The Delhi Metro is a great boon to visitors to Delhi, as well as to residents. It’s a world class metro rail system that’s clean, safe, relatively comfortable and usually on time. Except at rush hour, when it can be excruciatingly packed, it’s a pretty pleasant way to travel.
If you’ll be taking more than one trip on the Metro, you’ll probably want to get a Smart Card. They are available at the customer service kiosk, which you’ll find next to the turnstiles. There’s a rs50 deposit, which you get back when you turn the card in, along with any remaining credit. You also get a 10% discount off the already cheap prices. Without a Smart Card, you have to stand in line to buy a token for every single journey, as you can only get one at a time.
The trains don’t run all night, so if you are planning to ride the Metro late at night or very early in the morning, you need to verify the schedule.
You’ll have to pass through a security check no matter where you board. All bags are x-rayed, and passengers are patted down. Avoid carrying all the usual sorts of things that security doesn’t want to see and you’ll be fine. There’s a sign asking that you don’t put your water bottle through the machine.
The Airport Line will soon be up and running, so it will be a much faster and easier way to get to the airport from Central Delhi (New Delhi railway station/Connaught Place). Whereas the regular lines allow just 15kg of luggage (though they aren’t all that strict as long as your bag fits through the x-ray machine), it seems that you’ll be able to take larger suitcases on the Airport Line. There are some issues about security for this line, so this may be one of the main reasons it hasn’t opened yet.
Most, if not all, of the stations have lifts (elevators), which almost always work, though some are in inconvenient and less-than-obvious locations. There’s usually an escalator going up, as well.
All the trains are wheelchair-accessible, as are most of the stations. There are always at least two entrances, but many of them have only stairs.
There are a few seats in every car reserved for ladies, senior citizens and physically-challenged people. If you happen to be in any of these categories, you can easily get a seat. All you have to do is smile and ask politely. Most people will graciously yield up their seat if they aren’t meant to be sitting there, especially because you are a guest in their country. There are a few trains that even have whole cars reserved for ladies at rush hour.
Although some of them have murals or other themed decorations, most of the stations are as uninteresting as you would expect. One notable exception, however, which could be a destination in itself (at least for textile and handicraft lovers), is the INA station, whose walls are adorned with samples of many different traditional arts by master artists and craftspersons. The display is beautiful. They put up this exhibition because this is the stop for Dill Haat. Dilli Haat is definitely worth a visit. It’s a fabulous place to buy traditional art and handicraft items, some of which are really superb. Incidentally, INA market is a great local market that also has a lot of imported foods and appliances.