most people, Delhi is one of the oldest and most ancient cities in India with many historic sites to explore. Millions of people travel from all over the world to this city to start their tour of India right here in its capital city. With so many amazing activities and sites, it could get a little overwhelming to decide where to start. So, we have handpicked only the best and most amazing things to do in Delhi specifically for first-time tourists who came to explore the city’s long history, rich culture, and Indian heritage.
If you are a first-time traveler to Delhi, you might want to avoid taking individual journeys on public transport. This will not only confuse you but also make the entire effort quite dangerous if you are someone unfamiliar with the city. A better option would be to opt for a credible service, which offers Delhi city tours. Check for certifications, licenses, and official registration of these service providers and then discuss the itinerary with them.
Visit the elaborate tomb of Humayun
Came as a precursor for the Taj Mahal, an inspiration for it as well, the Humayun Tomb ironically mixes the Persian architecture with precision and Indian craftsmanship. The tomb is picturesquely surrounded by symmetrical Mughal Gardens and displays the iconic and grand architectural heritage of the Mughals. For the best photos and scenic views, you should visit the tomb during the sunset when it is complement by the various vibrant colors of the sky.
Explore Indian Art and Ancient Culture
The National Museum of Delhi is one of the largest museums in India with a huge collection of ancient Indian artifacts like sculptures, wood carvings, pottery, weapons, seals, coins, idols, archaeological remains, stupas, and many more. The artifacts from various major archeological excavations are preserved and put on display here at the National Museum. Its huge collection of 200000 artworks comprises artifacts of both Indian and foreign origin covering a history of about 5000 years. One of the best things to do in Delhi and India is to take a look at the Harappan Gallery, Maurya, Shunga and Satvahana Art Gallery, Gupta gallery, and Kushana Gallery to name a few popular art collections at the museum.
Travel back in time with a stroll in Old Delhi
Don’t get lost in the bazaars of Old Delhi, instead of travel back in time and take the steps and the path that a 17th-century detective takes in the Eighth Guest and Other Muzaffar Jang Mysteries written by Madhulika Liddle. Old Delhi has a unique mix of ancient structures from the Mughal era, which are almost in ruins while the historic parts stay well preserved, and modern buildings coexisting together.
Taste Delhi’s Mouth-Watering Street Food
Delhi is known for its delicious street food like chaat papri, panipuri (golgappas), parathas, kebabs, chole bhature, and pav bhaji. Some of the sweets that you must try are Dahi Bhalla, jalebis, and kulfi. But if you want to go full street-kid, you should definitely munch on the appetizing and healthy Chanan Zor Garam – something that is exclusively available on the streets. The street food only gets betters during monsoons as the pagodas bring new heat to your body and a delicious taste to your tongue. You can’t leave without trying its delicious food and not mention that it is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Delhi. Also check out the historic British colonial art at the National Gallery of Modern Art, a collection known as “Company Paintings”. They were made by the Indian artists to please the British masters.
No tour is complete without getting souvenirs back for friends and relatives to remind them that you travel but they don’t. All joking aside, buying clothes and other memorabilia which you can only get in the street bazaars of Delhi. From Baba Kharak Singh Marg to Connaught Place, there are many markets, stalls, craft stores, and ethnic wear in Dilli Haat to make for an all-around quick one-day shop stop. For many tourists, it is among the top list of things to do in Delhi.
Experience the life of a prisoner
This is an upcoming tourist attraction that hasn’t opened yet. But soon the largest prison in India, Tihar Jail is opening up its cells for tourism. Yep, you read that right. You will soon be able to pay money to go to jail, live in a prison, eating prison food, and work in the prison just like any other prisoner there. Forget about the costly and five-star resorts that Delhi has to offer and instead stay at the Prison Inn (not an official name). Don’t worry about safety though because the cells are separated from the violent inmates and criminals who “live” in the Jail. Of course, you will also be given prison clothes and will be treated like any other prisoner.
Pay respect to Mahatma Gandhi at his Tomb
M.K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma Gandhi, is an important public figure, politician, and freedom fighter who brought peace and independence to India. Is it any wonder that India considers him as the Father of the Nation? He is known as the man who redefined the revolution by not partaking in violent acts and gave courage to the world by living his life according to his philosophy. Visit the tomb of Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat where a black marble stone was placed where his body’s cremation took place. Among the most peaceful things to do in Delhi, pay respect to the eternal flame and remember everything he did for this great nation. His tomb is made to represent what he was as a man – simple.
Check out Lodi Garden, Qutub Minar, and Red Fort
When you’re in town, you must not miss the historic monuments that the city has to offer. One of the must-do things in Delhi is checking out its historical forts and monuments including Qutub Minar, Red Fort, and Lodi Gardens. Lodi gardens are filled with historic monuments belonging to the Islamic Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. Meanwhile, Qutub Minar is a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site which a monument built by the founder of Delhi Sultanate, Qutb ud Din Aibak. The Red Fort was the first place where Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the Indian tricolor flag after India got its independence.
Don’t miss any of these amazing things in Delhi and check off all the entries on this list. To get the most of your stay, check out the complete travel guide to Delhi before you book flights or make any plans.