Shivya Nath

Correspondent

  • Delhi, India, Asia

Shivya Nath is a correspondent who covers New Delhi for Forbes Travel Guide. She authors one of India’s top travel blogs, The Shooting Star, and her work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, The Huffington Post and The Times of India, among other publications. She co-founded India Untravelled, a social enterprise that offers offbeat travel experiences to discerning travelers. When not on the road, she can be found sipping chai at her favorite cafés in Delhi or wandering through the city’s oldest neighborhoods, where something new is always to be found.

  • On August 7, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What are some things to know before a trip to Delhi?

    Delhi can be overwhelming for any first time traveller. The city's chaos is what charms many visitors, as do the striking contrasts that are visible everywhere - one of the first things you'll notice outside of the airport is that rickshaws, cows, bullock carts, cyclists, motorcyclists and cars, all share the same road!

    Fret not, we have an insider's perspective on the things to know before you go:

    1. Form your own impressions.
    It is easy to get carried away by the experiences of others in Delhi and judge the city even before you get there. Like any other city, give Delhi a fair chance to impress you, humor its oddities, and soak in its rich history and diversity of culture and food.

    2. Use public transport.
    The Delhi metro offers a great way to explore the city alongside the locals, and conveniently connects the best attractions, best activities and best shopping alternatives in Delhi. A separate compartment at the front of each train is reserved for women, and must be used by female travellers to avoid the jostling in the other compartments. Meru Cabs is the most reliable intra-city taxi company, and can be booked at 011-4422-4422.

    3. Stay safe.
    Like in any other city, it is best to avoid dark, isolated alleyways in Delhi after dark, and refrain from wearing provocative clothes in crowded places, like the street markets of old Delhi. When in doubt, trust your gut and ask for help; the majority of people in Delhi will be happy to help you find your way or escape a tricky situation. The Delhi police is reachable at 100.

    4. Learn some words in the local language.
    Hindi is most commonly spoken and understood in Delhi. Learn a few handy words like haan (yes), nahi (no), chalo (let's go) and kitna hua (how much is that). In most parts of Delhi, you can get around pretty well with English.

    5. Avoid the Delhi belly.
    Delhi is notorious for upset tummies, especially for first time visitors, and water is often the main culprit. Stick to mineral water, and avoid ice or water-based food at roadside shops. Street food, though tempting to try, is best avoided; try more hygienic, indoor street food alternatives like Haldirams and Bikanerwala. Refer to our list of the best restaurants and best bars in Delhi to find the best dining and drinking experiences in the city!
  • On July 26, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What is the best place to catch the sunset in Delhi?

    Photo: Ashish Gautam (Flickr Creative Commons) There is something magical about watching the sun paint the capital of India a deep red color. Whether among the ruins of Delhi’s history, or by the lake in one of its urban villages, sunset hour in the city is a delight for any sky watcher or photographer.

    Here are the best places to catch the sunset in Delhi:

    Humayun’s Tomb

    The fading rays of the sun illuminate the tomb’s red sandstone, a fine reminder of India’s Mughal opulence. The desolate ruins and the smaller tombs in the vicinity draw you into a time warp, and by the time dusk transitions into the dark, you are hopelessly in love with this city of djinns.

    Hauz Khas village

    Staring at the boutique shops and trendy cafes of Hauz Khas, Delhi’s urban village and one of its best neighborhoods, sits a calm lake surrounded by greenery and ancient ruins. At sunset, the sky turns a pretty pink, casting a glow on the waters. It is best watched from the rooftop of Boheme, among Delhi’s best alfresco bars, or on the edge of the lake itself.

    The highway to Delhi Airport

    Perch yourself on the lawns or sidewalks of the highway that leads to Delhi’s domestic/international airports, look west, and watch planes take off into a bright red sunset. Best done on a spring or autumn evening, with the wind in your hair and wanderlust on your mind.

    The Lotus Temple

    What’s better than a place of worship shaped like a lotus? Seeing it at sunset. Delhi’s Baha’i House of Worship is famed for its architecture in the shape of a lotus, and its petals reach out for an orange sky at sunset - truly, a sight to behold.
  • On July 19, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What are the best rainy day activities in Delhi?

    Photo: Kyle Taylor (Creative Commons) The monsoon rains are a joyous time in Delhi, for they bring some much-needed relief from the scorching summer heat. Whether you hole up at a local joint for hot chai and snacks, or go for a long drive to realize just how green the city is, partake of the joy that the rains bring to the people of Delhi. After all, life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain!

    Here are the best things to do on a rainy day in Delhi:

    1) Watch the rain with a hot cup of chai

    Ask any local what’s the one thing they want to do when it rains, and chai will be the synonymous answer! After acquiring something of a national beverage status, tea in its many forms can add charm to any rainy afternoon. Cozy up at one of Delhi’s best cafes, and hear the rain pour outside the window as you sip hot tea, and munch on savory Indian snacks.

    2) Ride the Delhi metro

    It’s not the first thing that people think of on a rainy day in Delhi, but pick one of the above-the-ground routes, like the violet line towards Badarpur, seat yourself by the window, and observe daily life in the city as the rain lashes down outside. Best done in the afternoon, when the crowds are in check.

    3) Catch a Bollywood movie

    What better time to acquaint yourself with Bollywood’s finest, than when the rains are in full force? Head to DT Cinemas or PVR in one of Delhi’s many malls, buy a bag of popcorn, and munch away to the latest Bollywood flick.

    4) Photograph the city

    If there’s one season when Delhi dresses up for pictures, it’s during the monsoon. The rain paints the gardens, parks and tree-lined streets of Delhi a lush green, and towards the end of the season, trees bloom in yellow, red, orange and purple colors. Central Delhi, and in particular Rajpath, are a feast for any photographer.

    5) Go for a walk

    They say you haven’t soaked in the rains till you really get soaked. Leave your umbrella at home, head to one of Delhi’s picturesque parks, and get drenched! Lodi Gardens, for instance, is the most romantic when engulfed in the rain and the mist.
  • On July 15, 2013
    Ruch Agr is now following Shivya Nath
  • On July 14, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What is the best place to catch the sunset in Delhi?

    Photo: Ashish Gautam (Flickr Creative Commons) There is something magical about watching the sun paint the capital of India a deep red color. Whether among the ruins of Delhi’s history, or by the lake in one of its urban villages, sunset hour in the city is a delight for any sky watcher or photographer.

    Here are the best places to catch the sunset in Delhi:

    Humayun’s Tomb

    The fading rays of the sun illuminate the tomb’s red sandstone, a fine reminder of India’s Mughal opulence. The desolate ruins and the smaller tombs in the vicinity draw you into a time warp, and by the time dusk transitions into the dark, you are hopelessly in love with this city of djinns.

    Hauz Khas village

    Staring at the boutique shops and trendy cafes of Hauz Khas, Delhi’s urban village and one of its best neighborhoods, sits a calm lake surrounded by greenery and ancient ruins. At sunset, the sky turns a pretty pink, casting a glow on the waters. It is best watched from the rooftop of Boheme, among Delhi’s best alfresco bars, or on the edge of the lake itself.

    The highway to Delhi Airport

    Perch yourself on the lawns or sidewalks of the highway that leads to Delhi’s domestic/international airports, look west, and watch planes take off into a bright red sunset. Best done on a spring or autumn evening, with the wind in your hair and wanderlust on your mind.

    The Lotus Temple

    What’s better than a place of worship shaped like a lotus? Seeing it at sunset. Delhi’s Baha’i House of Worship is famed for its architecture in the shape of a lotus, and its petals reach out for an orange sky at sunset - truly, a sight to behold.
  • On July 14, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What is the one must-do summer activity in Delhi?

    Rasgullas! Photo: Charles Haynes (Creative Commons) There is no better time and no better excuse than the Delhi summer, to indulge your sweet tooth!

    Treat yourself to a guilt-free pot of chilled kheer (a traditional milk and rice based dessert) in the swarming by-lanes of Old Delhi. Or head to Pandara Market in Central Delhi for a refreshing Kulfi stick (a frozen milk-based dessert) served in several flavors at Krishna di Kulfi, one of the city’s oldest haunts. If time’s a constraint, stop by at Haldirams or Nathu Sweets, Delhi’s popular sweet shops with outlets all across the city, for a box of Rasgullas (a ball-shaped yoghurt-based dessert), a favorite among all Indians!

    And if ice cream is what keeps you going in summer, don’t leave Delhi without a scoop of Giani’s Belgian Chocolate ice cream – it’s pure summer goodness!
  • On July 14, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What is the best place to catch the sunrise in Delhi?

    With the chaos of the city still asleep, Delhi is beautiful at sunrise. This is the time of the day that makes you realize how green the city is, how beautiful its ruins and architecture, and how calming to spot more birds than cars! Here are some locations worth giving up your sleep for to catch the sunrise:

    Jama Masjid

    Climb the narrow staircase up one of the minarets of this mosque in Old Delhi, look east, and watch the sun illuminate the colorful houses and small by-lanes of Delhi’s walled city, sans the crowds. A photographer’s delight, that offers some of the best views in Delhi.

    Qutub Minar

    Watch Delhi’s greenery bathed in the first rays of the sun, from Qutub Minar, the tallest pillar in India, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Delhi's best attractions. It’s almost like being stuck in a time warp, as the surrounding ruins rise from the dark.

    Rajpath

    Though the elevation of Raisina Hill is not quite so high as to catch a glimpse of the sun rising up, watching the sun’s first rays fall on this ceremonial boulevard is a sight to remember. Walk the stretch to India gate to watch an illuminated sky. Even better if you capture the Indian flag swaying in the wind; truly a “when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom” moment.

    On a drive

    Drive east on the DND flyover, along the Yamuna, or one of the highways facing east Delhi, and catch glimpses of the sun waking up the city, over its sleepy neighborhoods or amidst the city’s wilderness.
  • On July 12, 2013
    Shivya Nath is now following Delhi
  • On July 8, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What are the best outdoor bars in Delhi?

    After spending most of summer indoors, escaping from the scorching heat and hot wind, Delhiites love to hit the city’s alfresco restaurants and bars on a pleasant spring or winter evening. After all, what can be a better than a drink under the night sky, away from chaos of the city? Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent checks out the city’s best alfresco bars:

    Boheme, Hauz Khas village

    With a rare location overlooking the lake at Hauz Khas village, one of Delhi’s best neighborhoods, Boheme offers the ideal setting to gather for a drink at sunset; imagine watching the lake painted with the hues of sunset over a cocktail with the same shades! On offer is Mediterranean cuisine, a bar seating complete with charging points for the internet buffs, hip music, and an extensive bar menu.

    Olive Beach, Chanakyapuri

    A beach in Delhi? That’s what Olive Beach at Diplomat Hotel aspires to create. In a soothing blue and white beach theme, complete with a pebbled walkway, this is the quintessential summer escape for an evening when the waves of the sea beckon. You may as well take off your slippers, feel the breeze in your hair, and sip a martini.

    Sky Bar, Vasant Kunj

    Delhi’s quintessential Sky Bar, this one comes with two twists – it’s located in a mall (Ambiance mall) and it serves Japanese fare! Where you’re drawn by the sake or the rooftop setting, this is the place to get high, literally. The food is delicious, the cocktails are quirky, and the music fits the lounge atmosphere.

    Magique, Saket

    Amid the tranquility of the Garden of Five Senses, one of Delhi’s most romantic hideouts, sits the romantic Magique, far from the crowds of the city. In the ambiance and aroma of a blooming garden, conversation and cocktails can take over alongside the lounge music; from the Icy Irish to the Wasabi Martini, there’s plenty to experiment with.

    Turquoise Cottage, Vasant Vihar

    A bit hit among Delhi’s office goers and younger crowds, Turquoise Cottage is synonymous with rock music and affordable prices. Gather at its cozy terrace for a Planter’s Punch, or sample one of its famous rock-inspired cocktails (like The Scorpion), as you prep to shake a leg to the tunes played by its resident DJs.
  • On July 5, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What are the best outdoor restaurants in Delhi?

    During the best months to visit Delhi, nothing is more relaxing than a satisfying meal in the city's outdoors. Make the most of a pleasant spring or autumn evening at these alfresco restaurants: 

    1. O Palacio Palacio

    A serene retreat away from the bustling streets of Delhi, O Palacio Palacio is a little bit of Portugal in Delhi. Set in quaint European courtyards surrounding an old Banyan tree, its open-air fine dining restaurant serves international grills infused with Indian herbs; the mint-infused aubergine and the cottage cheese grill are must tries!

    2. Lodi – The Garden Restaurant

    Tucked away in a quiet corner of the Lodi Gardens, one of Delhi’s best attractions, Lodi – The Garden Restaurant is set amid cobbled walkways, dimly lit lamps, and well, beautifully landscaped gardens. The extensive bar collection, and the continental and Mediterranean fare on offer can be savored on the cozy rooftop or in the romantic garden setting.

    3. Gunpowder

    In the modest setting of a balcony overlooking the serene waters of the lake at Hauz Khas village, Gunpowder is a favorite among Delhi’s locals. Traditional Kerala and Andhra cuisine is on offer here in an unpretentious ambiance, delicious on the tongue and light on the pocket.

    4. Triveni Tea Terrace

    Entrenched in Delhi’s art scene, Triveni Tea Terrace is an open-air garden café adjoining the Art Heritage Gallery in Central Delhi. The ambiance is serene, the dishes on offer are ones you would typically find on a regular day in an Indian household, and for a city where dining costs are through the roof, the food is inexpensive. Lay back with a cup of masala chai, and you’ll forget for a few hours that you’re still in the bustling capital of India.
  • On July 5, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What’s the weather like in summer in Delhi?

    In the peak of summer, from mid May to end June, summer in Delhi is scorching hot and dry. Day time temperatures rise to 45 degrees Celsius, while night time temperature remain high at 30-35 degrees Celsius. It is almost impossible to walk on the streets at any time of the day or night without perspiring, as a continuous hot wind (loo) envelopes Delhi from the dessert on the west (Read: Best Summer Activities in Delhi).  

    Occasional showers cool off the weather towards early July, dropping temperatures by atleast 10 degrees Celcius. Early mornings, late evenings and nights become pleasant, at 25-27 degrees Celsius, and by mid to late July, the monsoon rains arrive to cool the city again (Read: Unusual End of Summer Getaways From Delhi).
  • On July 5, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What is the weather like right now in Delhi?

    Currently, the weather in Delhi is hot and dry, with the occasional shower providing temporary relief from the heat. Now in early July, the day time temperatures are roughly 37 degrees Celsius, while at night, the temperature falls to 27 degrees Celsius. Although the weather is atleast 10 degrees cooler than the peak of summer in June, it is still too hot to walk out during the day. Late evenings and nights are pleasant for outdoor activities. 

    Delhi, being a land-locked city, experiences an extreme of weathers; summer is scorching hot with temperatures rising as high as 45 degrees Celsius, while in winter, the temperatures falls as low as 2 degrees Celsius. Mid Feb to early April and mid August to late October are among the best times to visit Delhi.
  • On July 5, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What are the best summer activities in Delhi?

    Thangaraj Kumaravel (Flickr Creative Commons) Summer in Delhi is for indulging in all the “cool” things; pampering your taste buds to summer desserts, whiling away time at one of Delhi’s chic cafes, and discovering the city by the night. With temperatures soaring as high as 45 degrees Celsius during the day, these are the best summer activities to cool off:

    1) People watching at a cozy café

    Delhi’s may not be a Parisian summer with alfresco street cafes to enjoy the outdoors, but the arrival of a chic café culture in the city has certainly made café hopping one of Delhi’s best summer activities. While away time over a summer chiller or a cold dessert, watching the world go by from a cozy air-conditioned spot. ‘Tis the season of iced tea after all, not masala chai!

    2) Hit the parks

    On a warm summer evening, the only places you can find non-air conditioned respite is in one of Delhi’s many parks. Lodhi Garden is a hot favorite, and with its many ruins, birds and long trails, one of Delhi’s best attractions.

    3) Indulge in summer desserts

    What better excuse to indulge in traditional Indian desserts than the scorching summer heat? Head over to Krishna di Kulfi at Pandara Market for a refreshing matka kulfi (a frozen milk-based dessert traditionally served in an earthen pot), to Bade Mian’s in Old Delhi for a pot of kheer (milk and rice based dessert, served chilled in summer), or for a good old ice cream bar at the Indian gate – a favorite after hours gathering place for Delhiites.

    4) Escape!

    One of the favorite times to travel out of the city is in the summer, with the Himalayas located just close enough for a weekend trip. Head up into the popular hill stations of Shimla, Manali or Nainital, or better still, into the quiet countryside towns of Peora, Raison and Darang, for cooler days and rejuvenation in the mountains.
  • On July 5, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What is summer like in Delhi?

    As a landlocked state, summer in Delhi can be extremely harsh. Temperatures rise as high as 45 degrees celsius during the day, with the sun beating down all day and a hot, dry wind (loo) continuously blowing. Even nights remain warm between May and June, with temperatures ranging from 30-35 degrees celsius.

    In July, with the occasional showers before the monsoons, the weather starts to cool down, until the rains finally hit towards mid July. 
  • On July 5, 2013
    Shivya Nath answered the question: Shivya Nath

    What are the best day trips near Delhi?

    In close vicinity of the states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Delhi is an excellent base for weekend trips into north India. However, if time is a consideration, these day trips out of the city will satiate your travel bug with a mix of history, culture, nature and food:

    1) Agra, Uttar Pradesh

    Home to the Taj Mahal, the monument of love, Agra is less than a 3 hour drive on the Agra expressway; taxis and buses are readily available. Besides the Taj Mahal, visit Agra’s other two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, and after indulge in some traditional street shopping in the busy by-lanes of the city.

    2) Punjab

    For a taste of what some call the best food in India, take a day trip to Punjab, a 3 hour drive or train-ride away; a spectacular drive through farms of yellow mustard in winter. While Chandigarh (the capital) and Amritsar (home to the Golden Temple), are only feasible with an overnight stay, get a taste of the famed Punjabi country hospitality and traditional Punjabi food at the many roadside eateries.

    3) Bharatpur, Rajasthan

    Located an hour further from Agra, Bharatpur is best known for its bird sanctuary, a haven for bird watching, especially during the migrations in winter.

    4) Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

    Though a good 4 hours away by train, Rishikesh is a worthwhile day trip from Delhi for the spiritually inclined. This holy city on the banks of the Ganga, is bustling with ashrams, holy men, and meditiation centres. Besides a dip in the holy river, Rishikesh is popular among locals for adventure sports like white water rafting. Daily flights now ply between Delhi and Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, in close vicinity of Rishikesh.