Delhi is a city with something for everyone. It has thousands of year of history and has been home to seven cities. What this means is that you’ll find huge monuments scattered throughout the city – way too many to visit on any short trip.
We started our day with a visit to Humayun’s Tomb. This is a huge UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a beautiful building surrounded by huge gardens. Typical Mughal style. It was an excellent way to start any tour of Delhi – it wasn’t too crowded, and there was lots of space for kids to run around. We saw parrots, and we were amazed by the decorations, which looked exactly like the Star of David, something we figured to be unusual on a Muslim monument.
Next stop was Old Delhi, where we visited the huge Mosque. Unlike mosques in Turkey, which are massive inside, this mosque had no prayer room inside at all, and the huge plaza in front of it is actually the place for prayer. It just shows how things differ from place to place.
After the monuments, the next experience was pure fun. We hired cycle rickshaws to take us around the tiny, crowded lanes of Old Delhi. We stopped for some fried syrupy snacks called “jalebi”, and we rode along eating these sticky snacks. With hindsight we would have really enjoyed wandering around these streets on foot as well, but we hadn’t worked that in to our day. My suggestion: take a rickshaw ride, and take a walking tour of the area as well. It’s congested and busy, so ideally for kids 10 and up (and hold their hands tight).
We stopped briefly at Raj Ghat, the place where Gandhi was assassinated. It’s very simple, and because there is no museum here, it’s a bit tough for kids to appreciate unless they already know lots about Gandhi. It is a real pilgrimage place for Indians.
Our final stop for day was the Qutb Minar, a gigantic minaret that is the oldest and largest free-standing minaret in the world. It’s immense, and an amazing sight. And yes, it’s another World Heritage Site.
We didn’t have time of the Akshardhan Temple, which is apparently a mind-blowing modern temple with theme-park style attractions. It’ll have to wait until another time.
My suggestions for Delhi – try give yourselves two days – one for seeing some of the main monuments, and definitely hire a guide for a walking tour of Old Delhi if your kids are old enough. For your second day visit the Akshardan temple, and for women and teenage girls, consider a specialist shopping tour – so many of the clothes we find in North America today are made in India, and Delhi has some fantastic boutiques for shopping.
It was a busy day, and we were happy to get back to our hotel. Our next day would be very tiring.
I plan great trips to India. For more details see here.