24 hours in Delhi

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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.


The Red Fort

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.

Take a brisk walk
through the pleasant Lodhi (Lodi) Gardens in the centre ofSouth Delhi. This is packed with assorted plants and trees – some are labelled – while paths weave around the tombs of the Lodhi kings of Delhi.

Stroll down for a leisurely breakfast
at the adjoining Khan Market (the place for gourmet groceries). Here, over a dozen small café-style restaurants have breakfast menus that range from crêpes to South Indian dosas and Punjabi stuffed parathas.

Arrive at the Qutub Minar
, work on which was initiated by Qutub ud-din Aibak in the 12th century. This magnificent red sandstone and marble, 72.5m minaret is the highest in India and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Do something unusual,
and support a worthy cause – visit the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets in Dwarka. From 2500 BC, see how toilets have evolved over time. The museum has a fascinating collection of facts, pictures, and objects.

Head to Connaught Place and Janpath for lunch at one of the many restaurants or splendid hotels. Apart from the fine food, The Imperial on Janpath has a magnificent collection of art and antiques on display, and an excellent day spa.

Spend the afternoon shopping
and strolling through Connaught Place and the Cottage Emporium (which sells handicrafts from all over the country). Visit the National Museum. All are within minutes of each other.

Have a wonderful cup of tea at Aap Ki Pasand, which is run by master tea – taster Sanjay Kapur, along the main street of Daryaganj, or go for high tea on the garden terrace at the charming colonial-style Oberoi hotel, the Maidens.

Put your feet up
and soak in the rich history, and the rise and fall of empires of Delhi at the hour-long sound and light show, either at the splendid sandstone Red Fort, built in the 17th century, or at the older Purana Qila (old fort). 

Go across to the streets of old Delhi and absorb the late-evening atmosphere of these packed alleys. Have a meal of unbelievable kebabs, tandoori chicken, biryani, naans, and rotis at the unassuming, but justly popular, Karim’s.

Give adrenalin its last surge of the day
and visit one of the couple of dozen swanky nightclubs, such as the ultra-chic Agni, at The Park Hotel, which also has an excellent 24-hour restaurant, Mist, serving an array of dishes.

Delhi, India
Distance: 2,572 km
Flight Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Frequency: 2 flights a day

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