India is a country of vibrant colours, delicious eats and culture galore. But how has it changed in 2022? We spoke with two travellers who recently travelled to the bustling city of Delhi to hear about their adventures, their top local tips and the secret spots you need to discover.
“Delhi is going to sucker punch your senses – in a good way”
For Sydney-sider Sudeshna Ghosh, who recently returned from India, boarding an international flight was like a homecoming.
“Delhi is such a kaleidoscopic city, there’s so much history and yet it’s so trendy. India is a place of extreme contrasts. It’s going to sucker punch your senses – but in a good way – so be prepared.
“Travelling again felt surreal. Just being back at the airport and in a plane again felt so familiar but also novel. As a passionate frequent traveller and aviation geek, who’d been grounded for the past two years like everyone else in the world, it felt like a homecoming.
“The overall travel experience was pretty smooth. There was probably a bit more paperwork than before but it wasn’t at all stressful; just make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest travel advice. I think everyone is just happy to be able to travel again and be able to go back to visiting their loved ones and discover new places. We’re so much more appreciative of being able to do this now, when before these were perhaps things we took for granted.
“In Delhi, you can find unexpected historical gems wherever you turn. Qutub Minar minaret, Red Fort, Jama Masjid mosque and India Gate are all must visits. Connaught Place is sort of like Delhi’s CBD – it’s a sprawling market and commercial centre and has beautiful Georgian-style architecture dating back to colonial times.
“Hauz Khas Village is also really fun – the mediaeval-era buildings now house cool designer boutiques, galleries and cafes. I’d also recommend visiting the open-air market Dilli Haat for traditional handicrafts and artisanal products.
“Delhi really is one of my favourite cities and I’ve always said, if I had to live anywhere in India, it would be Delhi.”
“India is one of those destinations that’s unlike anywhere else on the planet”
For Australian videographer Adam Rikys, a trip to India was the perfect chance to rediscover the country.
“Because of my job, I’ve been travelling since international travel resumed and I’ve visited 12 countries since then. I’d been to India before but my trip in April felt a lot quieter. At the usual sightseeing spots it felt like there were far fewer tourists around.
“The arrivals process was relatively straightforward and hassle free. At the time, I needed to secure an online visa four days before my departure date, fill out a travel declaration and then I was good to go. It’s best to stay on top of the latest travel advice before you fly.
“I spent my days just soaking up all that India has to offer. You get such a sensory overload; it’s a vibrant mishmash of sights, sounds, smells and colours and it makes you feel so alive. It’s chaotic but there’s so much beauty in the chaos. India really is one of those destinations that’s unlike anywhere else on the planet and it leaves a mark on you in the best possible way.
“I spent time in Delhi and I’d highly recommend visiting the temples. I visited the Lotus Temple and also went to the Akshardham Temple, which was really interesting for exploring Hinduism. I didn’t have much knowledge about it before I entered the doors. The level of detail that goes into temples over there is incredible, they’re so intricate.
“I also fell in love with the food while I was in India. My favourite dish is dal makhani, which is a black lentil dal that actually originated in Delhi, and I couldn’t stop eating momos with green chilli sauce.
“One of the scariest thoughts for me is being stuck somewhere and not being able to travel so I’m loving that everything is back open. I've had some of the most incredible experiences being able to travel the world again.”