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Plan Your Trip to New Delhi: Best of New Delhi Tourism

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PLAN YOUR TRIP
New Delhi
Chaotic and colorful, New Delhi is full-on sensory overload. The Old Delhi neighborhood is a tangle where people, cows, and rickshaws all share the road. In the maze of Chandni Chowk market, vendors sell sizzling kebabs, bright orange marigolds, and souvenirs—spices, puppets, pashminas, jewelry, and so much more. In trendy Haus Khas Village, medieval sites sit next to boutiques, bars, and cool cafes. Lodi Colony, an upscale area built under British rule, has been transformed into an arts district with over 50 vivid murals now covering its walls. The capital city and its surrounds have an incredible history, as you can tell from the sheer number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the early 13th-century Qutub Minar, a sandstone minaret, the 17th-century Red Fort of the Mughal emperors, and Humayun’s Tomb, which inspired the Taj Mahal.

Essential New Delhi

How to do New Delhi in 1 day

Sprawling markets, towering mosques, and classic Indian fare
Read on

Mughal architecture in and around New Delhi

You can’t do a dive deep into New Delhi’s culture without exploring the history of the Mughals. They were a powerful dynasty in the larger Indian subcontinent from the 16th to 18th centuries, and were best known for the architectural grandeur of buildings like the Taj Mahal. On a recent visit, I fell in love with the Mughal-era landmarks, from forts to summer palaces to marketplaces.
Zinara Rathnayake, Galle, Sri Lanka
  • Humayun's Tomb
    10,538
    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this well-kept landmark looks like a magnificent palace, but it’s actually a red sandstone mausoleum that was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. In the mid-16th century, Queen Hamida Banu Begum built it in memory of her late husband, the second Mughal Emperor Humayun. Walk through the series of gardens separated by water channels, then enter the two-story mausoleum crowned by a marble dome.
  • Purana Qila
    532
    Built in the 1530s, Purana Qila—meaning “old fort”—doesn’t get the same love as other monuments scattered across Delhi. On the eastern edge of the city, it’s a great place to spend some time exploring the three gateways leading into the massive structure. Afterward, enjoy an evening breeze amid the surrounding greenery. Get your ticket for the museum and all of the other attractions at the counter.
  • Chandni Chowk
    4,463
    One of India’s largest wholesale markets, Chandni Chowk is a labyrinth of lanes and alleyways filled with shophouses where goods are sold on the ground level and families live on the floors above. Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter, Princess Jahanara, contributed the original design crisscrossed by canals. It’s dense, crowded, and chaotic, but you shouldn’t leave Delhi without experiencing Chandni Chowk. Booking an evening food tour is a great way to explore it.
  • Jama Masjid
    2,388
    During the rule of Emperor Shah Jahan, more than 5,000 people worked for over six years to build the impressive Jama Masjid. It’s one of Delhi’s holiest mosques—and the largest in India—housing about 25,000 devotees at a time. This red sandstone and white marble mosque feels particularly special on Friday afternoons, when the city’s Muslims gather for prayers. Remember to dress modestly and respect local religious customs.
  • Red Fort
    5,588
    History buffs shouldn’t miss the iconic Red Fort, built in the mid-17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan. With towering red sandstone walls, this massive UNESCO World Heritage Site is a great example of Mughal heritage. It blends Islamic-era building traditions with Persian, Hindu, and Timurid (a Turco-Mongol empire) designs. I was glad I booked a walking tour so that I could explore the fort’s audience halls, royal baths, indoor gardens, and ornate mosque.
  • Safdarjung Tomb
    423
    Similar in style to Humayun's Tomb, Safdarjung's Tomb is much less grand than most of the other Mughal sites across Delhi. But don’t skip it, because the complex houses gardens, fountains, three pavilions, and some heavily ornate towers. It was built in the 1750s in memory of Safdarjung, a statesman during the Mughal Empire. I recommend going in the evening for stunning sunset views.