We want our guests to get an authentic view of India, where the sights, smells, tastes and traditions of our diverse and incredible country are lived rather than observed.
So here we’ve put together our top twelve insider tips for getting the most out of the nation’s capital, Delhi.
The crucial – the places every Delhi visitor must experience
1 See the world’s tallest brick minaret
Symbolic and imposing, Qutub Minar is one of the first and finest examples of Indo-Islam architecture around. Don’t settle for viewing it across the city – get up close and marvel at the detail.
2 Go inside an emperor’s tomb
Humayun lived the high life and fought a few wars, but it was reading that killed him. The 14th century royal died after falling down the steps of his library. The majestic resting place built for him is now a World Heritage Site and is highly recommended by visitors.
4 Picnic at India Gate
As well as being the largest war memorial in India, commemorating members of the British Indian Army who fought in WW1, Lutyen’s India Gate is Delhi’s top spot for a packed lunch, attracting thousands of people every weekend to relax on its surrounding lawns.
5 Be enlightened at the Lotus Temple
Architecture doesn’t come with more wow factor than this. It’s a little known fact the lotus-shaped Bahá’í House of Worship attracts more visitors than either the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal. An awesome expressionist design that seems perfectly suited to the Bahá’í philosophy of spiritual unity.
The hip – things to do Delhi if you want to go native with the Delhiites
6 Get an intellectual fix
Overlooking the famous Lodhi Gardens (the 90 acre city park that’s definitely worth a wander) is Delhi’s favourite cultural hotspot, the India International Centre. The Rockefeller Foundation funds this large venue, which offers everything from theatre, dance and film to music and seminars.
7 Hang out in Chandni Chowk
With its burgeoning population, most of Delhi is a bustling and frenetic place. If the city maelstrom has a centrepoint, then it is surely Chandni Chowk, Delhi’s oldest street and legendary trading post. Stretching from the Red Fort to the Fatehpuri Masjid mosque, if you only eat one paranthe and ride one rickshaw, make sure you do it here.
8 Coffee in Khan Market
The middle-classes of Delhi like to spend their rupees in the cool cafes and international chain stores of Khan Market, near Lodhi Gardens. Italian joint Big Chill, with its rich chocolate desserts, is a favourite with the city’s celebrities. It also has 14,000 fans on Facebook!
9 Watch a film in the Regal
Delhi has lived in the shadow of Mumbai when it comes to film, but cinema is still Delhi’s favourite pastime. And lately the city is becoming more fashionable in Bollywood, as a generation of Delhi-born directors and actors achieve success; Ashkay Kumar, star of 2009’s Bollywood-meets-kung-fu spectacular ‘Chandni Chowk to China’, is one such star. There are plenty of shiny multiplexes to choose from, but if you want something unrefined, see what’s showing at the faded Regal Theatre in Connaught Place, where Noel Coward once trod the boards.
And the quirky…
10 Learn more than you need to know about toilets
You may never get a chance to visit another lavatory museum, so while you’re in Delhi, take the opportunity to investigate Sulabh International Toilet Museum. Here you’ll find a golden toilet, a toilet designed for elephants, and an array of pictures, stories and artefacts that will fill you with washroom wisdom.
11 Explore the Delhi metro
If you need to escape from the heat and hubbub, go underground for a while. Delhi’s clean and cool metro system is a world away from the streets above and is usually a stress-free way to get around. Even monkeys have been known to ride it.
12 See the Red Fort at night
Locals say that to visit Delhi and not see the Red Fort is like not visiting Delhi at all. But save a trip here until evening time, when the capital’s number one attraction stages a daily sound and light show. With the fort walls bathed in colour and with a vocal narration of Delhi’s history, it’s a dreamlike experience full of special effects that create a strong and haunting sense of bygone days.
Mahindra Homestays offers various welcoming family homes to stay in across Delhi.
Homestays combine the comfort and distinction of a boutique hotel with the personal hospitality, informality and local knowledge enjoyed when staying with family friends. They offer an insight into the culture, traditions, history and everyday life of an Indian family. What’s more, guests get the chance to enjoy authentic Indian food at its very best – home cooked.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.