New Delhi Travel Advice
Security travel advice for New Delhi
How safe is New Delhi?
Threat level: Medium
New Delhi is the Capital of India with a population of over 25 million, according to the latest figures. Delhi does suffer from a very high crime rate and is very much the crime capital of India.
Crimes against tourists do happen, although this is mainly restricted to petty crime; with poverty playing a role in relation to pick pocketing and theft. Violent crimes against tourists are, it is said, quite rare.
Kidnapping, abduction and crimes against women in New Delhi are of real concern, statistics show the city leading the world rankings in both cases. The number of cases of rape in New Delhi and across the whole of India are very concerning; the “official” figures are said to hide the true extent of the rape issue, with Marital rape also not being considered a criminal offence in India.
New Delhi has throughout its history suffered from acts of terrorism, notably the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948.
Most, if not all of the terrorism in New Delhi since that assassination, can be blamed on Retaliation against perceived persecution of Muslims in India.
The worse terrorist attack in recent history was the Delhi market bombings in September 2008, when five bombs exploded. That attack saw 33 killed and 130 injured, but could have been much worse, if four other explosive devices had not been discovered and defused before they had a chance to detonate.
On the 7th of September 2011, bombing outside the Delhi High Court, this bomb blast killed 15 and injured 79 people, this attack followed an unsuccessful bombing in May of 2011, where there were no casualties. The Islamic fundamentalist Pakistani-based jihadist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) claimed responsibility for the September attack. This group traces its route back to the late 1990’s and has been silent since this 2011 attack, and it is widely thought that this group has been absorbed into a faction of ISIS.
The last terrorist attack in New Delhi was an attack on the 13th of February 2012, where the wife of the Israeli defence attaché to India was targeted by a motorcyclist, where he attached a “sticky bomb” to her car. She along with two others were injured in the attack. There were no fatalities in this attack.
The best security advice for tourists in New Delhi is to travel where possible in groups and to ensure that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. Take care of personal belongings and don't travel alone in the city, especially at night.
Travelling around New Delhi
Travelling around New Delhi is very easy and relatively cheap, with transportation options varying from the traditional cycle-rickshaw, taxi, bus through to the very modern Metro that opened in 2002.
The New Delhi Metro has made a big difference to getting around the city, the metro is very cheap and easy to use, only has three choices of ticket for purchase and has a total of 229 stations with further expansion underway.
Despite the cities new Metro system, the transportation system in New Delhi simply cannot cope with the pace of the city’s growth, that is seeing private vehicle numbers increasing every year by 7-10% in Delhi. So, if you plan to travel anywhere in New Delhi by road, then you need to be patient, New Delhi has some of the worst traffic for any city in the world.
However, there are plans afoot to tackle the congestion in New Delhi by targeting the bottlenecks within the city, and great improvements are expected by 2020.
Hiring a vehicle is very simple in New Delhi, with many of the larger international firms having operations in the city and across India.
You must be in ownership of either an Indian driving license or an international driving permit in order to operate a vehicle in India. Roads are regularly congested, and drivers do not follow road regulations and often ignore signs and traffic lights. Drive with extreme caution.
Extreme weather in New Delhi
The monsoon season in New Delhi starts in late June and lasts until mid-September. During this period, visitors can expect extreme rainfall and regional flooding.
It is advised to plan any road journeys carefully during this period and to monitor local news and social media for road closures. If you are planning to drive further afield and into the countryside, landslides may also be an issue to be aware of. It is also not uncommon for whole roads to be washed away in rural areas during the monsoon season.
Potholes are an exasperated feature of the monsoon season, where road conditions often deteriorate quite quickly.
Up to date weather warnings can be found at the India Meteorological Department
Earthquakes in New Delhi
It has been almost 300 years since New Delhi found itself at the epicentre of an Earthquake, but earthquakes close by have shaken the capital, including the 5.1 and 5.0 magnitude earthquakes that hit Haryana in 2012 and 2017 respectively. No damage or casualties were reported in New Delhi in either instance.
Information relation to earthquakes in India can be found here: List of recent earthquakes in India.
Emergency services in New Delhi:
Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS): 1099
Ambulance Helpline: 1092
Traffic Police Helpline: 1095
Traffic Police Helpline: 1095
Women Help Line: 1091
New Delhi Overview
Religion: Hinduism and Islam
Currency: Indian rupee
Time now in New Delhi:
New Delhi has a comparatively modern history being founded in 1911 as the new capital of India.
The oldest part of the city has ancient roots back to over 5000 years, its final incarnation being Shahjahanabad, a walled city and once capital of the Mughal Empire built between 1638 to 1649 by Shah Jahan.
That part of the city is now known as Old Delhi and of course home to Shah Jahan’s Ref Fort, an imposing fort built of red limestone that was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Delhi is the most visited city in India and in 2015, it was ranked 28th in the world by Euromonitor euromonitor.com, with Mumbai not far behind at position 30.
Consular information for New Delhi
US Consulate General, Mumbai
C/49 G Block Bandra Kurla Complex,
Mumbai 400 051,
Telephone: +91 22 2672 4000 (Mumbai)
Email: email@example.com (Mumbai)
British High Commission Mumbai
C/32 G Block Bandra Kurla Complex,
Mumbai 400 051,
Telephone: +91 22 6650 2222 (Mumbai)
Visa requirements for New Delhi
A visa is required when travelling to India and New Delhi. British citizens can apply for an e-Tourist Visa (e-TV) to enter India at designated airports. Further information can be found at the Tourist Visa Website
All passports must be machine readable, non-machine readable passports will not be accepted and entry can be denied.
Those with Pakistani origin or descent are subject to administrative processing and should expect additional delays when applying for Indian visas.
Health Care and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to India are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations.
Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in India, if you have been in a country where there is a risk of the disease in the last 6 days, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Failure to do so can lead to you being detained in isolation for up to 6 days. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Medical facilities in much of India are not as advanced as many Western countries, but, being a major city, New Delhi does offer very good facilities, on par with what you may expect for large cities. If you require medical assistance, private care is recommended. This can be extremely expensive, so it is of paramount importance that you purchase adequate medical insurance that will cover you for all treatment.
Influenza is transmitted from November to April in northern India and from June through November in southern India. There is a risk throughout the year, however, peaks do occur from February through to April.
Dengue and Zika that are two viral infections transmitted by mosquitoes are present in the country. You should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
It is recommended against swimming in fresh water as Schistosomiasis can be contracted via a parasite that penetrate human skin when the water is contaminated.
It is highly recommended full travel and medical insurance is checked for coverage prior to travel. The Medical facilities can vary. Personal hygiene must be paramount, the local water supply avoided and bottled water inspected prior to consumption.
New Delhi air quality
A 2018 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that New Delhi has the worst air quality than any other city in the world. Air pollution is a major health issue in with Air quality index levels in New Delhi at their worst during the winter months.
In November 2017, during an event that has been dubbed “the great smog”, air pollution levels spiked at 999 micrograms per cubic meter, while the annual safe limit set by the WHO is 60; pollution levels were so bad during that event that hospitals reported a 20 percent surge in patients with pollution-related illnesses.
If you suffer from respiratory issues, it is advised that you time your travel where possible, to coincide with periods of better air quality; although, these are still likely to be far higher than US or European norms.