Tourists don’t usually stop long in New Delhi, continuing to the Taj Mahal which is just four hours away, or Varanasi a little further to the east. But the place has a moment. It has world-class restaurants opening, luxury hotels popping up and a burgeoning creative scene. It’s worth a few days of our time. We can sample the lauded local cuisines, soak up the atmosphere of timeless Old Delhi and visit trendy zones in the south.
What to do
Delhi is a melting pot of ethnicities and religions. We can check out the impressive array of spiritual buildings it has to offer. Near to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, we will find the Sacred Heart Cathedral, as well as a couple of historic Hindu temples. Four kilometres from here is the Jama Masjid. It is a glorious, terracotta-coloured mosque. The place is a haven from the surrounding chaos of Old Delhi. The mighty 17th century Red Fort is also just around the corner.
Towards the south-eastern edge of the place is the jaw-dropping Humayun’s Tomb. It is a beautiful palatial tomb and the first-ever garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Then here is the Gandhi Smitri, which is an immaculate but unostentatious house-museum where Mahatma Gandhi spent the final months of his life. Next, we can visit the Safdarjung Tomb. It is a jaw-dropping 18th-century late Mughal style mausoleum made from sandstone and marble.
Where to stay
Leela Palace is situated in an atypical part of New Delhi. It is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city. The hotel has three fantastic restaurants, a rooftop pool and an exceptional service. We can also go for Haveli Dharampura which is based in the heart of frantic Old Delhi. It shields us from the din while offering an authentic experience. This historic house dates back to 1887 and has been painstakingly restored.
Where to eat
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most important Sikh temples in India. It has a giant dome and a pretty pool. We can take off our shoes, cover our hair and then feel free to wander the temple and listen to the religious music in the main hall. Then we can queue up for our delicious free meal. It is a traditional feature in Sikh temples.
Leela Palace’s Jamawar is one of the best Indian cuisine restaurants in the city. We can sit in a romantic alcove with high ceilings and the most elegant table service. We must order the creamy butter chicken, which is said to be invented in Delhi. We can also try the gucchi matter masala – sautéed Kashmiri morels and peas in a cashew-flavoured sauce.
Indian Accent is the country’s only restaurant to have features in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. It is not a traditional cuisine but embracing the chef’s experimental approach is worth it. We must opt for the six-course tasting menu for a real culinary odyssey. We should include the creamy black lentil dhal and the curried pulled-pork tacos, which is on roti instead of the tortilla. The tandoori prawns are also unforgettable.