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Delhi at a Glance
- Country: India
- Time zone: UTC + 5:30 hours
- Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
- Languages: Hindi, English (additional official language)
- Power & standard plug type: 230 V, 50 Hz, Type C (Europlug), Type D (used in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka), Type M (South African standard)
- Weekend days: 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, Sunday
When is the best time to book air tickets to Delhi?
New Delhi is the world’s second most populated city, surpassed only by Tokyo. Besides over than 29 million locals, India’s capital hosts millions of foreign visitors attracted by the unique mix of innovations and exotic cultural traditions.
December is usually the most expensive month to visit India due to its numerous festivities along with the Christmas holidays in many parts of the world. That said, October to March is supposed to be the high tourist season, with a number of events and celebrations occurring during these months. Want to travel cheap? Don’t visit India when everybody else does.
If you plan your journey on weekdays, you will most probably pay less for the same route. Tuesday and Wednesday are considered to be the cheapest days to fly to Delhi from the USA. Keep in mind, that morning flights are usually more expensive than those scheduled for afternoon and night.
Reserve tickets in advance
The best time to book tickets is two to three months in advance. It can save you ** up to 20%** on a ticket.
What should you know about Indira Gandhi Airport?
Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), or IGI Airport, is the main international aviation gateway not only to Delhi, but to the entire country as well. In terms of passenger traffic, it is the busiest airport in India and one of the top 20 busiest airports in the world, with over 70 million travelers passing through its three terminals annually.
It is worth noting that Terminals 1 and 2 operate domestic, low-cost flights only. Terminal 1 is divided into two parts: Terminal 1-C is for arrivals, and Terminal 1-D is for departures. Terminal 3, capable of handling the world’s largest passenger plane Airbus A380, caters to all full-service airlines and supports flights to and from more than 70 destinations worldwide.
Nearly 80 airlines fly to and from IGI Airport using its three runways. Eight carriers including the country’s flagship Air India and India’s largest low-cost airline IndiGo use DEL as their hub.
How to get between terminals
Terminals 2 and 3 are just a 5-minute walk from each other, so you don’t need to wait for a shuttle bus.
Terminal 1 is over 4 miles (7 km) away from the two other terminals, and you can get there by a free shuttle, which runs every 15-20 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The transfer will take 30 to 45 minutes depending on waiting time and traffic jams.
The faster option is a taxi that is ** available 24/7**. The inter-terminal drive will cost you some 100-200 rupees (1.50-3.00 dollars).
How to get from IGI Airport to the city center
Around 10 miles (16 km) away from Delhi’s center, the international airport offers several fast and comfortable transfer options. To use public transport, get rupees at an ATM or buy them from currency exchangers once you arrive at the airport.
Transfer time — 20+ minutes
Trip cost - 60 rupees (around 0.80 USD)
Two metro lines connect IGI Airport with the city. The Airport Express metro line (Orange line) has a station on the premises of the international Terminal 3 and is just around one-third of a mile (500 meters) away from Terminal 2. Terminal 1 is served by the Magenta line. The metro operates from 04:45 a.m. to 11:40 p.m. with 10-15 minute intervals between trains.
Transfer time — 60+ minutes
Trip cost — around 100 rupees (1.40 USD)
Public buses run by DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) depart from all three terminals every 30 minutes and carry passengers across the city on different routes.
Transfer time — 45+ minutes
Trip cost — from 600 rupees (8 USD)
Delhi airport partners with several taxi services that have counters inside the terminals. They charge around 600-700 rupees (8-10 USD) for a drive to central Delhi. If you arrive at night, be ready to pay a 25% surcharge. All taxis have meters, yet only some of them are equipped with card readers, so you’d better stock up with cash.
What is the best way to get around New Delhi?
Delhi’s air-conditioned metro is the fastest and one of the cheapest options to move across the city. Women traveling alone or with children under 12 сan take advantage of a female-only car at the front of every train. Female-only cars were introduced to ensure women's security and comfort.
The fare depends on distance and ranges from 10 to 60 rupees (0.14 to 0.84 USD). If you are going to travel a lot during the day, it makes sense to buy a travel card allowing for an unlimited number of trips. A one-day card costs 200 rupees (2.80 USD), while a three-day option is 500 rupees (around 7.00 USD). The card is valid for all Delhi Metro lines except for the Orange (airport ) line.
For short distances, autorickshaws are considered an ideal choice. The official rates are 25 rupees (0.35 USD) for the first 2 kilometers (around 1.2 miles) and 8 rupees (0.11 USD) for each kilometer thereafter.
City buses are also cheap: A ride on an air-conditioned bus will cost you 10 to 25 rupees (0.14 to 0.35 USD) depending on distance. The downside is that a bus can be trapped in a traffic jam.
What’s the weather like in New Delhi?
Delhi’s climate combines the properties of humid tropics and arid steppe. The year here is divided into five seasons which don’t coincide with the traditional four-season scheme.
Winter lasts just two months, December and January, and brings wide temperature fluctuations. While the average maximum exceeds 77 ºF (25 ºС), cold waves coming from the Himalayas can chill the air to 37-41ºF (3-5ºС).
Short spring (February and March) presents a lot of sun and pleasant warmth of 68-77ºF (20-25ºС). And then along comes extremely hot summer (April through June), with temperatures jumping to a ferocious 104-113ºF (40-45ºС) in May. Strong dry winds from the Thar desert (the so-called loo) often blow in the afternoon, carrying particles of dust and drying out greenery.
July usually marks the start of the monsoon season, with frequent rains and temperatures ranging from 86ºF to 95ºF (30-35ºС). And mid-September gives a way to the soft, dry and warm fall (68 to 86ºF or 20to 30ºС). With February and March, October and November are the most comfortable times to visit Delhi.
What is the average hotel price in New Delhi?
Rates at New Delhi hostels for backpackers start at 4-6 dollars per night. Besides a bed in the dorm room for 6 to 16 persons, this price will most probably include air-conditioning, showers with hot water, towels, WiFi, and a shared sitting-room.
A double room in a hostel or 2- star hotel will cost 10-15 dollars at the very least and up to 40 dollars or even more at the max, depending on location, season and services.
If you opt for 3-star hotels within walking distance from the city center, expect to pay at least 25 dollars per night. The average minimum for a double room in mid-range 4-star hotels is 40-50 dollars. Five-star hotels charge roughly 75-100 dollars.
What are the must-try dishes in New Delhi?
A proven way to capture the essence of the place is sampling its national dishes. Getting to know New Delhi doesn’t require a visit to a restaurant as the street food is eminently characteristic of the capital’s cuisine.
The crown jewel of Delhi’s food scene is butter chicken, invented at the local Moti Mahal restaurant in the 1950s. As legend has it, a cook once left pieces of chicken in a creamy tomato sauce by accident. Since then, butter chicken has been the favorite among non-vegetarian Delhians.
You still can order a large plate of delicious butter chicken at Moti Mahal for 600 rupees (around 8 USD). The street food version is 200-400 rupees (2.80-5.60 USD) on average.
Another Delhian staple is chaat, a succulent snack served with fresh yogurt and green coriander. The dish comes in a variety of textures and tastes, but a traditional Delhi-style papdi or papri chaat contains crisp wafers, pieces of boiled potatoes and chickpeas, so it’s totally veg-friendly. You can buy chaat from a stall for about 150 rupees (2 USD).
The list of iconic Delhi foods won’t be complete without:
- chole bhature, a mix of fried bread and spicy chickpeas often paired with yogurt blend called lassi and served as a breakfast.
- parathas, or flatbreads stuffed with potatoes, eggs, cauliflower, bananas, or other ingredients of your choice.
- kebabs, chunks of meat or fish grilled with Indian spices.
- nihari, a rich stew with slow-cooked beef, lamb, goat or chicken.
A meal for two (without drinks) in a street food spot in Old Delhi costs roughly 100 to 400 rupees (1.40 to 5.60 USD). Dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant averages 1200 rupees (around 17 USD).
What are the must-see places in New Delhi?
One of the most visited spots in the historic center of the capital, Old Delhi, is the Red Fort. The old fortress is a reminder of the powerful Mughal Empire and symbolize of India’s independence movement. The attraction is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except Monday. Admission for foreigners is 500 rupees (7 USD).
Just opposite the Red Fort, you find the largest Indian mosque Jama Masjid, which also dates back to the Mughal era. Its courtyard has enough space for 25, 000 worshippers. You can enter the temple for free. Visitors are not allowed to take pics during prayers.
Speaking of the Mughals, one can hardly omit visiting the Humayun’s Tomb, the inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal in Agra. The 16th century mausoleum built by Empress Bega Begum, as a tribute to her late husband is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The complex is open from 6:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m., admission for foreigners is 500 rupees (around 7 USD).
Apart from age-old landmarks, there are stunning contemporary structures translating the spirit of tolerance inherent to Delhi. The famous Bahai Temple in the shape of a lotus flower welcomes people of all religions.
And if you want to experience the true essence of the Hindu faith that lies in non-violence and compassion, then spend a few hours in Swaminarayan Akshardham. The monumental temple complex was opened in 2005 with the intent to introduce visitors to Indian culture.