Various Indian Cities as Expat Destinations – Dilwaalon ki Dilli

Home is where we have people whom we love, where we can feel the warmth of our family within the comfort of our personal space. A house can be found or constructed in any part of the world, but calling it your home is something that is extremely personal to everyone. 

For expats, this could be much more emotionally as well as logistically taxing. Of course there is no place in the world like home, but India is known to have the knack of making everyone feel at home, or at least a semblance of home! This warmth resides in the very heart of the country as it comes from the deeply rooted values of the Indian culture Athithi Devo Bhava (Guest is God). In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr – “To other countries, I may go as a tourist, but to India, I come as a pilgrim.”

With its rapid internationalisation, India now has world class amenities in all the metro cities, easy connectivity with well built air, rail and road network; a beautiful landscape to mesmerise you with, and abundance of avenues to explore during your stay here. That being said, no one can deny the anxiety of setting home in a new country. So, we bring to you this series where we analyse major Indian cities as expat destinations on different parameters like housing, safety, schooling, quality of life, etc. 

And what could be a better to place to start with, than the capital city New Delhi!

Being the capital of the country, New Delhi is home to many expats in India. From well-established locations for accommodations, to international schools for children, to operations of several key industries, Delhi could be a great destination for expats.

Suitable locations for accommodation in Delhi

Delhi is largely divided into 5 areas and you could choose your place of accommodation according to your suitability. You would generally require a broker or a contact person to help you with house-hunting.

North Delhi – Affordable student accommodation

Most international students, who pursue education from Delhi University’s North Campus reside close to their colleges in the affordable student areas of Civil Lines, Kamla Nagar. You will mostly find hostel accommodations, PGs (paying guests) or shared apartments in these areas. There are specific affordable localities where you can also find independent apartments. 

The perks of living in this area:

  • You get to enjoy the happening Delhi University student life
  • Taste sumptuous food and enjoy really affordable shopping in Kamla Nagar and other affordable markets

Average rent for 2BHK apartment per month : INR 35,000

Average rent for a shared accommodation: INR 10,000 to INR 20,000 per month

South Delhi – Posh, safe locality generally preferred by expats

Areas of the southern part of Delhi like Hauz Khas, Green Park, Safdarjung Enclave, Panchsheel Park, Vasant Kunj and Defence Colony are greener and safer and could therefore, be quite suitable. For those looking for a more upscale locality, could also consider Jor Bagh as an option. 

The perks of living in this area : 

  • A great place for shopping with fancy malls like Ambience, Emporio and Promenade
  • Posh places like Cyber Hub and Aerocity to enjoy weekend lunch and dinner
  • Comparatively tighter security than other parts of Delhi 

Average rent for 2BHK apartment per month :  INR 60,000 and upwards

Central Delhi – An expat hub

Central Delhi is a very well-kept part of Delhi as the Parliament and other important government buildings belong to this region. Connaught Place, Khan Market and India Gate are the busiest parts of the central Delhi area. They have wide roads, greenery, great houses and are majorly occupied by the expat community. 

Perks of living in this area :

  • Happening nightlife with various restaurants and bars
  • Huge Connaught Place market to shop at
  • Tight security because of the presence of the High Court, Supreme Court and the Parliament

Average rent for 2BHK apartment per month :  starting at INR 45,000, but could go upto INR 1,50,000

Embassy Area – The diplomatic enclave

Most expats live in the Embassy areas of Chanakyapuri because of obvious reasons for the presence of Embassies and High Commissions of various Nations. The area provides green locations with VIP facilities.

Perks of living in this area :

  • 24×7 police surveillance 
  • Proximity to the international airport
  • Affluent neighbourhood

Average rent for 2BHK apartment per month :  starting at INR 45,000, but could go upto INR 1,50,000

Safety in Delhi

Besides food, monuments and being the capital city, Delhi has hogged notoriety in international media for its safety. Well to be honest, it is as safe or as unsafe as any new city you visit. Don’t let such preconceived notions discourage you. Just like any other city, it is recommended to be cautious:

  • In crowded areas like Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh
  • In Affordable marketplaces like Kamla Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, etc.
  • During late hours of the night

Just some simple precautions can help you put your mind at ease and enjoy this magnificent and magnanimous capital city.

  • Keep your precious belongings safe, be it your wallets, mobile or other valuables
  • Do not carry too much cash with you when you visit crowded places
  • Always carry copies of your identity cards and passports, so that if they get lost your originals are safe at your hotel
  • While going out at night, it is preferable to carry a pepper spray, a torch and any safety devices
  • Always carry a list of emergency contact numbers with you. <Add that insta post creative here which has the list of emergency numbers>
  • Learn some Hindi. It will come handy to ask for help from locals

Most importantly – just don’t panic! Locals in India are very warm and welcoming towards foreigners. Just shout out if you are stuck in any unforeseen situation and many people will come to your help. There are many security personnel in prominent tourist places too. So prepare for your safety like you would do for any other place and look forward to having a great time in Delhi.

With the population increasing at a very fast rate in Delhi, your safety might become a concern for you, but just be cautious and take the necessary precautions. Petty crimes like pick-pocketing are pretty common in crowded areas of Delhi like Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh and even marketplaces of Sarojini Nagar, Janpath etc. could be some of the places where you could lose your belongings fairly easily. Be it Delhi or any other city, anything could happen anywhere but being cautious from your end never goes in vain.  So it is advised to take simple precautions and you are good to go!

Schooling in Delhi

Delhi and the National Capital Region including the areas of Gurugram and Noida have grown tremendously in terms of infrastructure in the last few years. With a constant stream of immigrants coming to settle in Delhi, many international schools have opened up, which offer quality education. Some of them are –

  • DPS International Saket
  •  Amity Global School
  •  GD Goenka World School
  •  The British School
  •  Lancers International School
  •  The Shri Ram Global School
  •  Scottish High International School
  •  The Metro Delhi International School

Communicating with locals in Delhi

As large as 80% of the total population of Delhi speaks in Hindi. The remaining may be more familiar with Punjabi, Urdu and others. However, English is the most common foreign language preferred. So you could work things out with English but knowing basic conversational Hindi is preferable at the least. This becomes important because locals like house helps, cab drivers, shop keepers, security guards etc. generally know only Hindi so local communication might become a problem without knowing Hindi. 

Vibrant culture of the Capital city

Coming to religion and traditions in Delhi, Hinduism is more prevalent in the region but Sikhism, Islam, Christianity and a few others also cover a small portion of the population. 

Moreover, since Delhi shares its borders with Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, thus, you could experience a hint of a mix of culture from the influence of these neighbouring regions. This influence is very evident in the cuisines as well because Delhi has an amalgamated cuisine which ranges from Punjabi North Indian dishes to ancient Mughal style cuisines. Do not miss trying pani puri, chole bhature, kebabs, samosa, pav bhaji and butter chicken, when in Delhi. 

 

Some famous restaurants and clubs in Delhi :

  • Bukhara Restaurant
  • Karim’s
  • Moti Mahal Restaurant
  • Kitty Su
  • Dear Donna

Weather in Delhi

The weather conditions in Delhi keep varying after every few months. During summers, the temperature ranges from 26 degree celsius to 40 degree celsius along with loo and unbearable heat. The hottest months are May and June. Delhi experiences somewhat less rainfall as compared to Mumbai and Bengaluru during July but the temperature mostly remains humid in this month. 

Winters begin in the month of November and the city turns really cold with temperatures ranging anywhere between 6 and 20 degrees celsius. The coolest months are December and January along with a heavy fog. 

So one must carry all types of clothes for staying in Delhi, from breezy cotton clothes, to soft sweaters, to thick jackets, you will require all of them during different seasons of Delhi.

Quality of life in Delhi

Delhi is known for a good quality of life as it very well caters to the basic housing, commuting, educational and healthcare facilities. With a wide variety of options available for accommodation and a number of good schools to choose from, Delhi provides a good infrastructure for healthcare with a number of government as well as private hospitals along with many nursing homes close to almost all localities. Moreover, Delhi has some great malls like DLF Promenade, Ambience Mall, Pacific Mall, DLF Emporio etc. and many PVRs for you to visit on weekends.

Commuting is also fairly easy and inexpensive in Delhi. The following options could be considered for commuting :

  • Metro, being the most convenient mode of transport, is used by a big part of the Delhi population. 
  • Buses are available for public transport  
  • Cabs could be booked through Ola or Uber, which provide both, single as well as a shared ride. 
  • Other than that, you would always spot dozens of cycle rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and E-rickshaws running on almost every road to conveniently cover shorter distances. 

Considering all of the facilities available in Delhi, cost of living might be a question that you would be pondering about by now. Well, the cost of living is fairly decent in Delhi. Apartments in decent localities are available at fairly affordable prices to even at slightly high prices, depending upon your needs and suitability. Groceries and other utilities are available at local markets at negotiable prices, making it convenient and inexpensive. 

Tourist attractions

India gate – A monument that serves as a revered memorial for the martyrs of India.

Location : Rajpath Marg, New Delhi

Timings : Open 24×7; everyday

 

Qutub Minar – A beautifully carved and engraved monument from the Mughal era. 

Location : Mehrauli, New Delfi

Timings : 7am – 5pm

 

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – A highly popular religious site visited not only by Sikhs, but masses to seek blessings of God.

Location : Connaught Place, New Delhi

Timings : Open 24×7 ; everyday

 

Humanyun’s Tomb – Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, Hyumanyun’s Tomb is a gorgeous work of art.

Location : Mathura Road, New Delhi

Timings : 6am – 6pm

Moreover, as expats, you could also join certain clubs for expats in Delhi where you could meet like-minded people and have a great time. Some of them could be Delhi expat Club, American Women’s Association, Delhi Network, Gurgaon connection, Delhi Accueil etc.

Concluding on the basis of the factors mentioned above, it would be evident that Delhi is an incredible destination to stay in. Blending in might take you a while, but you would definitely feel at home once you get accustomed to the beauty that lies in the heart of the capital city.

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