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Three Perfect Days: Delhi

To the delight of locals and visitors alike, India's capital has emerged as a true 21st-century metropolis — all without neglecting the sparkling palaces, ancient ruins and culinary traditions that have long made it one of the world's most enthralling cities

Author Jay Cheshes Photography Sameer Parekh

Jama Masjid, India’s largest open-air mosque

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NORTHERN INDIA IS ICONIC INDIA, an awe-inspiring land of imposing forts, elegant palaces and impossibly vibrant markets — none of which have changed all that much since the days of the Raj, the name given to British rule over the subcontinent, which ended in 1947 after almost a century. But as India hurtles headlong from the third world to the first as one of the fastest-growing countries on earth, the throng of hawkers, beggars and tuk tuk drivers that once unfailingly met visitors upon arrival in Delhi is nowhere to be seen at the new Indira Gandhi International Airport, a modern marvel and serene point of entry completed in 2010 (just in time for the city’s turn hosting the Commonwealth Games).

Today’s Delhi is cleaner and greener than ever — yet no less intriguing — as you’ll notice right away while cruising down its wide, leafy boulevards, where high-end restaurants and luxury shops coexist with centuries-old ruins. Delhi’s many contrasts and contradictions are what make it such a fascinating city to behold, both for visitors entranced by its past and for those looking to boldly ride with it into the glimmering future.

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