Delhi is rich in art and culture and riddled with iconic monuments and buildings that stand next to modern constructions. Whilst some of the sites will set you back a bit of money, there are also plenty of things to do and see that won’t cost you a single rupee and they’ll allow you to dive straight into the diversity and fun of this incredible city. From a leisurely stroll in the park and exploring the historic ruins to enjoying free delectable food and catching a free gig or attending a free movie screening, here’s our roundup of the free things to do in Delhi, India.
Taking a tour of the historic Hauz Khas Village is one of the most popular experiences in Delhi and it is totally free - unless you decide to have a meal or a drink at one of the many cafés and bars in the area. Situated to the south of the city center, the Hauz Khas Village is an urban enclave, filled with time-ravaged monuments. There are ruins from the 13th and 14th centuries, including a tomb, an Islamic seminary, a mosque and a fort - and all are free to enter. When you’re done with your historic tour, head to the Deer Park nearby, which is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
Hauz Khas Village Walking Tour
Duration: 2 hours
If you feel like taking a break from the city pleasures or going for a relaxing walk or a picnic at a lovely place, Delhi has plenty of parks and green spaces to do just that. One of the most famous spots is Lodhi Gardens, which is worth a visit, especially if you’re looking for a taste of the city without spending a single penny.
Frequented by joggers, nature lovers and history buffs, this 90-acre (36-hectare) green space is peppered with the ruins of historic tombs belonging to Sayyid and Lodhi-dynasty eras. Behold the historic monuments and walk along the park’s lush trails to absorb some much-needed vitamin D.
Lodhi Garden Heritage Walk
Duration: 2 hours
Here’s the good news: you can savor a delicious meal for free in Delhi. The Bangla Sahib Gurudwara is home to the biggest kitchen in the city and offers a free meal service (langar) to everyone, regardless of social status, race or religion. You can take a tour of the mega kitchen and even volunteer in the preparation and service of the food. However, there are certain rules to be observed while visiting the Bangla Sahib: women must dress modestly and wear a head covering, while men are not allowed to wear shorts and should cover their head. Other than that, nothing can stop you from visiting this beautiful place of worship.
Delhi Mega Kitchen Tour
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
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4. Visit the museums and art galleries with free entrance
For the true history buffs and culture vultures among you, make like a local and hit up Delhi’s many museums and galleries. The city has plenty of museums and art galleries with free admission. Stop by Gandhi Smriti or the National Gandhi Museum to find out more about the life of India’s Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Explore modern Indian art at the Art Heritage Gallery. The city is also home to Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, one of the weirdest, and the only museum in India that features the history of the toilet system in the country and also raises awareness about India’s sanitation problems.
Address: Near Birla House, 5, Tees January Marg, Tees January Road Area, Motilal Nehru Marg Area, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
Website: Gandhi Smriti
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)
Price: Free entry
National Gandhi Museum
Address: Opp Raj Ghat, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, New Delhi, Delhi 110002
Website: National Gandhi Museum
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)
Price: Free entry
Art Heritage Gallery
Address: 205, Triveni Kala Sangam, Tansen Marg, Todermal Road Area, Mandi House, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
Website: Art Heritage Gallery
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 7pm (closed on Sun)
Price: Free entry
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
Address: Sulabh Bhawan, RZ-83, Palam - Dabri Marg, Mahavir Enclave, New Delhi, Delhi 110045
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 8pm, Sun: 10am - 5pm
Price: Free entry
A visit to the Nizamuddin Dargah is bound to be rewarding for anyone who appreciates traditional music. Dedicated to one of the most famous Sufi mystics in the country, Nizamuddin Auliya, this shrine is the best place in the city to listen to live Sufi music and, best of all, for free. Every Thursday, qawwali music, or devotional songs, are performed here in the evening and people from all walks of life are welcome to enjoy the intense, emotion-packed music.
Delhi Nizamuddin Dargah Sufi Music and Songs Tour
Duration: 3 to 5 hours
6. Retrace the history of India
Over its hundreds of years of existence, Delhi has amassed enough historic monuments and structures to keep you busy for weeks. For a taste of the city’s diverse and fascinating history, visit one of the many historic monuments, such as India Gate, the Mehrauli Archeological Park, Jama Masjid, Hastsal Minar and the Qila Rai Pithora, to name but a few. You are free to gaze at these historical masterpieces for as long as you want without having to pay anything.
7. Get an immersive cultural experience
Delhi is often represented as a bustling metropolis, with honking traffic and towering structures. But the capital is so much more than this. It’s a place that holds on to its varied art and culture. The city hosts numerous free classical and contemporary concerts, art shows and seminars on cultural traditions, history and food every year. Visitors can visit the Alliance Française de Delhi, Japan Foundation or the American Center New Delhi that hold a range of free cultural events – just make sure to check their websites for the schedules.
8. Marvel and meditate at Lotus temple
Besides being the perfect photo op, the Lotus temple in the suburbs of South Delhi is a delightful place to spend mornings, evenings, or anytime in between. It is a Bahai house of worship, where you can spend time meditating or just soaking in the peaceful atmosphere. Short prayers are held thrice a day, but no religious sermons are performed here. We recommend visiting this place in the evening, when it is beautifully lit up by the floodlights - truly a sight to behold.
Address: Lotus Temple Rd, Bahapur, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Kalkaji, New Delhi, Delhi 110019
Website: Lotus Temple
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 6pm (closed on Mon)
Price: Free entry
9. Enjoy free movie screenings
This one is a well-kept secret. Cinema lovers can enjoy a free screening of the latest Indian and international flicks and documentaries for free. The American Centre, India Habitat Centre, the Instituto Cervantes and the Japan Foundation are a few places in the city where you can see free movie screenings (with English subtitles). Just remember, it is on a first-come-first-serve basis, so make sure to get there early and check the location’s website for specific films and times.
The American Centre
Address: Barakhamba, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
Website: The American Centre
India Habitat Centre
Address: Lodhi Road Near Airforce Bal Bharati School, New Delhi, Delhi 110003
Website: India Habitat Centre
Opening hours: 8am - 10pm (daily)
The Instituto Cervantes
Address: 48, Hanuman Rd, Hanuman Road Area, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
Website: Instituto Cervantes
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 4:30pm, Sat: 8:30am - 1:30pm (closed on Sun)
Address: 5A, Ring Rd, Near Moolchand Metro Station, Vikram Vihar, Lajpat Nagar IV, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110024
Website: Japan Foundation
Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 9:30am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon & Sun)
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official home and workplace of India’s president. Designed by the British architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, this sprawling 330-acre (134-hectare) estate is the world’s largest presidential residence. It’s stunning architecture, which is a fusion of Indian and Western styles and includes a Mughal garden, are just some of the remarkable features of this historic building.
Another highlight of this place is the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony. The president’s bodyguard leads a horseback parade every Saturday and Sunday morning in full regalia. The time of the ceremony varies depending on the season. From mid-March to mid-November, it begins at 8 am on Saturday. From mid-November to mid-March, it starts at 10 am. On Sundays, from mid-November to mid-March, it begins at 4:30 pm and from mid-March to mid-November, at 5:30 pm. The event is a real tradition in Delhi and it’s well worth a watch if you can get close enough to the forecourt of the presidential residence. It is free of charge – just make sure to bring along a photo identity card.
Rashtrpati Bhavan Changing of the Guard, Museum Entry Ticket
Duration: 3 to 4 hours
Explore Delhi without breaking the bank
Everyone loves a freebie, especially when you’ve already spent a considerable amount of money to go on a vacation. And luckily for the budget-conscious travelers visiting India’s capital city, there are plenty of free activities that will keep even the most discerning traveler entertained. Check out our above list for the things to do in Delhi for free.
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