Capital of India and third biggest megalopolis of the country, New Delhi is located to the north, in the Delhi Union Territory. Stretching to infinity, the city currently has around 11 million inhabitants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Prepare to hear a jumble of languages all mixed into one, including Hindi, Punjabi and English. To make things easier when deciding where to stay, remember that most places of interest are on the west bank of the river Yamuna. This should come in handy when trying to navigate through a city heaving under the weight of so much traffic.
It may be busy, cramped and sweaty, but it's also a city full of beautiful monuments, intriguing history and insanely good food. Not only that, the performing arts scene is quickly beginning to flourish here, with concerts, gigs and all manner of events going on every day of the year.
A city of two sides, head to New Delhi for the swankier side of life. Stylish cafes and bars flank the streets and India's well-to-do frequent the pavements and shops. Old Delhi will plunge you into a riot of chaos, colour and sound - the food here is truly sublime but you may want to avoid the dodgier looking street vendors, there really is nothing worse than going home with 'Delhi Belly'!
The great thing about Delhi's numerous attractions is that they are mostly free. Though camera charges may apply in some, you will rarely have to pay an entrance fee and all can be easily reached using the city's public transport.
New Delhi is a city that can be visited easily in a few days. The main monuments are mostly found in the old city. In this part of the city, you'll find Red Fort and the Great Mosque (Jama Masjid), both beautiful and imposing in their architecture. There are also a great many mosques to see throughout the city. The Digambara Jain Mandir Temple is famous for its paintings depicting the life of the spiritual masters of Sikhism, whilst the Golden Mosque's domes will have you enraptured.
If you get time, the Qutab Minar is the largest minaret in the world, located south of the city. Tourists can also visit the place where Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January, 1948, as well as his house (Birla House) and Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna, where he was cremated.
Head to the theatre at Rabindra Bhavan or Triveni Kala Sangam to see lavish performances and classical dance. If you're not a fan of the theatre, stroll through Old Delhi to find souvenirs and admire the colourful fabrics on offer on the street-side stalls. In Khari Baoli Street, you'll find a wonderful market of spices and dried fruits which is well worth a visit.
If you fancy getting away from the monuments, take a stroll around the neighbourhood of Raj Path, the royal road, where you'll find ministries, the presidential palace and the official residence. Indians compare this to the Champs Elysées in Paris. In fact, the Indian Gate vaguely resembles the famous Arc de Triomphe.
It is essential that you only drink bottled water during your stay, regardless of how thirsty you may get. Bottled water is readily available all over the city for next to nothing. If you head to the city in summer, be prepared for soaring temperatures and aim to drink at least 3 litres of water a day.
Delhi's other well-known vice, 'Delhi Belly', can best be avoided by sticking to bottled water and vegetarian food that you know has been well-cooked. The problem with the latter rule is that you miss out on a wonderful array of curries and meats. If you're too sorely tempted by them, trying to ensure that the meat is also cooked through will give you the best chance of escaping illness.
Also make sure to get some malaria tablets before you go, especially if you are planning to travel in the summer. Malaria is not a widespread problem in the city but it is always good to be prepared. For more comprehensive advice, ask your GP.
Be prepared for people to stare at you and speak to you - they will ask you for your name and where you're from, and for their picture to be taken with you. But don't be offended or put-off. This is just their way of showing off their English and of keeping a souvenir - young boys will proudly boast to their friends about their foreign girlfriend, showing them your picture though! Some may ask for your email and telephone number - in order not to offend, just give a false one. Also, never refuse a dinner invitation - this is rude; as is not finishing what is on your plate at dinner.
It is all too easy to be fooled on Delhi's streets by the numerous and demanding hagglers and street merchants. In particular, take care to never follow people claiming to be employees of the tourism office. The private tourist offices they take you to are in fact more like travel agents who will attempt to grossly overcharge you for any trips or information you buy from them.
Though it may be hard to ignore, try not to give money to children begging on the streets either. Ultimately, the little money you give them will end up going to waste or to an adult waiting not far away. Instead donate to one of India's numerous charities especially set up for street children such as the Salaam Baalak Trust.
The choice of meals, flavours and cuisines in Delhi is truly spectacular. Try a Mughlai curry, packed with meat, or Idlis from south India, a kind of rice cake. Otherwise, pizzas and Japanese sushi are readily available all over the city.
For a very typical 'Delhi' experience, try chaat. Not dissimilar to Spanish tapas, chaat consists usually of small pockets of pastry, stuffed with potatoes, lentils, yogurt, cheeses and chutneys. Chaat masala spice is then added to the mix and the little packages are served fresh for you to enjoy on the spot.
The shopping opportunities in Delhi are vast and wonderfully varied. For a really authentic experience, head to Chandni Chowk in the old part of the city. On this street, you will be harassed and hassled from all sides but it is worth every second for the gems you'll emerge with if you spend long enough looking. Handicrafts from all over India are brought here to be sold, from large gaudy mirrors, to tiny trinkets and beautiful saris.
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Travel is my driving force in life, and although I have had the privilege of visiting 30 countries so far, my heart will always remain in India...