Want to take the train in Delhi? It's one of the cheapest and most convenient ways of getting around the city. Here's what you need to know about train travel on Delhi's Metro train network.
Overview of the Delhi Metro
Delhi has an excellent, air-conditioned train network called the Metro. It started operating in December 2002 and provides connectivity to Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, and Ghaziabad. Currently, the network has five regular lines (Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Violet) plus the Airport Express line (Orange).
There are 160 stations, which are a mix of underground, ground level, and elevated stations.
The Metro's development is being executed in phases spread out over 20 years, with each phase taking 3-5 years. When finished, it will surpass the London Underground in length.
The Metro network was launched with the Red Line, which joins northeast Delhi and northwest Delhi. Phase I was completed in 2006, and Phase II in 2011. Phase III, with an additional three new lines (Pink, Magenta, and Gray) including two ring lines, was expected to become operational from the end of 2016. However, this was delayed and the entire corridor won't become fully functional until March 2018. The fourth phase, with six new radial lines to outlying areas, was approved in mid-2016.
What's notable about the Delhi Metro is that it's the world's first railway system to get United Nations certification for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Metro Tickets, Timetable, and Security
- Trains on the five regular lines run from about 5.30 a.m. until 11.30 p.m. The exact starting and finishing times for each line can be seen here and each station can be seen here.
- The frequency of trains ranges from every couple of minutes during peak hours, up to 10 minutes at other times.
- The Metro operates on an automated ticketing system. Tickets (which are cards or tokens) can be purchased from ticket counters at stations.
- The minimum fare is 8 rupees and the maximum fare is 50 rupees.
- Special Tourist Cards are available for unlimited travel over short periods on all lines except for the Airport Express line. The cost is 100 rupees for one day, and 250 rupees for three days. In addition, a 50 rupee deposit is payable, as cards are required to be returned at the end of travel.
- The first carriage of every Metro train is reserved for women.
- Security is tight, so be prepared to have your bags checked and body scanned at ticket gates.
Delhi Airport Metro Express
For travel to Delhi airport, there's a special Airport Metro Express line that covers the distance from New Delhi to the airport in under 20 minutes (as opposed to the usual hour or more travel time). It's also possible to check your baggage in before you board the train if you're flying with one of the full-service airlines (Jet Airways, Air India, and Vistara).
Find out more about the Delhi Airport Metro Express line.
Delhi Metro Map
The lines on the Delhi Metro can be seen on this downloadable and printable Delhi Metro map.
Using the Delhi Metro for Sightseeing
If you're on a budget, the Metro is an inexpensive way of getting around to see Delhi's sights. The Yellow Line, which runs from north to south, covers many of the top attractions. It's particularly handy for those who want to stay in classy south Delhi, away from the hustle and bustle, but still want to explore the old parts of the city in the north.
Important stations on the Yellow Line, in order from north to south, and their places of interest include:
- Chandni Chowk -- chaotic Old Delhi, the Red Fort, Juma Masjid, bazaars, and street food.
- Rajiv Chowk -- Connaught Place and Janpath in New Delhi's commercial district.
- Central Secretariat -- the heart of imperial Delhi on Rajpath, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Purana Qila, National Gallery of Modern Art, and numerous museums.
- Race Course -- Gandhi Smriti Museum and Indira Gandhi Memorial.
- Jorbagh -- Safdarjung's Tomb and Lodhi Gardens.
- INA -- Dilli Haat, with handicraft stalls from across India.
- Hauz Khas -- Delhi's hip urban village, crammed with cafes, bars, and boutiques.
- Qutab Minar -- one of Delhi's most popular historical monuments, and the Garden of Five Senses.
Other important stations on other lines are Khan Market for shopping (east of Central Secretariat on the Violet Line), Pragati Maidan for Humayun's Tomb (east of Khan Market on the Blue Line) and Akshardham (further east on the Blue Line).
Tourists should also note that the special Heritage Line (which is an extension of the Violet line and connects Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate) was opened in May 2017. This underground line has three stations that provide direct access to Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and the Red Fort in Old Delhi. Plus, the Kashmere Gate station provides an interchange between the Violet, Red, and Yellow lines.