Free Things to do in New Delhi

With UNESCO sites within its boundaries, monuments across the city, the hustle and bustle of the city, there is no dearth of places to explore in New Delhi. While you visit all the historically famous monuments and other structures, we recommend you also explore the things you can do in Delhi for free! Here is our list of top free things to do:

  1. Take a Free Walking Tour in the City

By choosing a walking tour of Delhi, you can see the details of the city up close. Instead of just viewing the big monuments, you can traverse the heart of the city. A walking tour gives you the chance to really soak up the atmosphere and feel the energy of the local crowds and hence we believe a walking tour is the best way to truly experience the city. 

2. Visit the Lotus Temple

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

Visiting Tips:

  • Photography is restricted in the inner sanctum.
  • The temple gets really crowded on the weekends hence it is advisable to visit during the weekdays to avoid the local crowd.

3. Take a walk at the Lodhi Gardens

 

Lodhi Gardens is an urban park with an interesting mix of history and nature, an ideal place for the history buffs as well as the people who want to take a stroll in the garden and relax.

Lodhi Garden is well known for monuments, which are the primary attractions. Residents of Delhi also start their day at Lodhi Garden with activities such as Jogging, Yoga and Cycling. If you are looking to take part in this, you need to book for the comprehensive 2-hour morning class which is conducted by Vidhi of Awaken Inner Buddha Yoga and Meditation.

There are four tombs in the Lodhi Gardens, all distant from each other. When you enter through the main gate and turn left you reach the Tomb of Muhammad Shah Sayyad. It features an octagonal design and an elegant Indo-Islamic architecture with a small-style chhatri that surrounds its distinctive central dome. There are other graves inside the tomb which presumably belongs to the family members.

Between the Bada Gumbad complex and Muhammad Shah Sayyid’s tomb, there is a small 18th-century mosque. The impressive main structure of the dome is believed to be the gateway to the installed mosque, built in 1494 because it has no graves. There is a minaret at the corner of the mosque which resembles the Qutub Minar in Delhi.

 

Transportation: The nearest Metro Station to Lodhi Garden is JLN Stadium Metro Station. Also, you can take a DTC Bus (City Bus), Taxi or Auto Rickshaw to reach to Lodhi Garden.

Cost: No Entry Ticket

4. Get down the steps at the Agrasen Ki Baoli (Agrasen Stepwell)

At over 1000 years old, the architecture is in stark contrast to the modern city that has grown up around it in the Connaught Place (CP) Area, very close to the India Gate. Hidden from the neighboring surroundings, once you reach Agrasen ki Baouli, you will be treated by an architectural marvel.

These magnificent feats of engineering from ancient India – and sprinkled all over India –  perhaps served many purposes: collection and storage of water during times of scarcity and drought is the most obvious one; they probably also served as communal spots for people to congregate and meet. Although Delhi has more than a dozen stepwells the Agrasen ki Baoli, also called Ugrasen ki Baoli stands out. It is one of the largest and the most ornate stepwell of Delhi.

It is located at the very heart of Delhi on Haley Lane, just off the Haley Road and behind the Banga Bhagabawan, and is located at a walking distance from both Connaught Place and India Gate.

5. Spend an evening at the India Gate

 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.

 

6. Take a stroll at Connaught Place

When you are in Delhi for the first time, you cannot ignore to visit the Connaught Place. The enormous expanse of this place makes it the hub of bustling activities all through the year. Moreover, it is in the heart of Delhi, and it is the center of business and financial organizations of the city. You can spend an entire day roving around the Inner Circle and Outer Circle of Connaught Place without blinking an eyelid. CP is well connected at all circles by metro and is very easily accessible. The major historical monuments are also at a close vicinity of Connaught Place. You can indulge in some shopping, watch a movie at Rivoli or fine dine at one of the many cafes/ restaurants that the area offers.

 

7. Have a meal (Langar) at the 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 24×7 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.

8. Listen to poetic Qawallis at Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah

Delhi is the hub of culture and diversity. From glorious Sunday masses to Thursday qawwali, there is something for everyone. You might have marked your favorite qawwali videos on YouTube but watching it first-hand is a completely different experience. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is already a favorite with Bollywood, it might prove to be a hit for you too.

9. Raahgiri

Raahgiri is one of India’s largest urban movements. Raahgiri is derived from Raah meaning “path,” while Giri comes from “Gandhigiri,” a form of nonviolent resistance practiced by Mahatma Gandhi. It was born from residents in Gurugramon a cold winter morning, who came together to proclaim their streets as safe spaces for all people – safe from the risk of car crashes and air pollution, but also safe from discrimination by gender, caste, age or income.

Having gained a lot of popularity already, Raahgiri in Delhi is all about the rebellion of occupying the streets from motored vehicles. The event is held across three locations in NCR – Connaught Place, Gurgaon and suburbs of Dwarka. The roads are car free; people are encouraged to cycle, cycles are rented for free, kids indulge in lot of physical activities, fitness groups organise sessions, band put up shows and what not!

Timings: 6 am to 9 am; do reach early to avoid long queues for cycles on rent on every Sunday

Transportation: Nearest metro stations are Rajeev Chowk on Blue line for CP; Huda City Center on Yellow line for Gurgaon; and Dwarka Sec 9/10 on Blue line for Dwarka.

So get set for a an enjoyable trip in Delhi and create some instagrammable memories!

 

Things to do with Family 

 

With one of India’s finest historical monuments, markets, temples and mosques, Asia’s largest wholesale markets of spices and wedding essentials and the remains of Mughal fort to stroll around in, Delhi is a rich city full of unexpected delights and our top choice for a vacation with your family and children.

Here are our top choices for the things to do in Delhi with Family!

1. Take a stroll or go for a picnic in the parks

 Nehru Park

 The park is spread over 80 acres area was named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The park was established in 1969 close to the heart of the Delhi city.

As a part of Music in the Park initiative, Nehru Park is a venue for ‘Morning Ragas and Evening Ragas concerts organized by NDMC, New Delhi Municipal Council, SPIC MACAY music concerts along with the annual Bhakti Festival. Apart from this, it is a regular venue for morning yoga classes and various art events. This beautiful park is a famous landmark to hang out during sunny afternoon in Delhi.

Transportation: The nearest metro station to Nehru Park is Lok Kalyan Marg Metro Station. Lok Kalyan Marg is an underground metro station located on the Yellow Line of Delhi Metro

Timing: 5am–9pm Every day

 

Mughal Garden

Mughal Garden is spread over an area of 13 acres, with a vast variety of flowers; the garden receives a huge footfall from across the country. The place is a unique mix of British and Mughal architecture.

Location: 2 minutes’ walk from Rashtrapati Bhavan (Central Delhi)

Cost: No entry fee

 

National Zoological Park of Delhi

The National Zoological Park is spread over a 176-acre in the middle of a burgeoning urban Delhi. It has a 16th-century citadel and a rambling green island spread over a huge area. Among some of the best zoos in the country, The National Zoological Park is the habitat of a variety of animals and birds. Home to around 22000 animals with 130 species of animals and birds, the major attractions are White tigers, bears, blackbucks, and emus.

 

Location: Pragati Maidan Metro Station (2 km) & Khan Market Metro Station

Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Entry Fee: INR 40 for Adults; INR 20 for Children

 

Garden of Five Senses

The Garden of Five Senses is quite the spot for the kids for a great day picnic outing. Other than the fact that the garden is surrounded by nature, the sculptures, well-lit fountains and water cascades playing area make the garden an enjoyable place for the kids to be at. There is also an amphitheater with a seating area for small plays and skids.

Transportation: Saket Metro Station (Yellow Line) is the closest metro station to the Garden

Timing: 9am- 7pm (Everyday)

Cost: INR 20 (Adults)

2. Visit a Museum or a Planetarium

Handicrafts Museum

A culturally satisfying experience, the Crafts Museum is conceived as a village with huts showcasing pottery, textiles, and crafts from various Indian states. Heritage is kept alive quite literally here: craftspeople in residence demonstrate their expertise, with much of their work for sale. Food from various states is also deliciously reinterpreted at Café Lota—do not miss it!

Location: Pragati Maidan (the nearest Metro station is Pragati Maidan Metro Station)

Cost: INR 1 (Indian Students), INR 10 (Indians) and INR 150 (Tourists)

Timing- 10 AM to 5 PM (Monday Closed)

 

National Rail Museum

National Rail Museum is a museum dedicated entirely to locomotives and the rail heritage in India, the Museum is another child and young adult checklist item. It houses over 100 exhibits of Indian Railways {static and working models}, antique train furniture, signaling equipment, historical photographs, and related literature.

Not to be missed are the Patiala State Monorail Trainways, Fairy Queen {world’s oldest working steam locomotive in operational service}, and the Morris-Belsize fire engine {one of two in the world} exhibits. The kids learn and are intrigued by the history of such a widespread network that India boasts of. Train rides around the place make for the cherry on the cake.

Timing: 10 am – 4.30 pm, closed on Mondays

Location: Chanakyapuri

Cost: INR 50 (Indian Adults) and INR 10 (Children aged 3 to 12)

 

National Museum of Delhi

The National Museum of India is one of the largest museums in Delhi. Boasting of over 200,000 works of foreign and Indian art, this museum covers more than 5,000 years of worldwide rich cultural heritage and has a plethora of departments such as archaeology, manuscripts, pre-history archaeology, paintings, arms and armor and much more. They have an audio guide, too, which you can rent (carry photo ID). The National Museum is next door to the Archeological Survey of India, in case you want to drop in for a bit.

Location- Janpath, New Delhi

Entry Fee- INR 20 (Indians) and INR 650 (Tourists), Students up to class 12th get the free entry ticket

Timings- 10 AM to 6 PM (Monday Closed)

 

Nehru Planetarium

Nehru Planetarium is named after India’s first Prime Minister and the complex has been set in his former residence. The establishment promotes astronomy and other sciences through several workshops, observing activities, quizzes, and art competitions. The dome-shaped sky theatre, which is a popular attraction at the planetarium, shows the intricacies of constellations, planets, and the sky. 3D visual effects are effectively used in the shows, giving your kids a glimpse into the awe-inspiring phenomena that the universe is. 

Timing: 9 am – 6 pm every day

Cost: INR 80

Transportation: Nearest Metro Station is Udyog Bhawan and Lok Kalyan Marg

 

3. Enjoy a day out by visiting the Historical Monuments

Red Fort

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. Till present, it is 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.

 

Jantar Mantar

 Jantar Mantar in Delhi is known to be one of the most well-preserved observatories in the entire country – an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince.

The word Jantar/Jantra is derived from the Hindi word yantra, which means instrument, while the suffix Mantar is derived from the Hindi word mantrana, meaning consult or calculate. The primary purpose of Jantar Mantar was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. The best time to visit Jantar Mantar in Delhi is during the cool, dry season. You can choose to go sightseeing anytime between November and March. During this period, the weather remains pleasant.

Cost: INR 15 (Indians) and INR 200 (Tourists)

Timing: 10am – 6pm

 

Purana Qila

 The Purana Qila (Old Fort) is a must see for those interested in the history of the city and India in general or those interested in historical monuments. The ruins of the fort as we see today were built by the second Mughal emperor Humayun during the 1530s. The red sandstone fort is an architectural marvel and a quintessential example of the Indo-Islamic architecture that flourished in India during the long reign of the Mughals. Inside the fort there is Qila-e-Kuhna Mosque, which stands apart from the rest of the fort because of its pre-Mughal architecture. The mosque was built five-six year after the construction of the fort. You can typically spend 1 to 2 hours in the fort. There is also an option for boating in the lake outside the fort.

The ideal time to visit the fort is in the winter season as there is not much shade to protect you from the heat in the summers.

Transportation: Nearest Metro Station is Pragati Maidan

Cost: INR 5 (Indians) and INR 100 (Tourists)

Timing: 8am – 6pm

Qutub Minar

Qutb Minar, spelled as 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.

 

4. Spend a day at the Kingdom of Dreams

If you are looking for some high-level entertainment, this is the ultimate destination for you! Kingdom of Dreams, India’s first live entertainment leisure destination, is one place that offers unlimited fun and pleasure. This iconic place was started in the year 2010 at Gurgaon and has grown to become one of the hottest attractions around Delhi. Kingdom of Dreams is a perfect fusion of Indian culture, art & crafts, heritage and cuisines found under a single roof.

The palace like structure of Kingdom of Dreams has been beautifully constructed with stupendous designs and architecture. The richness of the cultural fabric has been kept in mind while designing both the interiors as well as the exteriors. Inside the palace, you will find two theaters, Nautanki Mahal and Showshaa Theater, a cultural boulevard called the “Cultural Gully” and a Bollywood themed restro-bar, IIFA Buzz Lounge.

Zangoora and Jhumroo, two of the Bollywood musicals exclusively staged at the Nautanki Mahal, are the most popular shows running at the Kingdom of Dreams. Don’t miss a chance to gratify your taste bud with regional cuisines at a number of state-themed restaurants at the food court. With so much to witness and experience, this place is an ideal location to spend a day on. The magnificent aura and chimerical structure of this place will mesmerise your senses and take you to the world of fantasies!

5. Visit the Hauz Khas Village and Fort

The Hauz Khas Village aka HKV in South Delhi was known in the medieval period for the remarkable buildings surrounded by reservoir. The places which traces its roots to the Delhi Sultanate reign, is a heritage place as well as an urban hangout place in Delhi. The village retains its old-world charm heightened by well-manicured green parks with walkway covered by ornamental trees and surrounded by gentrified market. It has posh neighbourhood; upscale hub and a historical complex is house for many of the 13th Century structures from Sultanate era. Along with historical old charm of the Hauz Khas Village one can have a floating vibe with a wide range of modern restaurants, pubs, cafés, shopping places, and boutiques.

That’s not all. The main attractions in Hauz Khas is the A.N. Jha Deer Park, which is a favourite weekend picnic spot for the kids and family. In the evening, the light and sound show organized by Delhi Tourism Department held at the main complex is one of the key tourist attractions.

The complex also has the Siri Fort which was once a primary power centre of Khilji Dynasty which fortified the whole city.

Top things to see in Hauz Khas include:

o   the reservoir built by Allaudin Khilji

o   Deer Park

o   The Siri Fort

o   Firoz Shah’s tomb

o   Six pavilions near the madrasa, featuring different sizes and shapes

o   A mosque with a domed entryway

o   Chor Minar or the Tower of Thieves, a minaret having 225 holes

o   Old homes which are transformed into Shops and boutiques

o   Curio stores and vintage shops

o   Modern restaurants and cafes

o   Pubs and bars to experience perfect nightlife in Delhi

Transportation: Hauz Khas Metro Station (2 KM)

Timings: 10:30 am to 7:00 pm; Closed on Sunday (Complex)

                5:00 am to 7:00 pm; Closed on Sunday (Deer Park)

Entry Fee: Free

 

6. Go for a luxury meal at the ITC Maurya or Experience America at the Indian Habitat Centre

 This is the world’s first EB * Platinum certified hotel by the United States Green Building Council, and well-known for its responsible luxury, a luxurious boutique hotel for those looking for a complete ‘ bleisure ‘ experience. In addition to 437 luxurious rooms, the hotel also opts for one of its 25 beautifully built premium suites offering spectacular views of the ‘ greenscapes ‘ of Delhi.. Visit the ‘Bukhara’, for the most delectable North West Frontier cuisine; Dum Pukht, for royal Indian food recreated from a 200-year-old culinary legacy; Tian-Asian Cuisine Studio—their picturesque rooftop restaurant for mouth-watering Asian food; and, the Ottimo At West View, another rooftop eatery for contemporary western cuisine along with scenic views of Delhi’s green belt. If you’re in the mood to dine by the pool, head to The Pavilion, the 24-hour restaurant that offers inventive global dishes; and, Ira, their waterside bar for sundowners by the sparkling waters. 

Wanting to show your little one the diverse place that America is while still in Delhi? Head on for breakfast to the All-American Diner at India Habitat Centre.

The experience of having an American style breakfast is a good chance for kids and helps them learn and understand a little about a culture other than their own.

7. Visit/ Shop in the Old Town of Delhi on a Walking Tour and feast on the delicacies

By choosing a walking tour of Delhi, you can see the details of the city up close. Instead of just viewing the big monuments, you can traverse the heart of the city. A walking tour gives you the chance to really soak up the atmosphere and feel the energy of the local crowds and hence we believe a walking tour is the best way to truly experience the city. Here is our list on the top free walking tour companies in Delhi for you. You can choose a free tour of Old Delhi or a guided tour of the area.

The Old Town lights up during the evenings with crowds since it is a hub for all the food joints of the city. You can try the famous 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. Another classic is the Karim’s at 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.

8. Take a day tour to Agra

Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal is just 230km away from Delhi so a quick drive to the city for a day tour is quite feasible. The other quick option is to take a train which also takes only a couple of hours from Delhi. The city of Agra is widely acclaimed by two epithets as the city of the Taj Mahal and the city of tombs owing to several worth visiting tombs such as the tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daulaha, Akbar’s tomb etc. You can plan to visit such places in your Agra tour along with Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. 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.