New York Times Journeys - The Essence of Delhi

4 hr, 30 min

The best way to traverse this vast metropolis is to ride on the Delhi Metro, the world’s 10th-longest's system where the air-conditioning offers welcome relief from the overpowering heat above ground. We’ll get off at the bustling Chawri Bazar station to take a peak at India’s biggest mosque, Jama Masjid. This architectural gem was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 (he also built the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal)...
The best way to traverse this vast metropolis is to ride on the Delhi Metro, the world’s 10th-longest's system where the air-conditioning offers welcome relief from the overpowering heat above ground. We’ll get off at the bustling Chawri Bazar station to take a peak at India’s biggest mosque, Jama Masjid. This architectural gem was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656 (he also built the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal). The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 people and there are 899 black marble tiles on the floor that act as prayer mats for worshipers. Here you will see important Islamic relics, including sandals and a strand of hair that once belonged to the Prophet Muhammad. Then we will take the steps to the top of the minaret for a bird’s-eye view of Old Delhi and try to imagine the generations of history this tower has watched over.  Haveli Dharampura is a traditional townhouse, built in 1887 in the style of the late Mughal period which favored vibrant decoration and open courtyards. It is now an elegant hotel and restaurant. The restoration of this beautiful building was only completed in 2016, after a local politician, Vijay Goel, campaigned for it to be brought back to life. We will take a tour of the  property with one of the staff and learn about its history and its remarkable transformation.   Kite flying is a symbol of elevated vision and high aspirations. It is a time-honored tradition in India which culminates each year with the colorful Delhi Kite Festival. Competition is so fierce that contestants often use glass-coated or metal strings in an attempt to cut their rivals’ strings. We won’t go that far but we will have a go at flying our own kite high into the Delhi sky. A relaxing high tea is next on our cultural agenda. An enchanting remnant of the British tradition, most Indian high teas include chai and samosas instead of Earl Grey and watercress sandwiches, which adds a welcome degree of spice to proceedings.  A rickshaw ride should be mandatory during a trip to Delhi; there’s no better way of seeing the city at its chaotic best. We’ll hop on and make our way to Khari Baoli, a street near the Red Fort that houses Asia’s largest wholesale spice market, in operation since the 17th century. A large number of the shops here are run by the ancestors of the original market founders, going back nine or ten generations. We will visit Mehar Chand and Sons, which has been selling spices at this location for more than a century, and meet the merchants. Learn about the different masala spice blends, chilies and teas from all over India from a master blender and see how the spices are stored.  The spice market fills your senses, so calm your palate with some ice cream. This isn’t the ice cream that you’re used to though. Known as kulfi, this sweet treat is creamier and denser than what you might be used to and is infused with delicate flavors such as almond, pistachio, rosewater, strawberry, peanut and mango. After this refreshing pick-me-up, we will take the Metro from Chandni Chowk station and walk back to the starting point of our tour.  New York Times Reading List:   Letter of Recommendation: Indian Butterscotch Ice Cream India’s Jewelry Tradition of Gold is Turning to ... Concrete? Why Is India So Crazy for World Records? India’s Influence on Jewelry Endures India’s Rich Tapestry A City Tour gift certificate is the perfect present for any occasion. Select a specific tour and date, or choose the value and let the lucky recipient decide how to redeem it.
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Important Details

Highlights
  • Explore like a local and travel via delhi’s metro toward the oldest part of the city
  • Enjoy panoramic views of old delhi from a towering minaret that belongs to the largest mosque in india
  • Take a thrilling rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of old delhi 
  • Taste kulfi, the delicious indian ice cream made with spices like cardamom and saffron
  • Experience a traditional high tea and then go behind the scenes with a private tour of the magnificently restored haveli dharampura 
  • New york times exclusives:
  • Behind the scenes access: tour the haveli dharampura and learn how this late mughal mansion has been lovingly restored to its former glory in recent years
  • Hands-on element: fly a kite in the indian tradition and get a feel for what it must be like during the annual delhi kite festival
  • Local interactions: meet a spice vendor who has been supplying fragrant spice mixes to the people of delhi for generations at the khari baoli market and learn about the different spices that are used by locals for cooking, medicine and beauty
  • Local impact: how you will help the local community by joining this tour:
  • Your tour supports local spice vendors, as well as the association of the mosque by paying the minaret fees.
  • Your tour also supports local rickshaw drivers who provide transportation for a portion of the tour.
Included
  • Local english-speaking guide
  • Rickshaw ride
  • Kulfi ice-cream
  • High tea
  • Kite flying activity
  • Minaret fee
  • Metro tickets.
Not Included
  • Additional food and drinks
  • Souvenirs and personal shopping
  • Tips/gratuities for your guide
  • Camera fees at jama masjid.
Departure Point
Hotel Jivitesh (11,Pusa Road,Opposite Metro Pillar Number.87, New Delhi, Delhi 110005) GPS Coordinates of the meeting point.
Voucher Requirements

Please present this voucher to your guide at the beginning of your tour. Save this email on your phone or tablet, or print a copy, as you will need to show this to join the trip.

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Cancellation Policy

You can cancel for a full refund up to 72 hours before the start of your experience. If you do not show up for the experience or fail to cancel at least 72 hours in advance, you will not receive a refund.