Learn, Play and Bond with your Kids in New Delhi!
theIndusparent have partnered with Holiday Inn® to inspire your next family adventure. Go off the beaten track with your kids in New Delhi!
Family holidays are fun and exciting to plan for, but increasingly, are turning into brilliant edutainment getaway opportunities as well. Parents know this, and are always on the look-out for new destinations that offer a holistic travel experience for the family.
New Delhi – the bustling capital of India – is one such destination.
In the midst of Delhi’s crowds and chaos hide rich cultural experiences, exotic flavours and many opportunities for an adventure of a lifetime for you and your children.
Steeped in history, New Delhi is an amalgamation of cultures from different ruling dynasties that made their capital in this ancient city. Apart from the popular destinations in New Delhi, there are many hidden gems that are equally beautiful and definitely worth a visit.
Travel back in time with your kids at the awe-inspiring Mehrauli Archaeological Park. The site is a literal treasure trove of historical, architectural and archaeological information that will leave your little ones wide-eyed with wonder.
Spread over an expanse of two hundred acres in Mehrauli, and located near the famous Qutub Minar, here, you’ll discover over one hundred monuments of great historical significance. The architectural relics that can be studied belong to the different dynasties ruling here such as Tomar Rajputs, Khaljis, Tughlaqs, Lodis, Mughals and finally the British.
A visit to this park will help bring your child’s classroom history lessons to life, by giving them a visual understanding of the meaning of culture and archaeology. They’ll also get a deep insight into some of the major Muslim regimes that ruled in India.
The differences and similarities, as well as evolution in the architecture of these monuments built under the reign of various dynasties, can be an interesting learning experience for your child.
Be it the step-wells like Gandhak ki Baoli and Rajon ki Baoli or the tombs of Balban, Jamali Kamali and Khan Shahid or even the guest house of British Agent, Sir Thomas Metcalfe, your child will get real-life lessons in history, archaeology, engineering and architecture!
- Expect to do a lot of walking here! Comfortable shoes, cotton clothing, an umbrella and wide-brimmed hats are a must for everyone.
- Plan to visit in the morning or evening, when it is cooler.
- Try to avoid visiting here during the months of May, June and July, as it gets really hot.
- Take plenty of bottled water.
- Probably not the best place to explore with very young kids unless you are prepared to carry them in a sling or carrier.
Potter families settled in this location many years ago, where they still practice their traditional business today. From getting an insight to the art of pottery, to learning what the lives of these skilled crafts-people are like, there’s a lot that your child will learn here.
The many available guided tours around the ‘Potter’s Village’ will give your little ones a glimpse into the workings of this age-old trade. Kids can even try their hands at making a pot, carving or painting on pre-made pottery, adding a sensorial dimension to their overall learning experience.
Experts guiding these tours also narrate interesting stories about the lives of the village’s talented residents.
With the prolific use of technology among our young, gadget-savvy generation, it is heartening to see how these crafts-people still preserve their traditional methods of pottery-making. By watching these potters work at their wheels, children will learn a lot about how beautiful earthenware is created with the help of just a wheel and two skilful hands.
While you’re here, don’t forget to teach your kids about the value of true workmanship and why it’s important to save age-old traditions in order to preserve our identity, both as a culture and for the human race in general.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, and dress modestly, bearing in mind the sentiments of the locals.
- Take a change of clothes for little potters as they get down and dirty with mud and clay!
- As always, take a bottle of drinking water.
This beautiful step-well better known as Ugrasen’s step-well is made of over 108 steps (mummy workout alert!). It is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction these days, as parts of a popular Hindi movie were shot in this location, highlighting its grandeur.
Step-wells are a common element of ancient Indian art and architecture, and Delhi boasts over ten of these. Some can also be found in and around Mehrauli. These beautiful structures also served as a resting place for travellers in ancient times. The multi-levelled monument has steps leading down to the source of water with ample space around.
Ugrasen ki Baoli displays an architectural style called ‘rubble masonry’ wherein uneven stone units are put together. Let your child explore all three levels of the stair-well and gain a deeper appreciation for Indian art and architecture. Younger kids can practice their number skills by counting the steps as they climb up and down!
- There’s a lot of walking and climbing involved, so be prepared with sturdy walking shoes and appropriate attire.
- Bring plenty of drinking water and snacks.
- If you are travelling here with younger children in diapers, bring a portable change mat and wet wipes.
Spread over an area of 783 acres, Sanjay Van brings you close to nature as the concrete jungle transforms into a beautiful, green forest.
Sanjay Van is full of endemic species of flora and fauna.
Introduce your child to rare species of birds like the golden oriole, Asian paradise flycatcher and Eurasian sparrowhawk. Experts say that apart from these rare birds, herons and peacocks are a common sight.
This lush jungle is also the natural habitat for animals such as the Nilgai or blue bulls, golden jackals, and a large variety of butterflies and snakes. Tell your kids to watch out for migratory birds such as the pied crested cuckoo that flies all the way from South Africa to breed at Sanjay Van.
A trip here provides a bonding opportunity for you as a family, and a unique educational experience about nature and biodiversity for your kids.
- Bring binoculars and a notebook for your child to spot birds and animals, and jot down nature notes.
- It’s best for the whole family to dress in light, long-sleeved cotton tops and trousers, and spray the whole family with a tropical-strength insect repellant.
- Pack a pharmacist-approved anti-histamine in your bag, in case someone gets bitten by an insect and has a reaction to the bite.
The beautiful Lodi Gardens were earlier known as Lady Willingdon Park. Tombs, mosques and bridges built during the Sayyid and Lodi era can be found here. Many guided (and customized) tours and heritage walks are available to explore the history, art and architecture of these buildings that will enrich your child’s knowledge in all these areas.
While you amble along the heritage walk, tickle the whole family’s taste-buds with local delicacies such as chaat (a savoury snack made of boiled vegetables or fruit, with spices) and pani puri (a round, hollow puri fried golden-brown, filled with flavoured water, potato, onion and spices) at the many food stalls that can be spotted in this area.
Don’t forget to chat with the local people while you are out and about here, as this is one of the best ways to get ‘insider information’ about a particular culture. You might also get to hear local anecdotes, details and stories about the history of Delhi, its monuments and the local culture that will help your child connect with the people.
In case you prefer a quick trip that focuses only on popular tourist spots in and around New Delhi, here are the major ones that cannot be skipped.
These places collectively display how people of different faiths, religions and cultures have co-existed in India for centuries, providing your kids with a great lesson in racial harmony and tolerance.
The India Gate is in the centre of New Delhi and commemorates the seventy thousand Indian soldiers who died while fighting for the British during the First World War.
This building that glows in the setting sun was built in 1639 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan (of Taj Mahal fame), and is named for its huge walls of red sandstone.
The largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid has the capacity to hold 25,000 devotees at once. It is the last architectural work commissioned by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan.
Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur built this observatory in 1724. The others were built at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura.
- Lotus Temple dedicated to the B’ahai Faith
- The Gurudwara Bangla Sahib dedicated to the Sikh faith
- The best time to visit Delhi is between October and March, when the climate is cooler.
- Carry basic warm clothes as Delhi gets quite cold in this season.
- You can find all essentials in New Delhi as it is a modern city. However, if you or your children are on any specific medicines, it is advisable to carry them.
- Always carry drinking water with you, even though most restaurants provide filtered water.
- Accessibility to good toilets may be limited. So, don’t pass an opportunity to use a clean one whenever available.
- Don’t crowd your itinerary. Stick to one attraction a day so your kids don’t get too tired or overwhelmed by all the sights and sounds.
- Local transport may not be feasible with the kids. Ask your hotel about organizing taxi rides to your destination of the day.
- Carry some snacks for the kids at all times.
- Encourage your children to make a travel journal.
- The Hop on hop off bus is also a way to explore the city.
So there you have it mums and dads – whether you want to discover hidden Delhi gems, or get all touristy and explore well-known attractions, we’ve covered it all.
The perfect family vacation to a city rich in history, culture and adventure beckons – what are you waiting for?
This article was brought to you by Holiday Inn®. Explore more destinations and unique experiences for your kids at wwww.LittleBigTravellers.com. At Holiday Inn®, kids 12 and under stay and eat for free! Discover the Joy of Travel with us today.