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Delhi boasts a history that dates back almost 5,000 years; its glorious Mughal architecture, majestic forts, and magnificent ruins are a feast for any first timer. Then there is a dizzying array of food and shopping. It is a history lesson and lifestyle extravaganza rolled into one. Here is a mix of the best things to do in the vibrant capital of India:
1. Watch a concert at the Old Fort.
What better way to witness the opulence of the mighty Mughals, than to see it come alive with soulful music and bathed in light under the night sky? Besides spectacular sound and light shows every evening, the Old Fort (Purana Qila) often plays host to folk performances and music festivals from around the country; First City magazine lists a comprehensive calendar of events and performances on this ancient stage.
2. Get a taste of India at the State Bhawans.
Few people relate the posh Chanakyapuri area with regional food, but its State Bhawans remain the best joints to get your food fix from any part of India, while minimizing the chances of a Delhi belly. J&K (Jammu & Kashmir) House serves mouthwatering kebabs, Goa Niwas replicates the seaside ambiance of Goa and serves up delicious seafood, and Andhra Bhavan, the most popular of the lot, is loved for its Biryani Sundays.
3. Go cafe-hopping at an 'urban' village.
A chic cafe culture has arrived in the narrow alleyways of what were once shabby neighborhoods. Interspersed with ruins, debris and open wires are arty cafes, boutique stores, and old shops full of antique treasures. Hauz Khas village, the first of the urban villages, is a hub of modern Delhi's creative instincts, and Shahpur Jat follows a close second.
4. Shop at Dilli Haat.
Dilli Haat sells everything you loved, but resisted from buying on your India trip. It is something of a carnival, with a dedicated area for craftsmen from every state of India; you'll get Rajasthan's intricate mirror work, Chanderi from Madhya Pradesh, and metal work from Kerala, under one roof. Plus there's food from each region to keep the energy high!
5. Stroll through Old Delhi.
The small byways of Old Delhi maybe confusing and chaotic, but they ooze a medieval charm that is hard to resist. In this crumbling, historic city lie the busiest street markets of India - Chandni Chowk and Chawri Bazaar - and a colorful, captivating display of everything from spices and sweets to fabrics and jewelry to antique collectibles.