Delhi, the capital city of India, is a great place to start experiencing this amazingly diversified country. People say in hindi language 'sab kuch milega Bharat mein' which means 'you can see everything in India'. And that’s so accurate! From mesmerizing temples to busy bazaars, from a desert to waterfalls. In bustling Delhi you can experience different things and never be bored: local culture vibes, delicious street food as well as vast luxury. The capital is full of spiritual and historical places where you wouldn’t like to stop clicking pictures. So here is some know-how tips based on my own experience as a foreigner woman traveling alone.
Sip your morning chai and wear comfortable shoes - I would suggest a pair of shoes which is simple to remove and to wear, because it will be easier to enter temples. There are many ways to get from one place to another. The most convenient would be hiring a cab for a whole day, which you can do through wovoyage and enjoy company of Trusted Female Travel Buddies. For a small car it will cost you approximately 1800 INR for a whole day. The most pocket friendly option, but time consuming, is to go by metro, although it might be crowded in morning and evening hours. Tickets may cost at least 600 INR for a day. You need to know that in some destinations you will have to go by rickshaw where it is not reachable with metro. In Delhi’s metro there is a special carriage in the front for women only. You can also travel by a rickshaw through the day, but I would suggest checking the distance first to avoid overcharging. I've ended up with a cab to save some time and just be relaxed.
To bring good vibes into the day, I’ve started my sightseeing early morning with Gurdwara Bangla Sahib which is an extremely peaceful and sacred place for followers of Sikhism. Moreover, in nearby location I can recommend two comfy options for a stay. Very close to New Delhi railway station, in Paharganj, there is a cool budget spot for backpakers called Zostel. One night costs 549 INR. If you prefer staying in more peaceful place then South Delhi would be more suitable option, In the same street where Gurdwara Bangla Sahib is situated, there is also The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa - perfect one if you want to pamper yourself in indian luxury.
Gurdwara Bangla Sahib
Morning prayers in gurdwara start approximately at 5 am and I was delighted to experience that. Make sure you take any shawl, because it's obligatory to cover your head entering Sikh temple. In case you forget, there is a possibility to borrow an orange cloth. If you would like to know more about the place, there is a tourist office where you can have a guide. It's free of charge as Sikh people care a lot about serving humanity. Guidebooks are available in english, french or even japanese. In the most famous gurdwara called Golden Temple which is located in Amritsar, they serve langar (free meal) to 100 000 people each day. If you didn’t have your breakfast like me, you can have an unique experience eating a vegetarian meal which is served to every visitor for free from 10 am.
From there I moved to Humayun’s Tomb to see one of the most famous historical treasure of Delhi. It is a big complex signed to UNESCO World Heritage, connecting indian and persian architecture, one of the greatest example of Mughal architecture with mind-blowing symmetry. A ticket for a foreigner costs 500 INR.
Humayun's Tomb and Lotus Temple
In a close distance there is an instagrammable place named Lotus Temple. But to get there from Humayun's Tomb you can use uber or ola (indian taxi app) as there is no metro connecting these two sights. Lotus Temple is one of ten Bahai House of Worship in the world. The building is in a shape of lotus flower surrounded by nine pounds which looks insanely beautiful. While leaving you can try fresh coconut water to keep hydrated before getting to another prominent spot in the city which is Akshardham Temple. To reach there you get into metro from Okhla station to Botanical Garden and then from there to Akshardham station. I’m going to be honest with you, this place made such an incredible impression on me that I revisited it three times. You need to be patient while standing in lines to deposit all your electronic devices (the less you take with you the better), but trust me it’s worth it! This temple is always crowded but it’s well organized too. In case you get hungry, you can eat on the spot. There is a great variety of food choices and desserts, I have spoiled myself with an indian ice cream called kulfi.
Ending the day with a full memory card, I still had some energy for shopping spree. One of the most popular bazaars in central Delhi are Janpath and Paharganj. First one is best known for handcrafts, jewelry and ethnic goods while Paharganj is famous for budget shopping of every kind and also is filled with restaurants where you can have delicious indian food as well as international options. I bet a day in Delhi can be jaw-dropping and I think it really should be on everyone’s bucket list. And one more thing, don't forget to bargain whenever you shop in India, it's fun and makes you know the culture better.
Street shopping and south indian food at Sarvana Bhawan, Janpath