Travelling to Delhi
Indira Gandhi International (IGI), India’s biggest airport, is around 15 kilometres south-west of the city centre (about an hour’s drive). Prepaid taxis are a cheap and practical way to get from the airport into the city (counter in the terminals, around EUR 5 to EUR 10). Alternatively, the modern Airport Express train will get you to the city centre in 20 minutes (EUR 1 one way).
Transport: Delhi has a relatively good local public transport network and a modern underground rail system. Hotels can arrange all kinds of transfers. Street taxis are cheap and available everywhere. You should make sure before starting your journey that the taxi meter is working properly, or agree a fixed price. Many taxi drivers barely speak any English. App-based chauffeur services such as Ola and Uber work well.
Seasons: The winter (October to February) is a pleasant time of year, with low precipitation and temperatures between 10 and 25 degrees. It is the high season for the hotel industry, although it is also the period with the worst air quality. A brief, mild spring (March) is followed by summer (until June) with physically demanding maximum temperatures of well above 40 degrees. The monsoon season (June to September), when most of the rains fall, is slightly cooler and more pleasant.
Health: The biggest risk to business travellers is gastrointestinal intolerance. Visitors should drink only mineral water, avoid untreated foods, street food and the like and wash their hands as often as possible with soap or disinfectant (hand sanitizer). The air pollution in Delhi can cause irritation of the respiratory tract or eyes, even after a short time. To protect against infectious diseases, visitors should protect themselves in particular from mosquito bites (clothing that covers the skin, all types of insect repellent). Dengue fever occurs in Delhi, particularly in the winter. Malaria is a risk factor, but business travellers are very unlikely to be affected.
Safety: Delhi is regarded within India as relatively unsafe, although in an international comparison, travellers are at no more risk than in urban metropolitan areas in other emerging countries. The biggest risk is the complex road traffic system, which takes some getting used to for Europeans (left-hand driving). You should be vigilant and exercise good common sense, particularly after it gets dark. Women should not take taxis alone.
Business travellers generally require a business visa to enter India (apply online, extensive documentation needed). The fee is approximately EUR 120 to EUR 240, depending on the period of validity (www.indianembassy.de). Indian consular authorities are not renowned for their flexibility or speed.
Delhi celebrates Holi, a colourful and boisterous spring festival, in March. The date varies from year to year (2019: 20/21 March). Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a major event that is celebrated towards the start of winter. Many Indian families celebrate it in great style, comparable to Christmas (2018: 7 November).