24 hours in Delhi
Written by Raaja Bhasin Illustration by Patrick Hruby
Built, destroyed, and rebuilt about a dozen times, Delhi is one of the oldest cities in the world and is also one of the most multi-layered.
In mythology, this is where ancient Indraprastha stood more than 5,000 years ago; remnants of 10th-century habitation can still be seen. Today, this is home to some 12 million people, and its heterogeneous population has genetic strands that span the Indian subcontinent, Asia Minor, and several other parts of the world. Towers of chrome and steel stand side-by-side with centuries-old tombs, and the latest automobile may well share the tarmac with a plodding bullock cart. Packed with shopping and modernity, history and monuments, things to see and do, and places to eat (the variety of cuisines on offer speaks worlds about this metropolis), it is also a city racing towards the future, and remains the very heart of India.
This connects the airport and criss-crosses Delhi. Wherever you can, use this. It is fast, cheap, clean and will keep you clear of traffic snarl-ups.
The state-run DTC buses are cheap with frequent services, but invariably jam-packed. The red buses are air-conditioned; the green ones are not.
The Hop-on Hop-off buses connect most tourist spots and you can buy a pass valid for a day and just take the bus from one place to another.
These are good for short distances and ‘autos’ can be found all over the city; just flag them down. Cycle rickshaws are mostly in Old Delhi.