(Updated August 2010 to reflect changes after the opening of Delhi’s new international Terminal 3.)
I’m often asked before groups come about how soon they’ll be able to exchange money when they arrive in Delhi or if it’s possible to do it upon arrival at the Delhi international airport.
You can exchange foreign currency for Indian Rupees both before and after customs in the arrival hall of Terminal 3. In the baggage claim area before customs there is a Thomas Cook counter (toward the right) and a Central Bank of India counter (toward the left). I believe the latter does not charge a commission fee for the exchange. Both counters should be open 24 hours, which is helpful since most international flights get into Delhi late at night or after midnight. Outside of customs there are also two more counters, Thomas Cook and Central Bank of India again.
The new Terminal 3 also features ATMs both before and after customs. When I recently passed through the terminal these ATMs weren’t installed yet but they are listed on the map so should be there soon if they aren’t already. The ATM in the old terminal limited transactions to 5000 Rupees (just over $100 USD currently), but I’m not sure yet if a similar limit is one these new ATMs.
The airport website provides this interactive map showing the locations of foreign exchange counters and ATMs.
Changing money at the airport can be helpful in case you need some Rupees before you’re able to go to an ATM or other bank exchange office near whatever place you’re staying at in Delhi. I’ve heard & read that the exchange rates in the airport aren’t always as good as what you get at a bank office in town. However, I haven’t always found this to be true.