Suitcase and World: New Delhi, India. Itinerary.

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Delhi, India. Itinerary.

Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India

New Delhi, India is my first stop after a grueling 18 hour trans-Atlantic, trans-continental flight. I've only planned for two full days in town and there's lots to see. To plan my simple itinerary, I used a few references including the official tourism website of the Indian Government as well as Frommer's and wikitravel websites. In Delhi, the tourist information office is located at 88 Janpath - near Connaught Place. Once in Delhi, I will go there to get additional information.

Delhi is basically divided into Old Delhi and New Delhi and although the city map gives the impression that it's a walkable city, the contrary seems to be the case from all that I've read. According to all that I've read, vehicular traffic is horrendous and there are crowds of people everywhere. Riding the bus is not recommended and although Delhi has a subway, it's apparently very congested with people. I'm not sure I'm going to be in the mood to dodge traffic to cross streets, haggle for a taxi ride or be squeezed in like a sardine in subway car so I'm still debating whether or not to book a spot on a city sightseeing tour or else hire a car and driver to whisk me around. I do, however, want to take a spin in an auto-rickshaw although I've read that it can be quite a hair raising experience!

For now, I've designed my two day Delhi itinerary so that I focus one day on touring the must-see highlights and one day on visiting the National Museum and doing some shopping.

Here's the list of places I want to see while I'm in town.

Day 1. Historic Sites
  • Humayun's Tomb. As described by Fodors, Humayun's Tomb was.....
"Built in the middle of the 16th century by the widow of the Moghul emperor
Humayun, this tomb launched a new architectural era that reflected its Persian
influence, culminating in the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri. The Moghuls brought
to India their love of gardens and fountains and left a legacy of harmonious
structures, such as this mausoleum, that fuse symmetry with decorative splendor."
Sounds beautiful and it looks beautiful. I can't wait to see it.
Clockwise from right: Jama Masjid, Lal Qila (Red Fort Complex), and Qutub Minar

  • Lal Qila (Red Fort Complex). The Red Fort was the palace of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Red Fort gets its name from the massive wall of red sandstone that defines its four sides. The wall is 1.5 miles (2.5 km) long, and varies in height from 60ft (16m) on the river side to 110 ft (33 m) towards the city.
  • Jama Masjid is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India and is one of the largest and best known mosques in India. It was commissioned Shah Jahan and completed in the year 1656.
  • Qutub Minar. Standing at 72.5 metres high (237.8 ft) in height Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world and is an example Indo-Islamic Architecture.
  • India Gate Stone Memorial Arch which was constructed in memory of the 90,00 Indian soldiers who lost their during World War I.

Day 2. Museums and Shopping

  • National Museum
  • Chandni Chowk. This is one of the oldest and busiest markets in town and conveniently located nearby some of the historic sites I'm planning on visiting.
  • Dilli Haat. "Haat" is a weekly bazaar/market that traditionally is set up in local villages. Dilli Haat is a permanent recreation of the local haat that has food and crafts stalls representing each state of India.
  • Karol Bagh. The commercial shopping "heart"of the city and most likely where I will be staying so why not spend time wandering the neighborhood, so to speak.
On one of the two nights that I'm in town, I want to see if I can catch a classical Indian dance/music show. I've been reading about a classical dance form called Bharatnatyam and I would love to see if I can see a performance of it. Either that or a musical performance of a raga with sitar - after all, I will be in the homeland of the incomparable Ravi Shankar! I'm not having much luck with finding the events on-line so I will probably have to make the arrangements at either the tourist office at 88 Janpath or the hotel. If the dance/music event doesn't pan out, I'm sure I can catch a Bollywood movie playing nearby!