Visiting New Delhi – A City Guide
As the official capital of India since 1947, New Delhi is an international hub of politics, finance and commerce. The Old World persona still holds sway in its culture, cuisine and historical structures, but the “New India” increasingly symbolises the country’s status on the world stage.
New Delhi: city layout and top attractions
New Delhi is part of the larger National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. The Delhi Metro Rail system services New Delhi and the outlying regions. Bridges crossing the Yamuna River to the east accommodate commuters and visitors staying in New Delhi hotels.
The Rajpath, an east/west ceremonial boulevard, roughly divides New Delhi into its northern and southern sections. It runs from the National Stadium to the Presidential House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, passing the huge stone archway and war memorial, India Gate.
Connaught Place, in the north, is the area’s business and commercial hub, home to financial powerhouses such as the Delhi Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of India.
The southern part of New Delhi hosts impressive parliament buildings, the diplomatic enclave and foreign embassies of Chanakyapuri, and many important cultural centres and museums.
The concierge recommends…
Eating Out in New Delhi
Traditional meals from across the globe are served up every day in New Delhi, from British Sunday roasts to Persian kebabs and Chinese kung pao dinners. You can even munch on old-fashioned American burgers at the 1950s-style All American Diner in the India Habitat Centre.
Aromas from the Chanakyapuri diplomatic enclave drift through the air day and night. Canteens at the government bhavan state houses dish out regional dishes like Tamil uttapam pancakes, Maharashtrian puran poli and Kashmiri rogan josh.
Khan Market is home to upmarket pubs, wine bars and restaurants serving a range of cuisines. Town Hall serves Pan-Asian cuisine as well as casual hamburgers and pizza, while SodaBottleOpenerWala offers Parsi/Irani specialities and classic Bombay street food.
Some of the best restaurants in New Delhi are nestled in the Inner and Outer Circles around horseshoe-shaped Connaught Place. The Veda restaurant specialises in Pan-Indian food, including Hariyali tikka seafood, served beneath dozens of chandeliers. Farzi Cafe enhances the dining experience with modern presentation and cooking techniques such as molecular gastronomy. The Smoke on Water gastropub serves American-style hamburgers and more than a dozen styles of chicken wings. It also provides tap-your-beer-on-table dispensers.
The chef recommends...
Shopping in New Delhi
Savvy shoppers head to Janpath Market, home to dozens of stalls selling jewellery, textiles, clothing and electronics. It’s often possible to find brand-name goods at greatly reduced prices.
The Connaught Outer Circle harbours an eclectic mix of bookshops, including the Amrit Book Company, the oldest bookstore in the city. The Oxford Bookstore has an added bonus: the Cha Bar tea boutique.
West of New Delhi Railway Station lies the frenetic Paharganj Market, where bargaining is expected and goods are cheap. You can pick up intricately embroidered bags and bedding at places such as Shanti Handloom shop.
Upscale fashion and clothing are on offer at Khan Market and the exclusive Santushti Shopping Complex on Race Course Road. Several modern indoor shopping malls sell Western-style clothing and accessories, including Shehnai Shopping Mall, DLF City Centre and MP Mall.
New Delhi’s best cultural shopping venues
Culture & Nightlife in New Delhi
Nightlife in New Delhi flourishes in the lounges and pubs of Connaught Place. Lord of the Drinks draws a lively crowd with a full bar, live music and outdoor seating.
You can enjoy a game of pool at the Monkey Bar gastropub in Connaught Circus, or sit on the terrace for views of the city at Q’BA.
Catch a film or dance performance at the India Habitat Centre, which stages events day and night, and occasional free plays in its public courtyards.
Some of India’s most acclaimed museums are in New Delhi, including the National Gallery of Modern Art. Exhibits include cultural art forms such as Kalighat paintings and Tanjore cloth art with gold leaf embellishments.
The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts works to preserve tribal and cultural art forms, displaying collections such as prehistoric rock art.
Best Live Music Venues in New Delhi
Leisure in New Delhi
Despite its urban culture, the people of New Delhi still love green spaces and fresh air, turning major tourist attractions into serene nature spots with family-friendly activities.
At the India Gate, you can take a leisurely boat ride on the surrounding canals, relax in the gardens and picnic near the fountains. It’s the most popular place in the city for buying ice cream from pushcart vendors.
It’s easy to spend an entire day at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, exploring the world-famous Mughal Gardens, the Musical Garden and the Spiritual Garden.
Outdoor activities near New Delhi