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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Delhi Tours - Excursions
Delhi Tours Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Walking Tours

An Englishman who has resided in Delhi for several years, Nigel Hankin operates walking tours of Old Delhi. His tours can be booked at the lodge at the Mughal Gate of the British High Commission, Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri.

Self-guided walking tours of a number of areas are also possible. Beginning at the Jain Temple at the eastern end of Chandni Chowk, by the Red Fort, a stroll through this area snakes through the alleyways and takes in the area’s finest temples and most colorful markets. Meanwhile, Old Delhi takes a good hour and a half to tour the main mosques and mansions, covering the stretch from Jama Masjid to Ajmeri Gate.

Bus Tours

Delhi Tourism Development Corporation (tel: (011) 331- 4229 or 336- 5358) runs sightseeing tours in coaches, which include New and Old Delhi. from October through April, the tours are in non air condition coaches, from May through September in air condition ones.

The New Delhi tour departs everyday 09:00 (finishing at 13:15) and includes Jantar Mantar, Birla Mandir, Qutb Minar, the Baha’i Temple and Safdarjung’s Tomb. The Old Delhi tour departs everyday at 14:15 (finishing at 1715), with stops at Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Raj Ghat and Humayun’s Tomb. Cost is Rs95 for a 1/2-day tour and Rs180 for a full-day tour. The cost for air-conditioned tours in the hot weather are Rs110 and Rs210 respectively.

The four-hour ‘Delhi by Evening Tour’ includes Birla Mandir, the son et lumiere show at Purana Qila and a drive past the Parliament House and India Gate. Cost is Rs105 and tours begin daily at 1800 (1745 between October and February). Tickets must be bought in advance at the booking office at N-36, Connaught Place.

Excursions for Half Day

Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary

Located in the neighboring state of Haryana, it takes approximately 50 minutes by taxi to get to Sultanpur, 47 kilometres (29.5 miles) from Delhi. November through February is the best time to visit this small lake and marshland. Migratory birds, such as the greater flamingo, bare-headed and Brahminy ducks from Tibet, flock to the sanctuary.

Suraj Kund

Also in Haryana, the ruins of Suraj Kund are only 16 kilometres (ten miles) from the outskirts of Delhi, a trip of 1/2 half an hour by taxi. Its tenth-century amphitheatre is the only great Hindu shrine that wasn't destroyed by invading Muslims. The shrine is surrounded by peaceful parklands and a small artificial boating lake, and is a popular Sunday picnic spot for middle-class Indian families.

Excursions for Full Day

Agra and Taj Mahal

The radiance of early morning is 1 of the best times to 1st glimpse the impeccable proportions of the Taj Mahal, constructed solely out of marble, by Shah Jahan, as a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

The complex is made up of 5 main elements – the Darwaza or main gateway, the Bageecha or garden, the Rauza or the Taj Mahal mausoleum the Masjid or mosque, the Naqqar Khana or rest house. The actual tomb is located inside. Most fascinating are the 4 tall minarets (40 metres/131 feet high) at the corners of the complex, the majestic dome in the middle and the black and white chessboard marble floor.

The Taj Mahal is open Sat-Thurs from dawn to dusk and entry costs Rs 750 for foreigners (Rs 250 for the ASI ticket and Rs 500 charged by the municipality of Agra).

The other monument, which should be visited in Agra, is Agra Fort, with tall red sandstone ramparts. The Emperor Akbar constructed the citadel in 1565 and successive generations developed it as a stronghold of the Mughal Empire.

The fort houses the elegant Diwan-i-Am, the Hammam-i-Shahi (royal bath), the royal pavilions, the Nagina Masjid (Gem Mosque) and the Zenana Meena Bazaar, where the ladies of the court would linger over jewelry, silks, and brocades. The Agra Fort is open everyday dawn to dusk and entry costs Rs250 for foreigners.

The Shatabdi Express, an air conditioned tourist train, travels the 199 kilometres (124 miles) to Agra in about 2 hours, departing from New Delhi station. Tickets can be purchased at the International Tourist Bureau on the 1st floor of New Delhi station and cost Rs 800 for round trip, breakfast included. Payment is only accepted in foreign currency or travelers’ cheques (Pounds or US Dollars preferred). Credit cards are not accepted. To avoid the long queuing to purchase tickets in person, a travel agent will do this for tourists, for a small fee.

The Government of India Tourist Office in Agra, 191 The Mall (tel: 72377 or 67959) provides additional information.