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Under $100: Delhi

by Akhil Kalepu

Dec 17, 2015

Lal Qila, Red Fort, Old Delhi, India © Elenatur | Dreamstime

Asia

Mumbai is India’s most cosmopolitan city, but it doesn’t match the historic significance of Delhi. As one of the oldest cities in the world, it is said to have been rebuilt 11 times over the past 5,000 years, still serving as capital of India since the days of the Mughal Empire.

 

You have a few options for getting around that don’t cost much money. The Delhi Metro is quick and air-conditioned, and accessible with a Tourist Card costing Rs. 100 for a one-day pass and Rs. 250 for a three-day pass. Taxis and rickshaws are also convenient, though some drivers will try to rip off a foreigner so be clear with the rates and destination.

 

Start your day with a simple, but delicious brunch before moving on to the monuments. While you should be cautious with street food, Mohammad Nadim’s omelet sandwich stand made a name for itself in the backpacking world, located by the Jawahar Hotel in the heart of Old Delhi. His green chili omelets are cooked fresh and slapped between two slices of bread with Amul butter, a steal at Rs. 10.

 

Red Fort, Old Delhi, India © Luisa Puccini | Dreamstime 49782267

Red Fort © Luisa Puccini | Dreamstime

 

If you’re going to see one thing in this city, it would have to be the Red Fort, Delhi’s most well-known structure. Famed Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, creator of the Taj Mahal and numerous other architectural wonders across India, built it. The sandstone walls give the Red Fort its iconic look, and its innovative fusion of Timurid and Persian styles have had a strong influence on Indian architecture. Much of the marble and inlaid jewels have been pillaged, but the immense grounds and lush gardens are still a sight to behold.

 

Cool off with a delicious falooda at Giani’s on Church Mission Road. This classic Indian drink is similar to a milkshake made of kulfi (Indian ice cream) and rice noodles.

 

 

Qutub Minar, Old Delhi, India © Dvrcan | Dreamstime 54561273

Qutub Minar © Dvrcan | Dreamstime

 

Before the day closes, be sure to visit the Qutub complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site also a popular picnic spot. The most famous structure there will be the Qutub Minar, a 72.5-meter tall minaret delicately carved out of sandstone and marble. The nearby Iron Pillar is another popular photo opportunity. Its creator and time of origin is a mystery, as is its ability to withstand rust over the past few millennia. Touching it used to be considered good luck, until it was fenced off to preserve its various inscriptions, one of which is from King Chandragupta II.

 

While fast food is typically a no-no for any serious traveler, McDonald’s in India is worth a try for its alternate, but flavorful menu. You won’t be getting any beef for dinner, but they have some delicious chicken, vegetable and paneer sandwiches that won’t taste like anything you’ve tried at home.

 

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