Delhi is a giant city, with a population of nearly 17 million people, it’s the second largest in India (behind Mumbai), and the 8th largest in the world. Public transportation is mediocre at best, although it was significantly improved for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Traffic is as you’d expect for a city of 17 million, congested. So, as a tourist, whats the best way to get around Delhi for a reasonable price, in a reasonable amount of time?
I started by making a list of everything I wanted to see in Delhi, then put the places in the order I thought would make them easiest to get to by train and rickshaw. This took a while as some of the places were hard to find on the map. By the end the list was long, turns out there are a lot of things to see in Delhi, and they’re all spread out. I started by getting in a rickshaw and negotiating my way to India Gate. The driver tried to wait for me and take me on a tour of the city, but I could see Rashtrapati Bhavan from India Gate and figured I’d walk that stretch, plus fill in some of the legs of my days tour by train, so I declined. After another rickshaw or 2, I noticed a trend: train stations were not very close to the sites, and rickshaw drivers were a hassle to barter with because they all want to take you out the whole day.
By the time I finished at Humayuns Tomb, I realized it was not saving me much to piece together rickshaw rides between each destination. The savings, if any, were minimal, and I was wasting time and piece of mind bartering with each and every rickshaw driver. Plus, some of these places were hard to find drivers at, or had minimal competition so prices were less negotiable. I ended up booking a driver for the remainder of the day with a drop off back at my guesthouse in Main Bazaar.
The next day I knew better, I came up with my destinations, found a rickshaw, and handed over my list. It required one barter, then the rest of the day was planned, easy, and stress free. This was definitely the way to go.
Delhi does have trains, but I found the stations were generally not conveniently located. You can also take taxis, but rickshaws are significantly cheaper, quicker in traffic, and in my opinion more fun. The one train I do recommend is to / from the airport, they have a brand new metro which was built for the Commonwealth Games. This metro is cheap, comfortable, and easy to get into the center of town with.
General Delhi Tip: Delhi requires at least 2 full to the brim days to see most of the attractions. Really you can spend a week there and not see everything, but I felt like I saw most of the things that interested me in 2 very busy and fast moving days. Agra is also possible as a day trip from Delhi either by taxi, hired car, or train.
Nice information Delhi is a very good for tours & travel…..
Thanks Jitendra! Yeah, I really like Delhi, can’t wait to spend more time in India.
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