India, without any doubt, can be termed as one of the world’s most culturally and ethnically diverse territories. A Delhi itinerary for 3 days is a minimum number of days required for this great city. The city is the melting point of all these diversities is its capital, Delhi. Delhi is not your regular capital with government buildings and foreign embassies, this city has been through a lot, justifying the rich history of this city.
Delhi surely is not for the faint heart, there is heat, there is pollution, there is traffic; but amidst all this chaos exist people with good hearts, mouth-watering food joints, architectural wonders and much more. In fact, a lot of people who plan to explore India, start their journey from Delhi. Delhi has so much to offer, that no span of time can be regarded as ample, however, 3 days are sufficient to pay a visit to Delhi’s most sought after sights. So brace yourself and pack your bags, and follow this carefully crafted itinerary to enjoy Delhi to a maximum in 3 days.
Also, a point worth mentioning, if you are visiting Delhi, the heat combined with dirt becomes intolerable, so slather on a ton of sunscreen, wear a hat along with comfy clothes and since you would be doing a lot of walking, choose your shoes accordingly. Delhi has a metro station that connects you to all the major tourist destinations, but a better option would be commuting around in a taxi or a Rickshaw. Don’t forget to try your luck by bargaining for the fare, since these drivers charge way too much from foreigners.
- 1 Delhi Itinerary For 3 Days
- 2 Day Trips From Delhi
- 3 How To Get Around Delhi
- 4 Where To Stay In Delhi
- 5 Other Things To Know About Delhi
- 6 Essential Items To Pack
Delhi Itinerary For 3 Days
A trip to Delhi is not complete without exploring the many beautiful temples, markets and other cool Delhi sightseeing places. Below I not only take you through things to do in Delhi but what to see in Delhi, where to eat and shop too. If you are visiting Delhi for the first time or are short on time you can also get many tours with several options for either one day itinerary for Delhi taking you around the city from early at the moment to get ahead of the traffic and hitting up many places to visit in Delhi in one day which of course will include one or two of the places below.
The local sightseeing in Delhi and places below should take up most of the day which leaving you to have the evening to check out evening entertainment in the city whether that is local restaurants or food tours in Delhi.
DAY 1 In Delhi (Mehrauli Archeological Park, Qutab Minar & Hauz Khas Village )
Delhi is among one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in India and the places below certainly justify why Delhi is on that tressured list.
Mehrauli Archeological Park
India is truly incredible, with so much to see and do so, your first destination to visit in mission explore Delhi is Mehrauli Archaeological Park. Since it is located adjacent to Qutab Minar, most people prefer paying a visit there and overlook this site, however, little do they know that stepping into this complex is like walking down the lane of Delhi’s history. It is spread over about 200 acres and houses around 100 historical monuments. You would come across monuments and relics of Tughluqs, Mughals, Khaljis, Lodhis, British and other rulers of Delhi along with their family and loyal subjugates.
Keep an eye for Jamali Kamali mosque and the stepwell of Rajon Ki Baoli. Both of these buildings stand out because of their unmatched splendor. If walking too much is a turn off for you, you can also rent a bicycle and bring some snacks, to explore this place at your desired pace because there is so much to explore. You can spend there as much time as you want, but minimum 3 4 hours are required since it’s huge so make sure to wake up early in the morning in order to give each site its due time in scavenging.
Adjacent to Mehrauli Archaeological Park lies the Qutab Minar which was built in 1206 and is the tallest brick minaret in the world. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site. This minaret is named after Qutab-ud-Din Aibak, the ruler who started its construction. It is about 240 feet tall and has 5 storeys. The building is a manifestation of Islamic influence on the architecture of subcontinent. You would be awestruck by the majesty of this place. For foreigners, you would have to pay a nominal entrance fee of 300 rupees while locals have to pay 50 rupees and kids are free to enter.
Hauz Khas Village
After spending the whole day dissecting through Delhi’s history and architecture that was influenced by its past rulers, it is now time to get a taste of Delhi’s present-day life and the architecture influenced by it. Hauz Khas Village is one of a kind place in Delhi, where past meets present. Hauz Khas literally means a royal tank, this place is named so after an ancient reservoir present here, which dates back to the 13th century and is bounded by a walking track. In the past, this place was an academic hub which attracted India’s Muslim students and scholars to gather and ponder for educational purposes.
This village went through drastic renovations in the 1980s, giving it its present shape. The best thing about this complex is that even with modern well-established shops and restaurants, it still has maintained its medieval charm. The narrow streets lined with chic boutiques, Bollywood posters, and peppy restaurants is ideal to be strolled in the evening. You will also have a lot of food options, the best one would be relishing on Indian street food or something which could be grabbed and eaten on the go. Some popular restaurants in Hauz Khas Village are Naivedeyam, Auro Kitchen and Bar, Coast Café, Himalayan Kitchen, etc. When you return from Delhi you can also try your hand with these cool Indian food recipes.
DAY 2 In Delhi (Humayun’s Tomb, Connaught Place, National Museum of Delhi & Lotus Temple)
Day 2 would be inclined towards exploring the monuments of Old Delhi. While Taj Mahal is recognized as one of the modern seven wonders of the world, the inspiration behind its construction was Humayun’s Tomb. Humayun’s tomb has a significant status among the Muslim inspired architectural monuments in India since it was the first tomb with a garden area. This red sandstone tomb is the resting place of Mughal emperor Humayun. It was constructed on the orders of his first wife Bega Begum. Since the main attraction of this tombstone is its well-established gardens, you can pack your food and have a picnic in these lush green gardens or you can check in the very famous Oberoi Hotel, whose iconic rooftop restaurant gives a picturesque view of the Humayun’s tomb. Of all the places to visit in India for 3 or 4 days, this is up there on the top places not to miss.
There is a shop near the tomb Anokhi’s discount store, which has women’s traditional clothes at very affordable rates. If you are interested in exploring the Sufi culture rampant in sub-continent, you can join the walking tour of Nizamuddin Basti, the three hundred rupees that you would pay would be donated for the betterment of underprivileged residents of the area. If you are lucky enough to join this tour on Thursday, your evening would end with such a mesmerizing Qawali performance that would traverse your soul to the lands unknown.
Not Delhi itinerary is complete with a visit to this place. Head to Connaught Place, where you will catch a glimpse of Delhi and its people in their raw nature. The spot is hustling and bustling at all times since it is a significant commercial and trading point in Delhi. The Georgian style buildings talk of Delhi’s colonial past. You will find vintage cinemas, global chain stores, hotels of different ranges, restaurants offering local as well as foreign cuisine and much more. Parikrama is a revolving restaurant which offers scenic views of the city.
If you are looking to buy ethnic Indian outfits like saris or embroidered bags and traditional shoes, visit the stalls that line Janpath Market. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is a prominent Sikh Gurudwara (worship house ) is another touristy spot in Connaught Place that is famous for its reflecting waters. Jantar Mantar is the oldest astronomical observatory in India. It was constructed in 1724. A guard would take you around this building and the ancient calendars and sighting objects would fascinate you a lot.
National Museum of Delhi
From Connaught Place, head to National Museum Delhi, which is accessible to the public from 10 am to 6 pm, except Mondays. It was established in 1949, soon after India’s independence. 650 rupees entrance fee is required. You will not only find artifacts and relics from India’s recent history and the dynasties that ruled here but also from Indus Valley Civilization, that dates back to 2500 BC.
India is home to followers of many religions and the coexistence of their worship houses in its capital Delhi manifests it. Baha’i is a minority religion in India but the Baha’i community of Delhi is very proud of the Bahai Lotus Temple located to the East of Nehru Place. The temple is relatively young as compared to other religious buildings located in Delhi since it was constructed in 1986. The white marbled lotus-shaped building afloat water and bounded by gardens was constructed taking influence from other architectural sights in Delhi. Since the fundamental principle of Baha’i faith is unity and equality among all people, the temple is open to visitation to everyone free of cost.
DAY 3 In Delhi (Chandni Chowk & Red Fort )
Another Delhi itinerary must-see. The narrow streets of Chandi chowk filled with chaos have the heart of residents of Delhi for this place is perfect to shop, eat, explore culture, monuments, etc. During the Mughal era, Chandni chowk was the primary location for imports from Asia and Europe and a prominent trade location. Chandni chowk can easily be accessed by metro in case your hotel is too far away and the fare for taxi or rickshaw exceeds your budget. Shopping at Chandi Chowk can be quite intimidating because of the narrow-congested streets with massive crowds. In addition, there are specialist areas for each kind of item like Katra Neel for saris, Moti Bazaar for shawls, Dariban Kallan for ethnic jewelry, Chawri Bazaar for stationary, Khari Baoli for spices (which is also Asia’s largest spice Bazaar). That is why hiring a personal tour guide would help you a lot in traversing through this havoc.
Also, while shopping, be mindful of the pocket pickers and try to carry your cash and phone in the breast pocket(You can opt to use an anti-theft backpack). Chandi Chowk is a foodie’s paradise and there are endless eating options which can become quite confusing as well. However, don’t forget to visit the famous Paranthe Wali Gali to try out anyone from the hundreds of variants of Indian fried bread, paratha, and the Old Famous Jalebi Wala to try out their mouth-watering jalebis. In Chandni Chowk, you will find many Havelis (traditional Indian mansions) including the one which was home to the famous poet Mirza Ghalib. Chandi Chowk is also home to prominent worship places of different religions; including Jama Masjid, Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Shri Digambar Jain Temple.
At the end of Chandi Chowk, your eyes would meet the majestic Red Fort, which is open to visitors from 6 am to 9 pm, except Mondays and tickets need to be purchased for entry. Red fort, locally known as Laal Qila, was the home of Mughal Emperors when the capital of the Mughal Dynasty shifted from Agra to Delhi. The red color of the building is imparted by red sandstone and the fort bears a striking resemblance to the Agra Fort in Uttar Pradesh. In fact, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commanded to construct the fort by taking inspiration from the Agra Fort. There are lush green gardens, museums, and mausoleums within the complex. Mumtaz Mahal, the palace inside the red fort that belonged to Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz, houses remnants and artifacts from the Mughal period.
Drishyakala Museum displays artistic works and paintings from different time periods, numbering more than 450, while Kranti Mandir is established to acknowledge the sacrifices laid by Indian freedom fighters and pay tribute to them. The main entrance of the fort is called Lahore Gate which opens to Chatta Chowk. Across the red fort lies the famous Jama Masjid. Jama Masjid translates into Friday Mosque and it is the biggest and largest Mosque in India. It was the central place of worship of the Mughal Capital Delhi.
The grandeur of the Mosque would leave you in awe since there is a capacity of 25000 worshippers in its courtyard. Visitors are required to pay 300 rupees fee to tour the Mosque. Also, you cannot wear shoes inside so either leave them with the keepers outside for some money or bring a bag to carry them. Shri Digambar Jain Temple, also located opposite to the red fort, has a sanctuary for sick birds, Charity Birds Hospital, where volunteers provide suitable treatment to ailing birds of all kinds.
Delhi might not appear as one of the rich or aesthetically pretty cities, but it surely is one of the liveliest and most hustling bustling cities where you can experience life up close. This Delhi itinerary for 3 days covers a few of Delhi’s most important tourist destinations and if you have more time, you can surely cover the rest.
Day Trips From Delhi
If you have more time in India beyond the 3 day trip to Delhi, I would highly recommend a day trip to Agra. Even better if you have at least 2 days for Agra. I have shared tips on places to visit in Agra as well as tips on visiting Taj Mahal. If you are doing Agra as a day trip you need to leave by 5am from Delhi at the latest to bit the traffic and arrive in Agra early enough to make the most of the day. For more information on how to get from Delhi to Agra read my post for full details.
Overnight Trips From Delhi
If you are into spiritual trips you can also do a 1 night trip from Delhi. My husband did an overnight trip to Krishna Balaram Mandir in the holy city of Vrindavan, which is on the route to Agra. So you can do a Delhi sightseeing itinerary then move on to Vrindavan before going to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. Although there are several day tours to Vrindavan, my husband opted for an overnight stay. Depending on the hotel or hostel you stay at they can arrange a driver for you but you will most likely have to pay for their accommodation too over there. The hotels in Vrindavan are inexpensive so it’s not so big an expense to pay for the accommodation for the drive. Just book this yourself to avoid paying an unnecessarily higher “foreign” charge.
Whether you have a week in India or doing a one-month itinerary of India, there plenty of other beautiful places to visit in addition to Delhi. Other overnight trips from Delhi, say 2-day trip places from Delhi include a visit to Jaipur which I have covered on the blog. You can choose from day tours, 2-day trips or even 3 day trips near Delhi to Jaipur and Agra. If you are someone that prefers package tours then I would also check out the package tours to India from Contiki, GAdentures and WendyWu Tours.
How To Get Around Delhi
There is a mix of transportation options in Delhi. From yellow taxis, auto-rickshaws, radio cabs(advanced booking is a must), cycles, public buses and in recent years the Delhi metro has seen some improvements. I mostly used taxis arranged by the hotel as it was easier for me to leave super early for exploring before the heavy traffic and come back to the hotel before the mid-day heat got too crazy.
From the moment you arrive, you will notice that Delhi is quite congested with traffic and this will affect how much you have to explore each day.
Buses in Delhi are inexpensive and have a wide coverage in the city and beyond. Most are operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation. The red buses are air-conditioned and the green buses are the non air-conditioned buses. They are mostly packed to the brim. Also, note that it is not advisable for women to ride the buses alone after dark.
The metro in Delhi starts from 5.30am and runs to 11.30pm. Trains arrive every 3 minutes during peak hours and every 12 minutes during non-peak time. The metro is clean and inexpensive. Prices for the tickets start at 8 Rupees and can go up to 30 Rupees. You get single-use tokens to use the metro in Delhi. There are 6 lines in operation.
If you are a tourist or staying longer in Delhi you also have the option of purchasing the Smart Card which can be topped up. The Smart Card is available with a minimum value of Rs 100. They also have the Tourist Card which has unlimited travel over short periods. These come in single day cards costing Rs 100 or the Tourist Card for 3 days which costs Rs 250 with a refundable deposit of Rs 50. Perfect for anyone visiting Delhi for 3 or 4 days.
The last option is the daily token option where you get a single journey tokens. The minimum fare is Rs 8 and the maximum is Rs 30.
Where To Stay In Delhi
There are plenty of amazing places to stay in Delhi, for one of our visits we stayed on the edge of the city at Marriott Courtyard which I shared on the blog. Delhi has many affordable hotels and hostels catering to budget and luxury travellers. Hostels in Delhi can be as cheap as £5 per night. You also have the option of hotels in Delhi which start from about £20 for a good 3-star hotel. If you prefer the self-caring option there also apartments available.
Other Things To Know About Delhi
- The people are very friendly and welcoming. Don’t be surprised if you get invited to a wedding or two.
- There is a system to the chaos of the city, simply stop and observe before making a judgment.
- The city is beautiful with so many green parks to wander around.
- There are so many amazing bazaars to shop at, be prepared to haggle!
- Visa for India
- Tourist visas for India are usually granted for 6 months for most passports and you can extend depending on where you come from.
- You can get an electronic visa but I ended up getting mine from the visa offices in London. I don’t remember it costing me more than £50.
Essential Items To Pack
- Make sure you have all your vaccines done.
- Pack mosquito repellent – essential especially in the monsoon season.
- Modest clothing. Keep clothing to at least knee-length as well as higher necklines for tops. Avoid showing cleavage.
- Pack comfortable walking shoes as you will most likely be wandering around amazing markets and tourist sights on foot.
There you have it, my recommendations for places to visit in Delhi for 3 or 4 days. Have you been to Delhi before? What else did you include in your Delhi itinerary?
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