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Moving to Delhi

Modern New Delhi, existing just south of the old and original city, has the same multifarious characteristics that the Indian capital has held for several thousand years. The city is a tangle of crowded streets, diverse languages and beautiful architecture – the metropolis is teeming with different industries and cultures, and now a wave of expats moving to Delhi adds to the eclectic nature and community of the centre.

Delhi's economy is developing at a rapid rate and the modern skyscrapers and robust industries look like they are trying to leave a less developed India behind. The accelerated growth of Delhi's key industries, including IT and telecommunications, means there is a high demand for experienced employees, many of whom are recruited from abroad.

The differences in culture in Delhi can feel confusing and alienating for some expats while seeming wonderfully multicultural and accepting for others. Perhaps more than any other major expat city, Delhi has no single culture expats must conform to. Instead, this is a city that contours around one's needs. New city development is often luxury Western-styled accommodation and expats often find businesses eager to adopt a Western management style.

While Delhi remains one of the most expensive locations for expats living in India, coming in second to Mumbai, the city still has a reasonable cost of living. Expats will find that in New Delhi they can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with access to luxuries they would not be accustomed to at home for just a fraction of the cost. There are also good facilities available in the form of private healthcare options and international schools.

Ultimately, expats living and working in Delhi will need to approach the city with an open mind. Those that do are sure to find that Delhi offers the unique beauty and diversity of a quintessentially Indian experience alongside the excitement and fast pace of living in a big city.

Weather in Delhi

The climate of Delhi is subtropical, and there is a vast difference between summer and winter temperatures. During the long summers, the city's temperature soars and the heat is often exacerbated by a dusty, dry wind. The hottest months of the year are May and June.

Winter weather in Delhi arrives in November. Delhi's winters are generally mild but the city's proximity to the Himalayas can result in cold spells. Winter also brings heavy fog, which can decrease visibility and disrupt air, road and rail travel; January is usually the worst month for fog but the problem generally abates in February.

The rainy season in Delhi begins in early July, lasting until the end of September. This is when monsoons deliver most of the city's annual average rainfall.

Delhi Climate Chart

Pros and Cons of Moving to Delhi

Moving to bustling New Delhi provides plenty of opportunities for expats. The low cost of living, rich history and fascinating culture, as well as growing economy, are major drawcards. However, as is the case with any expat destination, Delhi has its downsides. Expats need to consider their safety, cultural differences and the opportunities for children if they want to make an informed decision on moving to Delhi.

Here are some of the main pros and cons to bear in mind when considering a move to the Indian capital.


Lifestyle

+ Pro: Rich history and culture

Each year, thousands of tourists come to Delhi to experience the city’s rich culture and history. Expats living in Delhi are surrounded by beautiful architecture and eclectic mix of cultures. There is so much to discover in Delhi, that new arrivals won’t know where to start.

+ Pro: Low cost of living

Expats who relocate to Delhi will find that the cost of living is generally much lower than in many other parts of the world. On a typical expat compensation package, it's possible to live well in Delhi as accommodation, utility and food costs are fairly low. The availability of low-cost labour also gives expats the option of freeing up some time to spend with family or enjoy everything Delhi has to offer.

- Con: Pollution

According to the World Health Organisation Delhi, is one of the world’s most polluted cities in the world. A noticeable smog descends on the city whenever there is a significant drop in wind speed and temperature. Being outdoors isn’t pleasant with such high levels of pollution and many people report experiencing respiratory issues as a result.  

- Con:  Food hygiene standards and ‘Delhi Belly’

A rich cuisine is one of India’s many assets and it’s no secret that the locals love spicy food. However, local Indian food is something that expats have to get used to. Hygiene standards aren’t always up to scratch so it's common for new arrivals to experience bouts of gastric discomfort. That said, if expats avoid drinking tap water and build up their tolerances for local food they should be able to find ways of enjoying Indian cuisine without getting sick. 

 


Culture Shock

+ Pro: English is widely spoken

English is taught to a high standard in most schools in India. Therefore, especially in a more cosmopolitan city like Delhi, expats shouldn’t face much of a language barrier. Expats should find that most people in Delhi can communicate fairly well in English.

- Con: Patriarchy

Despite the progress made in recent years with regards to the rights of women, India remains a highly patriarchal society. Although Delhi may be more progressive than rural parts of India, things remain difficult for women. Women often have to contend with sexism in various areas of everyday life, from patriarchal attitudes in the workplace and cat-calling in the street.  

- Con: Local attitudes to personal space

While expats living in Delhi generally find locals to be friendly and eager to help, sometimes their behaviour becomes a little too intrusive. Requests from locals to be photographed alongside expats can become annoying. Constant questions about one’s personal life can often make new arrivals feel quite uncomfortable.


Getting Around in Delhi

+ Pro: Public transport is improving rapidly

Delhi is surprisingly well connected in terms of public transportation. The continually developing metro network makes it easy to get from one place to another. Buses can be slow but they cover areas that aren’t yet serviced by the metro lines. Taxis and rickshaws are also a good alternative and aren’t particularly expensive either.

- Con: Traffic is a nightmare and local driving behaviour can be dangerous

Traffic in Delhi, especially during rush hour, is terrible. So getting around on the road can often be slow and stressful. Furthermore, local road users can be quite aggressive so new arrivals often opt not to get behind the wheel.


Kids and Family in Delhi

- Con: Expensive schooling options

While private schools in Delhi are a viable option for expat students because the language of instruction is English, spaces are limited and fees are high. International schools are the most popular option for expat families; however, fees are even more expensive here, Many of these schools also have long waiting lists in place.

- Con: Delhi isn’t the most family-friendly city

While Delhi might offer great career progression opportunities for young professionals and good business opportunities for entrepreneurs, it isn’t the best place to raise a family. There is a lack of child-friendly facilities, air pollution is a concern for most parents and there are plenty of safety issues to bear in mind when relocating to Delhi with kids.   


Working in Delhi

+ Pro: Dynamic economy

India as a whole has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. As it’s capital, New Delhi is establishing its commercial presence at a rapid rate. Many global business enterprises have seen the potential of the city’s growing economy and skilled workforce and decided to locate operations here.  

- Con: Poor work-life balance

To get ahead in the workplace in Delhi, people are expected to put in a lot of overtime. The average workweek is around 48 hours but most locals put in extra hours to impress their superiors and improve their chances of career progression. This work culture may be somewhat different from what Western expats are accustomed to.

Working in Delhi

At one point expats working in Delhi were primarily relocated executives and upper management brought in to oversee large companies. While this is still common, it is by no means the only way expats arrive in Delhi. Delhi’s economy is incredibly diverse and expats will find positions available in a range of industries.


Job market in Delhi

IT and telecommunications are the major employers in Delhi. As Delhi becomes a more affluent city, local consumer appetites are growing and the city's retail industry is flourishing. The majority of expats hired to work in these industries will be of senior management level. Contracts are usually fairly short-term, as the intention is often for the expat staff to train local staff to eventually take over those jobs.

Being the capital of India, Delhi is also home to numerous foreign embassies and diplomats make up a sizeable number of the expat population in the city. There are also various international organisations and regional UN offices based in the city.

Finance and import/export companies may be more inclined to set up shop in Mumbai, while the real IT heavyweights are often diverted to Bengaluru. However, Delhi is respectable to both industries and many more, including manufacturing, media, tourism and general professional-level jobs like engineering and designing.


Finding work in Delhi

The best way of finding a job in Delhi is through one's current employer or personal contacts. This is why networking is so important when it comes to working in India. The majority of people who relocate to Delhi do so through an intra-company transfer.

For those without any connections in Delhi, job opportunities can be explored using online job portals. Online resources provide a good overview of the job market and are usually available in English. Companies may also advertise positions on their own websites so it also worth checking individual company sites as well. 

Recruitment agencies may also be able to assist expats in their search for employment. However, it is important to ensure that the recruitment agency is reputable. There are many recruiters in India that charge huge sums of money without any results. It's best to go with recommendations from colleagues within the industry and avoid making any payments upfront.


Work culture in Delhi

Expats who are moving to Delhi to take up a job should make the effort to have at least a basic understanding of Indian culture, especially in relation to workplace behaviour.

While company structures are changing as a result of the increasing presence of multinationals, there are still many companies that maintain traditional hierarchical structures. Expats hired to work in top management positions will be expected to give clear instructions to their subordinates rather than expecting people to use their initiative.

Accommodation in Delhi

Finding accommodation in Delhi can be considerably more difficult than in other expat destinations. The high demand for housing and rapidly expanding population has sent prices through the roof and the availability of apartments and alternative property is limited.

Most expats who relocate to Delhi for work purposes will find that their employer is willing to assist in the search for accommodation. In many cases, the employer will in fact have accommodation already secured for their employees. Although this limits the expat's choice to some degree, it actually saves them a lot hassle as well. Usually, the accommodation provided by employers is comfortable and located in close proximity to the expat's workplace.

Those that are not lucky enough to receive support from their employer may find the search for a home in Delhi somewhat more difficult and should ideally hire a real estate agent to assist with their search.


Types of accommodation in Delhi

An individual's choice of accommodation in Delhi will depend on their lifestyle and the neighbourhood in which they wish to reside. Most of the housing in and around Delhi's city centre consists of modern high-rise apartment complexes, villas and condos. In some suburbs, expats might find old colonial properties available as well.


Finding accommodation in Delhi

It is possible to do some research online before arriving in India, making use of property portals and expat groups to become more familiar with the options available. This ensures that expats have some basic knowledge about Delhi's property market.

Once in India, internet and newspaper listings are a good source of information on property, but the best option for an expat is to enlist the help of an estate agent. These professionals do charge a fee but have intimate knowledge of the property market and understand the process of securing a rental property in Delhi. 


Renting accommodation in Delhi

Rental prices vary according to neighbourhood and often depend on the age of the house. New buildings can be up to double the rent of older buildings next door. Expats should therefore bear in mind that price is not necessarily equated with quality when it comes to accommodation in Delhi.

There is no ‘rule of thumb’ for price calculation of the rental of a property, as in many Western countries. Landlords can generally ask for whatever they want – the agent should then be able to tell the tenant if the proposed amount is in line with the rental costs of comparable properties in the surrounding area.  

Areas and suburbs in Delhi

Expats moving to Delhi will find themselves in a sprawling city woven into a web of dozens and dozens of areas and neighbourhoods. While each has its own unique and charming characteristics, it's important to know what's what in this often intimidating metropolis – especially as a newly arrived expat looking for accommodation.

Delhi can certainly be an 'insider’s city' in that valuable information about which neighbourhoods are best for shopping, sightseeing or living is often only available through word of mouth. Expats moving to Delhi will most likely be drawn to neighbourhoods in South Delhi where other foreign nationals are concentrated and have formed a community over the years. There are plenty of options, depending on price, priority and location.


Areas and suburbs in Delhi

Golf Links

This is one of the more affluent neighbourhoods in Delhi. The homes are large, luxurious and well-guarded. Many businessmen and diplomats call this area home. Golf Links is well situated with regards to amenities such as shops, restaurants and various other entertainment facilities. The area is popular with a range of different demographic groups from young professionals to expat families.

Jor Bagh

Jor Bagh contains a large, well-established expat community. Properties here are spacious and suitable for expats moving to Delhi with families. Jor Bagh's main market is a good place to shop and the area has a number of parks and open spaces which is great for those with children. 

Sainik Farms

A handful of expats choose to live here for its spacious farmhouses and gardens. Because it’s technically an unauthorised colony, amenities like water and electricity connections can be fickle and often difficult to repair. The area has a charm to it, stemming from the more peaceful quality of life it offers residents. 

South Extension (South Ex)

South Ex, as it's commonly known, is a popular expat neighbourhood. Here expats will find lots of modern accommodation options to choose from, including small apartments and larger, more spacious condos. South Ex's residents have access to some great shopping facilities as well as restaurants and bars. There is plenty to keep people entertained here and it's a good choice for young, professional expats. 

Vasant Vihar

Vasant Vihar is just to the south of Chanakyapuri and is home to many diplomatic missions. For this reason, it is one of the most popular residential neighbourhoods among expats. Housing here is luxurious but pricey. There are a number of good private schools in the area.

Domestic help in Delhi

For most people considering moving to Delhi, the idea of having domestic staff is very appealing. The very thought of no longer having to make beds, cook, dust, wash dishes and do laundry sounds like heaven. For those with children, if one adds to all these things the possibility of affordable childcare it becomes irresistible. Finally, this extra help allows expats to have more time to take up new hobbies or enjoy leisure activities.

From the moment of arrival in Delhi, expats will be given advice on household staff. Unemployed workers will come to an expat's door with dog-eared letters of recommendation from long-departed (but still well-loved) families in their past. The estate agent, moving company, telephone engineer and more or less everyone an expat meets will all “know just the perfect girl”. It is a confusing start to a new country.


Tips for finding and managing domestic staff in Delhi

Before hiring, do full reference checks

Regard anyone simply coming to your door with the same due caution that you would in any major city. This includes doing full reference checks. Going door-to-door is the hardest way to find a job and often a last ditch effort for those who have found the doors of the community closed against them for prior behaviour.

Furthermore, many of the letters handed over will not represent the entire story of their time with the family. Some will be forgeries so do not take these references at face value. Always contact the former employer for a full and candid reference.

Research the market norms

There is no government regulation for the domestic staff sector, therefore employers will need to take guidance from market norms.

Most domestic staff prefer to live in quarters (attached to one's apartment or home) and many will expect to have all living costs covered along with a full salary. The amount of leave given is up to each individual employer and should be negotiated at the outset of the relationship. 

Managing household staff

Be clear about duties and expectations – consider creating a contract complete with salary, benefits, time off, duties etc. Set objectives and expectations and monitor their ability to do as required. Create personnel files on all staff members including photo, full name, residential address and mobile number

Treat your staff as professionals – do not get over-friendly or get too involved in their family matters. For staff living on the premises, set boundaries and be clear how about how they should conduct themselves. Consider drawing up a code of conduct.

Take nothing for granted – even if hiring English-speaking staff with experience in other expat homes, make sure that they are shown how to go about performing their duties. Domestic workers will often answer “yes” to any question that begins with “do you know how to...” It's important to understand that they are not being deliberately duplicitous but only want to please their employers. Take time to train them and give them constructive feedback so they have a good chance of meeting expectations.

Healthcare in Delhi

As in most destinations, healthcare in Delhi is divided among private and government-run facilities. Most expats opt to bypass the city's public hospitals and instead utilise private hospitals.

It’s generally easy to find well-qualified medical professionals in Delhi who speak English. Furthermore, given the elevated level of treatment and practitioners in India, and the accompanying low cost of healthcare, medical tourism is an industry sector growing in popularity. In this way, many private hospitals are familiar in dealing with foreigners and are more than happy to better acquaint expats with their services and capabilities.


Private healthcare in Delhi

There are numerous private hospitals in Delhi, but only a few that would meet standards that most Westerners are accustomed to. The general perception is that even these hospitals lack the attention to sanitation and hygiene that are vital to a medical setting. That said, there are a few excellent and world-class hospitals. Keep in mind that waiting times tend to be long regardless of the hospital, even after scheduling an appointment. So be prepared to devote a few hours to a hospital visit.

The better hospitals in Delhi are well equipped with modern facilities and usually excel in certain areas, such as cardiology, oncology, minimally invasive surgery and orthopaedics. Otherwise, there are plenty of challenges that need to be addressed in the more mediocre institutions, such as proper accreditation, equipment quality and the qualifications of the doctors. It is best to stick to the hospitals frequented by other expats.

Since very few Indians actually have health insurance, the norm is to pay in cash, with most hospitals requiring a deposit or full payment in advance. Most private hospitals offer options of payment by credit card or cash. Even holders of health insurance may be expected to pay some amount of advance deposit, so make sure to keep all receipts for reimbursement.


Private hospitals in Delhi

Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital

www.fortishealthcare.com
Address: Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, Pocket 1, Sector B, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi 110070

Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital Delhi

www.rainbowhospitals.in
Address: FC-29, Plot No.5, Geetanjali, Near Malviya Nagar Metro Station Gate No.1, New Delhi 110017

Park Hospital

www.parkhospital.in
Address: Meera Enclave (Chowkhandi), Near Kashopur Bus Depot Outer Ring Road, New Delhi 110018

Primus Super Specialty Hospital

www.primushospital.com
Address: Chandragupta Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021


Medicines and pharmacies in Delhi

There are many pharmacies around Delhi where treatment for minor ailments is usually available over the counter. Some of the medicines available go by the generic name, rather than the branded, labelled version expats may be accustomed to.

Pharmacies should be able to help customers with imported medicines and local substitutes, as long as one can provide the generic name (for example, ask for ibuprofen when looking for the equivalent of Advil).


Health insurance in Delhi

Although medical treatment in India is generally inexpensive, it is always best to have health insurance. Costs for complicated or emergency treatment can become very expensive relatively quickly.

Expats can expect health insurance companies to cover treatment in a select number of hospitals; this selection usually includes one or two of the top facilities and service providers. However, coverage may be limited and the process of obtaining approval for certain treatments may be cumbersome. It's important to keep all receipts and collect all medical reports if needed for reimbursement from the insurance company.

Expats moving to India with a corporate employment contract are generally offered health insurance as part of their remuneration package, but coverage may be limited for family members.


Health hazards in Delhi

While expats do not need to be worried about contracting yellow fever or polio in Delhi, it is appropriate to be concerned about water-borne, food-borne and mosquito-borne illnesses.

Preventative measures should be taken, including using bottled water for drinking, ice and brushing teeth or otherwise boiled and filtered water.

It's best to minimise opportunities for insect bites, particularly between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. If outside at these times, wear clothes that maximise coverage (full-length sleeves and long trousers for example).


Emergency care in Delhi

Expats will find that emergency and intensive care services are better in the larger, private hospitals than in government-run or smaller hospitals. Ambulance services are available at most hospitals; however, the services and treatment offered may not meet the standards practised in the West. Furthermore, road congestion can hamper the speed of pick-up, so be prepared to make other arrangements to get to the hospital, if need be. It is a common practice among locals to take those who require emergency care to the hospital in private transportation.

Education and Schools in Delhi

Most expats prefer to have their children attend one of the international schools in New Delhi or in the surrounding National Capital Region (NCR), as the curricula and environments are familiar to foreign students. There are plenty of these options on offer, along with a healthy selection of private schools that use English as a teaching language.

Delhi and NCR schools are known to be some of the best in the country, so expats may find that the more popular institutions are flooded with applicants, and that admission is, therefore, difficult.

Parents should consider the travel time from home or work to the child's school when making their school choice. Traffic is congested in Delhi and the NCR, and making it from one area to the other can take over an hour, each way. Try and choose a school in close proximity to the home, or a home in close proximity to the school.


Private schools in New Delhi

Delhi is one of India's most prominent education hubs, and its private schools have a track record of producing great talent. One major advantage of living in Delhi is that private schools with Indian students are often taught in English.

Integrating expat students into Indian private schools can be a good opportunity for children to learn about the culture, languages and people of Delhi.

The disadvantages to Indian private schools are the limited number of available seats and the tedious admission process. For most parents, trying to get a seat into a prominent Indian school is a huge struggle, as typically, there will be far more applicants than available seats. Expat parents should also be aware that courses can be rigorous in Indian schools, and expat students are sometimes not as accustomed as Indian children to dealing with the relentless pressure to succeed.


International schools in New Delhi

One of the most pronounced advantages of international schools in New Delhi is that they maintain an expat's respective home country's teaching language and curriculum. This provides students who are geographically mobile with seamless continuity in their studies.

The range in tuition for international schools in Delhi varies widely, so it is best to visit the individual school websites for this information. Fees can be high, so expat parents lured abroad by an attractive employment package should try and negotiate an education allowance in their contract.

The availability of seats is limited in all schools, so it is best to start the admission process as soon as possible.

Private schools in Delhi

Expats moving for the longer term might consider sending their child to a private school in Delhi. The language of instruction at private schools in India is English and the standard of teaching is excellent. Sending expat kids to a private school also encourages integration by allowing them to interact with local children and embrace more of the local culture. However, children at Indian private schools are under a lot of pressure to achieve high grades, something which foreign students may not be accustomed to.

Below is a list of prominent private schools in Delhi.


Private schools in Delhi

Delhi Public School R.K. Puram

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: CBSE
Ages: 13 to 18
Website: www.dpsrkp.net

The Shri Ram School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: ICSE and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.tsrs.org

Springdales School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: CBSE
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.springdalespusa.com

Modern School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: CBSE
Ages: 13 to 18
Website: www.modernschool.net

GD Goenka Public School

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: CBSE
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.gdgps.gdgoenka.com

Vasant Valley

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: CBSE
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.vasantvalley.org

International Schools in Delhi

Expat families will find that international schools in Delhi are as diverse as the city itself. Many of Delhi's international schools are British, with schooling leading up to the IGCSEs and A-levels. Students of the city's American schools can take AP subjects and the SATs. The globally recognised International Baccalaureate is another frequent offering. Some schools teach a combination of different curricula.

One of the major advantages of international schools in Delhi is the assurance of high-quality education. Well-qualified teachers and excellent facilities can be expected from most schools. Student bodies tend to be noticeably multicultural, with dozens of nationalities attending any given school.

Most international schools in Delhi have rolling admissions and accept applications throughout the year. Places can be limited, though, so it's worth applying early to secure a spot.

Below is a list of some of the most prominent international schools in Delhi.


International schools in Delhi

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Amity Global School, Noida

Amity Global School, Noida was founded in 2010 and follows the Cambridge curriculum from Nursery to Year 12. Students are also given ample opportunities to explore sporting, artistic and social interests thanks to the school's varied extra-curricular programme. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Cambridge Primary, Cambridge Secondary, Cambridge IGCSE and A-levels
Ages: 3 to 18

American Embassy School

With a balanced approach to education, the American Embassy School offers more than just academic excellence – students are encouraged to explore other areas such as athletics, the arts and community service opportunities. Graduating students can obtain either the International Baccalaureate or the American High School Diploma. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Apeejay School International – South Delhi

Apeejay School International has a range of curricula on offer to suit the needs of expat families. The school aims to cultivate global-mindedness in its students while maintaining local Indian values. A range of exciting extra-curricular activities is available. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate, Cambridge IGCSE and Indian CBSE
Ages: 3 to 18

British School

The British School offers the English National Curriculum adapted for an international context. In the final years of schooling, the International Baccalaureate curriculum is also introduced. With more than 50 years of history, the British School is a great choice for expat families in Delhi. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Deutsche Schule New Delhi

With a respected academic programme culminating in the German International Abitur, Deutsche Schule New Delhi provides a high standard of education to its students. Extra-curricular activities are varied, ranging from robotics and supervised homework sessions to Bollywood dance and Taekwondo. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: German
Ages: 1.5 to 18

DPS International School

DPS International School has a good reputation in Delhi and offers the prestigious Cambridge IGCSE and A-levels. Founded by the Delhi Public School Society, DPS has access to excellent facilities and aims to provide an internationally-minded education. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate, Cambridge IGCSE and A-levels
Ages: 3 to 18

Genesis Global School

The ethos at Genesis Global School (GGS) is one of celebrating the individual and their place in a wider community. The school's teachers are part of a wider team of professionals who will guide, nurture and inspire children to take ownership of their learning both in and out of the classroom environment. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate and CBSE (Indian)
Ages: 2.5 to 18

GD Goenka World School

More than 30 different nationalities can be found among the students of this diverse school. Conveniently located in central New Delhi, GD Goenka World School is easily accessible. The school's strong academic and extra-curricular offerings attract both local and expat parents. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18

Heritage Xperiential Learning School

Heritage Xperiential Learning School (HXLS) is known for its commitment to an experiential project-based pedagogy and integrated curriculum. In just over a decade, HXLS has established a formidable reputation for itself as a progressive, innovative school. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate and Cambridge IGCSE
Ages: 3.5 to 18

Metro Delhi International School

Founded on Christian values, Metro Delhi International School runs the American curriculum from Kindergarten through to Grade 12. All subjects are taught from a biblical worldview as the school aims to facilitate holistic personal and academic development in students. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American
Ages: 3 to 18

Pathways World School Aravali

A prestigious institution with boarding and day school options, Pathways School Aravali uses a multiple-intelligences approach to teaching. The school is fully accredited to offer the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme and Diploma Programme. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 2.5 to 18

Pathways School Gurgaon

Pathways School Gurgaon has a strong academic programme backed by a wide range of extra-curricular options. The school is situated on a centrally located 10-acre campus with easy access from Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 2.5 to 18

Pathways School Noida

Founded in 2010, Pathways School Noida is a well-respected school among expats thanks to the school's focus on the holistic development of children. Facilities are excellent and technology is utilised as an essential teaching tool. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 1 to 18

Pathways Early Years

Pathways Early Years provides an enriched environment designed to maximise learning, fun and exploration. The school grounds are home to spacious, bright and pleasant classrooms and a fenced-in outdoor play area with a variety of safe equipment. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: Early Years
Ages: 1 to 6

Lycée Français International de Delhi

Established in 1962, Lycée Français International de Delhi provides high-quality French education to a diverse student population of more than 40 nationalities. The school's educational offerings focus on cultivating fluency in French while maintaining good English-speaking skills. Students earn the well-regarded French Baccalauréat. Read more

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 2 to 18

Lifestyle in Delhi

From its boiling summers that end in monsoons to its diverse mix of people, Delhi is a city that can either be loved or loathed by expats. One of the busiest cities in India, it’s said to house more people than it can fit.

Delhi is a mix of old and new with parks like Lodi Gardens, an idyllic place to jog, picnic or people watch. Lifestyle malls are also fashionable spots to spend free time. Still, Delhi’s history can be seen in its architecture and the old ambassador cars that hint at a British empire of times bygone.


Nightlife in Delhi

Delhi has a diverse nightlife. Mehrauli is great for live music, while Greater Kailash has a large club scene and Khan Market has many bars and roof terraces. Paharganj has grown in popularity for notoriously cheap and cheerful bars, which come equipped with dusty beer bottles and shots of vodka. Connaught Place (CP), in the centre of Delhi, is home to a vibrant bar and entertainment scene. In the inner and outer circle of CP there is live music, a revolving bar and restaurants with open rooftops.


Shopping in Delhi

Haggling is the norm in Delhi, especially in the mass stretch of markets across Lajpat Nagar that sell everything a person could ever need. Shoe shops and tailors also line the market stands. Kitchen and homeware can also be purchased here. For cheap books, shirts and other clothing, expats should head to Janpath Market.

The more upmarket area of Khan Market has luxury delis and top class clothing boutiques as well as an ample selection of bars and coffee shops to quench one's thirst in between.

There are a number of shopping malls in Delhi, each housing numerous options for dining, shopping and entertainment. DLF Emporio, Ambience Mall and The Great India Place are all a shopping enthusiast's dream, with lots to explore.


Restaurants in Delhi

A diverse mix of cuisine is available in restaurants across Delhi, from street food vendors in Chandni Chowk to high-end restaurants attached to hotels. If expats want the true taste of Delhi, they should stick to the street food. Eating straight out of work at roadside eateries is a Delhi trend, but expats should head to outlets that look busy as this is where food will be freshly cooked. Hole-in-the-wall places satisfy every palette.

See and Do in Delhi

Delhi is daunting but delightful – built on seven ancient cities, the present day metropolis takes in all of them and a lot more. The city is vast and the mantra for expats looking for ways to spend a weekend in Delhi is to try to plan one major outing every day.

Take advantage of outdoor pursuits from October to April; May and June tend to be very hot and July and August make up the monsoon season.


Recommended sightseeing in Delhi

Red Fort

One of Delhi’s most famous attractions is the Red Fort, or Lāl Qila as it is locally known. This distinctive red stone structure is a reminder of the wealth and rule of the Mughal Empire that presided over the area during the 17th century.

Humayun’s Tomb

A fine example of Mughal architecture, Humayun’s Tomb is reminiscent of the Taj Mahal and houses the remains of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor. The grounds are also worth a visit as they include additional monuments such as the Tomb of Isa Khan Niyazi.

India Gate

India Gate is a spectacular archway built as a memorial to the more than 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died serving the country in various wars from 1914 to 1931, including World War I.

Lotus Temple

This Baha'i House of Worship is a distinctive figure in Delhi, known for its stunning flowerlike shape. One of the most visited buildings in the world, this is a must-see.

National Gandhi Museum

This fascinating museum features a rich collection of original relics, books, journals, art pieces and memorabilia closely connected with Mahatma Gandhi. Included are personal items ranging from Ghandi's walking stick to his urn and the bullet that killed him.

National Gallery of Modern Art

Perfect for art lovers, this museum that features artworks from the 1850s onwards. It is home to an impressive permanent collection of 14,000 works as well as a number of temporary exhibits on show.

What's On in Delhi

There are lots of fantastic yearly festivals and celebrations in Delhi that expats can look forward to. Below are some of the highlights.


Annual events in Delhi

Republic Day Parade (January)

Celebrations take place throughout India each year on the anniversary of the formation of the Indian Republic. The Delhi parade is the largest in the country. Expats will be thrilled by this grand display of the culture and heritage of India.

Garden Tourism Festival (February)

Expats will notice that in the month of February the city blooms with colours as Delhi's Garden Tourism Festival starts to seduce residents with its intoxicating fragrance. This chance to take the city's floral beauty is a must for all Delhi expats, and attendees can also enjoy performances by local bands while sampling fare from the mini food festival at the event. 

Holi (March)

Holi is a celebrated Hindu festival to mark the onset of spring. The night before the festival, bonfires are lit all over the city to symbolise the destruction of the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu. The next day, people throw bright powders of all shades at each other, covering the city (and everyone in it) in a riot of colour.

International Mango Festival (July)

India is the largest producer of mangoes in the world. Delhi Tourism hosts this celebration of all things mango, usually held at Talkatora Stadium. Over 500 types of mangoes are on show, as well as a number of events including a mango-eating competition, a prize-giving for the biggest mango, and live demonstrations of mango recipes by local chefs.

Diwali (November)

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is India’s most popular traditional festival. Houses are decorated with oil lamps and candles, the sound of firecrackers echoes through the streets and the skies light up with explosive firework shows. It is customary at this time of year for Delhi’s residents to buy new clothing and household items, so expats should make good use of the festival and kit themselves (and their home) out.

Shipping and Removals in Delhi

As in most major cities, there are many shipping and removal companies in Delhi offering complete relocation from almost anywhere in the world. However, expats are restricted to how much and what they can import from overseas duty-free, and it is often more cost efficient to buy new items in India.

Furthermore, a lot of accommodation comes fully or partly furnished, meaning it's often unnecessary for expats to bring a good portion of household items abroad.

On the flip side, though, many stunning pieces of art and furniture are cheap in India and may warrant major shipping back to one's home country. If purchasing expensive items, expats should take out shipping insurance and are advised to do so from a company other than the one used for shipping to ensure reliable coverage.

For smaller packages expats should consider air freight, which is more expensive but much quicker than the several weeks taken for sea routes. Pets can also be brought to India given their health papers are in order, but it is a good idea to use a pet relocation service to avoid customs hassles.

Frequently Asked Questions about Delhi

Moving to a new city is often equal parts exciting and stressful. To set expats' nerves at ease, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about moving to the bustling Indian city of Delhi.

Do I need a car in Delhi?

If you living in the suburbs it is best to have a car, although most companies that regularly hire expats provide transportation. Even so, this provision may not be full-time, leaving expats living in the suburbs stuck there during the evenings without a vehicle. Expats should consider hiring an additional driver to assist them in getting around the city.

There are a host of easily hailed taxis available within the city, and if in the very busy city centre it is possible to get around without a car. Ride-hailing applications such as Uber are also operational in Delhi.

What are some networks to help settle in?

There are literally hundreds of different clubs that expats can become involved with in Delhi. Many of these are multinational groups, while others are just for hanging out with people who speak the same language. Sports teams and hobby groups are everywhere. It is best to check with one's home country's embassy for a complete list. Simply browsing around online is another good way to find an expat group.

Is Delhi safe?

Expats should exercise necessary safety precautions in Delhi, just as they would in any other major city. The biggest hazard of living in Delhi is the minor health-related problems that come with eating the food; a case of traveller's diarrhoea or 'Delhi Belly' is common. Go to private hospitals for health problems. Delhi is fine to walk around in during the day but avoid walking alone at night, as one would in any big city. Also keep an eye out for petty crime like pick-pocketing to reduce the chance of becoming a victim.

Are the standards of education good in Delhi? What options are there for expat children?

There is lots of choice when it comes to education in Delhi. While public schools in the city are not a viable option for most expats, the city has a wealth of English-language private schools and international schools. While there is a lot of choice, many of these schools are over-subscribed and expats will need to act fast to secure a place.

Getting Around in Delhi

In a city as large as Delhi, it can often feel like the city’s entire populace is trying to commute at the same time. As a result, expats will find that getting around Delhi can make for a hectic and crowded experience. Cars, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, auto rickshaws, pedestrians and even cows all share the same road.

Drivers often tend not to obey standard traffic laws, adding further to the chaos. Therefore, it is highly recommended that expats, especially those new to the city, don’t try to drive themselves and instead rely on other forms of private or public transport.


Public transport in Delhi

Buses

The most popular mode of public transport in Delhi is buses, transporting about 60 percent of daily commuters. Buses in Delhi are cheap and the network of bus routes is extensive. They are, however, probably the least comfortable way to travel. They tend to be quite crowded and don’t always have air conditioning.

Metro

The Delhi Metro is a fast, clean and efficient form of public transportation. And with new lines continuing to open, the metro is becoming an easy way to travel about the city. It is best to avoid this form of transport during rush hours, though, when the cars can become quite packed. 


Taxis in Delhi

Taxis are easily available in the city and are preferable if one is travelling more than a few kilometres, or on an especially hot or rainy day when an open-sided rickshaw may be uncomfortable. Taxis can be arranged either at a roadside taxi stand or by calling any of the radio taxi services in the city. Another option is making use of ride-hailing applications such as Uber.

Taxis are all equipped with meters, which the driver should agree to use. If he doesn’t, though, expats should negotiate and agree on a price before entering the cab. 

Rickshaws

There are two kinds of rickshaws in Delhi – cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws.

Cycle rickshaws are powered by the driver pedalling in front while passengers ride on a covered bench behind the driver. They have been phased out in certain areas due to the strain they place on traffic, but they are an inexpensive way to travel short distances.

Auto rickshaws are partially enclosed motor vehicles that can be hailed from nearly every street corner in the city. They can comfortably fit up to three passengers, plus the driver in front. They are cheaper than taxis, and, because of their smaller size, can usually negotiate heavy traffic a bit faster.


Driving in Delhi

While expats have the option to buy or hire a car in Delhi, driving conditions in the city are chaotic. Foreigners who do decide to drive need to act defensively and pre-empt the erratic behaviour of other road users.

If an expat plans to live in Delhi for an extended period, then it may be worth looking into hiring a full-time or part-time driver. Many expats and middle- to upper-class Indian families keep drivers on their payroll. Those new to the city will find having a driver especially helpful in negotiating traffic and navigating the sometimes confusing roads. If expats are in India with a company, they should see if the company can help in finding or arranging for a driver.