From £3 tuk-tuks to the Museum of Toilets and the Prince of Wales’ saloon train car: The


Travellers to India often have to stop over in the capital, but Delhi is sometimes overlooked and that’s a shame.

It’s not only vibrant and occasionally wacky (where else has a ‘Museum of Toilets’?), it’s also one of the world’s most beautifully crafted cities.

While getting around can be slow, that’s part of its charm. For most people, a tuk-tuk is fine – it costs only about £3 to cross New Delhi, and the engaging drivers tend to call you ‘Uncle’ or ‘Auntie’.

So make sure you put aside at least a day or two to explore the city. Here are eight highlights that are not to be missed.

Palaces, ministries and monuments

Visit The President’s Palace, a magnificent building designed by Edward Lutyens

Visit The President’s Palace, a magnificent building designed by Edward Lutyens

Much of New Delhi is built from red sandstone, and was dreamt up by Edward Lutyens (who designed London’s Cenotaph). His greatest piece is The President’s Palace, or Rashtrapati Bhavan, with its 340 rooms and a garden the size of a park. For a few pounds, you can see it all by tuk-tuk. The museum there explains the history of the world’s largest democracy.

How to do it: rashtrapatibhavan.gov.in

See the fancy houses

Gandhi's room at Gandhi Smriti, the house where he lived for the final period of his life

Gandhi’s room at Gandhi Smriti, the house where he lived for the final period of his life

There are two worth visiting. Gandhi Smriti (formerly Birla House) is where Mahatma Gandhi lived and where he was shot in 1948. His distinctive glasses and sandals are still there in his sparsely furnished bedroom. Then there’s the Prime Minister’s Museum, which was the last home of Jawaharlal Nehru. His book collection is intriguing, including 1984 by George Orwell and a dozen bibles.

How to do it: gandhismriti.gov.in, pmsangrahalaya.gov.in

Climb aboard an imperial train

Even if you’re not a train buff, the Railway Museum is fun. Particularly special is the 1875 Prince of Wales’ saloon, with its palatial interior. But look out for the green armoured train, built in the 1880s.

How to do it: nrmindia.org

Take a spiritual break

Glowing: The Jama Masjid mosque is one of many 'breathtaking' mosques and temples

Glowing: The Jama Masjid mosque is one of many ‘breathtaking’ mosques and temples

There are some breathtaking Hindu temples (such as Akshardham) and mosques (like the mughal emperor’s Jama Masjid). Also, drop in on the gigantic Sikh temple, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, built in 1783. It even has its own hospital and lake, and feeds more than 60,000 worshippers a day.

How to do it: Tours available from viator.com

Old Delhi tuk-tuks

Above, a tuk-tuk driver

Above, a tuk-tuk driver

Ride through alleyways and around the Red Fort (built in 1648). This is the Delhi that hasn’t changed, with its cows and shoe-shine boys, and shops selling nothing but ribbons.

How to do it: Tuk-tuk tours from klook.com

National museum

It contains more than 200,000 artefacts. Top of the list are the outlandish costumes from Nagaland (think Game of Thrones); two huge silver doors from Gujarat, and some Ladakhi human skulls decorated with silver teeth.

How to do it: nationalmuseumindia.gov.in

Commune with wildlife

At the city’s heart is a lush, Edwardian garden suburb: New Delhi. Around India Gate, you can walk for miles through the parks. There are plenty of animals too, including monkeys. As for birds, expect to see everything from robins right up to the black-shouldered kite.

How to do it: See ‘parks’ at delhitourism.gov.in

Sleep like a king

The 1911 Bar inside the Imperial Hotel, where double rooms cost from £260

The 1911 Bar inside the Imperial Hotel, where double rooms cost from £260

For a taste of the Raj, stay at the Imperial Hotel (doubles from £260). Completed in 1937, it houses more than 5,000 colonial artefacts including hunting trophies and a VC (in the bar). India’s independence was negotiated in the ballroom, and you can even sit in King George V’s chair.

How to do it: theimperialindia.com 

  • Transindus offers a nine-day Classic Golden Triangle tour from £2,250pp which includes flights, travel, transfers, guides and four-star accommodation (transindus.co.uk).



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