How to Spend One and a Half Day in Delhi: Itinerary
Delhi is a huge, I mean HUGE city and to properly experience it even several weeks might not be enough. But if you are on a tight schedule, with proper planning you can experience top tourist attractions in one or two days. Having a big airport and being in a central location, Delhi is often subject to a pit-stop or transit, before going to other parts of India. So one day trips are quite popular in Delhi. After traveling to Delhi, I have handpicked the attractions for this one and a half day itinerary so that you visit all the top places and don’t waste any time in oversold tourist traps (read my trip report here). This itinerary includes:
- Attractions listed in a suggested order to make efficient use of limited time
- Required time for each attraction
- Associated costs (May 2015)
- Hotel accommodation suggestions
- Transportation suggestions
- Dining suggestions
- Travel tips & resources
This one and a half day Delhi itinerary is based on the understanding that you will have one full day to travel in Delhi and your departure flight/train is in the afternoon (between 2pm – 4pm).
Arrival in Delhi
After arriving in Delhi head straight to the Prepaid Taxi counter outside the terminal and buy a ticket for where you want to go; unless you are coming by train and your hotel is in Paharganj – then you can walk. There are three top tourist friendly places where you can get a hotel – Paharganj for shoestring budget; Karolbagh for budget accommodations and Connaught Place for upscale hotels. I stayed in Hotel Surya International in Saraswati Marg Street, Karolbagh. I would definitely recommend this hotel. There are lots of local restaurants and bars (also a KFC) nearby, where you can have your dinner.
Hotel: 1800 rupee with breakfast
Prepaid Taxi: 300 rupee
Travel Tip: If you are coming by air, avoid purchasing any one day tour packages from airport tourist information center. Delhi has a fantastic mass transit system as well as Taxis and Tuktuks (called “auto”). And almost everyone speaks a decent amount of English. So you will not have any problem traveling on your own, at your own pace. Also, note that the minimum fare for taxis is 25 rupees. But almost no one will want to run on meter. So tourists often end up paying 30 rupees for short distances.
Scam Alert: Taxis at the airport or train station often will take you only if you stay at a hotel of their recommendation. So prepaid taxis are the best.
The goal of this day is to get yourself a first hand DELHI experience. You can take a taxi for the day and spend the day traveling with him. Your hotel can help you arrange a taxi. Or you can travel by the metro – auto (tuktuk) combination. I prefer the metro as it is a lot cost effective, faster, cleaner, has AC and also you get to travel like the locals and interact with them, which is always nice.
India Gate & The Rajpath
You can walk or take a riksha cycle (20 rupee) to Karolbagh metro station. Karolbagh is on the “Blue Line” and this line will take you to Mandi House Metro station (12 rupee). You can either walk the 1.5 kms from the metro station to India Gate or you can take a tuktuk which will cost around 30 rupees. The area around India Gate is big, beautiful and relaxing. Some local street-food is available here all day. A lot of tourists, both local and foreign come to this place everyday. A wide avenue called Rajpath, stretching around 2 kms to the west leads to the The President’s house. The compound is actually a combination of a few ministry offices and President’s House. Needless to say, you will not be able to get inside the parliament or the ministries, but the buildings have a greek or mughal (I am not sure which one) feel to it and should not be missed. You can go for a walk or take a tuktuk (30 rupee) to the compound.
Time Required: around 1.5 hour
Cost: 100 rupees
Travel Tip: If you do not want to visit the India Gate, you can catch the Blue Line to Akshardham as well. This is a very well maintained and clean temple which you will love. On your way back, you can catch the yellow line from Connaught Place to resume with this itinerary.
Walking through the Rajpath you might have noticed a metro station called “Central Secretariat”. On your way back from the President’s House, get on the metro to Qutub Minar Station (18 rupee). From Qutub Minar Station you can take a shared tuktuk (10 rupees each) or you can pay for 4 persons and have the tuktuk to yourself. Or you can cross the road and hire a tuktuk from there, which will cost 30 rupees and take you to Qutub Minar. It is the second highest tower in India built in 1193 standing tall at 73 meters. The complex has many structures – mosques, schools, tombs, canals, gardens etc. Entry fee is 10 rupees for Indians and 250 rupees for foreigners. If you want, you can ask locals to buy you a ticket. But I think 250 rupees is justifiable. Among all the places, I loved this place the most in my Delhi trip.
Time Required: around 2 hours
Cost: 60-310 rupees
Travel Tip: This “Yellow Line” can also take you to Siri Fort (Hauz Khas Station) and after visiting the Fort you can go to Qutub Minar. But as I have not done that, I will not recommend going to Siri Fort given the short time.
Scam Alert: When you are returning from Qutub Minar, some tuktuks will demand a very reasonable price but when you get in they will say that they will take you to a nearby market. Smile and get out if you don’t want to go to the market.
Delhi has a lot of options when it comes to dining and there are restaurants everywhere. But as time is very critical in this one and half day Delhi itinerary, you may think about picking a place which is close to the next item in your itinerary. What we did was take the metro again and ride the “yellow line” to Chandni Chowk. The ride takes around 45 minutes and costs 19 rupees. Chandni Chowk is part of the old Delhi and is a very busy and interesting place – with lots of local shops and congested residential areas. This is also very close to the iconic Red Fort. There are lots of local restaurants in the area (from metro station to red fort). There is also a McDolands on that street if you are craving for some air-conditioning. There are also some tasty (but less hygienic) street food available near Jama Masjid.
Time Required: around 1.5 hours
Cost: 50 rupees + lunch
The magnificent and grand Red Fort should be visible by now and it is at a walking distance. This fortified palace was the seat of Mughal emperors for around 200 years. This place is filled with history and exploring the grounds should be very exciting. Entry fee is 10 rupee for Indians and 250 for foreigners.
Time Required: around 1.5 hours
Cost: 10-250 rupees
Travel Tip: There are some souvenir shops inside. It seemed a little pricey though.
You can take a riksha cycle to Jama Masjid. Jama Masjid is a muslim mosque which was built in the mughal period. To this day, it is still operational. The area around the mosque is very interesting and quite different from other parts of Delhi you have been so far. Entry inside the compound is free. On your way back, you can either catch the metro directly, or spend time in many temples of many religions or browse the local shops in the Chandni Chowk area.
Time required: around half an hour
Cost: 30 rupees
Guruduwara Bangla Sahib
The construction of this fascinating Sikh prayer house started in 1664. You can reach this iconic landmark through either metro (Yellow then Orange) or you can get off from Metro (yellow) at Connaught Place and walk or take a tuktuk.
Time Required: around 1 hour
Cost: 50 rupees
Connaught Place & Evening Snacks
You have been to the old Delhi, and now it’s time for a taste of new Delhi. Connaught Place is a great plaza to spend your evenings with the upscale youth of Delhi. Along with variety of restaurants & street carts, there are many brand shops and souvenir shops if you want to check them out.
Depending on your departure flight, you may need to hurry.
You will need to change the metro twice (Blue > Yellow > Purple) to reach Kalkahi Mandir Station. Take a tuktuk (auto) to Lotus Temple. This is a very beautiful temple made out of white marble and in the shape of a lotus. This is the center for Baha’i religion worshipers and one of the top tourist attractions of Delhi. Entry is free. There are two other big temples nearby but whether you can visit them or not, will depend on your departure flight/train.
Cost: 50 rupees
Time Required: around 1 hour
A taxi or tuktuk will take you on a 15 minute ride to Humayun’s Tomb. This complex is a world heritage site and tourists love this place! Entry fee is 10 rupees for locals and 250 for foreigners. The park and the buildings are well maintained and clean. Humayun’s tomb is at the far side of the complex, but there are other tombs there as well.
Cost: 120-360 rupees
Time required: around 1 hour
By this time it will probably be time for you to return to your hotel and leave for your next destination. There will be taxis at the exit of Humayun’s tomb and it may cost around 200 rupees to reach to your hotel.
- Delhi Tourist Map
- Delhi Metro Map
- Hotels in Karolbagh
- Hotels in Paharganj
- Hotels in Connaught Place
- Lonely Planet India Travel Guide
- Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra Travel Guide
I hope you found this one and a half day itinerary of Delhi helpful. Please let me know how your tour went or if I missed any important places.