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Things to do in Delhi

Birdwatching

Situated in the neighbouring state of Haryana, the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary (tel: +91 11 012 043 55016; www.sultanpurbirdsanctuary.com) is about 47km (29 miles) from Delhi. Home to around 250 species, the small lake and marshland is best visited between November and March when more than 100 types of migratory birds visit. Packages are available including entry to the sanctuary, lunch and refreshments.

Chill your boots in Lodi Gardens

As one of the world's most frenetic urban environments, Delhi can feel a little overwhelming at times. Take a few hours out and relax in the bucolic surroundings of Lodi Gardens (www.gardenvisit.com/garden/lodi_garden-lodhi_gardens), with its eateries, ornate mosques, mausoleums and swathes of grass just calling to willing backs.

Get shown the city by the people who know it best

Salaam Baalak Trust (tel: +91 11 235 84164; www.salaambaalaktrust.com) is an NGO working with Delhi's vast population of street children. One of the many worthwhile services they offer is a walking tour of the city led by guides who were formerly street children. This is local knowledge at its most extreme.

Learn to dance like a true Indian

If you've ever aspired to move like a true Bollywood prince or princess, an Indian dance workshop at Dehli Dance Academy (tel: +91 11 41 012 909; www.delhidanceacademy.in) is a great option. For beginners (which comparatively you definitely are) there's a two-hour class where you'll learn four dance forms. Enjoy.

Visit the puppet colony

Underneath the Shadier Depot bridge is the Kathputli Colony, home to some 800 folk musicians, mime artists, acrobats, sanders and puppeteers. Every morning from 0930 there is an Art of Hope tour (+91 11 64 687 173; www.artofhopetour.com) that will show you round and promises performances from the best the colony has to offer.

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City Highlight: New Delhi

New Delhi is a city of contrasts, and can be bewildering for first-time visitors, as the sights, sounds, smells and sensations can go into overdrive

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The Lodhi

Formerly the Aman New Delhi Hotel, The Lodhi is an contemporary, upmarket resort featuring exquisite Indian decor such as hand-made rugs and jaali screens. It offers 40 rooms, with balconies offering city, courtyard or garden views, deep bathtubs, a spa, tennis courts, 50m-long (140ft) pool, restaurants and even a library and a cigar lounge.

The Imperial New Delhi

Built in 1931, this contemporary colonial hotel was a favourite haunt of Nehru, Mountbatten and other luminaries. It continues to welcome many dignitaries and affluent Delhiites who drop by for Sunday brunch (one of the best in Delhi). There are 233 beautifully appointed rooms and 43 suites. Additional amenities include a swimming pool, beauty centre, shopping precinct and a selection of superlative restaurants and bars.

The Oberoi New Delhi

An elegant and modern hotel, The Oberoi occupies a peaceful position overlooking New Delhi's principal golf course and the historic Humayun's Tomb. Ideal for business travellers and well-heeled tourists, it offers a state-of-the-art business centre, spa, swimming pool and gym. Fine dining options are plentiful and include the excellent Italian restaurant Travertino and the popular Threesixty, which is also the setting for The Oberoi's indulgent breakfasts.

The Claridges New Delhi

Positioned among the leafy boulevards of New Delhi, The Claridges is one of the capital's most elegant and atmospheric places to stay. There's a touch of art deco to this low-rise building, which dates from the mid-1900s. Its 137 rooms and suites are a blend of classic and modern styles, all spacious and well presented. There is also a decent health club, swimming pool, beauty parlour and a choice of several restaurants.

Hyatt Regency Delhi

The Hyatt Regency Delhi offers the perfect antidote to the city's chaotic streets. Excellent service, well-appointed rooms and a location that's convenient for the business districts and the airport make this a solid choice. Meeting rooms and boardrooms are available and come with state-of-the-art audiovisual support and dedicated staff. After work, relax in the spa/health club or the fabulous swimming pool. The hotel also features the highly acclaimed China Kitchen and award-winning La Piazza Italian restaurants.

Ginger Delhi (Rail Yatri Niwas)

The location may not be the most salubrious but this hotel, the Taj Group's 'Smart Basic' hotel, is excellent for those counting their Rupees. Rooms are simple, clean and well equipped with flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and smart ensuite bathrooms. There's a 24-hour restaurant on site, or you can get orders delivered from local eateries. The Delhi hotel also features a meeting room, gym, on-site ATM and has a laundry facility.