Delhi by Metro : There is no better way to travel in Delhi than by Delhi Metro, the country’s largest metro system will take you to each and every look of the capital city with ease and comfort. My visit to Delhi was for 3 days and the incredible metro network helped me to cover 15 tourist destinations and shopping hubs in such a short period of time.
Having arrived by flight, I took the Airport Express line of the metro from IGI Airport station in terminal 3 which brings you to the city centre in just 20 minutes. If you are arriving in Terminal 1 or 2, you can take the metro from the new Terminal-1 IGIA station (Magenta Line). I checked into my hotel in the morning at Paharganj, a busy market area that is filled with a number of hotels and restaurants attracting both domestic and foreign tourists. The neighborhood is advantageous for all tourists since it is situated in Central Delhi with its main bazar road having the New Delhi Railway station on its east and RK Ashram Marg Metro station on its west end. So, area suggestion for budget travellers: Paharganj!
The plan, metro and blog overview
I visited Delhi for the first time this year for 3 days and slotted another day in between for Agra. The ideal time to visit Delhi is August-October and February-April so as to avoid the city’s extreme weather conditions.
Delhi Metro is one of the ten biggest metro systems in the world spanning over 300 km with 8 colour coded lines. If Phase IV expansion happens as planned, it will become the 3rd biggest metro system. Although it has eight lines, all the famous tourist attractions can be covered by the Yellow and Violet Line itself.
The entire blog has been written in a chronological order and all the locations are put-up in an order of comfort as it was planned and done after taking into consideration of all the locations, distances and the metro stations. The sub-headings are to be read as Time: Location Name – Metro Station Name (Metro Line Name). So, what are we waiting for? Let the journey begin!
The first day can be covered entirely on the busy Yellow Line that connects Samayapur Badli in North Delhi to HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon, south of Delhi.
11.00 am: Rashtrapati Bhavan – Central Secretariat (Yellow/Violet Line)
02.00 pm: Qutub Minar – Qutub Minar (Yellow Line)
Although the station is named after the monument, it’s a couple of kilometres away and you would have to take the bus or preferably an auto to reach the Qutab complex. The towering minaret which was constructed storey wise by different dynasties of the Delhi Sultanate is only one of the principal attractions in the complex. The Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, an incomplete Alai Minar, the iron pillar of Delhi and a few other monuments constructed by various empires make you wonder about the importance of the area in Indian history.
05.00 pm: Tomb of Safdarjung – Jorbagh (Yellow Line)
A 5-minute walk from the Jorbagh metro station lies the Tomb of Safdarjung, the tomb of the finest statesman under the Mughal empire. The red sandstone and marble mausoleum are surrounded by a large garden and are one of the few less crowded tourist attractions in the city despite the monument being picturesque.
06.00 pm: Lodhi Garden – Jorbagh (Yellow Line)
The road opposite to the Tomb of Safdarjung is the busy Lodhi road and a 10-minute walk along its tree-lined footpaths will take you to the Lodhi Gardens. The park which is now used by residents of New Delhi for walking was only created to landscape the tombs of Mohammed Shah and Sikander Lodi, an idea given by Lady Willingdon in 1936. Although the tombs here are not a great attraction that requires more than a look, take a break in the vast park as the evening breeze sets in before heading to the final spot for the day.
07.30 pm: India Gate – Central Secretariat (Yellow/Violet Line)
Head back to the metro station where the day began and walk down the Rajpath. If you are tired and wouldn’t prefer the 30-minute walk, take a bus directly from Lodhi Garden to India Gate. Designed by Edwin Lutyens, the memorial is for the Indian Army soldiers who died in World War 1 and the Third Anglo-Afghan War, the war memorial is best seen when it’s illuminated after sunset. The stillness beneath the memorial delivers a patriotic feeling, at least on your first visit.
Travel Tip: Make sure to get your entry tickets for all monuments from the ASI website with ease in one click thereby saving a lot of time on the trip by avoiding the long queues especially in the world heritage sites of Qutab Minar, Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb.
The second day is going to be through another North-South corridor – Violet Line which connects Kashmere Gate to Faridabad in Haryana. A stretch of this metro line vowing to its historical locations has been named as the Heritage line. So, let’s hop on!
11.00 am: Red Fort – Lal Quila (Violet Line)
As you emerge out of the underground station, you are welcomed by the majestic red sandstone walls of the Red Fort – home of the Mughal dynasty for two centuries and was built by Shah Jahan. Despite the inside of the Fort containing several magnificent structures, remember these are only those that survived the plunder and destruction by Persian ruler Nadir Shah in 1747 followed by the British in 1857.
12.30 pm: Jama Masjid – Jama Masjid (Violet Line)
Jama Masjid is less than a kilometre away from Red Fort, either walk or just hop on the metro and get down at the next station. The moment you come out of the station, the atmosphere immediately transforms from a calm, less crowded metro station to a buzzing bazaar where you have to walk through the crowd with a slowly emerging view of the facade of the Masjid. The mosque was built by Shah Jahan in 1656 and was also the Mughal emperor’s last monument.
03.00 pm: Purana Qila – Khan Market (Violet Line)
Post lunch, get on the metro and head straight towards Khan Market Metro station and walk for 15 mins or take an auto to Purana Qila situated adjacent to the Delhi Zoo. Purana Qila is one of the oldest forts in the country, although the current form of the structure was built by Sher Shah Suri, there are also claims based on excavations that this could be the site of Indraprastha, the capital city of the Pandavas. The fort also has a Baoli (step well) and the Sher Mandal – an observatory tower cum library built by Babur where Humayun fell to death.
04.30 pm: Humayun’s Tomb – JLN (Violet Line)
Take an auto from Purana Qila to Humayun’s Tomb, the resting place of the great Mughal emperor built by his wife Haji Begum. The complex is also referred to as the ‘Dormitory of the Mughals’ as a number of members of the Mughal family have been buried here, including Dara Shikoh, the first son of Shah Jahan who lost the succession battle to brother Aurangazeb. The Persian style architecture of the tomb along with its elegant Mughal styled gardens makes it a must visit place in the city.
06.30 pm: Nizamuddin Dargah – JLN (Violet Line)
A 10-minute walk down Lodhi road from Humayun’s Tomb will take you to the dargah (mausoleum) of Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya, one of the most famous Sufi saints of all time. The place will give an altogether different vibe, especially during the night hours. The famous Qawwali sessions that happen every Thursday are a must visit but unfortunately, it has been stopped for a while. The revered Sufi poet and musician Amir Khusrau, one of the finest disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya is also buried in the same vicinity.
Travel Tip: Most of the monuments in Delhi are closed on Mondays, so if your trip follows a weekend, make sure you head out and visit Agra.
10.00 am: Lotus Temple – Kalkaji Mandir (Violet Line/Magenta Line)
The Lotus temple, also the house of worship of the Bahai faith is a modern architectural marvel that also sees one of the highest tourist footfalls in the city. The lotus flower themed marble-clad attraction is a house of worship for the Bahai faith, although no ritual activities take place, all visitors are taken to the main hall, where one can choose to meditate or just be astonished by the pin-drop silence.
12 pm: Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum – Lok Kalyan Marg (Yellow Line)
Leaving the Lotus temple with a state of tranquillity, its time to get back on the all-time rush hour Yellow line before winding up the trip. The house-turned-museum of the former Prime Minister has a number of her belongings and photos that take you through her life and also of her family’s. The office-cum-library has been left untouched and is a highlight of the museum, the spot of her assassination is also marked on the outside. Although initially, I was reluctant to visit here due to time constraint, it was totally worth it.
03.00 pm: Chandni Chowk – Chandni Chowk (Yellow Line)
Post lunch, get on the yellow line and head to the buzzing Chandni Chowk, a Mughal era market which is now also one of the country’s biggest. The market not only has a name for shopping but also for its several iconic eateries including a number of Paratha shops in Paranthewali Gali.
04.30 pm: Jantar Mantar – Rajiv Chowk (Blue/Yellow Line)
LAST STOP! Rajiv Chowk! A 5-minute walk from Delhi’s busiest metro station will take you to city’s Jantar Mantar, one of the 5 observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh. It is one of the very few ancient architectures surviving in the middle of an urban jungle. It takes some time for us to understand the science behind each structure with a lot of confusion but surely leaves you astonished by the knowledge in astronomy by the Maharaja and his people.
5.30 pm: Connaught Place – Rajiv Chowk (Blue/Yellow Line)
Connaught Place is the go-to-go hangout place for anyone from the city or visiting it. CP is just not the address businesses wants but also an architect’s fantasy, courtesy of Edwin Lutyens and a tourist’s most loved spot in the city, thanks to all the shopping spots and the restos including some iconic names like Keventers, Wenger’s Deli, just to name a few. Even just taking a seat in one of the benches facing the shops or the Central Park in itself gives a soothing pleasure and the mammoth metro station right under the park makes you grateful on how both British era and modern architecture has combined to make CP a wonderful place of what it is today. End of the trip!
Delhi is such a historic, finely planned and a well-connected place that makes it a must-visit city for all. Credits to the Mughals for the monuments they built, Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker for the planning of New Delhi and E. Sreedharan & his team for building the incredible Delhi Metro. To make your trip even better, get hold of William Dalrymple’s ‘City of Djinns’ book and read it either before, during the journey or after. I have fallen in love with Delhi at first sight and I hope everyone will.