Travel Tips by Locals: New Delhi and Northern India

December 30, 2017

 

 

 

Go beyond the guidebook and explore the region as a local would. In this article we explore New Delhi, India and its surrounding areas.

 

Meet our Locals

Kanika and Sanam Singh were both born and raised in Chandigarh, India (5 hours north of Delhi). After High School both attended University in the US on athletic scholarships. Now living in Virginia, Kanika and Sanam have been kind enough to share with us their personal knowledge of the northern part of India.

 

What are the Top Popular and Touristy Destinations?

At the top of the list is the Taj Mahal, a wonder of the world, which is located only 3 hours’ drive from Delhi in the city of Agra. Don’t forget to visit Agra Fort while you are there.

Other notable tourist attractions and their location:

  • Red Fort: Delhi

  • Lotus Temple: Delhi

  • India Gate: Delhi

  • Qutab Minar: Delhi

  • Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Residence): Delhi

  • Dilli Haat and Janpath: Shopping Centers in Delhi

  • Golden Temple: Amritsar

 

What are your Personal Favorite Destinations? 

  • Mountains: experience the foothills of the Himalayas by visiting Kasauli, Manali, Shimla and/or Dharmshala. Kasauli and Shimla are the closest to Delhi.

  • City of Chandigarh: on the way to the mountains stop here and visit the Rock Garden

  • Neemrana Fort: two hours southwest of Delhi, this beautiful fort has hiking trails and breathtaking views.

  • Udaipur: 8 hours drive from Delhi, a gorgeous area with heritage palace hotels.

 

Any Seasonal Activities or Festivals?

  • Diwali: Oct/Nov – exact dates change every year

  • Dussehra: Oct/Nov

  • Holi: Mar/Apr

  • Republic Day Parade: Jan 26

  • Kite Festival around Makar Sakranti Festival: January

 

Best Time of Year to Visit?

October through December are choice months to visit. The weather is ideal, festivals are common, and it’s prime wedding season. If you visit during this time it’s likely you will encounter one or more wedding ceremonies at your hotel. March through April are also great months where the weather is excellent. Remember that when visiting in the winter most dwellings do not have central heating. Come prepared.

 

Any Advice on Food?

 North Indian Food:

  • Kababs and Tikka

  • Tandoori food at any North Indian restaurant; definitely try Tandoori Chicken at Moti Mahal in Malcha Marg

  • Visiting the mountains? Try momos (Nepalese dumplings)

  • The ever popular Butter Chicken (knows as Chicken Tikka Masala to some)

  • Go to Bukhara for a truly Mughal North Indian food experience. Note it can be expensive.

Street Food:

  • Papri chaat; Bhelpuri; Aloo Tikki Chaat; Golgappa.

  • Best place to eat street food is actually in chain restaurants like Haldirams and Bikanerwala. Be careful with actual street food as it might not agree with you.

Desserts:

  • Gulab jamun, rasgullas, ras malai, jalebi, motichur ladoo and all other kinds of ladooss

India’s version of Yelp is ‘Zomato’  which provides restaurant ratings/reviews and deliveries.

 

Any Cultural Differences or Things to Avoid?

  • Dress appropriately (no booty shorts or showing cleavage) to avoid stares and for safety reasons.

  • Haggle for everything in local shops, with vendors, and even for rickshaws.  Prices are automatically increased for tourists! Don’t be ashamed to ask for a lower price.

  • There are a LOT of people in India and personal space is not the same as in Europe or North America. Brace yourself in large cities like New Delhi. However, other cities such as Chandigarh and the mountains to the north are a lot calmer and less polluted.

  • Stick to known hotel brand/chains and research boutique hotels before booking.

 

 

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