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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Heading to India on a strict budget? The capital serves up a whole platter of delights that are completely free! From ancient temples to pretty gardens, tombs, spice markets and more. Here’s your guide to discovering Delhi without spending a rupee.

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Most consider India to be a budget destination in the first place, apart from the cost of the flights to get you there. The capital is buzzing with excitement as its 17 million residents take to the streets day and night. Around the city you’ll bump into monuments built by the country’s Mughal kings centuries ago as well as pieces leftover from British colonial India. Most museums and monuments charge for entry but we’ve found the best temples and free sights in the capital, the old part and the new, for you to explore the next time you’re on holidays in Delhi.

Temples

lotus

There is certainly no shortage of religious sites to visit in India. In the capital, the most famous and definitely one of the most remarkable is the Baha’i Lotus Temple. The building is shaped like a partially blooming lotus flower, surrounded by nine pools.

Other temples worth a visit:

  • Akshardham Temple
  • ISKCON Temple
  • Laxminarayan (Birla) Temple
  • Sacred Heart Cathedral
  • Bangla Sahib Gurudwara

City sights

Old Delhi is the vibrant historical part of the city and wandering around this living museum is free. Browse the markets that crowd the pavements, snatch up some tasty street food and wander around discovering the many Hindu and Jain temples and the odd historic mansion. Don’t miss the Khari Baoli spice market, a sight on its own.

The India Gate is India’s response to the Arc de Triomphe. It stands in the heart of the city and is a memorial to those who died in World War I in the British Indian Army. The gate is surrounded by government buildings and a grassy square. Look down Rajpath Street and you can see the president’s house.

lodhi

Lodi Garden is a special place to relax on a hot afternoon. Located in south Delhi you’ll see everyone from rich society wives power-walking in the latest track suit gear to men, young and old, playing cricket on the lawns. Inside the gardens there are a few places worth seeing like the tomb of Sikander Lodhi, a 16th century ruler.

Museums

The National Museum, unfortunately, is not free. It’ll cost you 300Rp (£3.50) to get in but there are a handful of other museums around the capital that are.

redfort

  • National Rail Museum: see India’s rail history all in one place, including historic engines and cars and coaches that you can climb into and explore.
  • Tibet House Museum: the perfect place to see ancient Tibetan paintings and artefacts on display.
  • National Philatelic Museum: for the stamp lovers, with both national and international collections.
  • Gandi Smriti Museum: get up close and personal with the Mahatma Gandhi’s life with this collection of books and personal effects on display.
  • Archeological Museum: this museum in the Red Fort is free to visit and features rare archaeological relics from the Mughal and British periods of India. A must.

Love to travel for free? Check out all our free city guides on the Traveller’s Blog!

Imgs: jagdishcrajeeshelly, vincent desjardins, the urban nexus / Flickr cc.

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