Arriving in New Delhi… by train, by bus, by plane

If you arrive in Delhi by train:

New Delhi has several train stations, but if you travel in long distance trains you’ll probably arrive at: New Delhi (close to Pahar Ganj), Old Delhi (also know just by Delhi or Delhi Junction) or Hazrat Nizamuddin.

Nizamuddin is the one located south of the city center, about 8 km. From Nizamuddin you can take another train (don’t even need train ticket) to New Delhi Railway Station (there isn’t trains connection to Old Delhi), probably in one of the crowded unreserved trains or in, an also crowded, suburban train. Is not easy to know which train to catch, but you can also go to the ticket counter, ask and buy a ticket that cost 10 rupees. If you are a woman you can try to find the “ladies wagon”, there are usually not so crowded but are noisier due to the number of kids and babies.

From Old Delhi to New Delhi the distance is not that much, around 3 km but far enough to be made on foot, as the street are noisy, polluted and crowded. So basically there are three options:

  • by taxi… but I never ever trust in a Delhi taxi driver… there are many scams, and even I had already an unpleasant experience.
  • by tuktuk…. far the best option but is always a hassle to get a fair price for the ride.

The trip will take about 15 minutes because of the intense traffic; it should cost around 100 rupees, but never get this price… so just try or best bargain skills or share the tuk-tuk with another backpacker that you maybe find on the way.

  • by Metro… the cheapest option, easy but could be too crowded at peak hours, especially if you travel with a big backpack or lots of luggage.

The closest Metro station from Old Delhi is Chandni Chowk

The closest Metro station from New Delhi Train Station and Pahar Ganj is New Delhi.

Both are located on the same Metro line (Yellow line) with one stop in between.

The trip takes about 20 minutes including the time need to buy ticket, line for security check, and waiting for the metro.

Old Delhi area after the sun set
Old Delhi area after the sun set

If you arrive in Delhi by bus…

If you arrive in Delhi by bus, you can stop in many-many different places. Coming from north (like Dharamshala) or from the west (like Rajasthan) you’ll probably arrive at an area called Kashmiri Gate… is a bus terminal, but most of the buses drop you somewhere in a street nearby, under some viaducts. If you arrive during the night it could be confusing try to find where to go, and with dozens of tuk-tuk, taxi and rickshaw drivers surrounding you… but don’t get stressed and don’t jump in the first tuk-tuk… just walk a while away from the bus area, try to follow the crowd… most of the people go to the same place: METRO.

The best option, as soon as you get rid of the push tuk-tuk drivers is to ask someone “metro” or “Kashmiri Gate Metro”. Try to find a street stall, a chai seller, a police, a security guard, even a bus driver… but ask someone that look that are effectively working and not just hanging around.

Metro” is the magic word and after a walk that will take more than 10 minutes, trough a way that is not linear (you maybe need to ask the way a few times… always double check with other people… sometimes even when people don’t now the way, point any direction just not to loose “their face”). You must pass under a huge concrete viaduct, cross a big avenue, walk along a sidewalk between a wall and a fence, and then you’ll see the massive subway station, that here run above the ground: Kashmiri Gate.

From Kashmiri Gate to Pahar Ganj just take the yellow line to New Delhi.

But some buses can let you nearby Old Delhi Train Station, in an area called Fatepuri (Fatehpur). Is close to the station bus if you are not familiar with the place is not easy to reach the station. Fatepuri, is also called Old Punjab Bus Stand.

Nearby the Old Delhi Train Station, on the south side, there’s a Metro station: Chandni Chowk… just ask for “metro” to street stall vendors. Then just take the yellow line to New Delhi and Pahar Ganj, or whatever is your destination.

New Delhi Metro platform... were there are ladies compartment
New Delhi Metro platform… were there are ladies compartment

Arriving in New Delhi by plain:

If you travel by plane, the most convenient way to reach the center of Delhi is by metro. There a direct line (Airport Express Line) that link the airport to the New Delhi Train Station that is the closest Metro station from Pahar Ganj. The closest Metro station from Old Delhi is Chandni Chowk

As you collect your luggage you’ll just need to follow the “Metro” signs.

Need to buy the ticket and then pass the security control.

  • ticket: 100 rupees (one way)
  • Metro schedule: 05:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
  • There’s a train every 15 minutes, and the trip will take you about 20 minutes.

If you are traveling with more than 2 people so maybe is cheaper to use the taxis. But watch out: there is a big scam with the taxis pre-payed at the airport!!!!!! Yes! Even with the pre-paid taxis!!! Be special careful if you are travel alone, especially if you are a woman. Even if you are not alone, try to choose a flight that arrives late, or too late for you to catch the Metro, and consider, at least, one hour more for the immigration formalities, collection luggage, etc…

Airport Pre-paid taxis scam

So this is the scam: you pay the taxi, find your car and your driver, and the trip start smooth, usually with a friendly chat. As you leave the airport area and approach the urban are of New Delhi, the taxi driver will start to tell you that don’t know very well the place where you ask to go… even if it is the most well know place like “New Delhi Railway Station” or “Pahar Gang” were most of the travelers stay. Even if you insist that is in the center and is a well know place, he will try to ask a friend, by phone or sometimes even stop in a place to ask directions.

From now on you are in trouble: the “friend” will tell you that the place is closed, that there is a demonstration on the streets, or a religious festival, a strike or something else, and that is impossible to drop you in that place, that the police close the roads, and so on… they will tell you that is not safe, and even if you insist that you are updated with the news, they will make everything to block your movements.

Quickly you’ll be surrounded by guys, apparently, all trying to help you, but all part of the scam. All this is a way to make you fell vulnerable and without the time and “mental space” to think clear.

After that “someone” will help you to find an alternative place to sleep… “someone” that look friendly and speak a better English… of course that the “available” places to stay will cost you more that 100$… If you said that you don’t have so much money, they will contact other cheap places but all will be fully booked… even if you try some of the guidebooks accommodations, they will call then, speak in Hindi, and then will give the information that are also fully booked.

So this is the scam!… maybe you can bargain and get an 80$ room, but will be difficult to get rid of these people, especially if is already dark, or if you are alone. Try to be cool. Don’t trust anyone and don’t accept advice from anyone that approach you, as they can be part of the scam too. If you find a shop (not a travel agency), a bank, a commercial area, just pick your luggage, and get rid of the “gang”. Look for someone that can help you to catch another taxi, trust more in the women that in the men.

I had this problem in 2008. I was with my partner and we strongly argue and insist that we had a room booked by a friend of us, and that we had already called him on the phone and he was there, in the hotel, waiting for us. The taxi driver lets us close from Pahar Gang, but a few block away. It was in the morning so it was not a big deal.

And this situation is still going on as I heard a woman traveling solo (2016), that was not so lucky, and was pushed to an expensive place… at least for one night.

Stall at Pahar Gange were you can rent a taxi... otherwise you can rent one at your guesthouse or hotel, as any place has their own connection with the taxi drivers, and the price is all the same... it will be difficult to have a better deal
Stall at Pahar Gange were you can rent a taxi… otherwise you can rent one at your guesthouse or hotel, as any place has their own connection with the taxi drivers, and the price is all the same… it will be difficult to have a better deal

 

How to go from Pahar Ganj to the airport:

To go to the airport, the taxi is a safe way to travel and don’t need to worry about the price as the thing is more or less organize, and it will be hard to find a ride cheaper than 350 rupees. Note that the tuk-tuks don’t go so far as the airport. Is better reserve the taxi directly at the reception of your hotel or guesthouse, because if there’s a delay (never happen to me) the guys have the contact of the taxi driver and can manage the situation without stress… they even tell the best for you to be ready to leave according to the traffic!

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