When I think of India and it’s bustling streets, Delhi immediately comes to mind. Delhi is located in Northern India and is the capital of the country with the largest metropolitan population of 28 million. Delhi is divided between Old Delhi and New Delhi and although they are only a few kilometers apart, it can take up to an hour to get from one end to the other based on time of day and traffic. Because we were doing the Golden Triangle Drive, we only allocated 1 day to Delhi. Here is my list of must visits if you also only have 1 Day in Delhi!
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
India Entry Requirements: You’ll need to apply for a tourist visa upon flying to India. The application process takes 3-5 days, but I highly recommend applying at least a week beforehand, and do it directly with the Indian Government Website. That way, if there is anything wrong with your application, you’ll have time to fix it.
Getting Around & Transportation: I would recommend hiring a driver for the 1 day in Delhi. The roads can be really chaotic, so using a driver to go from spot to spot is definitely the easiest. That way, you’re not waiting for ubers or haggling prices with the rickshaws. Make sure you agree on a set price for the day and go from there.
Airport: Delhi is a major metropolitan city, so they have an international airport (DEL).
Weather: We went to India at the end of November going into December, which is their winter time. The weather was PERFECT. Comfortable all throughout the day time, and just a little chilly at night and in the early mornings. A light sweater is all you need.
Best Time to Visit: We highly advise visiting during the winter. Spring & summer months (April, May, June) are unbearably hot, while July, August, & September are monsoon season. December to March is ideal!
Currency: Indian Rupees
Language: Hindi is most commonly spoken in Delhi. In most tourist attractions and hotels/restaurants, you’ll find people who speak enough English to answer simple questions like directions or hours.
WHERE TO STAY
For convenience’s sake, I would recommend staying near the Red Fort. It is centrally located with most of the best tourist attractions are. You’ll be able to avoid a lot of traffic. The downside is that the hotels in this area are very outdated/old as you’re in Old Delhi. If you don’t mind venturing out a little, India Gate and Connaught Place are areas with nicer hotels for affordable price points.
Oftentimes when I visit new cities for just a quick 1 day trip, I’ll book a popular hotel chain. It’s always good to accumulate points and chances are, there’s reliable wifi. Here are some standard hotels I was turn to!
1 DAY IN DELHI ITINERARY OVERVIEW
Sunrise at Yamuna Ghat River
Red Fort at Opening Hours
Explore Chandi Chowk Market
Drive Down to Qutub Minar
Sunset at Humayan’s Tomb
SUNRISE: YAMUNA GHAT RIVER
Going to sunrise at Yamuna Ghaat is one of those moments I have always dreamed of! The birds, the fog, and the hazy sunrise. I can happily report that it’s exactly the same in person and in photos. Make sure you get there right at sunrise, and make sure that the person rowing the boat has some bird food already with them! While we were already on the water, another boat had so much bird food and all the birds flocked to their boat!! So our boat driver went back to shore and grabbed a bag of bird food so we can also attract some birds flying overhead!
Red Fort opens exactly at 9:00AM, so there’s no point going early as you won’t be able to access it at all. Just keep in mind that the parking lot / drop off point is quite a walk away from the fort itself, so allow the time. They also have tuktuk drivers going in a loop for 10 rupees to drive you to the front if you don’t want to walk.
The Red Fort is formerly the residence of the Royal Family if Delhi and spans over 2.5km. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to the early 1600’s.
CHANDI CHOWK MARKET
We really wanted to visit Chandi Chowk Market, as it’s considered one of the best markets in Delhi and even all of India but there was a huge fire that closed the market down for a couple weeks. Make sure you add it to your list if you have time and want to bring some goodies home for family!
Qutub Minar is a minaret, or “victory tower.” It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and serves as the highest tower in all of India, standing at 73m high. Qutub Minar is not considered a place of worship, but serves as an example of Indo-Islamic architecture.
SUNSET: HUMAYAN’S TOMB
We spent sunset at Humayan’s Tomb and the lighting was so beautiful. It was also significantly less crowded compared to the other monuments too so I would recommend going for sunset!! Humayan’s Tomb has extreme cultural signifcance because it’s the first garden tomb of India, and continued to inspire other monuments throughout, including the Taj Mahal.
If you have more time and can squeeze it in, other monuments and sightseeing were on my list including Jama Masjid, India Gate, and Temple of God. However, we were really happy with the time we spent in Delhi and what we got to see!!