The once stodgy and dull Delhi has recently come out as one of the trending areas of India. As the capital, it all weighs down upon Delhi to maintain the integrity and prestige of Indian industry and culture.
As a bare essential, Delhi must make expatriates feel at home so that they may easily blend in the 22 million people flooding Delhi. Be it a tourist or an immigrant, the best way to get information about the country you wish to reside in is to contact an insider. The following is a summed up expatriates guide to Delhi from coming from an insider.
Getting a tourist visa is a piece of cake, but if you want to explore your employment options, do feel free to apply for a working visa. You might have to face several hurdles in the process, but once the officials are satisfied, you are good to go.
Next, grab a useful guidebook. Guidebooks are an ultimate launch pad for expatriates. “Love Delhi” by Fiona Caulfield is a detailed guide, packed with information about Delhi. Other than guides, ‘Border and Fall’ and ‘Wear About’ are two great blogs that you can go through.
Where to Stay
The first and most important that you need to do is to look for a suitable vacation rental. The selection of vacation rentals in Delhi is versatile. They range from the luxurious Leela Palace to the reasonable Colaba House.
Here are a few good opotions:
The three-star Hotel Mandakini provides all basic necessities at affordable prices. The staff is friendly and eager to help. The newly constructed Hotel’O Delhi provides a high standard of living with an extremely hospitable environment. Due to its key position in the heart of Delhi, local attractions, markets, transport network and malls are all a stone’s throw away.
Bansi-Kunj – Delhi international bed and breakfast is verily a true symbol of Indian culture and customs. It exposes its inhabitants to a variety of sites, tastes and sounds of Delhi. Situated on the slope of a mountain, Aamari resorts give their visitors a lavish and comfortable stay. Activities like mountain climbing and biking make them stand out from the rest.
Hotel Ashiana is a budget hotel ideal for both business and leisure trips. However if you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, The Oberoi, Aman and The Imperial Hotel are your getaways.
The next thing you may find troubling is the language barrier and interacting with different people. Although a vast number of people in Delhi are well-versed in English, you can hire a translator if you are facing difficulties. The residents of Delhi are quite welcoming, but at times their friendliness can become intrusive. In such a scenario it would be best to keep distant.
It will also take time for you to adjust to the Indian culture. A foreigner will find India as a culturally diverse country. Baisakhi, Holi and Diwali are the mainstream festivals full of colors and energy. Other than Hindus themselves, you will find people belonging to a variety of cultures in Delhi. It is always a fun experience to interact with new people and learn about new places. It is also advisable to dress locally in order to prevent unnecessary stares.
Once you are done adjusting, you need to do something about that rumbling stomach. Delhi takes its food seriously; recipes from thousands of years ago are preserved and implemented in restaurants to date.
Darbar (Ashoka hotel), Delhi ka Aangan (Hyatt Agency) and Corbett (Claridges) are a few high-end restaurants that emphasize mainly on traditional food. Bukhara is the restaurant favored by the elite class in Delhi. It is where Bill Clinton and Vladmir Putin had their food. Bill Clinton is known to have said “I wish I had two stomachs”. There is also an increasing trend of Chinese food in Delhi. Most of the restaurants boast Chinese cuisine along with several others.
South Indian food is Delhi’s expertise. You can taste savor your taste buds with the best South Indian food served at Sagar, Sagar Ratna and Dasaprakash. Apart from that Delhi is home to numerous cuisines. The best Kashmiri food can be found in Chor Bizarre (Hotel Broadway), Thai food at Sukothai (Hauz Khaas Village) and Baan Tahi (The Oberoi), Mexican food at Rodeo and Japanese food at Tokyo (Ashoka Viallage) and Osaka (Hauz Khas Village).
Road side eateries are what bring the ambiance of Delhi to life. Be it outside Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid or Nizamuddin, the smell of traditional kababs, biryani, dahi bhalle and fresh rotis take one over.
If you’re accustomed to nightlife, Delhi will surely make you feel at home. Smoke House Room, blueFROG, Kitty Su, Lap, Hype and Shiro are some of the coolest clubs around. Smoke House Room and blueFROG are located relatively close to Qutub Minar.
Don’t forget to take time out to visit the local attractions in Delhi. Most of them date back to the Moghul Era. Lal Qila (Red Fort) and Purana Qila (Old Fort) are two of the most favored tourist locations; they stage impressive shows every evening.
The grassy hill behind Hauz Khas Village is where the tomb of Emperor Humayun is located. The 72.5 meter Qutub Minar, Delhi Haat, Lotus Temple and Lodi Garden mausoleums are a must see.
For art lovers a visit to National Gallery of Modern Art, National museum and The National Handicrafts and Handlooms museum is suggested. Other than that, The Devil Art Foundation and Kiran Nadar Museum of Art have come out as exciting private art galleries.
Getting Around & Shopping
If you wish to easily visit all these areas in one go, hop on to the HoHo bus ride. The recently introduced HoHo travels 65 kilometers and stops at 18 tourist attractions around Delhi. However if you want to travel around Delhi without a car, Meru cabs and Easy cabs are your getaways. They are safe and very reliable. Buses and auto-rickshaws are a cheaper alternative.
Do not forget to shop for your loved ones. Chawri Bazaar, Janpath and Sarojini Nagar is where you can shop for traditional items at the most reasonable price.
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Date: 09 Oct-2014
Impression & Feelings: My first impressions of New Delhi, having never been here before, were of the extraordinarily solicitous and warm people we met at every turn, from Immigration to our drivers, to the hotel staff that greeted us by name and welcomed us with a traditional Indian welcome with the bindi to ward off bad luck.