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Delhi City Guide

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Delhi is the capital of India since old times. Delhi's history dates back to the first millenium BC, when it was known as Indraprastha. The Tomar Rajputs built Lal Kot, the core of the first of Delhi's seven cities. It is the epicenter of the nation's politics, economy and culture. History is alive and throbbing in Delhi, the capital of India.

It is often said that the history of India is the history of Delhi. New Delhi, the capital of India, has always occupied a strategic position in the country's history, as Hindu and Islamic dynasties have ruled from here, leaving their imprint in the form of relics, which recapture those bygonetimes. Delhi, is today, one of the fastest growing cities of India.

Tips for Visitors

Arrival/Departure Customs Clearance Currency Regulations Export Regulations Foreign tourists and NRIs Banks
Credit Cards Etiquette Suitcases Carry Imp. documents Taxis / Autorickshaws
Hotel bookings Emergency lines Tipping Conducted Tours Inland Travel Doctor/Chemist
Food and Beverage Shopping Beggars Bargaining Telephone and Telegraph Safety Tips

Metro Rail Arrival/Departure :
Citizens of all countries (including Commonwealth) require a valid passport and an appropriate (entry, transit or tourist) visa. The visa must be obtained abroad from an Indian Mission. Tourist visas are generally valid for 120 days stay in India.

If you are planning to visit a neighbouring country such as Nepal and then re-entering India, a double/multiple entry visa should be obtained for extending the visa apply for a letter of permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market. Thereafter the letter is to be presented to the Foreigner's Regional Registration Office (FRRO) located at Hans Bhavan, Tilak Bridge, New Delhi. Phone: 331 9489, 331 8179.

Customs Clearance : Visitors who do not have any dutiable goods or 'high-valued' articles or foreign exchange in excess of US$ 2500 or unaccompanied baggage, all of which need to be declared, can simply walk through the Green Channel. Others must go to the Red Channel for clearance. If you are on a tourist visa with less baggage, it is very unlikely that customs will hassle you, in any case, customs officials are keener to keep a check on citizens than foreigners.

Currency Regulations : You can bring in any amount of foreign currency, travellers cheques, etc., and take out as much as you brought in. However, if you are carrying more than US$ 2,500 (or equivalent) you should declare it on arrival, to be attested by the Customs Officer. No Indian currency may be brought into or taken out of the country.

Export Regulations :The visitor can take back all articles brought in by him. In addition, he can take out the following purchased in India: (a) Souvenirs (including Indian silk, wool, handicrafts, etc.) without any limit; (b) gold jewellery and silverware up to Rs.100,000 in value. Export of most wildlife products is prohibited or strictly regulated. Therefore avoid buying anything made of ivory, reptile skin, tortoise shells and any part of wild animals.

Foreign tourists and NRIs :Call the International Tourist Bureau (First Floor, New Delhi Railway Station, Paharganj side. Phone: 334 6804, Fax: 334 3050) for advice and bookings. You can also enjoy unlimited travel on Indian Railways from 7 to 90 days with an Indrail Pass.

Gandi Murti of Delhi Banks : Banks are open from 10 am to 2 pm from Monday to Friday and 10 am to noon on Saturdays. Central Bank in Ashok Hotel and State Bank of India at the Airport are open round the clock. Banks in residential areas generally observe the weekly holiday of the area.

Credit Cards : Large establishments generally accept American Express, Visa and Diners Club credit cards.

Etiquette : By nature, Delhiites are affectionate. They will go all out to make you feel at home. While visiting temples / places of worship one should always leave one's footwear outside.

Suitcases with code numbers : Try to carry suitcases made of light material with wheels, or suitcases with number lock system. Keep your suitcases locked, and always carry an extra lock and suitcase chains, so that if you have to leave your luggage for some unavoidable reason, you can lock them in waiting rooms, hotel rooms etc.

Carry only essentials : Taking cognisance of time, place and season of visit, carry only the most important things with you. Avoid unnecessary items like too much of eatables, bulky clothing, heavy items, etc.

Important documents : Avoid carrying valuable things. Wear a money necklace or stitch a pocket inside your outfit to keep important documents like passport, credit cards, travellers' cheques, etc. It's always better to take photocopies of important documents and leave them with someone trustworthy. Make sure you keep a card mentioning important contact numbers, your age, blood group, etc, so that people may help you in the event of an emergency.

Hotels of Delhi Taxis / Autorickshaws : Always book your taxi inside the airport. If you take a pre-paid taxi, pay a stipulated fare while at the airport counter. After which you need not pay anything to the taxi driver. Hordes of touts and taxi men will crowd around you and offer to take you to wherever you need to go. You are very likely to get overcharged upon reaching your destination. You are not expected to tip taxis. If you are unsure about the cost conversions - which are usually one and a half times to twice what the meter reads, you can always ask for a meter card from the driver.

Taxis charge a minimum fare of about Rs 8 and auto-rickshaws about Rs 5 for the first kilometre. There are no extras, except for luggage for which Rs. 5 is charged per piece and a late night charge for travel between 11 pm and 5 am.

Hotel bookings : For hotel bookings and other information, check out our Travel & Accommodation section. There is no dearth of hotels in Delhi. There are numerous touts offering hotel services at the airport. If you must consider employing their services, make sure they have some kind of a visiting card. Take the card to a nearby policeman or airport authority and ask him if it is a reasonable hotel.

Emergency lines : Police : 100, Fire: 101, Ambulance: 102, Cardiac arrest: 105

Tipping : Tipping is optional, although cabbies and rickshaw drivers seem to expect tips from foreign tourists. Make sure the driver turns down the meter after you get in. If he refuses to do so (cabbies and rickshaw drivers may refuse to do so late at night or early in the morning or if you want to travel a short distance), hail another cab or rickshaw. If nothing else, ensure that you fix a price before you get in. It is generally expected at hotels and restaurants. Ten per cent of the bill or around Rs. 5 for other services is in order.

Conducted Tours : To see all the places of historical interest in Delhi, it is advisable to use a guided tour. Delhi is a round and widely spread out city, and it may be difficult to get to all the places with considerable ease. Compared to Bombay, Delhi has a much more complex structure and easier to get lost in, so be careful. You can rent a chauffeur-driven car or join a conducted tour that is probably the best way to see most in the least amount of time.

Inland Travel : India offers many facilities for tourists' travel within the country. However, special permits are required for visiting certain border areas as specified from time to time.

Doctor/Chemist : If you need a doctor, your hotel can contact a house physician. The medical stores in Super Bazar, Connaught Circus and in AIIMS and at some private hospitals such as Batra (Tughlakabad Institutional Area) and Spring Meadows (East of Kailash) are open 24 hours.

Foods Food and Beverage : Delhi has an amazing variety of non-vegetarian and vegetarian cuisine. Contrary to what you may have heard, all Indian food is not hot and spicy. Most dishes are only richly garnished to provide an exciting flavour. You will find excellent restaurants that serve Indian, Chinese, Continental and other cuisine in Delhi. Consumption of liquor is prohibited in public places.

Shopping : India is a shopper's paradise. Delhi markets specialise in carpets, handicrafts, jewellery, readymade garments and leather goods. It's best to buy goods only from the more established shops and official Indian Government outlets.

Beggars : If you encounter beggars, who are rare in New Delhi, give in kind rather than in cash.

Bargaining : Asking for a discount is part of the shopping experience - you might be lucky and the shopkeepers may oblige. Otherwise the prices are more or less fixed at most places. Remember, it's a game you should both enjoy and if you get "swindled", you are contributing to the local economy! At Connaught place, Meena bazaar, Palika bazaar and other shopping centres, bargaining is necessary. Begin by quoting half of whatever the vendor quotes.

Telephone and Telegraph : You can direct dial to most cities in India, and to countries abroad. For elsewhere book a call through the operator. On the direct dial facility within the country, note that while during the day - 6 am to 7 pm - the full rate is charged. On Sundays and National Holidays there is a concessional charge of 50%. Half rate is applicable daily 7 am to 8 am and 7 pm to 8.30 pm. The tariff from 6 am to 7 am and from 8.30 pm to 11 pm is 1/3 the rate, and from 11 pm to 6 am it is 1/4 the rate.

Safety Tips : Carry your wallet and credit cards in an inside jacket pocket or side trouser pocket, never in the rear pocket.
Keep pocketbooks on your lap when dining out, not dangling over the back of a chair. Leave valuables and important papers, such as jewellery and passports in your hotel's safe deposit box. Never leave these items unattended in your room. Beware of unexpected persons coming to your hotel room. Never open the door to unsolicited room service or maintenance people. If you schedule a meeting with a potential client, research the company and the individual with whom you are meeting. Meet in a public place, such as a restaurant. Make sure that luggage is only given to a member of the hotel's bell staff and a receipt is issued for stored luggage. Never leave luggage or other expensive items, unattended at airports or taxi stands.

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- Suggested Itinerary - Golden Triangle || Golden Triangle with Rajasthan || North India & Rajasthan|| Forts & Palaces of Rajputana ||
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