The best way to traverse this vast metropolis is to ride on the Delhi Metro, the world’s 10th-longest's system where the air-conditioning offers welcome relief from the overpowering heat above ground. We’ll get off at the bustling Chawri Bazar station to take a peak at India’s biggest mosque, Jama Masjid. This architectural gem was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 (he also built the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal). The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 people and there are 899 black marble tiles on the floor that act as prayer mats for worshipers. Here you will see important Islamic relics, including sandals and a strand of hair that once belonged to the Prophet Muhammad. Then we will take the steps to the top of the minaret for a bird’s-eye view of Old Delhi and try to imagine the generations of history this tower has watched over.
Haveli Dharampura is a traditional townhouse, built in 1887 in the style of the late Mughal period which favored vibrant decoration and open courtyards. It is now an elegant hotel and restaurant. The restoration of this beautiful building was only completed in 2016, after a local politician, Vijay Goel, campaigned for it to be brought back to life. We will take a tour of the property with one of the staff and learn about its history and its remarkable transformation.
Kite flying is a symbol of elevated vision and high aspirations. It is a time-honored tradition in India which culminates each year with the colorful Delhi Kite Festival. Competition is so fierce that contestants often use glass-coated or metal strings in an attempt to cut their rivals’ strings. We won’t go that far but we will have a go at flying our own kite high into the Delhi sky.
A relaxing high tea is next on our cultural agenda. An enchanting remnant of the British tradition, most Indian high teas include chai and samosas instead of Earl Grey and watercress sandwiches, which adds a welcome degree of spice to proceedings.
A rickshaw ride should be mandatory during a trip to Delhi; there’s no better way of seeing the city at its chaotic best. We’ll hop on and make our way to Khari Baoli, a street near the Red Fort that houses Asia’s largest wholesale spice market, in operation since the 17th century. A large number of the shops here are run by the ancestors of the original market founders, going back nine or ten generations. We will visit Mehar Chand and Sons, which has been selling spices at this location for more than a century, and meet the merchants. Learn about the different masala spice blends, chilies and teas from all over India from a master blender and see how the spices are stored.
The spice market fills your senses, so calm your palate with some ice cream. This isn’t the ice cream that you’re used to though. Known as kulfi, this sweet treat is creamier and denser than what you might be used to and is infused with delicate flavors such as almond, pistachio, rosewater, strawberry, peanut and mango. After this refreshing pick-me-up, we will take the Metro from Chandni Chowk station and walk back to the starting point of our tour.
New York Times Reading List:
A City Tour gift certificate is the perfect present for any occasion. Select a specific tour and date, or choose the value and let the lucky recipient decide how to redeem it.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, rickshaw ride, kulfi ice-cream, high tea, kite flying activity, minaret fee, metro tickets.
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and personal shopping, tips/gratuities for your guide, camera fees at Jama Masjid.
Dress standard: Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate.
Your Trip: For your New York Times Journeys/Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Child Policy: Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.