid extraordinarily hot summers and drenched monsoon months. Get around the city cheaply using rickshaws and taxis; though expect traffic jams, especially when sacred cows choose to wander the streets.