The Perfect 2-Day Delhi Itinerary

Iman Childs

Visiting India for the first-time? Chances are your journey will start in Delhi. This sprawling, crowded capital is often overlooked, but I highly recommend spending at least 2 days here. If you’re short on time, follow this Delhi itinerary to see all of the highlights, both old and new.

Red Fort, Chandni Chowk Market, Jama Masjid, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Raj Ghat, India Gate, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Akshardham, Lodhi Art District, Humayun’s Tomb, Hauz Khas Village

  • Red Fort in New Delhi, India

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      Your Delhi itinerary starts in the infamous Old Delhi! The Red Fort was Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's (of Taj Mahal fame) massive and heavily fortified palace. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, it is now most famous as a symbol of India’s independence from British rule. It was here that the Indian flag first flew and India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, addressed the nation in 1947. Every year Independence Day celebrations take place at the fort.

  • Chandni Chowk Market in New Delhi, India

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      With a population of 30 million, Delhi is easily one of the world’s largest cities. This fact is most evident in Old Delhi, one of the city’s oldest and most densely populated districts.⁠ Famous for its packed markets and landmarks including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, Old Delhi is a must visit. Hop on a rickshaw, one of Delhi’s famous pedicabs, to see the area from a different perspective.

  • Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India

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      Jama Masjid is India’s second largest mosque with a capacity of 25,000 people. This grand open air place of worship, with its two 130-foot tall minarets, is quite a sight to behold. However, you’ll need to have some grit to bypass the many scams at the entrance. Entrance to the mosque is free unless you have a camera, which will cost you 300 rupees to bring in. Slippers are available for purchase, but you can decline them and enter barefoot.

  • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib in New Delhi, India

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      Originally home of Maharaja Jai Singh, in 1664, the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, briefly resided here during a smallpox and cholera epidemic. Today, its water is known for its healing properties. Despite its interesting backstory, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib’s popularity with tourists is primarily due to its kitchen. Two free meals are offered daily to anyone in need. Anyone can volunteer to help with the preparation.

  • Raj Ghat in New Delhi, India

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      Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, known as the Father of the Nation due to his successful movement to gain India’s independence from Great Britain. His non-violent resistance tactics inspired civil rights and independence movements around the world. Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi in 1948. The memorial, located near the Yamuna River, consists of a garden, black marble platform, and flame marking the site where his remains were cremated. Prayers are held every Friday, as well as on the anniversary of his birth and death, to remember him.

  • India Gate in New Delhi, India

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      Day one of your Delhi itinerary ends at one of the country’s iconic landmarks, India Gate. This memorial commemorates the soldiers who died in World War I and the 3rd Afghan War. Completed in 1933, over 13,000 names are inscribed inside the arch.⁠ India Gate sits opposite of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the president’s official residence. Separated by a long expanse of grass and a string of government buildings, the set up is similar to Washington, D.C.’s National Mall. Visit at night for the daily light show, which happens between 7 and 9:30 PM.

  • Qutub Minar in New Delhi, India

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      Start the second day of your Delhi itinerary at one of the tallest and oldest stone towers in the world. Construction on the 240-foot Qutub minaret began in 1193; the last story was completed in 1368. The minaret is a part of the larger Qutb archeological complex, which contains a fascinating array of ruins. You can explore tombs, a mosque, and an Iron Pillar (dating back to the 4th century). Each building has intricately carved stone walls; a closer look reveals flowers, animals, and swirling calligraphy.

  • Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India

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      Another one of Delhi’s iconic buildings is the Lotus Temple, a Bahá’í House of Worship. Completed in 1986, the temple welcomes people of all faiths to worship, regardless of denomination. The marble clad lotus-shaped exterior was chosen due to its significance in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Jainism. It symbolizes peace and prosperity.

  • Akshardham in New Delhi, India

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      Opened in November 2005, this temple holds the Guinness World Record for Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. The complex features a garden and exhibitions outlining 10,000 years of Indian culture, namely religion, art, architecture, and values. The focal point is the mandir, or Hindu house of worship.

  • Lodhi Art District in New Delhi, India

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      Started in 2016, Lodhi Art District contains 50+ murals painted by Indian and international artists. Popular with young, hip locals and tourists, the country’s first open air public art district provides plenty of stunning backdrops for photos.⁠ You can check out the murals virtually and plan your visit in advance thanks to Google!

  • Humayun’s Tomb in New Delhi, India

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      Humayun’s Tomb inspired the design of the Taj Mahal. ⁠Empress Bega Begum commissioned this grand mausoleum in 1570 for her husband, Mughal Emperor Humayun. The complex surrounding the tomb has plenty to explore, from sprawling gardens to historic structures like the octagonal tomb of Isa Khan, which pre-dates Humayun’s.⁠ Visiting at sunset is a must. The light during golden hour makes for excellent photos.

  • Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi, India

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      Soak up hipster Brooklyn vibes in South Delhi's coolest neighborhood: Hauz Khas Village. This South Delhi neighborhood gets its name from the ruins of a 13th century village. The pedestrian area has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to its artistic vibe. Stroll through the narrow lanes and visit a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars.