BY indefiniteloop

Delhi - A city in India that is referred to, and described with varied fragments of perspectives. It has been labelled as - an unsafe city, crowded crown, capital corrupt seat of the country, foreigner unfriendly, a pandora’s box for free women, and so on.

While all of those fragments may do justice, and may apply to Delhi as a whole, what they cannot take away is the fact that Delhi is one of the most beautiful cities, here in India. These fragments can not take away the fact that there’s so much history imbued in this place. That it’s planned quite well, and that it has more open spaces than Bombay.

You could count me in with the group which always has vouched for Bombay, over Delhi; for years on end. But it wouldn’t be doing justice to Delhi, and Bombay. Never really having visited Delhi in my adult lifetime, I could not be credited as a viable source in that particular debate - until recently.

Here’s What I Think About Delhi

I’ve finally had the chance, and heart to visit Delhi this year. I love winters, and thus all the more so I saw my impetus getting fulfilled. I plunged ahead with booking my tickets, and my AirBnB apartment.

From the get-go, I was warned that the city is unsafe for a lone traveller. That people travelling alone have had misfortunate incidents here, in the past. I took it all with a pinch of salt; wanting to make up my own mind about Delhi, and its people.

Thus, in my account below of my experience with Delhi, I’ve kept my biases (gathered from the varied experiences of others), and perceptions aside.

First Impressions:

The winter weather, it just took my breath away. The entire city was shrouded in fog; polluted yes, but none the less the city was veiled, with a certain type of wintery mysticism - the kind I adore, the kind that does not exist here, in Bombay, anymore.

Naturally so, I was in cold, numbed high spirits while I tried to locate my AirBnB apartment. I do not own much of wintery wear. Thus what I carried, and wore was nothing but a hoodie, some tees, a pair of jeans, and of course - shorts. It was a beautiful morning, with the temperature being around 14℃. It was pleasant, with the sun shining through the fog; lending short bursts of warmth.

I had some trouble in locating the apartment, my taxi driver not being helpful. To be frank, he was a bit rude. Maybe because I was from Bombay. Nonetheless, it took me another rickshaw ride to be able to reach my abode. The rickshaw guy was pleasant, helpful, and was okay with me being lost. I am not much of direction guy, and so I do tend to get lost (which has lead to finding some hidden jewels in the past).

I had booked an early flight; as I love traveling to a place early in the mornings - this so that I can watch the sunrise at 30,000 feet or near so (if you haven’t done that yet, you totally should). The check-in was scheduled for around 12 Noon, and I had reached my AirBnB apartment around half past nine, in the morning.

I had already discussed this with the hosts, and they’re more than happy for me to wait it out at their apartment , which is situated right below the AirBnB apartment I had booked. Not wanting to intrude on their daily rituals, I opted to drop my backpack off, and head over to the Lotus temple - a short, sturdy 15 minutes walk away from the apartment.

My first impressions were starting to form, from the time I had arrived. And as the day went on, it quickly became clearer that most people here in Delhi, were just like Bombayites (now, uninterestingly, known as Mumbaikars). Nothing was different much, except that I did notice the men letching at women, and openly doing so; much, much more than what it’s here in Bombay. Not that I believe any straight man (including me) capable of not doing so; but some of the staring was more harsh, if I may.

Apart from this one thing, the people are as good or rather as bad as us, as helpful as us, as curios as all of us who call Bombay home. The city is as safe for anyone, traveling alone, as anywhere else.

The thing I fell in love with, in Delhi, was the weather, the fog, the history, the open spaces, and of course the food.

The hospitality offered to me by my hosts was unparalleled.

Sights & Sounds

I was there in Delhi for four days. Thus, I was acutely aware that I would not be able to cover every place, or haunt that held my interest. So, I made a list of the possible places, that were close enough to the apartment, and at which I could spend time at.

The List:

  • Bangla Sahib
  • Swaminarayan Akshardham
  • Humayun’s Tomb
  • Hauz Khas
  • Qutab Minar
  • Lodi Gardens
  • Bahai Lotus Temple

I, purposefully, left out some of the other touristy out. Four days for business, and pleasure is kinda stretching it. This was made more aware as the days passed quickly. Even from this list, I was only able to visit some of the places of interest.

The Lotus Temple

I am not a religious guy. But, religion does intrigue me - like all stories do. The Lotus Temple was a short 15 minute walk from my AirBnB apartment. I had some time to kill, before I could finally check in. Thus, I just waltzed right in.

While entering the grounds that surround the Lotus temple in Delhi, I was made quite aware of the fact that there’s so much of empty, mostly green, space here. There were no high rises anywhere to be seen - most apartment buildings topping off at five floors max.

The only thing that could catch my eye, in this open space surrounding the temple, was the temple; and of course it’s architecture.

Delhi: Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple, Delhi, India.

The Lotus temple, as the name suggests, is a temple architectured, and built in the form of a (yes, you guessed that right) lotus flower. The Lotus flower is also the national flower of India.

The Lotus temple serves the Bahá’í Faith - a most interesting, and if I may - the most advanced religion that I’ve had the pleasure of glimpsing at. The Bahá’í Faith, essentially, is a religion that strongly emphasises the spiritual unity of all mankind - irrespective of caste, beliefs, gender, colour, and any other, found or unfound diversity.

The Lotus temple is one of the seven Bahá’í Houses of Worship, with some more under construction worldwide. Unfortunately, there’s no photography allowed inside the temple. On the plus side, it’s quite quiet in there. You can just sit there, watching the mesmerising lines on the wall; sit there, and look at the beautiful work of art that forms this temple. It’s quite bare inside. If you do find yourself there, don’t forget to look up.

Delhi: Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple, Delhi, India.

Khan Market

I was hungry, once I had finished with the Lotus temple. I decided to head to Khan Market. The Kalkaji Temple metro station was a short five minute walk away from the temple, and I decided to take the metro. It was not as crowded as a ‘Mumbai Local’, but crowded still. The metro stations are placed really close to each another. I reached Khan market quite fast. I had my lunch, the first day, at the Smoke House Deli - an upscale joint, which is also present here back home.

Khan market is, I think, a couple of blocks of a shopping, and eating district. Definitely a must goto place for getting some grub, a couple of pints, or shopping.

Humayun’s Tomb

A friend, and business partner suggested we should go visit Akshardham (see below). I ventured out an hour earlier, because I desperately wanted to visit Humayun’s Tomb. And, I am glad that I did.

Delhi: Humayun's Tomb
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India.

It’s beautiful, more so during winters. It was crowded, but not very much so. I spent over two hours, just walking, and visiting the many tombs of the Moghuls located within the complex.

Delhi: Humayun's Tomb
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India - Panorama from the top.

The complex grounds were, again, well tended to, and taken care of. They were clean, and you could just sit there on the grass, and be. I found a nice tree, to sit by, and watch the sunset here.

Delhi: Humayun's Tomb
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi, India.


The Akshardham temple (Swaminarayan Akshardham complex), in Delhi, officially opened to the general masses in November of 2005.

It’s a feat of architecture. Again, I am not a religious guy. But, I would definitely recommend to anyone visiting Delhi for the first time, to not miss Akshardham; and to definitely not miss their water show - which at the time of writing this post, costs about 80/- INR (~1.5USD) per person (definitely packs more punch than a movie ticket).

There’s pretty tight security inside the complex. You’re not allowed to take any kind of electronics whatsoever inside. No photography is allowed either. Don’t let that stop you. The water show was plain awesome!

The water show was coupled up with animations, and a short play from the Upanishads . There were plenty of mesmerising lasers too. If you like the cold, as I do, sit upfront near the fountain. The water spray, makes you feel all warm inside.

Do visit the main temple too. The temple is huge; covered in marble, and gold from within. The architecture, again, is beautiful. There’s also a boat ride, which we did not opt for but looked promising enough.

Best time to visit the Akshardham temple is in the evenings. It looks more majestic, when it’s all lit up.

Hauz Khas village

Apart from being one of the more affluent parts of Delhi, Hauz Khas also has two distinct attractions for the first time traveller, located in the Hauz Khas village.

Hauz Khas village, houses the Hauz Khas complex apart from the multitude of upscale shops, restaurants, and bars.

Hauz Khas complex consists of a water tank, an islamic seminary, a mosque, a tomb, and pavilions; all built, before Delhi was established, during the 13th century.

Delhi: Hauz Khas Lake
Hauz Khas Lake From Hauz Khas Complex, Delhi, India.

The complex does get crowded with the young crowd venturing, and sitting down inside the Madrassa. The view of the water tank, from within the complex is breath taking. Again, I spent quite some time just sitting in front of the lake, and watching people; watching the sunset.

On the other end of Hauz Khas village is the Deer Park. A must goto place, if you have time to spare. You end up just walking around, looking at the Deer, some Peacocks, and Rabbits. Then there are these jogging trails, spread all across the park. The park also consists of a path, from where you can get really up close to the water lake, which is green due to the algae build-up.

The only thing that I did not appreciate was the fact that the complex, which clearly is a place that has a deep historical connection with the country, wasn’t taken good care of much. It was really sad to see people just throwing their garbage, all around the complex; even though there were plenty of dustbins available, and hired watchmen around.

Getting Around In Delhi

For most part I traveled within the city using taxis, and rickshaws. With the only exception, of using the metro line twice.

Taxi For Sure

Taxi For Sure is, as the name suggests, a taxi service. They have a mobile app, which is easy to use, to book taxis. The app came highly recommended by some friends; even my AirBnB hosts use this service whenever they need to. Do make sure to book these cabs about 15-20 minutes before you start your adventures.

Roughly, all my travel was around 8-9 kms from my apartment, as it was centrally located to all those places I wanted to visit. It would usually cost me between ~150-180 INR (~2.5-5 USD) for travelling that distance.

Another point to note while using Taxi for sure, is to make sure you use Google Maps to keep an eye on your route. I got swindled on my first ride, and ended paying more; simply because I did not know which way was longer, and which was shorter to get to the destination. Make sure that you tell your driver that you’ll be guiding him, after letting him know your drop-off location.


I used the metro twice. There are four different lines, spread out across the city. Metro travel is quite affordable. I ended up spending about ~15 INR one way, which would have ended up 150 INR if I took a cab ride.

The only downside here is that there’s quite a line for ticketing during peak rush hours. And the metro does tend to get crowded. But, as an experience it’s a must for the first time traveller, here in Delhi. Most of the metro stations are well placed, and I found them quite easily accessible, at walking distances, from wherever I was.

I would recommend getting a prepaid ticketing card, if you’re staying longer than 3-4 days here, and wish to stick to travelling within the city via the metro. This would not only save you the time of queuing up, but also make the fares a little more affordable.

Rickshaw Rides

Rickshaw rides, by far, were my favorite means of transportation - because winter. The cold air hits you hard, when you’re traveling in the evening in an open rickshaw. It’s an experience, and if you’re averse to cold weather, I highly recommend you take the metro or book a cab instead.

But for those of us who enjoy the cold, a rickshaw ride in the evening is awesome. It gets chilly quite quick after 6PM in Delhi, during winters. As a result, not many of the localites prefer traveling by rickshaws. Thus you can ask the rickshaw driver to stick to the meter, or bargain further with them.

Fares vary depending on how good your bargaining skills are. I often left a tip of 10-30 INR on top of what I had to pay for the ride, because they’re out there in the cold ferrying people up, and down.

Again, it’s an exciting, teeth chattering experience in winters.

The AirBnB Apartment

I love terraces, and balconies. I love the cold, and winters. Naturally so, I was searching for a space in Delhi on AirBnB, to hole-up in, that had an open terrace with a view.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
View From The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India - The Lotus Temple From The Balcony.

And I am glad that I chose to stay in a quite, little, awesome studio with a large open terrace that opens up to the view of the marvellous Lotus temple.

The Hosts

Anjali aunty, and uncle are not very far removed from my own parents. I already miss them! They were the kindest, and most hospitable hosts I’ve come across so far on my AirBnB-ed adventures.

They were always ready to help with whatever it is that I had a problem with (which was not much, except just some advice about getting around). They’re splendid conversationalists, who can talk to you on various subjects. They make you feel comfortable, and the studio soon starts to feel not far removed from home.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
Mrs. Anjali Grover - An Awesome AirBnB Host in Delhi, India.

Anjali aunty’s cooking is splendid! Whatever I was served for breakfast - from hot, hot Delhi parathas, to sunny side-up fried eggs - everything was deletable, to say the least.

If I find myself back in Delhi, I am sure to drop in, and say my hellos, if not stay again at the apartment - which would be the case only because they’re booked end-to-end. So make sure you get your AirBnB bookings done early!

The Apartment

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover's Studio
Delhi AirBnB - Small, Quite, Little Studio Apartment. Click to enlarge.

The studio apartment was awesome. It was clean, comfortable, and had everything I needed to spend my time in Delhi. There’s a heater, and an air conditioner in there. Basically, you’re covered during winters, and the hot summers here.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

The studio was located in a very quiet corner of the neighbourhood. And the sleep I got, was out of this world. Nothing woke me up, before I wanted to get up. I often did find myself dozing off, after waking up.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

The studio is centrally located. Travelling within the city to any place doesn’t take more than 30-45 minutes by road, even during peak traffic hours. The taxi drivers can locate the place easily. There’s a market right outside the complex - a five minute walk, which I found awesome during the winters.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

The Review

I loved Anjali aunty’s AirBnB space! I loved her cooking, and our little talks. I would definitely recommend this space to anyone who’s travelling to Delhi. The apartment is spacious enough for three. It’s, as I mention above, clean; and, comes fully loaded.

The terrace, and it’s open ended view takes your breath away. I had the fortune of making an acquaintance with a squirrel, a cuckoo, and an eagle (see photos below).

All, in all a splendid place, and the most hospitable hosts I’ve ever come across on AirBnB. Air BnB doesn’t get better than this!

PS: The shower in the bathroom, at the time of writing this post, doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. There’s no water pressure for it to work. So, if you’re someone who enjoys taking a shower, this may be inconvenient for you.

Video Walkthrough Of The Studio Apartment

Here’s a short video walkthrough of this AirBnB apartment.

Delhi AirBnB Studio.

More Photographs Of The Studio Apartment

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

Delhi AirBnB: Anjali Grover
The AirBnB Studio Apartment in Delhi, India.

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