A Perfect Day in Delhi

To make a perfect day in Delhi even more enchanting, visit Janpath Market early and grab a cold coffee at DePaul’s. Order kebabs at Karim’s in Chandni Chowk. In the evening, watch Delhi’s Red Fort come alive with a light and sound show that showcases 5,000 years of India’s history. That covers about 5,000 years of Delhi’s history in only 24 hours. A perfect day in Delhi, indeed.

Kaccha Bagh Area, Old Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Rickshaw rides are common in Chandni Chowk, the vast and crowded market in the Old Delhi quarter, but book a comprehensive rickshaw tour for an immersive experience that lasts longer than 15 minutes. Witness the architectural marvels, multicolored facades, beautifully decorated shops, and the fragrances emanating from the potpourri of eateries that line the historic alleys. The tour covers 20 main sites—palaces, mansions, elegant shrines, and colorful bazaars—and finishes at an 1860 haveli (mansion) where you’ll visit a gallery of photos depicting the lifestyle of Mughals, as well as a small lounge where you can relax and try some typical snacks.
Jama Masjid Rd, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, was commissioned by Shah Jahan, the same emperor who built the iconic Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Completed in 1656, the courtyard of Jama Masjid can accommodate 25,000 devotees. Visitors must comply with a dress code; traditional robes can be rented at the northern gate. The mosque is located in Old Delhi near other notable sites, including the Red Fort and Chandni Chowk market, so schedule extra time to explore the area. Note: No visitors are allowed during prayer hours.
Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi, 110006, India
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Red Fort, located in New Delhi, is a treasure trove of cultural history. You can spend hours wandering among the various buildings, learning much about the history of India. Tucked away within the walls of the Red Fort is the Hall of Public Audience. Don’t be fooled by the modest red exterior, for once you cross the threshold you are greeted by intricately detailed inlaid-paneled walls that run from the floor to the canopy-ceiling. It is within this chamber that the emperor would receive people from the community and hear their complaints. (I entered this building to whine about the 104-degree heat, but alas, there was no emperor available, as it was far too hot.)
12, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Rd, Tees January Road Area, Motilal Nehru Marg Area, New Delhi, Delhi 110011, India
There are some bars that get lost in the crush, while others make a lasting impression. Headed straight into the latter, Aura, a luxury bar in the 5-star Claridges Hotel, specializes in a wide array of vodkas, with more than 60 different rare vodkas from around the world to choose from. It’s one of the oldest bars in Delhi, dating back to the time when the nightlife was exclusive to upscale hotels. The place isn’t very large, so it makes for a cozy atmosphere. If you’re a vodka aficionado, you won’t want to miss this place. And if you’re not, you may just want to go to see the impressive range of vodkas. Full-course meals is not the house specialty, so you can expect to only find appetizers and small snacks to accompany the coveted spirits. Call ahead for various events such as bartending lessons and vodka tastings.
Seth Sarai, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030, India
Delhi’s Qutub Minar, at 72.5 meters or 238 feet tall, is the tallest tower in India. Built as an Islamic monument in the early 13th century of red sandstone and marble, the minar is not without controversy. Some believe the tower was built to celebrate Muslim rule in the country, and others claim it was erected to call the devoted to prayer. The surrounding complex houses the first mosque to be built in India, tombs, a madrassa, and an iron pillar that is mysteriously resistant to corrosion, even after being exposed to the natural elements for centuries. Until 1981, visitors were able to climb the 379 stairs to the top of Qutub Minar, but the interior is now closed.

The Qutab Minar is notable for being one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. It is surrounded by several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as Qutub complex. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque, stands one of the legendary Ashoka Pillars. This large iron pillar has withstood the ravages of Delhi’s weather (and recent pollution) and has not rusted in over 1500 years.
Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Talk about first impressions: Carved sandstone elephants welcome guests into a two-story chandeliered lobby at this palace-style hotel. Attentive service starts at check-in, with gifts of bindis and fresh jasmine necklaces. At 550-square-feet or larger, rooms are palatial themselves, and richly decorated with oriental carpets, jacquards, and hand-embroidered brocades. Those on higher floors offer panoramic city views, but many visitors choose spaces overlooking the internal courtyard or expansive garden (and away from a 16-lane highway) for a sense of calm. The hotel’s Edwardian-inspired bar draws locals and guests alike with its 25-page whiskey and scotch menu, as does a rooftop pool with stunning vistas over New Delhi’s urban landscape. Unique amenities include an on-call astrologer and, for women travelers, the option of an all-female service staff, including butler, gym instructors, and private city guides.
Atmaram Mansion, Shop No. 9A, Atul Grove Road, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India
Welcome to Rajdhani, also known as “that yummy Thali place.” A Thali is a round platter that serves a selection of various dishes. Traditionally, a proper Thali offers six flavors on one plate: spicy, salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and astringent. The platter can be veg or non-veg, but Rajdhani specializes in veg cuisine from Rajasthan and Gujarat. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the 22,464 delicacies from 72 rotating menus. With four locations in Delhi, you will never be too far from an endless platter of goodness.
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