Things to do in New Delhi: Exploring the Capital of India

Top things to do in New Delhi

Delhi is a metro town bustling with activity, vibrant in all its glory and splendour. From heritage monuments, to pretty garden, elite clubs, and crowded markets, there is dearth of things to do in Delhi. You can go on a heritage walk or browse the markets or relax in the parks. Among the innumerous things to do in Delhi, the most popular ones include travelling in a HOHO bus, boating at Old Fort, or attending a light and sound show at Red Fort etc. Dotted with historical monuments, markets, fun parks, there is a roster of things to do in Delhi which is enjoyed by both the city dwellers and tourists. Have a look at the comprehensive list of things to do in Delhi given below.

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Here is the list of 40 Things to do in New Delhi: Exploring the Capital of India

1. Historical Retreat at Red Fort

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The Red Fort is a historical fortification in the national capital of New Delhi. Located in the center of the city, it was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty. This imposing piece of architecture derives its name from its impregnable red sandstone walls. In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political center of the Mughal state. Today, this monument is home to a number of museums that have an assortment of precious artifacts on display. Visiting the monuments is one of the most essential things to do in Delhi.

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2. Visit the Magnificent India Gate

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The All India War Memorial, popularly known as the India Gate, is located along the Rajpath in New Delhi. The imposing structure of India Gate is an awe-inspiring sight and is often compared to the Arch de Triomphe in France, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and the Arch of Constantine in Rome. This 42-meter tall historical structure was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is one of the largest war memorials in the country. Picnicking and walking past the age-old monument is one of the top activities and things to do in Delhi.

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3. Explore the Magnificent Ruins of Qutub Minar

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The soaring and brave tower that allures tourists despite being destroyed by ravages of natural apocalypses several times, Qutub Minar is the tallest individual tower in the world and second tallest monument of Delhi. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located in Mehrauli and its construction was started in 1192 by Qutb Ud-Din-Aibak, founder of Delhi Sultanate. Later, the tower was built by various rulers over the centuries. The sight of this glorious monument takes you back to the rich history of India. Along with several other historical monuments, visiting here is one of the best things to do in Delhi for both the city dwellers and tourists.

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4. Tour the Rashtrapati Bhavan

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Located on the western end of the Rajpath in New Delhi, the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India. It was originally built with the intent of serving as the Viceroy's House. With its 340 rooms in the main building covering 5 acres on an estate of 330 acres, it is one of the largest residences of any head of the state in the world. This majestic piece of architecture was conceptualized by renowned architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. The construction saw completion in the year 1929 and now stands today as a magnificent symbol of all that India is.

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5. Explore the Splendid Connaught Place

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Connaught Place or 'CP' as it is more commonly known is a massive commercial and financial centre in New Delhi. Named after the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, this confusing market complex houses almost all famous international chain stores, famous food chains, restaurants and bars. Connaught Place has one of the largest national flags in the country. This circular, greying whitewashed structure has two concentric circles; the inner circle which has blocks A to F and the outer circle which has blocks G to N. The Connaught Place is also the ultimate place to experience the vibrant nightlife of Delhi housing some of the most famous bars and restaurants. Being one of the most popular after dark destinations, no visit to Delhi is complete without a visit to the Connaught Place. This is one of the topmost things to do in Delhi.

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6. Find Peace at the Lotus Temple

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Located in the national capital of New Delhi, the Lotus Temple is an edifice dedicated to the Baha'i faith. The magnificent structure of this building unfolds in the form of a stupendous white petal lotus and is one of the most visited establishments in the world. The design of this shrine was conceptualized by Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba and was completed in the year 1986. This temple seeks to propagate the oneness of the Almighty and is open to all regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender. The Lotus temple it is one of the seven Baha'i House of Worship present around the world and making a visit here is one of the best things to do in Delhi.

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7. Offer Prayers at Jama Masjid

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Amidst the rush and chaos of Central Delhi, lies the peace and tranquillity of the largest mosque in the country. The 'Masjid-I Jahan-Numa' or Jama Masjid as it is more commonly known, means "World Reflecting Mosque." It was the last of Shah Jahan's impressive collection of architectural undertakings, after the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. With a capacity of twenty-five thousand people in the courtyard, Jama Masjid is arguably the largest mosque in the country. Evenings are surreal when the steps leading to the mosque are filled with food and book stalls. Visiting this ancient monument is one of the top touristy things to do in Delhi.

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8. Visit the World's Largest Hindu Temple- Swaminarayan Akshardham

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An epitome of Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture, Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is an abode of God built in 2005. Akshardham has made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. Over 8000 volunteers from all around the world were involved in the construction of intricately carved marble and sandstone structure of the temple. Timeless Hindu teachings and flamboyant devotional traditions find their place on the temple's incredible walls. Moreover, the complex is a home to India's largest step well which is a host to the mesmerising water show; an open garden, Narayan Sarovar, various expeditions, and rituals. The complex is not less than a paradise for the spiritual seekers and making a visit here is one of the prime things to do in Delhi.

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9. Marvel at the Architecture of Humayun's Tomb

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As the name suggests, Humayun's tomb is the final resting place of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Located in the Nizamuddin East area of Delhi, it is the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent. This splendid piece of architecture was commissioned for construction by Humayun's chief consort empress Bega Begum in the year 1569-70 and is one of the very few structures that used red sandstone on such a massive scale at that time. The design of Humayun's tomb pertains to typical Mughal architecture with Persian influences and was conceptualized by Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyath. Visiting the tomb is one of the top touristy things to do in Delhi.

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10. Visit the Famous Jantar Mantar

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Located in the Parliament Street, south Connaught Circle of New Delhi, Jantar Mantar is a vast observatory built to help and improve upon the studies of time and space as was known. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the year 1724 and forms a part of a collection of five such observatories located in Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. The intelligent construction and placement of these instruments allowed the observer to note the position of heavenly bodies with their naked eye alone. Make sure to visit here and include this activity in your top things to do in Delhi.

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11. Seek Blessings at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

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Known for its association with Guru Har Krishan, the eighth Sikh guru, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most prominent religious as well as tourist places in Delhi. Operating for all 24 hours, the Gurudwara is an example of the large-hearted nature of Sikhs. One of the most famous tourist attractions in Delhi, a visit to Gurudwara Bangla Sahib rejuvenates your soul. This place of solace is flocked by more than thousand people in one single day. Visiting here is one of the prime things to do in Delhi.

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12. Explore the Labyrinthine Alleys of Chandni Chowk

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One of the oldest markets in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is Old Delhi's main thoroughfare which is a chaotic shopping street lined by hawkers and porters with narrow lanes offering full medieval bazaar experience. It is an important historical site renowned for the availability of every kind of goods as well as food. It was constructed in the 17th-century b the Mughal ruler of India Shah Jahan. It is situated opposite the Red Fort and provides a view of the Fatehpuri Mosque. From delicious food to trendy clothes, you can find everything at this neighbourhood. Be sure to include this activity in your list of top things to do in Delhi.

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13. Go Clubbing in Hauz Khas Village

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An affluent neighbourhood in South Delhi, Hauz Khas has been well known since medieval times. A reservoir is circumferenced with beautiful buildings and a well-maintained park around. View of the fort during sunset and sunrise is beyond words. There are remnants of Islamic architecture roughly coloured by splotches of urban culture. The existing status of the village retains the old charm of the place along with an enhanced aesthetic appeal. Hauz Khas Village is also known for its electric nightlife with countless cafes, bars and pubs. No matter whether you are a Delhiite of not, you eventually find yourself at the most happening place in the city. Partying in these clubs here is one of the top things to do in Delhi.

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14. Pay Your Respects at Rajghat

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Rajghat is situated 4 km away from Janpath in Delhi and holds a great significance in the history of India. Rajghat is a place where Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation was cremated followed by his assassination in the year 1948. The cenotaph commemorating his memory is a simple black marble structure that sits in the midst of a beautiful lush green garden. The place is visited by locals as well as foreigners and various delegates and VIPs to pay their homage to the Father of the Nation.

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15. Attend an Exhibition at Pragati Maidan

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The Pragati Maidan, on the Mathura Road in New Delhi, is a huge complex-cum-exhibition centre with a total exhibit area of 150 acres. Equipped with well-paved roads, lawns, gardens and eating outlets; Pragati Maidan, which literally means 'progress grounds', houses 16 vast and spacious halls in all and is the biggest exhibition centre that Delhi boasts of. The place hosts about 70 national and international exhibitions and conventions each year.

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16. Heritage Walk at the Lodhi Garden

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Located near the Safdarjung tomb and Khan Market of Delhi, the Lodhi Garden is a luscious garden that houses the tombs of Sayyid ruler Mohammed Shah and Lodhi king Sikandar Lodhi. The construction of this great work of architecture took place under the Lodhi reign sometime in the 15th century. In addition to encompassing the final resting place of two great leaders, the Lodhi Garden also has the Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad within its perimeter. The architecture here shows a mix of work by Sayyidis and Lodhis and is the epitome of magnificent engineering that echoes of Delhi's illustrious history. Currently, this place is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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17. Shop Your Heart Out at Lajpat Nagar

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Lajpat Nagar is a bustling and colourful neighbourhood in South Delhi, India. Named after the Lion of Punjab, the Honorable Lala Lajpat Rai, the region is best known for the Lajpat Nagar Central Market where many come to experience the thrill of the genuine Delhi life. One visit and you'll know how lively the place is and this can be seen by the flamboyant goods on sale, the brilliant evening lights, the rushing inhabitants and the sounds of the ever so busy streets. A real paradise for shopaholics, you'll find anything and everything to fit your budget. Plus, if you can bargain, you'll be delighted with the incredible deals you crack. Shopping at this market is one of the top things to do in Delhi.

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18. Nature Therapy at Garden of Five Senses

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Located in the poised Said-ul-Ajaib, away from the din of the city, the enticingly alluring park brings together an evocative bouquet of colour and fragrance, texture and form. Aptly called as the Garden of Five Senses, the park sprawling over 20 acres of land is designed to stimulate your senses of touch, sight, smell, sound and taste and is a paradise for nature’s lovers. Conceptualized on the theme of natural beauty to provide the locals with a leisure space, this enchantingly beautiful garden is a celebration of aesthetic expression and fabricated design. Along with several other exciting things to do in Delhi, this one tops the list.

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19. Cultural Retreat at Dilli Haat

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Designed to invoke the ambience of a traditional village fair, Dilli Haat is every shopper's paradise, a foodie's haven and the cultural magnet of the metro city. A flamboyant mix of vibrant colours and varied cultures, the bazaar is located in the commercial centre of South Delhi, bang opposite to the INA Market. A synthesis of ethnic culture, delectable cuisine and regional handicrafts, the market offers a plethora of traditional crafts and handloom products. In addition to this, the market has savoury lip-smacking food cuisines from varied parts of India. If you are in the city, visiting here should be on top of your list of things to do in Delhi.

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20. Enjoy a Boat Ride at Purana Qila

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Stoically standing in the placid vicinity of Indraprastha, Purana Qila or the Old Fort is a masterpiece of the ancient glory and sterling architecture of the bygone Mughal Empire, and is one of the oldest forts in Delhi. Built on the banks of river Yamuna and spread over a vast 1.5 kms of area, the monument has tons of myths and legends of the medieval era attached to it. Situated in the heart of the city and boasting of idyllic and a serene panorama, the fort radiates romantic vibes and is frequented by couples to enjoy some moments of solitude. Boating is the most sought after activity at the fort and one of the top things to do in Delhi.

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21. Explore the Lanes of Paharganj

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Replete with travellers, both Indian and foreign, Paharganj is the most chaotic, noisy, dirty and yet the most vibrant market of Delhi. Dotted with umpteen hotels, brothels, cheap bars, and ultra cheap restaurants; the labyrinthian alleys of Paharganj have a lot more to offer than visible to the naked eye. Bustling with tiny shacks, unhygienic eateries, budgeted hotels and souvenir shops; Paharganj is the must visit place if you’re looking to explore the real part of Dilli. Laced with everything from books to jewellery, bags, scriptures, idols, harem pants, handicrafts, brasswares, Indian tea and the like; it is the perfect place to shop anything at the lowest possible price.

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22. Visit the Teen Murti Bhavan (Nehru House) and Nehru Planetarium

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The Teen Murti Bhavan is a splendid and historical architecture located in the Indian capital city of New Delhi. The Teen Murti Bhavan was initially the residence of Pandit Nehru for 16 years until his death in 1964, after which the house was converted into a memorial dedicated to him. In addition to being an important national memorial, Teen Murti Bhavan today houses various institutions like the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. Some parts of Nehru's old office have been recreated in the museum by using the same furniture and other artefacts that he used at that time, while the library has exhaustive resources on the modern history of India.

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23. Enjoy the Rail Relics at the Rail Museum

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Located in the vicinity of Chanakyapuri, the Rail Museum aims to preserve the 163 years old railway heritage of India. Popularly known as the National Railway Museum, the museum is spread over 10 acres of land and houses some fantabulous railway memorabilia. Established on 1st of February, 1977, the Rail Museum possesses an exciting collection of around 100 real size exhibits of Indian railways both working and static, antiques, furniture and the like. A few dummy specimen also offer rides to both adults and kids.

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24. Enjoy a Blissful Walk inside Mughal Gardens

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Popularly known as the “soul” of the Presidential Palace, the Mughal Gardens are located inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan Complex. Inspired by the Mughal Gardens in Jammu and Kashmir, the ones in Delhi have succeeded in replicating the same charm and creating the picture perfect verdure panorama. The entire complex is a breathtaking combination of Circular, Spiritual, Bonsai, Herbal, Tactile and Musical Gardens. The gardens feature an extensive variety of seasonally blooming flowers and present a spectacular euphoric picture altogether. However, the garden is only open for a short period of time between the months of February and March.

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25. Wine and Dine at Khan Market

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One of the oldest and the costliest markets in India is the Khan Market of Delhi. In the market lies a haven for both locals and expatriates. Established in 1951, the market has successfully held the essence of its original structure even in the times of rapid modernization. The U-shaped double story complexes tend to favour mostly the elite class. No matter what the clock strikes, if you need to hang out late at night, Khan Market is the place for you. It remains open till 12:00 AM. From the showrooms of the best brands to the restaurants providing lip smacking food; the retail location is a paradise for both shopaholics and foodies.

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26. Shop Trendy Clothes at Sarojini Market

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Vibrantly coloured clothes strewn all over, tiny food stalls cramped in every nook, deafening cacophony of the salesboys and a pandemic compact environment- welcome to Sarojini Nagar, the most hep and trendy market of Delhi. Popularly known as bargain bazaar and every girl’s shopping paradise, the bazaar has more to offer to women in comparison to men, in terms of clothing, footwear, kitchen utensils, accessories and cosmetics. With a wide range of high- street merchandise available at killer prices, Sarojini Nagar never disappoints anybody from designers to divas to professional or the college crowd. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Delhi.

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27. Visit the Gigantic Jhandewalan Hanuman Temple

Towering over the entire New Delhi city, the 108 feet colossal Hanuman idol is housed within the Hanuman Mandir complex in Jhandewalan. The gigantic statue is only one of the attractions of the temple, another important highlight of the shrine is the dramatic entrance designed like a mouth of a rakshasa (Demon) which apparently has been slain and is waiting for its death. At the base of the statue, there is a small shrine dedicated to Goddess Kali. Tuesdays are the most visited days of the week, by the pilgrims. However, owing to the spectacle that the statue is, the temple is visited by devotees and tourists alike and is one of the top touristy things to do in Delhi.

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28. Visit Shankar's International Dolls Museum

Situated in the Children’s Book Trust Building at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Shankar’s International Dolls Museum is a veritabel dreamland for kids. Shankar's Museum is one among the most popular tourist attractions of the city; the idea behind the museum was conceptualized by the famous cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai. Segregated into two sections, the repository has over 160 shelves full of dolls from all across the world. At the time when it was created, in 1965, the museum was inaugurated with just around 500 dolls; however, as of now, the number has shooted up to a collection 6500 dolls from over 85 countries, 500 of which are from the different states of India itself.

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29. Admire at the Architecture of Safdarjung Tomb

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Amongst the sundry places in Delhi that attract attention with their history or quaintness, is the twee tomb of Safdarjung. The elegant mausoleum built of marble and sandstone stands untouched in the test of time and boasts of 18th-century Mughal architectural style. Built in 1754, during the reign of Mughal Emperor- Ahmad Shah Bahadur, the namesake tomb is dedicated to the Prime Minister of the court- Safdarjung. Also known as ‘Safdarjung ka Maqbara’, the mausoleum boasts of a tranquil ambience and a majestic presence owing to its enormous dome, elaborate arches and intricate architecture. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Delhi.

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30. Take a Stroll Down the Champa Gali

Champa Gali is a newly established locale which is gaining momentum and significant popularity not only for its scrummy food cafes but also for its Parisian alleys and glitzy labyrinthian setting. The spot offers a rustic old-world charm and is a blend of itsy bitsy cafeterias, coffee shops, art galleries and some organic knick-knack stores. The once ramshakled area of Saidulajaib next to Saket has been revived and is now adorned with tinsel light, cultural decor, fancy thematic setting and tiny seating spaces which are sure to take to you back to lanes and gullies of ‘Midnight in Paris’.

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31. Wildlife Spotting at National Zoological Park

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Inaugurated in 1959, National Zoological Park is situated near The Old Fort in Delhi and is a favourite weekend spot among adults and children alike. From biggest cats to the tiniest birds, the zoo has all kinds of animals and birds. Initially, it was known as Delhi Zoo when in 1982 it was renamed The National Zoological Park with the idea of making it the model zoo of the country. At the Zoological Park, birds and animals live in an environment that in many ways resemble their natural habitat. The zoo not only provides a home for endangered species but also helps them to breed in captivity. It also holds Conservation Breeding Programmes for Asiatic Lion, Royal Bengal Tiger, Brow Antlered Deer, Swamp Deer, Indian rhinoceros and red jungle fowl.

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32. Relax and Unwind at the Indraprastha Park

Also known as the Millennium Indraprastha Park, Indraprastha Park is situated on the Outer Ring Road in Delhi near Sarai Kale Khan. Furbished with a Children's Park and an ampitheatre, food court and a Shanti Stupa, the park is the common hangout place among romantic couples, kids and adults alike.

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33. Take a Walk at Siri Fort

Siri Fort is among the many renowned monuments of heritage and culture, situated in New Delhi. Located between Hauz Khas on the east and Mehrauli in the north, the construction of the fort is believed to have begun in 1303, during the reign of Alauddin Khilji. The fort was only a part of the strategic city of Siri which was second of the seven cities built during the time, by the Turks of the Delhi Sultanate. However, as of now, only a few remnants of the same can be seen in the form of fort ruins; but the majestic architecture and the historical relevance still draws hordes of tourists to visit it.

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34. Visit the National Gallery Of Modern Art

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India is a country of art lovers, and National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA) is no less than heaven for them. Following its motto of delivering an excellent world of art to its visitors, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, preserves paintings and other artistic pieces dating back to 1850s. NGMA at Delhi is the main museum located in the Jaipur House. It was established on March 29, 1954, by the Indian Government. Covering an area of 12,000 metres square, it is the largest when compared to its subsequent branches in Mumbai and Bangalore. The gallery helps people to connect the works of modern art with their vital passions of the human spirit.

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35. Revisit History at National Museum

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Also known as the National Museum of India, the National Museum in New Delhi is one the largest museums in India, situated on the corner of the Janpath and Maulana Azad Road. Established in 1949, the blueprints of the majestic repository were prepared by the Gwyer Committee set up by the Government of India in 1946. Today, the museum boasts of possessing a whopping 200,000 artworks, both Indian and foreign, and is maintained by the Ministry of Culture, Department of India. Covering an extensive range of products from the prehistoric times to modern works of art, the museum traces the rich cultural heritage of nations across the world, from over 5000 years ago.

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36. Savour the Delectable Street Food

Delhi remains unseen until you have experienced the street food here. It'd be a futile effort to try and name the items, since there are countless colourful options out their all with simple legacies behind them. Walk through Old Delhi lanes to have some of the richest street foods you might ever find. The most famous street food options are pani puri, aloo chaat, matar kulcha, samosa etc. Browsing the lanes for authentic street food is one of the best things to do in Delhi.

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37. Listen to the Evening Qawwali at Nizamuddin Dargah

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Dedicated to the world famous Muslim Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Chisti, the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is a mausoleum and shrine located in Delhi. The complex of the dargah is a beautiful amalgam of red stone and white marble and was built in the year 1526. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah seeks to propagate;the Sufi tradition which is based on spirituality and views all religions as equal. The tomb of lyricist Amir Khusro (disciple of Hazrat Nizammudin) is also situated within the Nizamuddin Dargah complex. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah also plays host to qawwali and a Sufi singing session on Thursdays and Saturdays and a number of Sufi singers come here to pay their homage. Being a part of this evening is one of the top things to do in Delhi.

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38. Watch a Play in the Theatres

Delhi is abuzz with activity and is full of theatres swarming with young artists. Watching a theatre performance is one of the top things to do in Delhi. You can go watch a stellar play or a drama both by amateur groups and professional actors. Some of the best auditoriums to watch a play are Akshara Theatre, Kamani Auditorium, Shri Ram Centre, and the Little Theatre Group Auditorium.

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39. Go Sightseeing in the HOHO Bus

A Hop On Hop Off Bus, better known as HOHO Bus is the best way for sightseeing in Delhi. The bus ride takes you through umpteen picnic spots and monuments of historic and heritage importance around the city. Covering 19 spots in a day, it let's you get down and spend ample time to visit the place. This is one of the prime attractions and things too do in Delhi.

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40. Go Toilets Watching at Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

Home to umpteen monuments of historical importance, awe-striking places of heritage and breathtakingly beauteous locales, Delhi always has yet more new surprises in store. One such asset is Sulabh International Museum of Toilets. Established with the objective to address the global history of sanitation and toilets, the museum is anything but mundane and is a source of amusement to many. With a plethora of exhibits accumulated from over 50 countries and ranging from ornately carved toilets to painted urinals and related anecdotes, the repository brings to you the entire history of toilets from 3000 BC to the 20th century, meticulously arranged in three sections of Ancient, Medieval and Modern.

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This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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