The new rules for adopting from India allow parents to apply for the exit vista from New Delhi, where most embassies also are. This means that new adoptive families stay in the city for one or a couple of weeks while the paperwork is done. I write this short guide in the hope of taking off some of the weight from these families’ shoulders. I had to fill ten days for two toddlers, one being quite shocked. The hotel room was simply not enough!
Incidentally, this may be interesting for any family travelling to New Delhi. Hopefully I’m making some parents very happy here.
Disclaimer: this guide was written based on a visit in February 2017. If you are reading long after that, be aware that some information – like opening times – may be outdated. Please double check!
Based on my visit, I can share some general advice to make your visit with children more comfortable.
- Choose a baby carrier over a stroller, if possible. Indian cities, Delhi especially, are very crowded and not stroller-friendly. If you really need a stroller, choose one which folds in a compact way, you’ll be glad you did when you’ll use a rickshaw.
- Rickshaw VS Uber. The first is easier and quicker to find, more typical, quicker in traffic, and cheaper. The latter is easier to pay (no cash needed), usually more comfortable (ex. air conditioning), and generally safer. We used both services, depending on how long our ride was or if we had cash. In any case, I recommend you try the rickshaw at least once while in India, it’s quite an experience!
- Be prepared to negotiate any price or fee. If you are white, they’ll aim high with the initial offer. You can ask your hotel staff for estimates, especially for rickshaw rides. I have the feeling that anyway you’ll end up paying more than a local, but it can make a huge difference if you know the real value.
- Indian cuisine is spicy. They don’t cook differently for their children and their bland is still spicy for the Western palate. As an adult, you should try their authentic food, but children are not adventurous with food. Make sure you underline well you want super bland food for them.
- Sometime, you’ll need to cover your eyes. It was quite hard for me to ride on a Uber car, hold my adopted Indian child on my lap, and at the same time witness half-naked thin and sick same age children on the side of the road or knocking on my car window. My daughter asked questions. I don’t want to upset you, but that’s a face of India you’ll see during your trip.
Best places for kids
India Gate, Nuova Delhi, Delhi 110001, India
A nice outdoor park with a huge playground, a small acquarium and a musical fountain. Ideal for picnics as well. Closed on Mondays, open at 9-19:30 on other days. Free entrance (not for granted in Indian parks!). Public toilets are situated in the park. About 200 m away, there are the excellent restaurants Gulati and Have More (see restaurant section).
Worlds of Wonder
Plot No. A2, Sector 38A, Behind The Great India Palace Mall, Entertainment City, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201301, India
Great amusement park! Free entrance for kids < 90 cm, but limited choice of attractions for them. There are a dosa restaurant and a Mc Donald inside, plus small food stands for snacks. Just outside the park, there are several big malls if you want to do some shopping.
Funky Lil Munchkins
15, Kaushalya Park, Chowdary Dileep Singh Marg, Hauz Khas, New Delhi, Delhi 110016, India
Indoor park. It’s small but good for a couple of hours of fun. There is a small cafe inside. Beware, socks are compulsory, for adults as well. Excellent entertainment for 1 to 5 year old kids.
National Zoological Park
Mathura Road, Near Purana Quila, Sundar Nagar, Delhi 110003, India
Great zoo, with tigers, elephants, and much more. Only baby food is allowed inside, but there are some food stands to buy snacks. Buy the ticket for the mini-bus, it’s very cheap and spares some walking, as the place is huge.
Vinay Marg, Chanakyapuri, Ramnagar, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi 110023, India
Great and peaceful park for a stroll and for letting kids run, but there is no playground. Situated near many embassy buildings.
Lodhi Rd, Lodhi Gardens, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India
Beautiful and wide park, with monuments inside. No playground, but wide spaces to run and a great place for a picnic. There’s a nice restaurant (Lodi – The Garden Restaurant) just outside the park.
National Rail Museum
Ashok Vihar, Chanakyapuri, Nuova Delhi, Delhi 110021, India
Great place with kids! Make sure to buy the ticket for the Joy Train rides at the entrance (only place where they sell them). There are several real trains on display and an interactive and rich museum. Small playground in the courtyard and a musical fountain. The Joy Train brings visitors around the display, for the joy of kids. There is a restaurant in the museum, but selling only spicy food and they accept only cash. Yap, we had to split so that my husband could rush to an ATM to pay for our lunch.
8, Defence Colony, Main Market, New Delhi, Delhi 110024, India
Italian restaurant with great Italian pizza and non-spicy food for kids (pasta, pizza, hamburgers). In the same market, there are some grocery shops and pharmacies.
Shop No. 8, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India
Indian restaurant with a great buffet for about 10 euros. Happy to accomodate kids taste. Near the Children’s park.
11-12, Market, Pandara Road Market, New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India
Indian restaurant, children friendly. Near the Children’s park.
Plot No. 2, Nelson Mandela Marg, Vasant Kunj, Vasant Kunj II, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, Delhi 110070, India
Huge mall (for Finnish standards :D), with a small playground (bring socks!) and a nice food court. Good for everyday-clothes shopping (ex. Pantaloons) or grocery shopping.
Sri Aurobindo Marg, Laxmi Bai Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110023, India
Market where Indian artisans sell their products. Be prepared to bargain. Great for gift shopping.
46, Khan Market Rd, Rabindra Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110003, India
Several shops, of all kinds. Some more pricey than others. Great food options, both for lunch and snacks. There are some photography shops where one can take passport pictures.
Whatever you’ll decide to visit, Delhi is a wonderful city. You will not get bored and I hope my suggestions will help you appreciate the place with your kids. Did you find this guide useful? Let me know down in the comments. If you know someone adopting from India, share this post with them. I would be happy to know it helped some fellow adoptive family. Thanks for reading, until next time!