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TRAVEL GUIDE: Where to go in New Delhi to admire art and culture

By Kara Angan Published Jan 01, 2023 6:47 pm

Despite being an urbanized city, New Delhi is brimming with history. In almost every corner of the metro, you can find completely preserved archaeological sites right beside a fast food chain or a local restaurant.

Delhi has been referred to in the past as a “culture hub” in India and is home to many historical religious sites, art galleries, archaeological marvels, and more.

It’s a perfect destination for history and culture buffs who don’t mind spending time walking around and taking in the sights.

Traveling to New Delhi

Philippine passport holders are eligible to apply for an Indian visa through the e-Tourist visa website. The application is fairly simple and straightforward, although there are some portions that may require information about your accommodations and the like. An e-Tourist visa costs US$25 (~P1,400) and usually takes about two to three days to be processed.

Once your visa application is approved, return to the website to print out a copy of your visa. Most airlines will ask for a copy of your visa before allowing you to drop off your bags, so make sure to keep a copy on hand with you at all times. 

There are a few airlines that travel from Manila to the New Delhi airport with layovers in surrounding ASEAN countries. As of writing, there are no direct flights from Manila to New Delhi.


Getting around New Delhi

While the driving culture can be intimidating to some, traveling around the city is easy through the use of Uber, which runs relatively cheap compared to other ride-sharing apps in the Philippines.

Trips within the city were around 98 rupees (~P60) per ride. There are also traditional autos, or auto rickshaws. These are similar to tuktuks or electric trikes in different Southeast Asian countries.

Luckily, a number of tourist spots in New Delhi are within walking distance of one another. This makes it easier to group together nearby spots and go to them on foot, rather than spending money going from one place to another.

With that, here are five exciting sights to see while you’re in New Delhi.

Agrasen Ki Baoli

The Agrasen Ki Baoli is an archaeological step well in the heart of New Delhi, near Connaught Place. Step wells were used in India between the 7th to 19th centuries and feature usually long series of stairs leading down to a well or pond. 

There are 108 steps leading down to the well. While the lower levels are cordoned off, there are still plenty of steps and hollowed-out walls to take pictures with. The Agrasen Ki Baoli is open for viewing from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily and has no admission fee.

Dhoomimal Art Centre

If you’re in the mood to explore and admire art by local Indian artists, the Dhoomimal Art Centre is the perfect place to include in your itinerary.

Established in 1937, the Dhoomimal Art Centre is the first private art gallery in India. It was opened by Ram Babu Jain and has been passed down through generations of their family.

The gallery has evolved through the ages as a platform for local artists to feature their works and for art enthusiasts to meet and bond over their pieces. The gallery is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is located in Connaught Place.

Jantar Mantar 

The Jantar Mantar is one of five historical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II starting 1723. It consists of 13 astronomical devices used to navigate and predict the movements of the sun, moon, and planets. While we often imagine astronomical devices to be small, these instruments stand at roughly 723 feet tall.

There are plaques describing how each of the devices were used, as well as coves that are perfect to take pictures of. It also doubles as a nice park to walk around and enjoy the afternoon sun in, especially since there’s no admission fee. 

Purana Qila 

The Purana Qila is one of the oldest forts built in India. It consists of a large fort complex and sprawling grounds. Archaeological excavations have dated the origins of the fort to around 3rd century B.C. Since then, the site has been used for various cultural events such as theatre productions, concerts, and music festivals.

If you plan on visiting the Purana Qila, the admission fee is 200 rupees (P135) and is open from 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  

Lodhi Colony 

The Lodhi Colony is India’s first public art district and is the perfect location for street art and culture enthusiasts alike. The district’s walls feature full murals painted by both local and international artists.

According to St+art India Foundation, the organization that started the street art project in the area, their goal is to make art accessible to all. They also organize different urban art festivals across the country during the year.

With India being a large country to cover, New Delhi is the perfect place to get a mix of history and contemporary culture all within arm’s reach.