As Delhi is the capital of the country, it is connected to all parts of the country and other countries, by multiple ways, especially by air. The Indira Gandhi International Airport connects Delhi to a vast number of different cities in India. There are direct flights from cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Goa, Kolkata and numerous other cities. There are also direct flights to Delhi from a number of international destinations as well. Many international travellers consider Delhi to the be the Gateway to India. Domestic travellers also come here often by flight as it is fast and convenient and saves a lot of time.
There are two terminals in the Indira Gandhi International Airport – Terminal 1D and Terminal 3. The first one is a domestic airport and services low-cost airlines such as IndiGo, SpiceJet and Go Air. Terminal 3 or T3 as it is better known serves international airlines and full-cost domestic airlines. Every 20 minutes, there’s a free shuttle service between both terminals which makes it easier for travellers.
The airport is around 22kms away from the city centre but there are several ways to reach the city from the airport. Outside the airport, you can come across regular DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) buses which take you to either the ISBT bus stand or the New Delhi Railway Station. The other way to get into the city from the airport is by the Metro service which runs every 20 minutes. Prepaid taxis are also available which you can hire from government registered counters at the airport. It could easily take you between 40 to 50 minutes to reach the city centre but it depends entirely on the traffic.
One of the most tried and tested ways to reach Delhi is by train. Delhi is the Northern Railways headquarters and there are five railway stations in Delhi – The New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Anand Vihar Railway Terminal and Sarai Rohilla. The first one, New Delhi Railway Station is located in Paharganj near Connaught Place and this is the most frequently used railway station where the most number of trains arrive and depart.
Outside the railway station, there’s a prepaid taxi counter from where you can book a taxi to go your destination inside the city. Another plausible and convenient way to reach the city from the railway station is the Delhi Metro Line 2. The red and green DTC buses will also take you to the city from the railway station. Several people also use autorickshaws from here if they want to go to Old Delhi or Connaught Place. Autos can be tricky however as some auto drivers may not want to go according to the meter and might ask for the fare that they think is reasonable. It’s best you ask one of the locals how much to expect to pay in such a scenario.
By Bus - There are buses from various cities such as Chandigarh, Amritsar, Shimla, Dehradun and numerous other places to Delhi. Bus travel is relatively economical and a good way to get into the city. Delhi has several bus stands and the Interstate Bus Terminals are located at Anand Vihar, Kashmiri Gate and Sarai Kale Khan. Mandi House near Barahkhamba Road also has airconditioned bus services to and from hill stations such as Kasauli, Shimla and Manali. DTC has a huge fleet of buses and at the various bus stands, people can find buses to whichever route they wish to follow. Reaching Delhi by bus is a common enough way to travel although it is not as comfortable as the train. However, some routes only allow for buses and hence, there’s no other option. From the bus-stands you can get local DTC buses, autorickshaws or even take the Metro to travel to other parts of the city.
By Car - If you own a car, then you can certainly drive down to Delhi as it will be a most exhilarating road trip. There’s a strong network of highways that connect the city to the rest of the country. For instance, Jaipur to Delhi route is along NH 8 and Agra to Delhi by NH 2. Delhi is connected by road to several cities in the country such as Alwar, Jaipur, Amritsar and Chandigarh.
Delhi has plenty of local buses which you can use to get around. However, these tend to be quite crowded during peak hours and thus, not convenient for visitors. However, there are several useful routes such as the Airport Express Bus. Buses run by DTC are often crammed with locals – the red ones are air-conditioned and the fare costs more, while the green ones are non-air conditioned. At the bus stops, you might not come across bus routes displayed anywhere. If you find that confusing, do check routes online or just ask someone.
Getting taxis to travel in Delhi can be an easy and convenient way to get around the city. However, taxi drivers are notorious for not agreeing to the meter fares and it’s always best to negotiate with them before the trip begins. Taxi fares can be quite exorbitant, so always ask a local about expected rates. You can also hire a taxi for sightseeing through the day and it comes with a fixed cost, based on the distance you travel and the time taken.
Cab services such as Ola and Uber have made life easy for visitors who want to get around the city without haggling for prices. However, do remember that cab drivers do take a little time to reach you and might even call for directions. They may not be well-versed in English either. Ola and Uber cabs cost less than regular taxis.
Delhi’s Metro is well-connected to several parts of the city. It is fast and an efficient way to travel across the city. There are regular announcements in Hindi and English. During peak hours, the Metro trains tend to get very busy. So it’s best to avoid using it during rush hour, especially if you have luggage with you. Also, do remember that the first carriage in the train is reserved for women only.
The Metro rides range from Rs. 10 to Rs. 60 when it comes to fares. A Smart Card also ensures that you get a 10% discount on all journeys. There are also tourist cards available but these are not very viable as they are valid only for a day or three days at the most. Unless you intend to use the Metro a lot, it’s not very useful.
One of the most common ways to get around in the city is by autorickshaws. These are available everywhere and it’s easy to just hop into them. However, what’s not easy is agreeing on a fare as they prefer not to use meters. Thus, it’s quite possible to be charged exorbitant amounts that may just leave you feeling cheated! It’s best to ask locals how much you can expect to pay in such cases. There are several prepaid autorickshaw booths that determine a fixed fare for you before you even begin your journey. Electric rickshaws are also a good way to get around the city although most of them tend to be shared rides. You can still hire one for your own use too.
Cycling and fitness enthusiasts can use smart bikes which are docked at one of the many stations around central New Delhi if they want to ride around in the city. The bikes can be unlocked by a mobile app and the first 30 minutes are free.