Despite the controversy around the state of construction and the athletes’ quarters for the Commonwealth Games, there is still never a better time to visit.

After the Commonwealth Games circus has left town, there won't be a better time to visit Delhi, with renovations of the capital’s old buildings and a huge expenditure on infrastructure making Delhi gleam, at least in parts. Here are 20 great things to do in India’s capital.

1. Try Dilli-ki-Chaat - Delhi's tangy local street food, such as chaat papdi (fried wafers loaded with potatoes, chickpeas, yoghurt and chilli) or golgappas (fried hollow dough filled with chickpeas and spicy potatoes), in Old Delhi

2. Visit the great sandstone carcass of the Red Fort, and imagine the last days of the Mughal empire and the British era.

3. Humayun's Tomb combines Persian style with local craftsmanship, and is surrounded by the fiercely symmetrical Mughal gardens: take a stroll here at dusk.

4. Hear qawwalis (devotional music) sung at dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya; religious songs resounding at around sunset at one of Islam's holiest tombs.

5. A trip through the doors of the Imperial hotel is like a voyage back into the days of the Raj, with polished hallways hung with chandeliers and works of art. Drink a G&T in its 1911 bar.

6. Lose yourself to shopping in the temples to Indian craft that are Delhi's government emporiums on Janpath, close to Connaught Place.

7. Get lost and confused in the narrow bazaars of Old Delhi, and feel like you have wandered somewhere medieval.

8. Ride on the Delhi metro: so cheap, so clean, so democratic, unlike the other world upstairs.

9. Get a suit made in Khan Market - take one to copy and get made-to-measure at a fraction of the cost of Saville Row.

10. Visit the former home of Indira Gandhi, called Indira Gandhi Smriti, where she was shot dead by one of her bodyguards in 1984, and learn about India's most powerful dynasty.

11. Wander around Lodhi Gardens on a Sunday afternoon, the perfect place for people watching.

12. Discover the district of Hauz Khas, with its crumbling Mughal tombs and tempting art, antique and fashion boutiques.

13. Chow down on scrumptious masala dosas at the Janpath branch of Saravana Bhavan, and finish your meal with a deliciously gritty south Indian coffee.

14. Use the map from William Dalrymple's City of Djinns for a different way to explore the city.

15. Eat a great Gujarati thali at pristine Rajdhani, opposite Rivoli cinema, just off Connaught Place.

16. Shop middle-class Delhiite-style at laid-back Khan Market, browsing its bookshops and hanging out for a chat at Café Turtle, fuelled by coffee and gooey cake.

17. Take a trip out to peaceful Qutb Minar, with its towering minaret resembling an ornate factory chimney.

18. Wind up at the Jama Masjid, climb the mosque's minaret, then enjoy a classic non-veg meal at nearby culinary institutions Karims or Al-Jawahar, famous for their roasted meat kebabs.

19. Get flabbergasted by the wealth of Indian art at the National Museum.

20. Visit Gandhi's simple tomb in its tranquil gardens, and drink in the atmosphere - nowhere else in Delhi is as peaceful as this.

The article 'Twenty great things to do in Delhi' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.