New Delhi is the bustling capital of India. Home to more than 19 million residents, this ancient city has a lot for any tourist to see. There are several free walking tours that offer informative, entertaining experiences to help you discover this wonderful city. Check out the schedule or read below about the different companies.
What is commonly referred to as “free tours” are really tours that operate on a pay-what-you-wish or tips-based model.
There is no cost to take a tour and you are not obligated to pay your tour guide anything, though most people do.
The free tours in New Delhi tend to be welcome or orientation tours and focus on the historic city centre and adjacent neighborhoods and cover architecture and history.
Some tours focus on just one neighborhood/area and may touch upon other areas while other tours combine several areas.
Yo Tours runs a free daily history and culture tour that focuses on the old city and introduces guests to the cultural and architectural highlights of the area. This is a great way to orient yourself in the area. The historical district is a fascinating place, but it is easy to get lost, so going on a group tour is the best option. Yo tours has both a morning (10am) and evening (4pm) free tour.
Contes Asia runs a free food tour titled "Delhi belly" everyday at 10am (reservations required). The tour focuses on the old section of the city and winds through markets, temples, and bazaars, with a focus on the local street food flavors. The tour starts at the Red Fort and covers Digambara Jain Temple, Gauri Shankar Temple, Jalebiwala, Kinari Bazaar, Svetambara Jain Temple among others. This team has earned certificates of excellence from Tripadvisor and they offer tours throughout Northern India.
The New Delhi Street Food walking tour tales place in the North Delhi (Kamla Nagar) area. You taste a Lebanese Shawarma, delicious momos, Bhel puri as you walk through the streets of Kamla Nagar.
Enjoy free walking tours in other cities around the world with Free Tours by Foot and our recommended companies.
Top 10 Things to Do in New Delhi
“I asked my soul: What is Delhi? She replied: The world is the body and Delhi its life." - Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
Delhi, of the City of Djinns, embodies India in its expanse, in its contradictions, its beauty and tradition, its loud roads, yet calm streets and its humbling position as running the world’s largest democracy. Featuring historical, religious and government sites, memorials and landmarks, Delhi offers a visual and sensual treat for all its visitors. Read our Delhi hacks to get the most out of your visit to this unique city and epicenter of India’s architecture, food and shopping.
Top 10 Things to Do in New Delhi
1. Take a Sight-Seeing Tour to Get Your Bearings
Delhi can be an over-whelming city to try and navigate on your own, so waste no time and use your first day in the city to get acquainted with the help of a local. We recommend trying a half-day or a full-day city tour to hit up some of the major sites of the city like the Red Fort of the India Gate, understand how traffic, metro and the auto-rickshaws work, and a get a lay of the land. We recommend private tour experiences in India because they are relatively well-priced, more intimate and more manageable given how busy the streets already are.
2. Take a Walking Tour in Old Delhi and Chandni Chowk
Old Delhi or the very famous “Purani Dilli” is the place to be if you are visiting Delhi.
You can’t come to New Delhi without visiting Old Delhi. This is the oldest area of Delhi, a tangle of ancient streets and alleyways, filled with all kinds of shops, jam packed with people, and this is the place to go for chaos and mayhem. Delicious food on every street, cycle rickshaws to take you through the markets, Old Delhi can be explored by taking a walking tour with Master Jee Ki Haveli. Their tours are restricted to Old Delhi and the surrounding areas and we recommend you trying a half day old Delhi tour with them. The tours are a combination of walking and cycle rickshaw rides. To get a flavor of the delicacies in Chandni Chowk, we recommend you take a food walk with Delhi Food Walks.
3. India Gate & Walk to the Rashtrapati Bhawan
The India Gate, the national monument of India is the ultimate symbol of India’s rich history, colonial past, and future promise and is situated in the center of New Delhi. The monument is an important landmark in Delhi and commemorates the soldiers of the Indian Army, who lost their lives while fighting for the British Indian Empire in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. The structure built by Sir Edwin Lutyens has been built with red and pale sandstone and granite. The flame of the Immortal Soldier or the Amar Jawan Jyoti is always lot at the India Gate. The best time to visit the India Gate would be early mornings, if you would like to avoid the crowd. In the winter season, any time is ideal to visit the monument. During summers, one can find a lot of families and friends enjoying a walk or an ice cream around the India Gate.
You must also walk on the Rajpath from the India Gate to the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan, situated at the end of Rajpath, popular as a ceremonial boulevard in the national capital of India, New Delhi, Rajpath runs the length between the Rashtrapti Bhawan on Raisina Hills to the National Stadium. It literally means the kings way and the well-maintained roads and the lawns on either side of the Rajpath are a treat and are the attraction point during the Republic Day Parade on January 26 every year. We also recommend you take a guided tour inside the President’s House by making an online booking through the website here.
4. Cover the Most Ground with a Bus Tour
Like most cities in the world, you can also opt for a Hop On Hop Off (HO-HO) bus tour for as little as INR 500 a day. HO-HO is an initiative by the Delhi Tourism, and you can take a one day or a two-day tour, depending on your itinerary and wish list. The bus runs through all major attractions in the city at regular intervals and gives visitors plenty of time to get familiar with the city and its heritage, not limited to but including including heritage monuments like Qutab Minar, Red fort, Humayun’s Tomb. The tour start point is HOHO Centre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Opp. Connaught place police station, Connaught Place with the first bus starting at 7:30am.
5. Visit the Government Sites of the World’s Largest Democracy
The history of red fort (Lal Quila), built by Shah Jahan goes back to the year 1638 when he took the decision to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Red Fort holds an important place in the history of India. It is the fort where the National Flag of India was hoisted at the time of Independence. Today the flag is still hoisted at the same place by the Prime Minister of India every year.
Red Fort is a very beautifully built monument which is in the form of a parallelogram. It has walls facing Yamuna as well as Chandni Chowk. One of the important gateways here is Lahori Gate. It is that particular gate where the Indian Flag was hoisted at the time of independence. There are other important buildings inside the fort as well. Diwan-i-Aam and Diwan-i-Khas are a few to name. The architecture of Red Fort depicts the beautiful Mughal culture.
The best time to visit the Red Fort is during the winter months when the weather is cooler and protects you from the high Delhi heat.
Timings: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM (All days except Monday)
Cost: INR 35 for Indians and INR 500 for foreigners
Transportation: The nearest metro station to Red Fort is Chandni Chowk on Yellow Line. Exit at the station and take an auto or cab to reach the Red Fort. DTDC buses are also available for road transfers. Buses stop near New Delhi railway station which is close to Red Fort.
Raj Ghat Gandhi Memorial
Raj Ghat is a serene and elegant memorial dedicated to the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Just like Gandhiji who was a simple yet powerful leader, his memorial also reflects simplicity in its structure and design. Located on the banks of the River Yamuna, Raj Ghat marks the spot where he was cremated after the assassination. In addition to this, the Raj Ghat area also contains the cremation spots aka samadhis of several other famous leaders in the country.
6. Hindu Temples & Cultural Sites
The Akshardham Temple, on the NH24 and just steps away from the Akshardham Metro Station Stop in New Delhi radiates peace, beauty, divine and joy. The temple is a beautiful showcase for Indian art, heritage, rituals and spiritual values to Swaminarayan, who was believed as the torch bearer of the Indian culture. The temple is set in a 100-acre site and the temple was built within 5 years. There is no entry fee for the temple, but one must be aware of the high crowds, especially on weekends and public holidays. The main attractions of the temple are:
Ten Gates, which represent the ten principal directions described in the Indian culture reflecting the Vedic sentiment of inviting peace and happiness from everywhere to all the visitors.
Mayur Dwar (Mayur means peacock) pay tribute to the joy and color like a peacock adds to life. The peacock is believed to be a symbol of beauty and purity and it is also the national bird of our country
Footprints, the footprints of Bhagwan Swaminarayan in the memory of his incarnation on earth is laid. These footprints are carved out of white marble and bear the 16 sacred signs of God.
Lotus Temple also called as Bahai’s Temple, an enormous lotus flower, is an iconic temple in south Delhi. A symbol of peace and an architectural delight, the whole temple from top to bottom is made of pure marble. A serene place to be, the place was built to bring people from all communities and religions together to find inner peace. An ideal place for meditation and pray, the temple always has pin-drop silence to allow visitors to achieve peace.
Along with meditation, one can explore Manicured gardens, pools, and its grounds.
If you are in search of peaceful place in Delhi, then a visit to Lotus Temple will be a tranquil experience for you.
Transportation: The nearest metro station is the Kalkaji Metro Station and right to the Kalkaji Park (2 minute walk)
Cost: No Entry Ticket
- Photography is restricted in the inner sanctum. Advice:
- The temple gets really crowded on the weekends hence it is advisable to visit during the weekdays to avoid the local crowd.
A mighty 108 ft statue of Lord Hanuman is one of the most popular Hindu temples in Delhi. Due to the colossal structure, it can be seen from nearby area of both Jhandewalan and Karol Bagh metro station. The temple stays open every day, but Tuesday are pretty crowded compare to other days. Along with massive statue of Lord Hanuman, the entrance of the temple is also a foremost attraction for devotees and tourist. The shape of entrance door has been curved as the mouth of the deity, which is the corridor to main hall of the shrine.
During the evening Aarti, the arms of Hanuman’s giant statue move back, and the chest slides open to give sight of the striking Lord Shri Rama & Devi Sita.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is a prominent house of worship for the Sikh community and tourist spot in Delhi. This 17th-century shrine is dedicated to the memory of Guru Har Krishan, who was the eighth Sikh Guru. Located near Connaught Place, the busiest neighborhood in the national capital, the Gurudwara draws attention due to its magnificent structure, architectural beauty, and the large water body aka ‘Sarovar’ located within the complex. It deserves to be on your itinerary when you book your hotels in Delhi for a holiday or sightseeing escapade. The Gurudwara is open 24x7 and is open for all visitors, no caste or community biased.
Have langar (free meal) at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara
One of the most satisfying experiences in Delhi, this free meal served with love is a specialty not to be missed. The langar at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara starts at 9 a.m. and goes to about 3pm–4 pm and starts again at 7pm. until 10pm. This free meal in Delhi is both delicious and heartwarming.
ISKCON is a highly renowned name in Delhi if we speak about the places of worship. A massive structure built for the praise and worship of Lord Krishna, ISKCON Temple is situated on Hare Krishna Hill in East of Kailash. The holy shrine has incredible architecture, which has been designed by famous architect Achyut Kanvinde. There is a massive hall that has been embossed with scenes depicted from the Mahabharata. The angelic chant of the Hare Rama, Hare Krishna and the melodious beating of the Mridangam makes the ambiance of the temple extremely pious. ISKCON also has a museum, where one can find copies of the Bhagvad Gita in any language.
7. Explore Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar
The Jama Masjid holds a place in India’s history and a world heritage site. Within the red-walled sandstone structure and the ‘World-reflecting Mosque’, you will bloom with the stride of positivity. It is the blaze of calm you need after the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi. Furthermore, making it one of the most amazing travel places in India.The architecture of Jama Masjid incorporates a symphonic array of red sandstone and white marble stones. Being a revered religious site, this mosque orients in the direction of Muslim pilgrimage Mecca. With a dome tearing the skies and a prayer hall occupying over 25000 pilgrims, Jama Masjid is an assortment in Delhi you didn’t even know you deserve.
Humayun's Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1570 and commissioned by Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum. Humayun’s tomb has cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. One of the best examples of Mughal styled architecture and a major tourist attraction in the Delhi, Humayun’s Tomb stands within a complex of 27.04 ha. The architecture of the tomb is strongly influenced by Persian architecture. The tomb constructed in the center of a Persian-style chaharbagh garden with quadrilateral form. Inspired by Quran, the garden is divided in four main parts by walkways or flowing water is created which resemble to the paradise garden.
Timing: 8am to 6pm (all days)
Tickets: INR 10 (Indian Adults) and INR 250 for Tourists
Transportation: Easily accessible by road as well as by Delhi Metro. The nearest railway station is Nazimuddin. Nearest Metro stations are, Jorbagh and Race Course stations (both on the Yellow line) are the nearest.
Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Mehrauli area of Delhi. Qutub Minar is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks of the country. The complex includes is a minaret and "victory tower", which is 240 feet tower with a width of 47 feet at the base that tapers to 8 feet at the top and contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps.
The construction of this gigantic structure was started in the year 1192 under the aegis of Qutb Al-Din Aibak, a ruler of the Turkic Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. The Qutb Minar as we see it now was finally completed by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in the year 1369.
Ticket: INR 30 (Indians) and INR 500 (Tourist)
Timing: 7:00 am – 5:00 pm (Every day)
Transportation: Qutub Minar Metro Station (Yellow Line - Connecting Samayapur Badli in Delhi to Huda City Center in Gurgaon) is the nearest metro station.
8. Must Try Food Experiences
Parathe (Stuffed Flat breads) at Parathe vali Gali in Chandni Chowk
Tables are limited at Babu Ram Parantha, but once you’re seated, look over their menu (they have some intriguing options) and get to ordering. The Papad paratha piqued our interest (it's literally how it sounds—papad stuffed with potato) as did the meva paratha. The latter is understated, in both richness and sweetness; you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Also order the dal paratha, a classic done right.
Karim’s Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid area and the lane opposite – Bazaar Matia Mahal has some of the best eating places in Delhi. From keema samosas, to grilled botis to kebabs and jalebi, no foodie who has gone to Jama Masjid has ever come back unhappy. Jama Masjid is one of the best places to eat in Delhi, if you’re a non-veg food lover.
Transportation: Walking distance from the Jama Masjid metro station
Daulat ki Chaat
Daulat Ki Chaat is a magical concoction that involves milk and cream. The result is a light-as-air dish topped with kesar, khoya and sometimes nuts. Basically, it’s the closest you’ll come to feasting on a cloud. And it’s only available in Delhi in winter.
Located near India Gate, Pandara Road has some of the best places to eat in Delhi. It is an upmarket choice for all those who are looking for an excellent meal in a niche part of the city. One can find some of the best food places in Delhi here and these include Have More, Gulati, and Chicken Inn (all North Indian). Ichiban is the go-to place for lovers of Pan Asian and Pindi is the one for tandoori food lovers. For vegetarians, the best option is Veg Gulati. Pandara Road has some of the best eateries in Delhi that you must try at least once.
Transportation: Khan Market is the nearest walkable metro station.
Also known as mini-Kolkata, Chittaranjan Park, is a treat for not only Bengali food lovers but also for those with a sweet tooth. From fish to rolls to sweets and puchkas, be ready for a heavenly street food experience when you’re here
Transportation: Take an auto from GK metro station
9. Lose yourself in the Heart of Shopping
The Dilli Haat is an open aircraft bazaar cum food plaza situated in Delhi, run by Delhi tourism and transportation development corporation (DTTDC). Craftsmen from all states of India display their wares here and a wide variety of handicrafts are available. Some of the things that you can pick up from Dilli Haat are hand painted paper mache products like bangles, jewelry boxes and trays, which certainly makes for great buys. Shawls, stoles and scarves in silk and cotton are popular item too. Dilli Haat is much more than just a place where you go to buy traditional handicrafts. Dilli Haat is a perfect example of India’s rich culture, craft, and race. Here, one can get exposure and recognition to show culinary skills and artworks. Small business owners get real help establishing their stall in this marketplace.
Indians (INR 30- Adults and INR 10- Kids)
Tourists: INR 100
Timings: 10:30am to 10:00pm daily
Transportation: Nearest metro stop for Dilli Haat is INA station. The market is at a walkable distance from metro station.
This is one of the classiest street markets of the region. You can find a few branded outlets, some street vendors and other exciting shops. This market is famous for Ayurvedic medicines, government shops, books, cosmetic, clothing and others. This market is open from early in the morning until late night, except on Sundays.
Janpath in CP (Connaught Place) is famous for paintings, leather articles, Indian artifacts, clothing, handicrafts, shoes, imitation jewelry, brassware and others. If you are choosing this destination, you ought to have good bargaining skills. You can find goods from many parts of the country and handicrafts of Tibet. This market is also called as the Tibetan market.
Transportation: Nearest metro stop for Janpath Market is Rajiv Chowk Station. The market is at a walkable distance from metro station. Exit from Gate Number 5 and walk for ten minutes, towards LIC building. The market is right behind the LIC building.
Nearest Bus Stop: Nearest bus stop is Janpath Market stop
Sarojini Nagar Market
This is also a thriving market, famous for cheap articles. The articles of this market usually comprise of rejected goods from the packages sent for export. Due to surplus supply of articles, you can always find a better price with bargaining. Although rejected, the quality of the goods would be better than the ones used for local sales. Sarojini Nagar market is open on all days, except on Mondays. The crowd will be intolerable on Sundays. Thus, plan a weekday for your trip. Top things to buy here are clothes, fashion accessories, sweets and others.
Transportation: Nearest metro stop for Sarojini Nagar is INA metro (yellow line). Walkable distance from metro station.
Timings: 10:00AM to 9:00PM except Monday
Central Market (Lajpat Nagar)
Also called as the Lajpat Nagar market, this caters to the needs of middle-class shoppers. The main attraction of this market is the mehndi. Small street vendors apply temporary, nature-based color paste on your palm. It is fancied by female shoppers of all age groups.
10. Visit the Taj Mahal and Complete the Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle Itinerary in India, otherwise known as the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur circuit, is one of the most common travel routes in the country. If you only have a short time in India, it’s the perfect route to get a taste for what this wild country is all about. Ideally, you would need a week’s time to complete the Golden Triangle tour.
Agra is a great one-day tour when you are in Delhi. It usually takes a couple of hours to reach Agra via the expressway from Noida and about 3 hours from Central Delhi. You can use this opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal and get aww-ed by the magnificent structure and its beauty! The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in India, in the city of Agra. The emblematic monument of this country, it is in white marble finely chiseled. The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum located in India, in the city of Agra. The emblematic monument of this country, it is in white marble finely chiseled.
Delhi is one of the best places for experiencing all that India has to offer. For a pleasant and less crowded trip, get up early to see Delhi’s sites in the magical morning light, complete with plenty of birds. Delhi gets uncomfortably hot outside of winter months (and surprisingly cold during winter!) so be sure to check the weather and pack accordingly!