Having lived in Mumbai for almost three years, it’s fair to say that if we have to choose between Mumbai and Delhi, we always pick Mumbai. The two cities have the same rivalry like Melbourne and Sydney. But having spent some time exploring Delhi in depth recently, we have a new found appreciation for the city.
If you have 24-hours in Delhi during a tour of India, here are some of our recommendations for things to see and do. This doesn’t include any of the mainstream sightseeing programs – rather it’s a way to explore Delhi like a local – and 24-hours isn’t nearly enough! A stay in Delhi is part of our North India In Depth itinerary and can also be included into any customised tour of India for you.
4 p.m. – Let’s start at Khan Market – an area popular with middle class Indians and expats alike for its great shopping, cafes and restaurants. Khan Market is beloved because the shops are all joined together, clustered around a few streets and lanes. It’s an easy place to shop without being hassled. Here you can easily spend quite a few hours browsing the stores, picking up great souvenirs to take home. You’ll find favourites like Fab India, Anokhi, Good Earth with its beautiful home wares, shops selling Indian shoes and scarfs and many more. There are also several great bookstores.
7 p.m. With all your shopping done time now to refresh yourself. There are lots of great options at Khan Market and these are two of our favourites. SodaBottleOpenerWala is a recent addition to the market and in favour at the moment. Here they serve Parsi food – a must try when travelling in India – and we suggest ordering vegetable berry pulao. At Khan Market there’s also Perch – a great café and restaurant offering western fare and drinks that reminds me of Melbourne with is wooden furniture, groovy tunes and cool vibe. Here you can sit at the window, sip ice cold prosecco and share some tasting plates as you watch the evening activity at Khan Market.
8:30 a.m. Today head first to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. This Sikh gurudwara, or place of worship, in Delhi is one of our favourite places to visit – it’s an interesting and powerful experience. On Sunday you will see many families visiting, dressed in their Sunday best of brightly coloured clothes that contrast to the white marble temple. It’s busy on a Sunday but not overwhelming. Inside the main temple, the singing of the Ragi from the Sikh religious book, will bring tears to my eyes. After you have visited the temple, head down to the kitchen. This gurudwara provides meals to sometimes thousands of people everyday and the kitchen is impressive. There’s a mechanical chapatti machines, men stirring giant pots on raised platforms and yogurt being served from buckets. Take care, or you might get run over by the man shifting vegetables on giant trolleys!
12 p.m. Next stop lunch! Not far from the gurudwara is a restaurant called Andhra Bhavan, which is very popular with office workers during the week and families on the weekend. This canteen can get quite busy, so you might have to wait. It’s a good chance to have a lunch like the locals – try the veg thali and fried chicken – it’s worth it!
3 p.m. Time now to learn more about all that great Indian food you’ve been eating. There’s no better way to do this than to visit a private home for a cooking demonstration. Recently we learnt how to make Indian pickles in a family home and afterwards the hosts served us the pickles with food and drinks. It was an amazing experience, not just to have an Indian cooking class, but because we got to sit down and chat with our Indian hosts and learn more about their lives and their country. Plus, after you get home, you can impress your friends and family by cooking an Indian feast for them with what you learn!
7 p.m. Indian food has really changed in recent years and particularly in places such as Delhi and Mumbai, where there are now some great, fusion restaurants. Delhi is home to Indian Accent – voted the best restaurant in India and among the top 50 in the world. Bookings are essential here, particularly on the weekend and you will need to book ahead to secure a table. But this is an amazing dining experience. Indian Accent serves contemporary Indian food in an elegant, refined setting. They have an a la carte menu but for the true experience have the chef’s tasting menu – a six-course meal with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The tasting menu can also be paired with wines, which have been selected to match each course. We went all out and had the tasting menu with wines and it was fabulous! To see and experience modern Indian food, this is the place to try and there’s no better place to conclude 24-hours in Delhi than here.