Delhi is one of the oldest capital cities in the world, and a goldmine of ancient monuments and heritage sites. It’s bold, it’s brash and it’s utterly chaotic – but you’ll never have a dull moment in this vibrant city. A rainbow of colors, smells, sounds and spices – Delhi will satisfy all of your senses and leave you hungry for more.
Here’s a guide on how to make the most of your trip to India’s thriving capital.
1. Taste the local delicacies
2. Get fitted for traditional Indian clothing
3. Have fun bartering at markets
4. Admire the architecture
5. Get a henna tattoo
6. Witness traditional rituals and celebrations
Indian celebrations are out-of-this-world and often last for several days. If you’re lucky enough to go to a wedding, you’ll be part of a musical, spiritual and culinary extravaganza. An Indian wedding typically lasts for three days – and includes a Ganesh pooja ceremony (blessing ceremony with a priest and close friends of the bride and groom) a mehndi (henna) party for the bride and her female friends and a sangeet ceremony, which is a celebration of dance, music and games where families unite for singing, dancing, joking and feasting. Rituals vary widely depending on the particular religion (Hindu, Jain or Sikh for example) but can involve unusual processes such as cleansing the groom by rubbing milk and turmeric paste onto his face the day before the wedding and watching the groom add a thousand blades of grass (one at a time) to the holy fire in front of a priest for good luck in marriage.
The groom’s procession to the wedding temple involves sitting on a white horse whilst the wedding party follows and dances to the beat of the dhol (an Indian drum). Indian wedding ceremonies typically involve a lot of dancing, exchanging gifts, photo shoots, religious rituals, a ceremonial fire and feasting. Kanyaddan (father giving away his daughter) and Saptadpadi (the seven step ritual of vows) are very important. There are also amusing games such as the bride and groom racing to their seats after circling a fire. It is believed that the first one to sit down will have the upper hand in the marriage.The lavish decorations, stunning outfits and flamboyancy makes Indian weddings a once-in-a-lifetime event. If you’re not lucky enough to attend an Indian wedding, be sure to see if there are any Indian festivals during your visit to Delhi. Holi Festival is India’s annual spring “Festival of Colors” that celebrates the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil. People buy packets of colored powder (abir) and throw it on each other until they become almost unrecognizable. It’s a rowdy festival marked by music and madness with dancing, street food, folk theater and sprinklers on the street!
There are several other big festivals during the year including Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, Dusshera and Diwali. These often involve beautiful artwork, feasts, dancing, singing, lights, decorations and unique traditions.