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Delhi’s not the best walking city. You’ll stay relatively active exploring the grounds of the major sights—the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, Humayan’s and Safdarjang’s Tomb, Qutb Minar, India Gate, the Bahai’ Temple—but here are some more ways to burn off the bhature.
Near Safdarjang’s Tomb in South Delhi, Lodi Gardens (pictured above; map) is a pretty, leafy 90-acre escape from the city’s crowds and car horns. Wide, well-maintained walking paths wind past tall palm trees, flowering gardens, manmade lakes, and—since this is still Delhi, after all—imposing 15th- and 16th-century domed monuments (mostly mosques and tombs from the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties). There are also two kilometers of shaded jogging track and, if the signs are to be believed, a diverse array of birds, from golden-backed woodpeckers and spotted owlets to green parakeets (we can vouch for those being there).
The Salaam Baalak Trust, a nonprofit organization that supports street children in Delhi and Mumbai via shelters, health care, and education, offers a guided City Walk six days a week (Mon-Sat, 10am), in which former street kids share their personal stories, explain street life, and lead participants through Paharganj, an area notorious among street kids for its proximity to the New Delhi Railway Station. The tour visits one of the Trust’s contact points and shelter homes (pictured above), where participants can interact with the children, who are often eager to practice their limited English. Note that this is not a slum tour, but some eduction for visitors about a chronic problem in India, where as many as 18 million children are estimated to live on the streets. The tour itself could be better organized, but is still eye-opening and a worthwhile two-hour investment. Proceeds (minimum donation is 200 rupees) go directly back to the Trust.
You’ll definitely consume more calories than you’ll burn, but we recommend the three-hour Chandni Chowk food walk offered by Delhi Food Adventure (1,500 rupees). It’s a wonderfully efficient way to taste some of the delicious signature foods of Old Delhi—an area that can be difficult for newbies to navigate—in the company of a local Hindi-speaking guide who’s always ready with the hand sanitizer (and paper plates, extra napkins, etc). Groups are kept very small, with a minimum of two people.
Although Delhi is not particularly known as a yoga center, there are still a number of places where you might work on your practice. In South Delhi near Kailash Colony, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Nataraja Centre ( A-41 Kailash Colony, map) runs 60- and 90-minute yoga classes for all levels on a drop-in basis (250 rupees for single class; 1,500 for 10-class card; unlimited monthly/annual passes also available); every Sunday at 12:30pm there’s a free trial class. The center also offers three-week meditation courses and Ayurvedic oil massage. Alternatively, ask at your hotel—some have their own yoga classes for guests—or check this list.
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