I’m a Delhite! I have lived most of my life in this city. Do I love it? Not always. The horrible summers, the loud people, and of course, the terrible pollution makes this city far from ideal. But this city is one of the prettiest cities in India. If you are a history buff like me, you’ll fall in love with all the pieces of history scattered throughout Delhi. In fact, my colony itself has 5-6 historical monuments from the past century. If you time your visit and travel to Delhi during the winter months, this city can be quite a delight (people are also in a better mood when it isn’t THAT hot outside). There are A LOT of guides out there about what to do when in Delhi but I want to share some offbeat things that I’d recommend to anyone travelling to Delhi.
5 Offbeat Things To Do In Delhi
Morning Cycle around Lodhi Road (6kms):
Lodhi Road and its surrounding areas are probably some of my favourite places in Delhi. Starting from Safdarjung’s Tomb to Lodhi Garden (and its many monuments) to the JLN Stadium to the Lodhi Art District makes for a picturesque cycling route. You can rent cycles by the hour via an app (online payment) at the Jor Bagh metro station and start your cycling route from there. I’d recommend an early start at 6:30 AM so you have enough time to stop at the many beautiful places along the route and finish your route before morning traffic starts.
Starting & Ending Point: Jor Bagh Metro Station (rent cycle here)
Stops: Sajdarjung Tomb, Lodhi Garden, India Islamic Cultural Centre, Sai Baba Temple at Lodhi Road, JLN Stadium, Lodhi Art District
Time needed: 1.5-2 hours (depending on how long you stop at the different stops)
Visiting Historical Monuments At Night
I love this initiative by the Delhi government to keep monuments open for nighttime viewing. This is perfect if you’re visiting during summers or like the peace and quiet of nighttime. All the monuments are connected by metro and you can easily book an Uber to and from them. The Red Fort has a light and sound show called ‘ISHQ-E-DILLI’ playing every night in Hindi and English. Book your tickets online for ease.
Monuments to see: Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Safdarjung Tomb, Humayun’s Tomb (open till 8:30PM)
Please note: Only a portion of these monuments is open for nighttime viewing. For a full tour, you need to visit them during the day.
A Walk/Rickshaw Ride Around The Original Gates Of Shahjahanabad
Delhi has been at the center of many dynasties’ rule. Most dynasties built walls and gates around the city to protect it from intruders. Today, the majority of the gates that still stand proud in Delhi were built during the Mughal King Shah Jahan’s rule in the 17th century. He built a total of 14 gates along the walls that protected the walled city of Shahjahanabad. These gates can now be found in Purani/old Delhi.
I have to start by saying that this walk isn’t for the weak-hearted since all these walls are in the bustling center of Old Delhi. But if you are a history buff and want to see pieces of the city that Shah Jahan built with so much love, then this walk is for you.
Gates to visit: Khooni Darwaza (Kabuli Gate), Delhi Gate, Turkman Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Kashmere Gate, Lahori Gate ( and other gates at Red Fort), Nigambodh Gate (I haven’t visited this one)
Best time to visit: Winter mornings
Time Taken: 2-3 hours
Tips: 1. Carry a water bottle with you 2. Take the metro to Delhi Gate Metro Station and start there 3. Hire a guide to get some historical perspective on all of these gates 4. Club this visit with your visit to Red Fort and Chandini Chowk 5. If visiting early morning (before 9AM), avoid going alone as some of these areas might be a little lonely
Food Tour Across Delhi
Delhi has the best food scene in all of India. It has the best restaurants serving every type of cuisine that you’d want to eat. But if you are in Delhi and not planning to visit the rest of India, then you can get a taste of almost all Indian cuisines here in our capital city. Get on the metro and travel across the city to try them.
Some restaurant recommendations serving various Indian cuisines –
South Indian: The Coast Cafe (Hauz Khas Village), Mahabelly (Saket), Sagar Ratna (Defence Colony), Juggernaut (Kailash Colony)
Mughlai: Chor Bizzare (Bikaner House), Daryaganj (Aerocity), Karim’s or Al Jawahar (Jama Masjid)
Maharashtrian: The Maharashtra Stall in Dilli Haat
North Indian: Triveni Terrace Cafe, Cafe Lota (they have food from a lot of regions)
North Eastern food/Tibetan (I’m clubbing these just cause these two areas have cafes serving both kinds of cuisines): Cafes in Majnu Ka Tila & Humarunpur Village
Indian snacks/chaats: Natraj Dahi Bhalle (Chandini Chowk), Jung Bahadur Kachori Wala (Chandni Chowk), Nathu’s Sweets (Bengali Market), Halidram’s (multiple outlets), Hanuman Mandir Kachori’s (Connaught Place)
Indian sweets: Chaina Ram Sindhi Halwai (Chandini Chowk), Haldiram’s (multiple outlets), Evergreen Sweet House (Green Park)
Note: 1. Dilli Haat (at INA) has a great variety of food options since it has food stalls representing different states of India. 2. I haven’t included a lot of street food options but if you’re open to trying them do a quick online search
Visit Less Popular Monuments
I’m sure Red Fort and Qutub Minar are on everyone’s checklist for when they come to Delhi but as I had mentioned in my introduction, there are a lot of less popular monuments sprinkled across Delhi that are totally worth a visit. I’d recommend hiring a guide while visiting them to get that historical perspective to make the visit even more enjoyable.
Some monuments to consider –
- Mehrauli Archaeological Park – this park has a dozen or so monuments from different time periods. I personally love Rajaon Ki Baoli which is a step well from the early 16th century.
- Sultan Ghari Tomb – The oldest surviving Islamic tomb in India built in the 13th Century for a prince of Delhi’s slave dynasty.
- Razia Sultan’s Tomb – This one hurts me to talk about. Razia Sultan’s Tomb is a shabby one, hidden in a lane near Turkman Gate (one of the gates of the walled city). She was the first and only female ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
- Feroz Shah Kotla Fort – Built in the 14th century by Feroz Shah for his Kingdom of Firozabad. This fort is more popular for being home to djinns (the Islamic version of spirits). But it is worth a visit for its architecture and an existing step well.
- Ghalib Ki Haveli and other haveli’s of Old Delhi- Mirza Ghalib was a popular Urdu poet in the 19th century. His modest haveli is now a heritage site in the bylanes of Old Delhi. There are many other Havelis that exist from a past long gone by. Some notable ones are – Chhunnamal ki Haveli and Haveli Gali Khazanchi. Dharampura Haveli has been restored fully and now operates a hotel that I’d recommend spending a weekend at. They also have Kathak dance performances during dinner time on the weekends to take you back to the olden days.
- Akshardham Temple – I am guilty of not having visited this temple yet (cause I have been figuring out my religious beliefs and being an agnostic I don’t feel like visiting temples or any other religious places) but this temple is a BEAUTY and definitely worth visiting.
- Purana Qila – not as offbeat but also not as popular as the Red Fort – the Purana Qila was built by Mughal Emperor Humayun. Excavations have shown that the area the fort was built on has been continuously inhabited since pre-Mauryan ages that is since 6th-4th BCE.
Note: You can pre-buy tickets for all monuments (that have an entry ticket) online here.
These were some of my offbeat recommendations. Please know that I’m not a historian so I may have gotten some of the years wrong or even the history of a place wrong. I strongly recommend hiring a guide or for booking historical walks around the city to enjoy the city more. I love how pretty a city Delhi can be for a tourist. I often like visiting monuments in Delhi as if I’m a tourist. If you ever visit Delhi or India, drop me a mail and I’d love to help you plan your trip.
Have you been to Delhi yet? If yes, which was your favourite place to visit? If not, is it on your bucket list?
If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts –
19 Comments Add yours
How amazing! I’d love to visit Delhi and I will for sure keep your post in mind for future planning! The tours and itineraries you recommended seem fantastic and the food recommendations made me so hungry – though I am not sure I’d be able to bear the spices there 😅😅
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Yes, it’s definitely in my list. I would love to visit it someday in future.
You have shared a great blog. I mean, such information is not available on the internet.
I am saving this blog.
Also, the name of foods made me hungry, haha
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Delhi looks amazing. That was a great post and makes me want to visit even more. Hopefully one day 🙏🏼
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I can’t wait to visit Delhi someday! I love places that are just bursting with history and culture!
I have never been to Delhi or India but would love to one day. This post only made we want to visit more!
We actually enjoyed Delhi more than we thought we would. We were told before we arrived to get out as soon as possible. We enjoyed the history and parks and tolerated the noise 😊
Sounds awesome! I love doing offbeat things!
Wow! This looks fabulous, the food especially looks amazing 🤩
Some really wonderful ideas here for those keen to use their feet to explore. Amazing architecture too. I love the look of the Safdarjung Tomb at night. Magical.
I love this Ru and you made me laugh right away and the salivate.. looks sooo good!
I doubt we’ll ever make it, but I’ve learned never to say never. Thanks for all of the suggestions. They all look enticing, but the one that I would like to do is the bike ride to see some of the culture.
You forgot to mention the clubs, cafés and street food of delhi🤤
Tip: shop from thrift stores in Hauz khaz they have really good stuff at affordable rates.
Just beautiful how Delhi looks from your prespective and guidance through your blog post!
The pictures are fantastic! Whenever I make the trip to Delhi I know I can go back to this post 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share this info with! The food tour sounds like such a great idea especially for a place known for their delicious foods! 🙂
Great suggestions!! Two other places that are not as packed with tourists as others but, I think, are well worth spending time in are Tughlakabad fort and Coronation Park.
Delhi is amazing 🙂
Loved your trails- off the beaten path. I am also a Delhi fanatic. A number of your spots are on my bucket list for the next time.
Here is my take