1 GAURI SHANKAR TEMPLE
To make the best use of your spare time in Delhi, go by private car. TWX (travelworldexperiences.com, tel +91 11 4379 9700) can provide an air-conditioned vehicle, driver and guide for half-day tours for R4,700 ($70).
Start auspiciously in the Hindu tradition by visiting the Gauri Shankar Temple, located by Chandi Chowk, the legendary Mughal-dynasty bazaar across from the Red Fort’s Lahori Gate.
This important 12th-century temple (rebuilt in 1959), dedicated to the god Shiva and his consort Gauri, is a nontouristy place where locals have come for generations.
The evening aarti (7:30 PM) is a particularly atmospheric time to visit – worshippers wave incense, chant, ring bells and offer marigold garlands to the bejeweled images of the deities located beside the temple’s sacred 800-year-old lingam (the Hindu phallic image of Shiva).
Open daily 4:30 AM – 10:00 AM, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM; admission is free; no photography inside, avoid wearing shorts and expect to remove shoes. hottest cafés, before taking a short stroll to Humayun’s Tomb.
Commissioned in 1570 by his wife, this Mughal emperor’s final resting place is a World Heritage site and justly celebrated as a brilliant masterpiece of early Mughal architecture. The two-story edifice is fashioned of distinctive red sandstone and inlaid with white marble and intricate jali window screens.
The tomb is set in a charbagh garden, with flowing quadrilateral waterways that inspired the Taj Mahal a century later. The last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was captured by British forces here during the 1857 mutiny, ending one of the world’s greatest dynasties.
Open daily sunrise to sunset; admission R250 ($3.75).