How will I described India? Just chaotic, incredible, fascinating, magical, a riot of noise and color.
On May 2017 I finally arrived to New Delhi India! It wasn’t that the flight from Miami to New Delhi was of 23 hours ( Miami – Istanbul – New Delhi), it was the fact that I dreamed most of my life with being in India and experiencing the country, it’s culture, India’s history and to get to know their people, temples and of course yoga!
I been practicing Yoga for almost a decade and just knowing that I was traveling to India was a bliss and I was soo happy.
Before our trip to India (which took me a while to convince my hubby to come along) the only thing I would hear about India was just negative comments from people who never even been to India nor Asia! Everyone will just talk bad about how they know because a friend’s of their friend went to India and that it wasn’t safe, or there was a lot of poverty, or that people were dirty, people were not nice, everyone begged for money, who ever went to India just arrived and left the next day because it was unbearable and my ultimate favorite that everywhere in India smells really bad!! LOL
So all my India travel guides (yes… ALL since I will write for every city I visited while in India) will just show you that everyone was wrong! India is the most amazing, fascinating, eye opening, full of colors, culture, super friendly people, great food, really safe and above all it never not even once it smell bad nor disappointed me. India is just incredible!!
So, without further ado here is my New Delhi travel guide for everyone who is hesitating to visit India and does not know where to start and where to go!
Travel Diary: New Delhi, India
After almost 24 hours since departing home (Miami) and after 2 airplanes and a layover of 5 hours in Istanbul, we arrived to New Delhi! We arrived New Delhi around 4 am so the airport was really quite. At the airport, we presented our visas which we printed in Miami and we apply for the visas online just paying a small fee two weeks prior to our travel date.
After exiting the airport our driver from The Lodhi Hotel was waiting for us to take us to our hotel. It was around 6 am and New Delhi was waking up, some were running, going to work and many were saluting the sun (yoga practicing).
When we arrived to our five star luxury hotel The Lodhi we were welcomed by a hostess who was waiting for us as soon as we got off the car and took us immediately to our suite. Our suite was just sooo perfect and magnificent! It was tastefully decorated, minimalist design, with a beautiful living room and dining room, luxurious bathroom with bathtub and raining shower, our bedroom had a comfy king side bed, and the most amazing feature in our suite was the plunge pool overlooking the hotel’s gardens.
The Lodhi Hotel in New Delhi is the perfect oasis in Delhi. I couldn’t recommend it enough! Service is perfect, there are in to every detail of your stay, friendly staff, the amenities are five star, beautiful restaurants and delicious food. We were really happy we chose this hotel since there were so many options in the city but the 5 star Lodhi Hotel was definitely the right choice. And just a little fact about The Lodhi is that it used to be an Aman Hotel until recently but changed name and management but the building it still owned by the Aman Hotel group.
The location of our hotel was perfect since it was close by the famous Lodhi Gardens and 15min to 30 min distance in car to sightseeing and temples.
Tips for New Delhi:
- Hire a driver to take you around the city and to all the sightseeings you are planing on your trip. The car will wait outside and you will be able to continue to your locations in a nice car with AC if you are traveling in the summer and you will not need to wait for taxis. You can hire a driver through your hotel or private. We hire the driver and car through the hotel for our entire stay and it was perfect, convenient, not expensive and safe!
- Uber is also in New Delhi, we tried it only once but it was horrible! The car was old and without AC.
- You can hire a private guide to come along with you and your driver and to take you to every place you want to visit. The advantage of having a private guide is that you learn history and details about the places you visit and you skip the lines!!
- Always have cash with you since there are many places were only cash is accepted and it also easy to bargain (I’m really into negotiating since I do that for a living!)
- Also have cash because sometimes you want to give to children selling in the streets. Actually they are so happy that sometimes all they want it’s to practice english with tourists.
- If you travel in the summer/spring make sure you were SPF, light clothes and keep hydrated. I felt sick on our 3rd day in the Delhi because I was dehydrated and eating mostly raw vegetables.
- Do not eat so many raw vegetables!
- Eat at the hotel or other 5 star hotels or restaurants since street food is not recommended.
- Only drink bottled water.
What to do: New Delhi
There are sooo much to see and experience in New Delhi that I will just write my top places to visit that will let you enjoy and live the full New Delhi Experience. We went around New Delhi the full stay with a tour guide so many things I thought there were not worth to see and others I think they are worthy, interested and eye openings experiences.
- Visit Old Delhi, Chandi Chowk where the spice and fabric market is.
- Go around Old Delhi in a rickshaw bicycle to experience the chaos, traffic, the noise and all the colors and smells of the market. It’s just chaotic but so much fun!
- Walk around the Chandi Chowk market and buy fabrics, spices, saris and so many accessories!
- Visit Qutub Minar and Qutub complex which is a Unesco world heritage site. The Qutub Minar was built in 1192. The complex is just incredible.
- Visit the Red Fort which is the iconic 1600s imperial residence and museum. But be prepared to walk (a lot actually!).
- Visit Humayum’s Tomb which is very similar to the Taj Mahal!
- Take a picture at the famous India Gate and pass by the parliament.
- Visit the Gurudwara Balgla Sahib sikh Temple where you can tour the temple and complex. Also you have to visit the diner and kitchen were they feed around 50,000 meals a day to anybody not matter the religion.
- Visit the Lotus Temple just to take pictures and look at the architecture of the building which is amazing! And just a few minutes away by car is the lord’s Krishna temple call ISKCON Temple which is really worth seeing and experiencing.
- Take an early morning or late afternoon walk or run to the Lodhi Gardens where there are the three domed mosque and tombs. It’s just beautiful and there’s so much history around.
- You can’t missed to visit Gandhi Smiriti which used to be the former residence for Mahama Gandhi. You can pay respect, visit his meditation spot and tour his very modest home. Also, walk the steps and the place where he was shot and killed.
- Tour the city for an hour in a Tuk Tuk. It’s super fun!!
Where to Eat in New Delhi:
I fully recommend to eat at hotels, especially 5 star hotels or well known restaurants in the city where they have many restaurants and you will not risk of getting sick with a stomach virus. But, do avoid eating to many raw vegetables like lettuce since one of the reasons I got sick was because of the heat, being dehydrated and probably eating a lot of salads. Even though I only have lunch and dinner at the best restaurants, the water where salads are washed is filtered but our stomach is used to a different with less contamination so just a tiny bit of bacteria which doesn’t harm locals can harm you and make you sick for a day.
So here is a list of the restaurants I recommend in New Delhi:
- Lunch at the luxury and classic Imperial Hotel at 1911 restaurant Terrace. Its a beautiful classic indian and international cuisine restaurant with great food, tastefully decorated with turquoise marble pillars and you can sit close to the table where Mahatma Gandhi used to have tea every day.
- Dinner at hip Japanese restaurant Megu at the luxury hotel The Leela Palace.
- Lunch at the OTW at the Lodhi hotel , italian cuisine, western and indian cuisine.
- Dinner at Le Cirque at the Leela Palace hotel.
Our magical trip to New Delhi India was just really special. India is chaotic, a riot of noise and vibrant colors, fascinating and incredible.
Yes, in New Delhi you will see a lot of poverty, but you will notice that everyone is happy. We ended up making a wrong turn in New Delhi because we wanted to visit a nearby temple close to the hotel and we ended up in the slums for a few minutes but all the kids will come by and just wanted to practice english with us, and everyone was politely saying hi.
Trust me, If you have an open mind and are open to receive India’s blessings, it will surprise you forever!!
More India travel diaries coming soon from my recent visit!
Love, Live Miami