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Cheap flights to Delhi, India

Delhi overview

Delhi Travel Guide

Imagine tasting a slice of modern India filled with curry and caraway, enjoying a little Hindi rock and relaxing with a cup of Darjeeling tea while you book a flight to Delhi. Find a cheap flight to Delhi, India, and experience a bit of new in one of India’s oldest cities. The British declared Delhi the capital of India in 1911. Today, the largely-populated Hindu city combines the best of Delhi and Old Delhi, and serves as a starting point for visitors planning flights to India.

India’s second-largest city is often seen as a gateway city rather than a destination in and of itself. Even its name is believed to mean “threshold”. But travelers on cheap flights to Delhi who then connect to other places in India are missing a colorful, cosmopolitan and fascinating city.

While Delhi is one of India’s boom cities, the disparity between the old and the new—and the rich and poor—is staggering. New shopping malls share the city with street markets, cows and handcarts and gleaming SUVs share the roads, and, from newly built flyovers, the domes of Mughal temples are visible.

Old Delhi is a must-see, with snaking alleyways, busy markets, the Jama Masjid—India’s largest mosque—and the Red Fort.

New Delhi, built on the orders of George V, has the important government offices and Parliament of India as well as the colonial-era India Gate and Connaught Place, a bustling shopping and commercial district.

First time travelers booking flights to Delhi will feel welcome in the sophisticated city. Leave your Delhi flight and hop on one of the various transportation options available to take you around the city. The sites are endless: the Jantar Mantar is one of the best medieval structures in India; Chandni Chowk is one of the largest commercial trading centers in India and boasts one of the best shopping bazaars for tourists; and the Purana Qila (Old Fort) is one of India’s famous monuments, built in the 16th century to protect Delhi from invasion.

If you’re looking for a relaxing India vacation, forget about a flight to Delhi and head elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for a little excitement and a glimpse of India’s history, flights to Delhi are your gateway to exploring this magnificent country. Book a flight to Deli for the perfect introduction to India. 

What’s the weather like in Delhi?

Delhi’s climate is monsoon tropical. October through the end of February is cooler, with daytime temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees. By the end of April it is hot, and the temperatures in May and June can go above 110 degrees. It then gets a bit cooler but with high humidity, and the monsoon rains start in June and go until September. 

When is the best time to fly to Delhi?

Peak Season:

The peak tourist season for flights to Delhi is mid-September through March, and October to February are considered the best times to go. The best time to take cheap flights to Delhi is February-April when the city is blooming. August-November when the days are sunny and the nights are cool is also a great time to go. An added advantage are the many festivals that take place between September and March. These include Dussehra (September/October), Diwali (October/November), Christmas (December), Lohri (January) and Holi (March).

Off Season:

The heat of the Delhi summers is notoriously unbearable, but it’s also the best time to find cheap flights to Delhi. Also keep in mind that a monsoon can disrupt Delhi flight schedules and shut down phone systems and electricity.

The months of December-January can be gloomy and not the time to experience Delhi at its best. Also, mid-summer (May, June and July) is scorching with temperatures upwards of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

When is the best time to book a flight to Delhi?

The best time to book flights to Delhi will vary on your preference. If you’re looking for the cheapest flights to Delhi then aim to secure your flight tickets three months in advance of the summer. That means if you want to visit in April, make sure your flights are booked by January at the latest. Giving yourself a 3-month window will benefit you regardless of when you plan to visit, although April does average as the cheapest month. Flexibility is your best friend when trying to find the cheapest flights to Delhi so if you have the luxury of time and no preference on when you’ll visit, secure your flight tickets now and select the cheapest ticket you find.

How long is the flight to Delhi?

To reach Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, expect a flight time of about 14 hours if you’re departing from Chicago or New York and about 19 hours if you’re departing from Los Angeles.

Which airlines fly to Delhi?

United Airlines and Air India offer direct flights to Delhi. Delta and American Airlines also have flights to India, and if you have an international departure point, check flights with Japan Airlines and Air France.

What should you pack for a flight to Delhi? 

Delhi is hot during the day and gets dusty, so bring plenty of light linen and cotton clothes. A pair of thick, closed-toe sandals keep your feet cool while protecting your feet from Delhi’s rough streets. Travelers deal with stomach sickness so much in Delhi that there’s a name for it – Delhi Belly. Bring your upset stomach medicine of choice, just in case.

Getting to and around the city of Delhi

The Indira Gandhi International airport is just 10 miles from the center of Delhi and transportation is readily available to help you with the transition to your hotel. The best thing to do once you have booked your flights to Delhi and you’re comparing different hotel options is to see if they offer a transfer service. You’ll more than likely need to pay for it but it’ll save you worrying about how you’ll get to Delhi. Failing that, you can opt for the train. The Delhi Metro line connects the airport to the city and runs from Terminal 3 for most of the day (it finishes at 11pm and resumes again at 5am). A ticket will set you back about £1. Delhi Transport Corporation buses are another option you can consider. They run at half hour intervals and can be found outside of Terminal 3. The last option you can look at is a taxi, however there are many tales of scams that happen, so if you decide for a taxi you’ll want a prepaid one as opposed to one of the unofficial ones you can find outside.

Stick to a car in Delhi if you want to avoid getting run over. Traffic is hectic, drivers have little patience with pedestrians and the few sidewalks that exist are poorly maintained and crowded. Avoid travelling in rush hour like the plague.

Old Delhi has winding, narrow streets that could be considered walkable, but beware of handcarts and people with heavy loads. They stop for no one. Your best bet for getting around is via taxi or by hiring a car and driver.

If you’re hailing a cab, always negotiate your fare before you board. You can ask to see the fare chart that drivers carry with them. It’s also a good idea to carry some change, since most drivers don’t carry any with them. If you’d rather hire a car and driver, check with a travel agency.

What are some things to do in Delhi?

Delhi is an enormous area and it takes time to learn how to navigate it. If you aren’t traveling with anyone who has been there before, it’s a good idea to take a couple guided tours. The Salaam Balaak Trust is a charity that helps the poor and homeless in India, and it offers tours guided by children who used to live on the street. Your money goes towards a good cause and the children are great at showing you all the ins and outs of the city.

There’s nothing like the atmosphere of a cricket match at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, India’s second-oldest international cricket stadium. It seats over 40,000 people and tickets are inexpensive, so it’s well worth your time to see a match while you’re in Delhi. Even if you don’t understand the sport, fans are always friendly and talkative, so you can learn plenty about the sport by chatting with the people sitting next to you. Feel like getting active yourself? Try a Bollywood dance class at the Delhi Dance Academy.

See where the emperors of the Mughal dynasty once lived when you visit the Red Fort, a massive building that took almost nine years to build and got its name from its distinctive red sandstone walls. It’s one of the finest examples of Indian architecture, and it contains several museums where you can learn more about India’s history. From February through April there’s a beautiful sound and light show at the Red Fort in the evenings.

Tips for your stay in Delhi

  • The months of May through July are the hottest.
  • One of the most beautiful parks to take a stroll in is Lodi Garden. Early morning is the best time to take in the well-manicured lawns and shady trees. The park is dotted with medieval monuments, the ornate tombs of the Lodi and Sayyid Era.
  • Eat and drink on the go: breakfast will typically cost a couple of dollars and consist of idlis (rice cakes), vadas, dosas (crepes), salty pongal, chapatis with sambar (dhal and vegetables) and coffee. Snack on stuffed parathas from a cart-vendor and wash down with Jal Jeera, a lime, cumin and mint drink. Lunch might be Mughlai chicken or goat curry.
  • Almost everything is for sale in Delhi. The Central Cottage Industries Emporiumin Connaught Place is the must-go-to market for traditional Indian craftsmanship including rugs and jewelry. Baba Kharak Singh Marg stocks regional handicrafts. For cheaper, Western, thrills, check out Sarojini Nagar Market for the cheap clothes and fabrics.
  • To really get a taste of Delhi, visit Chandni Chowk. It means Moonlit Avenue, which sounds romantic, but there’s little room to stroll around. It’s one of the most congested places in Delhi, where you can sample a mouthwatering array of authentic Indian food, delicacies and sweets, rummage through book shops, clothes, shoes and leather goods stores.
  • About 9 miles south of Central Delhi is the Qutub Minar Complex. The Qutub Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world. The Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque, the Alai Gate, the Alai Minar and the Iron pillar are other important constructions. The story goes that anyone who can circle the 1,500-year-old iron pillar with their hands behind their back will be granted their wish.
  • Twenty-five is the legal drinking age in Delhi and cocktails are the grown-up drink of choice. Hotel bars and lounges attract the moneyed young, but outside the hotels, bars and restaurants are attracting more and more revelers.
  • In New Delhi, near Humayun’s Tomb, is the dargahof Hazrat Khawaja Nizamuddin Auliya, a famous Sufi saint. A settlement, known as Nizamuddin, has grown around the dargah. The shrine also contains the marble tomb of Amir Khusro, the great Persian poet of Delhi, and a number of fine Mughal buildings. On Thursday evenings Qawal (devotional music) is sung, from about 6-7:30pm.
  • To see the city at its most colorful, visit around Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) or Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi’s birthday, October 2). Delhi-ites celebrate with speeches, military parades and great pomp.
  • The Crafts Museumcontains a collection of traditional Indian crafts in textiles, metal, wood, and ceramics. The museum is part of a village-life complex where you can visit rural India and see skilled artisans at work.
  • Entertainment is easy to come by in Delhi. There are frequent performances by well-known dancers and musicians and lots of Indian and Western films. To find out what’s going on, check with your hotel and any of the daily or weekly newspapers.
  • The Delhi Golf Clubis a 220-acre golf course on the 15th-century estate of the Lodi dynasty. The estate has over 200 types of trees and is a bird sanctuary. Where else can you golf with monuments and mausoleums next to the greens and watch peacocks performing the rain dance? Temporary memberships are available.
  • Indians love to eat out and Delhi has a large variety of restaurants and cuisines, with something for every budget from snacks at roadside stalls to celebrated restaurants.
  • Indian people dress conservatively. Women are expected to cover their legs and shoulders. Trousers are acceptable, but shorts and short skirts are not. Men should always wear a shirt in public and wear shorts only at the beach. These rules are mandatory in temples and mosques. When entering a Sufi shrine or Sikh gurudwara, cover your head with a cap or cloth, women are required to cover their limbs, and men are expected to also cover their legs. Religious institutions usually have caps available, often for free, and sometimes cloth wraps are available for covering your arms and legs. You may also be required to remove your shoes when entering a religious institution or private home. It is illegal to give money to a beggar at a traffic light. If you do decide to give alms, do it somewhere other than at a traffic light.