Why did you become a guide, Raj?
It happened by accident! Without clear intention, I have chosen to be a guide, since I love to travel. Travelling is my passion; when I travel to new destinations and explain to my friends and family what I have seen, they become excited to also visit the places. Slowly it became my hobby to find out new interesting places of India. Did you know that in India, every 300km, you will find different culture, languages, food…this made me want to find out more and more by travelling within my country…I have now travelled more than 100,000km around India ….I travelled from the Himalayas in the North to Bay of Bengal in the South, Gujarat Gir forest in the West to the old British capital of Calcutta in the East. I love to share my discoveries with other travellers.
What’s your favourite thing about where you live?
I live in Delhi – Delhi is India's power center since a very long time…it’s witnessed the slave dynasties from Turkey, Persian to Mughal to British to becoming the world's biggest Democracy, India…you can witness it all here in Delhi.
What top 3 things do you think first-time visitors should see when visiting your part of India?
These three places, that make up the "golden triangle": Delhi – Jaipur – Agra. Delhi is the power center of many kingdoms that have risen and fallen. In Agra you will find India’s highly protected Fort (Agra Fort), and of course the love poem written in White Marble – Taj Mahal - one of the wonders of the world. Jaipur is the land of warriors - the Hindu Rajput Kingdom.
What’s your favourite “local” experience you encourage travellers to try?
Visiting Old Delhi, where you can walk like locals do into the many narrow lanes and smell the aroma of street food…witness the daily shopping experience of Indian women, visit the spice market by cycle rickshaw.
What’s one food you think everyone should eat when they visit your city/region?
Delhi is a true paradise for food lovers – from street food to international food…wow…here you can see everything from a 200 year-old restaurant to modern days five star restaurants…In Delhi you need to have a very big appetite! The menu goes from Butter Chicken to Dal Makhani to Garlic naan to much more…
Do you have a favourite restaurant or cafe you like to recommend?
In Old Delhi, the 100 year-old Mughal restaurant (when we say Mughal, it means Muslim style cooking) "Karims." For a typical Indian family-style restaurant (no bar attached) in New Delhi, try: Chicken Inn, Have more, Gulati and many others - I can tell you when you visit.
Where is the best place for travellers to take a great photo to share with friends back home?
Definitely in the crowds of Old Delhi's market (Chandni Chowk), and at monumental places like President Palace, India gate, Humayun Tomb, Connaught Place, and Bangla Sahib Gurudwara (Sikh Temple).
Thank you for sharing your tips with us, Raj! A city as unique, busy and historic as Delhi definitely benefits from the company and expertise of a local guide. To get in touch with Raj about booking your private Delhi tour, send him a message through his TBL guide page.