Delhi may be vast and chaotic, but in these past pages, we may have convinced you that it’s well worth exploring. Happily, there are more than enough guides to go around. Here’s a list that has a little something for everyone: the touristy route, insider tracks, wildlife, history (naturally), even food. (All fees are per person, unless we’ve specified otherwise. Oh, and it’s best to register in advance for most of these walks and tours.)
- Delhi Darshan An old favourite, Delhi Tourism’s AC tour covers popular pitstops, including the Lotus temple, Qutb Minar and Jama Masjid. Tickets can be bought one day ahead at the Coffee Home on Baba Kharak Singh Marg or at Dilli Haat. Fee: Rs 310 (9am-5.45pm), Rs 207 (9am-2pm). Contact: www.delhitourism.nic.in
- DTC Tours The Delhi Transport Corporation operates daily AC bus tours that start at Scindia House (Connaught Place) and follow the Red Fort-Qutb Minar-Lotus temple-Humayun’s Tomb-Akshardham temple route. Buy tickets a day ahead. Fee: Rs 200 (adults) and Rs 100 (children). Timings: 9.30 am-6 pm. Contact: www.dtc.nic.in
- Heritage Bus Delhi is on the road to having its first hop-on-hop-off Heritage Bus this September. A Delhi Tourism-DTC initiative, the four-and-a-half hour journey will start and end at Baba Kharak Singh Marg in Connaught Place. Stops include Red Fort, NGMA and Humayun’s Tomb. Fee to be announced.
- Royal Time Machine Those with deeper pockets can opt for these customised, guide-assisted AC tours, reviving body and spirit between stops with nibbles and mocktails. The buses can accommodate up to 20 people, but smaller groups can also charter the bus to visit sites of their choosing. Fee: Rs 40,000 for the bus (four-hour tour), Rs 70,000 (eight hours).
- Guided car tours: Don’t want to sightsee cattle-class? Prefer to be picked up from your hotel, taken around Delhi’s sights in an AC car accompanied by an English-speaking guide and dropped back to your hotel? Most reputable travel agents can put together a package like this, but GoDelhi is well-regarded. Fee: Rs 1,750 per person for full-day tour. Or go with International travel portal Viator, which offers a range of Delhi tours, including full-day preset tour as well as a custom-designed tour planned with the help of a guide. Other options include a half-day Old Delhi tour (mix of car, Metro and walking) and a sunrise tour (car and walking). Fee: from $21.50.
- Special interest tours: Tallis and Company offer a wide range of tours, from visits to museums, gardens, markets, street artist neighbourhoods and monuments. The selling point of their tours is that they are led by experts—historians, naturalists, etc. Prices include pick-up and drop-off by car, entrance fees, etc. Fee: from $135 for two persons.
- DelhiByCycle Started by Jack Leenars, DelhiByCycle conducts the only bicycle tours in the city. Three routes are on offer, all starting at the same point (the parking lot opposite Delite Cinema on Asaf Ali Road). The Shah Jahan Tour takes in the monuments, charming bylanes and colourful bazaars of Old Delhi (and a short detour into Civil Lines). The Yamuna Tour is similar but also swings past the banks of the Yamuna. The Raj Tour is a New Delhi tour, with Connaught Place and India Gate as highlights. Fee: Rs 1,250 per person. Bicycle, beverages and snacks are provided.
Food And Fun
- Eating Out in Delhi This group, set up by Hemanshu Kumar, a doctoral student at the Delhi School of Economics, has now grown into a regular and very popular food expedition. Fee: nominal, but varies.
- klod.b This ‘collective of friends’—Knowing Loving Delhi Better—meets and walks in Delhi on Sundays to discover various facets of the city, historical as well as fun (such as markets). Everyone’s welcome to join them. No fee.
- Red Earth Walks The walks scene has become more colourful since Himanshu Verma began to show people around. He has a number of interestingly themed walks, including one that takes you to the city’s flower markets and another to its baolis. Plus, Verma makes for a fun, well-informed guide. Fee: Rs 500-1,000.
- Delhi Metro Walks Surekha Narain, who has strong family ties with the old city, leads these walks. She’ll take you to Old Delhi, of course, but will also organise spiritual and museum tours and historical tours elsewhere in the city. Of particular interest is the ‘Seven Cities of Delhi’ tour. Fee: Rs 300-600 per head; fees vary for walks on weekdays and customised walks. Group size: 15-25.
- Delhi Heritage Walks This tour, curated by Dilliwala Rajesh Ranjan, recruits historians and history buffs to lead walks around some of the city’s biggest attractions, as well as some smaller ones. Fee: Rs 200 per person; Rs 600 per person for customised walks for a minimum group of five.
- IHC Walks The India Habitat Centre’s well organised walks have long been staples of the Delhi scene. The walks, led by experts, tend to centre on heritage, specifically archaeological heritage, but there are also the odd walks around the ridge or to the Yamuna. Fee: Rs 50.
- INTACH Walks The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage organises five walks (Nizamuddin, Chandni Chowk, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Lodhi Garden and Hauz Khas), with more on the anvil. Definitely the pick of the pack. Fee: Rs 50 per walk, online registration required. Customised walks available.
- Itihaas These customised walks often involve interactions with local families and usually take place after sundown. On offer till September 10 is a Ramzan Walk (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in the walled city. Fee: Rs 500-1,500 (2-6 hours), minimum group size 12.
- Kutumb This is a walk specifically aimed at kids. Tailored to take history out of closed classrooms, the Sunday walks organised by the NGO Kutumb usually cover one of the seven cities of Delhi.
- Walks in Delhi’s Past The Chor Bizarre restaurant’s hour-long walk centres around Old Delhi. It is conducted only in winters and the frequency depends on the number of queries received. The walk winds up with a lunch at Chor Bizarre. Fee: Rs 1,100, including lunch. Group size: 2-10.
- Jamghat Night Walk The NGO Jamghat—which runs a home for boys in Lado Sarai and day-care shelter for street children in Jama Masjid—organises this walk to familiarise people with the dangers faced by, and needs of, homeless children. The guides, local youths, will take you around the old city to the places where homeless people spend their nights. No fee. Duration: 8 pm-midnight.
- Salaam Baalak Trust City Walk This walk—conducted by the children of the Trust as part of their awareness and outreach programmes—introduces you to a resident’s perspective of the New Delhi railway station and its surrounds. Fee: Rs 200, which goes towards maintaining the Trust’s shelter for street children. Timings: Mon-Sat 10am-12pm.
- Shan-e-Nizam Led by youths living in the Nizamuddin basti, Hope Project’s Nizamuddin walk introduces visitors to the richness of the basti’s 700-year-old heritage. Among other points of interest, you will also visit Hazrat Inayat Khan’s dargah. If you visit on a Friday, the weekly qawwali is part of the package. Fee: Rs 150.
- Delhi Greens Founded by Govind Singh in 2006, this non-profit organisation’s aim is to introduce the green spaces in Delhi, both well known and secret, by conducting guided excursions usually between the months of October and March. Popular trips include the Yamuna and the Aravali biodiversity parks and the Bhuli Bhatiyari park in Jhandewalan.Fee: Rs 1,000, includes transfers from a central location, all-day guided tour, lunch and a kit with eco-friendly goodies. Contact: Vidya (email@example.com)
- Wildlife SOS Join up for reptile and butterfly awareness walks in venues like Jawaharlal Nehru University, Sanjay Van and Lodhi Garden. Also on offer are bird walks to, among other places, the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and the Aravali Biodiversity Park.
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