Delhi, the capital of India is the beating heart of the country. Named among the favorite cities to travel in India, the metropolis is as old as is its modern, as intriguing as it is relaxing. The city of cities has layers of history, heritage, culture, experiences and more. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites, centuries-old monuments, parks, gardens cafes, museums, shopping pursuits, nightlife options, keep you busy, However, there are several options of things to do in Delhi that are absolutely free of cost. These delights add to the thrill of exploring Delhi without hurting your pocket.
1. Soulful musical evenings at the Nizamuddin Auliya shrine
There is no better therapy to the soul than music. Every Thursday evening the Nizamuddin Auliya shrine reverberates with soulful Sufi music. The seven-century old shrine of the beloved Sufi mystic, Hazrat Khwaja Syed Nizamuddin Auliya and his disciple, the poet Amir Khusrao, is one of the best places to visit in Delhi. The soulful qawwalis (spiritual songs) are a balm to soul and know what? It’s free of cost.
Regardless of faith, gender, or age, the shrine is open to all. In contrast to the narrow streets lined with hawkers and holy men, the heady smell of incense and rose petals and the riot of colors makes you experience bliss. Above all, the music and the ethereal evenings makes for a cherished experience.
2. Walk through green spaces and crumbling mausoleums
Hidden amidst the concrete jungle of Delhi, there are actually green places laced with crumbling monuments which the erstwhile royalty had themselves built to enjoy fresh air. These haunts are free of any entry fee and visited by fitness lovers, picnicking families and love birds.
The Lodhi Gardens, set in the centre of Delhi is one of the city’s favorite green spaces. Lined with trees inhabited by various birds, waterways, flowerbeds, the 90-acres property is the resting place of the 15th century tombs of the rulers of the Lodhi dynasty. The park has a romantic feel to it, as the centuries seem to have not passed in these environs.
Other free charming green places include, Garden of Five Senses, Japanese Park, Deer Park, Nehru Park, etc.
3. Change of Guard Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Moving on with our list of the best things to do in Delhi; we have attending The Change of Guard Ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The splendid ceremony is held weekly on Saturdays. It is truly mesmerizing to watch the sheer grace of the Indian army, one of the largest disciplined Armed forces in the world. Watch the military precision of the equestrian parade by the President’s Body Guard (an 18th century exclusive mounted unit) Following this will be a foot drill by the Army Guard Battalion, which comprise selected few of one of India’s infantry regiments, that are rotated every three years.
There is no entry fee to attend the ceremony but photo IDs are required at point of entry. The ceremony has different timings at different times of the year. From 15th March to 14th August the drill is held at 8 AM, 15th March to 14th August the time is moved to 9 AM while from 15th November to 14th the ceremony is held at 10 AM.
4. Finding Bliss at the Bahai House of Worship
Bliss is priceless and at the Bahai Temple you can experience the same bliss for free. The lotus-shaped temple is one of the must-visit landmarks of the city. The architect Furiburz Sabha conceived the beautiful monument in the suburbs of Delhi. The holy place of worship for believers of the Bahai religion, but each visitor is welcome to worship according to their own customs.
Set in expansive lush gardens, the lotus-shaped building is built in the middle of nine encircling pools of azure-blue waters. The peaceful ambiance is the ideal backdrop of prayer and meditation. Every dusk floodlights shade the white lotus into mesmerizing shades that make the beauty a surreal bliss.
5. Taste of Divine Food at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
In the heart of Delhi, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is not just a holy place of Sikhs, it is a divine solace for people of all faiths, nationalities, castes, creeds and more. Even more incredible is its supply of divine food- almost 10,000 meals a day.
Each day the kitchens of the Gurudwara prepare truly delicious food serving the hungry, needy and people who want to partake in the divine food. The ‘Kadha Prasad’ cooked of pure ghee is particularly a delight one must not miss out. The vegetarian meal is free but an exchange of services or some seva will be good for the soul. Pay a visit to the Sikh shrine and be in shelter of the supreme bliss.
6. Be a part of Raahgiri
A popular street event in Delhi, Raahgiri is a celebration of its kind. Serving as a platform for people to get together and enjoy motor vehicle-free roads at three locations in Delhi NCR – Connaught Place, Gurgaon and suburbs of Dwarka on Sunday every week. It is one of the best free things to do in Delhi.
Car-free, regardless crowded by folks of all kinds, the Sunday mornings are spent enjoying the fresh morning air along with a number of exciting things to do. Get cycles for free or join groups involved in warm-up sessions, yoga, gymnastics, bands putting up live shows, cultural programs and many more. There are also abundant opportunities for acrobatics, photography, taekwondo, skating, bhangra, Zumba, tent pitching, hiking workshops, archery, badminton, etc. Recharge your batteries with a day of Raahgiri.
7. Attend Film Screenings from all over the world
Moving on with the list of best free things to do in Delhi, we have a number of film screenings from all over the world. Attend some of the finest movie productions from all over the world that too without having to spend from your pocket. From the classics to obscure productions, blockbusters to never released films in several languages all over the world.
Attend some interesting screenings at The American Centre, Italian Cultural Centre, Japan Foundation, India Habitat Centre, and Instituto Cervantes. Apart from film screenings, there are talks, and seminars most of which are free for all. Hurry and turn up on time as most of the shows have a rule of a first-come-first-serve basis.
8. Bird-watching at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary
For a tryst with nature and birds of all kind, Delhi offers the ideal experience at The Okhla Bird Sanctuary. One of the top things to do in Delhi for free includes a visit to the bird sanctuary, spread across 4 square km. It is one of the 466 important bird areas in India.
Nestled alongside the Yamuna River, here you can enjoy excellent birding opportunities. Make plans to be at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary during the early hours of the days as it is the best time to spot the feathery species in their natural habitat. Some easily spotted birds include spot-billed duck, yellow-footed green pigeon, purple swamp hen, red munia, spotted owlet and even a number of migratory birds.
9. Go Library Hopping
Book lovers are in for a treat in Delhi although you do not have much to splurge on your favorite books, authors, and more. Delhi has a number of free libraries where one can get their hands on some of the most interesting publications. Be it classics written by prominent names or books written by almost unknown writers, you will find gems in these library racks. From English books, Hindi publications to books from different regions of India, there is an extensive collection of books, reference, materials, etc.
So head to Delhi Public Library, Shastri Bhavan and the Archaeological Survey of India, which are some of the libraries that are all free of charge. A day spent amid books although a leisurely one make for an exciting memory of your holiday in Delhi.
10. Search for hidden treasures at the Free Museums
Similar to book lovers, history lovers and culture enthusiasts get exciting options of museums in Delhi. Free for all visitors, these museums showcase the vast heritage of India. There are exhibits from various eras of history, and displays from different parts of our society. Pay a visit to olden days at no cost.
Some free museums to check out in Delhi include – Indian Air force Museum, National Children’s Museum, Mirza Ghalib Museum, National Philatelic Museum, National Gandhi Museum, Raj Ghat and Supreme Court of India Museum.
Hope you have a great time on your holiday with our list of the best free things to do in Delhi.
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