Delhi Travel Information
Delhi is a metropolis that has a long and interesting history which mirrors the evolution of present day India. It has been the capital of many a dynastic rule and has also borne destruction and rebuilding many times mainly due to its strategic location.
Today, Delhi is the Capital of the Republic of India since India became Independent in 1947. Even before that, it was the Capital of the British Raj in India from 1911 to 1947. New Delhi is the part of Delhi that was planned by the great architect Lutyens as the modern administrative capital of British India.
Thus Delhi is a wondrous combination of history and heritage, world-class urban development and glimpses of rural India in the villages of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh that have become part of the city as it spreads wide and far.
Delhi offers a lot to the domestic as well as the international tourists. For visitors interested in history, there are many places of interest that tell the history of different times, different dynasties and different cultures. For the modern traveller, the modern well planned city beginning with the new swanky International Airport, the seat of Government, the efficient public transport system: The Delhi Metro, the wide tree-lined avenues, the colourful flower-laden roundabouts are all treats to the senses.
While in the times of Mahabharata, 5000 years ago, the present time Delhi was Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas, the city was built and destroyed and again rebuilt many-a-times. There were seven cities in the area that is now Delhi founded by different rulers who made that city their capital. It was the capital of the Tomar Kings till it was taken over by the invader Muhammad Ghori. The Slave dynasty followed when Qutb ud din Aibak became the Sultan and made Delhi the capital of the Sultanate. This was followed by the Khilji, Tughlak and Lodhi dynasties. Tourists can see many historical sites and monuments that showcase these historical events. The Mughal dynasty ruled from Delhi and Agra from the Red Fort until the British ousted the last Mughal Ruler and established complete control over undivided India.
The old city of Delhi is a sharp contrast to the newer one. It was mainly developed in the Mughal era and had flourishing markets, luxurious havelis with a maze of lanes and by-lanes that criss-crossed the amazing place. It has remained almost the same and is still a busy, over-populated commercial and residential area.
Best Time to Visit Delhi
Delhi has an extremely hot summer and a cold winter. The tourist season is from October to March and includes the Delhi winter which is mild as compared to the winter in Europe or North America. By October the long, hot summer and the short monsoon season is over and the weather is right for travellers to come and enjoy the city. By February flowers are blooming and everything is green and fresh. From street food to specialty restaurants Delhi is the foodie’s favourite destination during this time.
As in every major city of the world, there are a few precautions that all travellers must take when travelling to Delhi. Although India is well known for her hospitality and warm welcoming people, it is always good to be careful to avoid inconvenience or loss.
- Bookings for Hotels and travel should always be done and reconfirmed well in advance. Never take the risk of landing up in the city and looking for accommodation.
- The best time to visit Delhi is in the months of February and March, October and November as the weather is perfect for sight-seeing and enjoying the many wonders of Delhi. The months of December and January are cold and from April to September, it is extremely hot.
- Do not take the help of strangers (who are basically agents and touts) for services such as taxis, shopping or tours. At most conventional markets bargaining is prevalent and one needs to bargain to get a fair price. There are only a few places where the prices are fixed and bargaining is not allowed.
- Always be very careful about purses, wallets where you store money and important documents such as passport, tickets etc. In crowded buses, other public transport or roads one needs to be doubly careful.
- It is best to ask for directions or advice from traffic policemen or Police Vans called PCR vans that are around.
- Most people in Delhi speak or understand Hindi hence understanding or speaking the language is a great advantage. It is good to carry a book of Hindi phrases that you can read out whenever necessary.
- Although Delhi is by and large quite modern and western attire is most often acceptable, there are parts of Delhi that are quite conservative even now. It is advisable to be modestly attired in these places.
Health Precautions for Delhi Travel
It is always good to take precautions when one is travelling especially to a tropical country such as India. Due to the contrast that most western travellers experience; in the weather, in the quality of food and water, in the upkeep and cleanliness of public places, toilets etc., it is not uncommon for foreigners to fall ill if certain precautions are not taken.
- Avoid eating at roadside eateries even though they offer some of the most delicious and cheap food anywhere in the world unless you are sure of the cleanliness and hygiene standards of the place.
- Always drink bottled mineral water that is of a well known brand. Always check that the cap of the bottle is sealed. It takes long months to develop immunity from water borne diseases and it is easiest to fall ill because of contaminated water.
- It is not advisable to eat any food or drink from road-side vendors especially fruit that is cut. It is best to eat cooked food and ready-made canned juices.
- Delhi summer can be very exhausting and if you are exposed, it is easy to get dehydrated. Hence always carry safe drinking water with you and keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.
- There is always danger of getting sunstroke or sunburn in the hot summer months especially for western tourists who are not used to the heat. Hence it is better to use sun block lotion and cover your head with caps, hats or use umbrellas.
Money Exchange in Delhi
Indian currency is the India Rupee or INR. It is available in different denominations of notes and coins. There are notes of the following values, the highest being 1000 and lowest 1 (not used anymore). In between there are 500, 100, 50 20, 10 and 5 Rupee notes that are in circulation. There are also coins of value Rs. 10, 5, 2 and 1.
It is advisable to carry money in small denominations as it might not be easy to get change of Rs. 1000 or Rs. 500 for tips and cab or rikshaw rentals
It is a good idea to exchange your money at authorised places at the airport or in the city in banks or authorised money exchangers at good Hotels or Travel Agents such as Thomas Cook.
Now it is also possible to use the local ATM to draw cash with your Credit or Debit or Travel card such as Visa, Master card, Diner’s or American Express.
What to Wear in Delhi
Your attire is completely dictated by the weather of Delhi and which place you are visiting.
- If you have come in the tourist months of February- March or October- November, you can wear comfortable clothes and footwear.
- If you come in the scorching heat of summer, you must wear light cotton clothes that are loose fitting and chappals or sandals on your feet. You must also wear a cap or a hat to protect yourself from the hot sun rays along with lots of sunscreen
- If you are coming in winters, you will need woollens and also scarves and caps.
- It is a good idea to wear traditional Indian outfits such as salwar-kurta for women as it is designed for the Indian weather as well as the Indian ethos.
- It is best to be modestly dressed when visiting religious places like mosques, gurudwaras and temples. You might also be required to remove footwear and cover your head when entering some places of worship. You can wear socks if you don’t want that your feet are soiled.
- For sightseeing or shopping when there is a likelihood of walking long distances, it is a good idea to wear comfortable foot wear.
You can buy all the things that you require to wear from the local markets in Delhi where you can get whatever you need at a reasonable price. So, travel light and enjoy!
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