Insider tips to get around in Delhi, India

I’m sure most of you have heard Delhi is a chaotic city with mad rush in metro, mad rush on road and precisely everywhere. But we Delhites are still super proud of Delhi despite its flaws and why shouldn’t we, we are in the capital of the largest democracy of the world with a vivid history.

So how all of you lovely people who would like the historical capital of India go around without cursing their way around. Being someone who has travelled in practically all the transport mediums of the city, I’m going to present some tips and I’m guarantying you will avoid most of the mad mad rush.

#Delhi Metro

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Metro – short for Delhi Metro – are the trains which run in Delhi NCR including all major areas in Delhi and Noida, Ghaziabad & Gurgaon. Metro is the best & most efficient way to move around in the capital because of the quick service and fast speed. The trains connects all probable corners in the city now and is also expanding quickly to the remaining parts. Also because of these reasons most of the office goers & practically anyone who needs to go around use metro and hence mad rush in trains!!

So how to avoid rush?? If you’re travelling for leisure, or historical sites then you may find these tips really helpful. Most importantly, you might want to set travel time as per seasons –

#Winters (November – February)

  • Start the day late – Winters are cosy, so people (lazy people like me) prefer to wake up late. I would advice to board metro probably after 9:30 AM so as to avoid office rush which usually lightens up the peak hours and you may travel comfortably.
  • End the day in late evenings – Evenings are equally maddening as people are keen to reach home. I would suggest to roam & eat around, then head back to hotel/Air Bnb after 7:30 PM.

#Summers (Ideally rest of the year)

I would anyway suggest avoiding Delhi as it gets super hot in summers & really humid in monsoons. If you’re still keen on visiting Delhi around this time of year, then you must know most people prefer metro as a mode of commute to beat the heat.

  • Start the day early – Catch the metro between 7:30 AM to avoid peak rush joining in after 8:00 AM.
  • End day in late evenings – Evenings are equally bad throughout the year, so prefer to use metro after 7:30 PM – just like winters.

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*Pro Tips*

–  There’s an all women’s coach for ladies to travel safely and some dedicated seats available for women in all other coaches. 

– Metro card comes to your rescue from huge lines for tokens. Buy a card from any ticket counter at as low as 150 INR and recharge it later from the ticket kiosks which are now functional at most stations. 

– Use Paytm to recharge metro card remotely without even going to kiosk. Sometimes, the card doesn’t work post recharge, simply head to ticket counter stating you used Paytm for recharge, they’ll fix it in a minute. 

– Use metro stations to cross major road junctions. I know traffic is a mess here, and nobody really follows zebra crossing, so why not use metro stations to cross the road safely.

– There are various lines – Red, Blue, Yellow, Violet, Orange and many more. Most crowded routes are now being upgraded from 4 to 6 or 8 coaches which means more space. If travelling on Yellow line – being mostly used – have maximum of 8 coaches. Rest are also catching up except the ones which don’t require like the Red Line. 

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#Rented Car/Cab

OK, so you have decided to skip metro and drive around around the city!! Let me tell you, it is not going to be easy also as the city is heavily under construction and Delhities have a bad bad traffic sense. Most of the times the roads are jam packed, still the non-office timings will give you some relief from slow paced traffic. I’ll brief with some major routes with tourists spots around – 

1. National Highway (NH8) – Delhi to Gurgaon – Although Gurgaon is really outer of the city not much historical sites to see there, but it has the most important to reach Delhi – Airport (International & Domestic). How will you feel if you’re stuck in miles long jam and you have a flight to catch..Not great..right??

So, first & foremost avoid peak hours starting 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM in morning and in evenings strictly avoid 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.  How about when you have to reach airport around (& after) these slots? I would say leave early – wouldn’t it be better to reach airport little early rather than missing your flight altogether. Also, IGI T3 was ranked World Best Airports No 1 (2016) in 25-40 MPPA category, so it would be nice to explore the airport. Secondly, if you’re reading this which I hope you do then plan your flights accordingly 🙂

2. India Gate – Humayun Tomb or ITO – The traffic at the India Gate roundabout moves almost smoothly but to arrive to a bottleneck either via Pragati Maidan towards Humayun Tomb or going to ITO. Avoid these routes to being stuck in traffic and long red lights. 

3. Sarai Kale Khan – Akshardham Temple – The railway station at Sarai kale Khan is a driver of messy traffic and going towards another iconic landmark of the city could land you in a huge mess. 

4. Gurgaon – Vasant Kunj – IIT – AIIMS and till India Gate – Another major stretch which has not more than 2-3 lanes and the influx of traffic is relatively very high, better to avoid the stretch in peak hours. Also, this is the longest route from central Delhi to South Delhi/Gurgaon. 

*Sites to visit*

Qutub Minar ~ located in Mehrauli, with nearest metro station of Qutub Minar and in heavily congested area. So if you plan to drive till there, cross the main red light junction before, else you’ll keep on waiting to turn that light green 😉

India Gate – India Gate is in center of Delhi and the roundabout is usually filled with cars yet the traffic is moving. If planning to go via metro, the nearest station is Pragati Maidan and from there you might either walk or hire an auto-rickshaw. 

Purana Qila – Another historical monument from Delhi which is almost adjacent to India gate with close proximity of 2.5 kms and lies on way towards Humayun Tomb.  

Humayum Tomb & Nizammudin Dargah – You can club both the locations with India Gate as it falls under 5 miles from here. Although I would advice to visit Humayun Tomb in morning hours to get the best pictures of this beautiful tomb without crowd blocking your way. Just 10 mins from the Tomb is the iconic Nizammudin Dargah which is one of the most sacred Mosques in the country with huge religious value. 

Red Fort – This iconic monument lies in old Delhi (locally called Dilli) which is little far from the center of the city and located closely to Chandni Chowk and Khari Bawri ~ the largest spice market in Asia. 

Jama Masjid – The largest mosque in India lies in close proximity in Red Fort and comes under Chandni Chowk. Being largest in the country, the mosque has respective religious values. 

*Pro-Tips*

1. Old Delhi is hugely congested as its name suggest it’s relatively old with narrow alleys. Prefer using metro for here, or you’ll be stuck in a traffic mess which is much worse than routine Delhi traffic. 

2. Chandni Chowk one of the largest cloth markets is closed on Sundays, so plan accordingly. 

Have you been to Delhi?? How was your experience?? Do share your thoughts with us!!

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– The Wanderer

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52 thoughts on “Insider tips to get around in Delhi, India

  1. Those are some great tips. Being a Delhite, I often take it for granted. But I know it is very useful for a clueless foreigner . Very well written blog. The information on Metro is very useful.

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  2. Really helpful post!! I love that instead of just saying “avoid the metro rush by not going in peak tourist season” you actually include all months and point out when to use it in the morn and in the evening. I’ve never seen someone do that before! I haven’t been but if I do go I’ll definitely use this as a guide. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Navigating another country or city is always tough, especially the first time you visit. This is such a handy guide on how to get around Delhi. It’s no secret that much has been said about the public transport in India; so any extra information is always welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great tips on how to avoid crowd, chaos and using local transport in Delhi. You have specified the easily commuting timing zones for different areas which are super helpful for people who are visiting Delhi for first time. Ladies coach in Metro of Delhi is a boon for females due to their safe travel and no miss happenings during commuting.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have heard a lot of things about going to Dehli during difficult times of the year, especially with the Monsoons. I have been to China during heavy monsoon type weather and it’s just no fun. Also Arizona. I will make sure when I do go to visit I will avoid those times of year.

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  6. We had been to Delhi long time back and had booked with a tour company. We had a cab to move around the places and we have experienced the terrible traffic and signal waits. For tourists, time is very important and these tips are great to save on the same and explore as much as possible. Next time we visit we are definitely going to try the metros. Thanks for the post!

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  7. Awesome guide! I’d love to visit one day and it always helps to have tips from someone who’s been and knows their way around.

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  8. Awesome tips. Its been quite sometime since I visited Delhi. I was using Metro and bought the 3 day tourist card.. Its just so comfortable! I can never forget that trip coz I lost my phone and took a bus to Lajpat Nagar and lodge a police complaint! I rode a rickshaw on Chandi Chowk’s traffic!!! Ha!!! Memories!!!

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  9. This is such an awesome post! I am from Delhi and I can tell you that Delhi Metro is the best option to commute considering the traffic in the city but unfortunately metro is always overcrowded at peak time. 🙂

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  10. I’ve never been to Delhi or India, but have heard a lot about the traffic! The tips are useful for the metro, I can imagine it can get busy. I have to say, I didn’t know you have a winter in India (!), so I also learned something new here!

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  11. Having been to India before I would definitely not be brave enough to hire a car; it would take a lifetime to get used to the driving rules (or lack thereof ;)) but it is part of India’s charm! I’ve never been to Delhi but it looks lovely; I like the fact that they have a women’s only coach, I would feel better about bringing my daughters.

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  12. I would definitely take the Metro around Dehli. I wouldn’t be brave enough to rent a car! The Red Fort looks very interesting as do all the points of interest of Dehli.

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  13. For somebody who has never been in India, these insider tips are very useful. I love that you recommend starting the day early. New Delhi seems so huge to me that you can easily can get lost. The women coach was a good tip too.

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  14. This is great information. It can always be a challenge to get around in foreign countries, especially one as crowded as Delhi. Keeping this for future reference.

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  15. I love the casual approach to travel. Winters – start late to avoid rush hour. Summer – don’t come, it’s too hot. One of the fantastic things about blogging is that you can hear first hand opinions of real travelers instead of commercialized -it’s beautiful all year long – sales pitches.

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  16. These tips are so handy for commuting in Delhi. While there has been a lot of concerns about travel safety in India, especially for women, I think anyone can be safe as long as you are informed about your transportation options. The all-female coach sounds like a good idea! I think that would be the ideal choice for those who are skeptical about solo travel and commuting in Delhi, or India!

    Liked by 1 person

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