Embrace the chaos and bustle of the bustling heart of Old Delhi. The capital of the Mughal Empire until the mid-1800s, this vibrant city was then the centre of the British Raj and, to this day, is filled with the old manors of former aristocrats and members of the royal court. The city is filled with magnificent landmarks, from elegant and beautiful mosques to perfectly laid out gardens. The Old Delhi City Tour highlights Delhi’s complex heritage as it takes you through a new world infused with the traditions and ethos of an ancient people and culture.
The tour is guaranteed to engage all your senses from the very beginning at the bustling market of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s oldest and most animated marketplace. The market has royal roots, as it was established by a Mughal princess nearly 400 years ago, when the market had an elegant crescent form and was renowned for the silver merchants that occupied the diverse stalls. Today it is a mass of narrow, busy streets where travellers can hop aboard a rickshaw manned by a local Delhi resident for an authentic glimpse of this bright and florid city’s beating heart. Embrace the crowds as you are hustled among them, stopping at your request to samples the ware of the many street food stalls or to caress the rich textiles and intricate brocades that line the thronging lanes.
Next, head off to the sweet-smelling spice market at Khari Baoli Street. Set up in the early 17th century, this thoroughfare remains part of the heritage circuit of Old Delhi. The streets are scented with the fragrances of India, igniting a sensory experience awash with aromatic spices, perfumed herbs, fresh produce, pearled rice and organic nuts.
At the end of your tour, marvel at the majestic Jama Masjid, completed in 1656 AD, with a towering structure and courtyard that can comfortably accommodate 25 000 worshippers. The mosque boasts 40 metre (130 foot) high minarets with prominent balconies decorated with wide bands of sandstone and incandescent white marble. The Jama Masjid is widely considered to be India’s largest mosque and is seen as a beacon of calm amid the mayhem of Old Delhi.