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May 26, 2017

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24 Hours in New Delhi

If you're only spending a day in New Delhi, it's most likely as part of a much larger trip through India.  Being a former British colony during the worst phase of British colonialism, combined with delusions of grandeur experienced by even the most minor civil servants, has resulted in India being one of the most bureaucratic countries you'll ever visit.

Consequently, this means India is one of the few places on Earth where you'll still need to buy a visa before you arrive for even a brief stay, and where the conditions to qualify for a visa are quite strict.

In general, a day is enough for most tourist visitors, because the real India lies far beyond the city limits. On the plus side, staying in New Delhi gives you the best chance of having working plumbing, easy and reliable access to the Internet, and easy access to international services.

Good to know

The most confusing thing about New Delhi for first time visitors is its name.  New South Wales is a very long way from South Wales, so you'd expect New Delhi to be at least some distance from Delhi. This, in fact, is not the case.

New Delhi is completely surrounded by the rest of Delhi, making it in reality a suburb of Delhi, even though everyone regards it as a distinct city. Roughly speaking, New Delhi is to Delhi, as Canberra is to the ACT.

Adding to the confusion, as you'll quickly discover, New Delhi is not very new, having been built in 1911. It's just more new than the rest of Delhi.

Places to see inside New Delhi

Seeing all of Delhi in a day wouldn't be easy, if it's even possible. Fortunately, in the case of New Delhi, it's a much more compact area, about one tenth of the size of the city of Launceston, Tasmania. The really big difference is that it has a population density almost 30 times higher than that of Launceston. Because of this population density, getting around can be challenging, and even more so when you factor in all the touts who will probably be vying for your attention.

  1. Akshardam Temple – a very beautiful and still active Hindu Temple with some extra surprises in store. It's located on the east side of the city on National Highway 24.
  2. Rashtrapati Bhavan – India's answer to the White House, which is wonderful to admire from the outside. Going inside is obviously not an option unless you work there or you're a diplomat, but there's a museum there where you can learn about what it's like inside.
  3. National Museum – India has a lot of history, and you can get an in-depth view of it by visiting this museum, right in the heart of the city.
  4. Gandhi Smriti – a museum dedicated to the life of Mahtama Gandhi, and also where he spent his last months.  One of the more gruesome exhibits on display is the Martyr's Column, literally marking the exact spot where he was assassinated.
  5. Lakshmi Narayan Temple – a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, set on a sprawling 7.5 acre complex.

Places to see in the surrounding city of Delhi

As Delhi itself is much older than New Delhi, the sights in the surrounding area are more ancient and have a more Indian character (and are less British colonial-style) than many of the sights in New Delhi.

  1. The Red Fort – this is a good one to start with, and it's best to arrive early in the morning before it gets crowded with tourists. It is located in the central part of Delhi city.
  2. The Indian War Museum – right next door to the Red Fort, you will find this museum which contains information about the history of warfare in India, as well as a huge collection of weapons, including some very ancient ones.
  3. Chatta Chowk – also near the Red Fort, this is a small covered market where you can find touristy things. The signs inside can be confusing. For example, the Gupta General Store is not a general store, it is just another outlet for tourist items.
  4. Humayun's Tomb – to the south, on the way to Faridabad, you will find this incredibly photogenic building, which is set in immaculate gardens. Everything is so well maintained, it is  amazing to learn that the building is almost 500 years old.
  5. Tughlaqabad – continuing even further south, you will find the ruins of this once majestic fort.  This makes an interesting contrast to the more well maintained sites.

An experience you need to give yourself

While the size of Dehli and the crowdedness means you'll have to be highly selective in your choices of where to go and what to see, New Delhi provides the traveller with an excellent opportunity to sample the Indian way of life before plunging right in elsewhere in the country. New Delhi is still modern enough that you won't feel completely cut off from the familiar, and yet bizarre enough that you'll still know you're away from home.

To travel in style, contact the private charter service experts at ExecuJet today. With an FBO located in New Delhi, they have the resources to ensure your travel is stress-free when visiting this amazing city.

Posted on Mar 26, 2017 | Tags: Blog

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