Delhi is India’s main point of arrival for overseas visitors, and the major transport hub for destinations in the states of rajasthan, the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh as well as central north India. Delhi city, the showacse of India, has been the centre of political activity from time immemorial. The ancient fortness, majestic buildings and historic ruins find their modern counterparts in the tall skyscrapers, diplomatic enclaves and well-planned townships of New Delhi. The people here, their lifestyles, traditions and even the climate are a rich and varied mixture of all that is india.
From the tourism point of view, New Delhi benefits a lot from its history. The city was built to the south of the old city built by Shahjahan. Before the Mughuls came on the scene, Delhi was the headquarters of many dynasties that have ruled India or major parts of it. Tughlaqabad, Old Fort built by Humayun, the monuments at Mehrauli, and of course, the Red Fort are among the best known tourist attractions of New Delhi. Later additions by the British like the Viceroy’s House ( Rashtrapati Bhavan ), the parliament House, and Connaught Place are also among the highlights of the New Delhi tours.
The city holds tremendous importance for the country, being the national capital. All the major ministries and the secretariats are located here as are the head offices of major government organizations. New Delhi is synonymous to the governance of modern India, much as Old Delhi was the center of political activities in medieval India.
Tourism in New Delhi comprises all the major historical places and monuments that are the relics of the past dynasties. These include the famous monuments like Red Fort and Qutb Minar, and a large number of forts, palaces and tombs built by the erstwhile rulers. The Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rajpath, India gate, Connaught Place, and the parliament House are some of the modern buildings which should be visited by tourists during New Delhi tours. In addition to the above mentioned spots, New Delhi is also home to a large number of religious places. The most prominent among these are the Jumma Masjid, the Akshardham temple, and the Lotus temple. New Delhi has been the residence of many prominent figures of Indian politics including the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his equally famous descendants. The residence of Jawaharlal Nehru is also a major tourist attraction of New Delhi. The memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the father of the nation, at Rajghat, and the memorials of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, both of whom were assassinated, are also some notable sites.
Delhi’s climate is, sad to say, infamously bad, combining the scorching aridity of Rajasthan’s deserts with the frigid cold of the Himalayas. From April to October, temperatures are scorchingly hot (over 40°C is common), and the monsoon rains deluge the city in July and August. With every air-conditioner running at full blast, the city’s creaky infrastructure is often stretched beyond the breaking point, with power and water outages common. In winter, especially December and January, temperatures can dip to near-zero and the city is blanketed in thick fog, causing numerous flight cancellations. The shoulder seasons (Feb-Apr and Sep-Nov) are comparatively pleasant, with temperatures in the 20-30°C range, but short.
Places to visit in Delhi:
Chandni Chowk – One of the main markets of Delhi, Chandni Chowk was once lined with beautiful fountains. But today the place is very crowded and congested. Chandni Chowk is located opposite the Red Fort. The Area has got the Digamber Jain Temple which houses the Birds hospital. On one end of Chandni Chowk is the Fatehpuri Mosque which was erected by the wives of Shah Jahan. Opposite the old police station or the Kotwali is the Sunheri Masjid from where Nadir Shah ordered his troops to plunder and massacre Delhi.
Old Delhi – The City of Shahjahanabad was the capital of Shah Jahan but little remains of that old city. The Old Delhi or the walled city served as the capital for many emperors. Today, remains of the historical city are the gates like – Kashmiri Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, Delhi gate. Near Delhi Gate is Feroz Shah Kotla, close to this is kept the Ashokan Pillar which was brought from Meerut by Feroz Shah Tughlaq.
The Ghats – Along the banks of Jamuna are located the places were the leaders and freedom fighters of India were cremated. The Raj Ghat is one of the most visited ghats. A simple square platform of black marble marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated after his assassination in 1948. To North of Raj Ghat is the cremation ground of Jawaharlal Nehru named as Shanti Van. The cremation ground of Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi are also in the vicinity. The cremation ground of Lal Bahadur Shastri is nearby.
Rajpath & India Gate – Flanked by ornamental ponds and lawns, Rajpath is host to the Republic Day Parade. The two secretariat buildings and Rashtrapati Bhawan on the Raisina hills are located on the two sides of this immensely broad road. Previously the Boat Club, besides the Rajpath, was host to many demonstrations and Rallies. India Gate is towards the eastern end of Rajpath .
India Gate is a 42m high stone arch of triumph. It bears the name of the 85,000 Indian Army Soldiers who died in the campaigns of WW1, the North-West Frontiers operations and the 1919 Afghan Fiasco. Below the arch is the memorial to the unknown soldier. India Gate is surrounded by green grass lawns and trees.
The Parliament House– Sansad Bhawan or the Parliament house is the supreme law making body in the country. It is the center of power and politicians decide the fate of the Indian Democracy here. Visitors are not allowed inside the house but when the house is in session, visitors may take permission to go inside and watch the proceedings of the house. The parliament consists of three halls- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the central hall. For the foreign visitors permits are given only after they obtain an introductory letter from the respective embassy.
Crafts Museum – Crafts museums is at Pragati Maidan Grounds. Open from 10am-5pm daily.
Gandhi Darshan & Gandhi National Museum – Gandhi Darshan & Gandhi National Museum is across Rajghat and Gandhi smriti is on Tees January Marg
Dara Shikoh Library – Dara Shikoh Library is an archaeological museum in Civil Lines and is open from 10am – 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Dolls Museum – A unique museum of Dolls is located near the ITO crossing on the Bahadur Shah Jafar Marg . These dolls are collected from different parts of India as well as from other countries of the world. These dolls reflect the tradition and culture of the region from where they come. Children Book Trust of India is In the same building. This is an organisation which is committed to provide quality books for the little ones.
National Science Centre – National Science center is located near Pragati Maidan. This center is famous for the models which can be operated by the visitor himself. Children are particularly fascinated by the mysteries of science. Open through out the week except on Mondays.
Humayun’s Tomb – Built by the wife of Humayun, Haji Begum in the mid 16th century, this red sand stone structure is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal. The structure is one of the best example of Mughal Architecture. Humayun’s wife is also buried in the red and white sandstone, black and yellow marble tomb. The entry in the complex is free on Fridays.
Old Fort – It is believed that the Pandavas had built their capital, Indraprastha at the place where the old fort stands today. This fort, now in ruins, was the seat for administration for many emperors. The legendary Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from here till he was defeated by Abdali in the battle of Panipat. A new light & sound show is held by the Department of Delhi Tourism every evening. Timings and Tickets are available from the tourist office.
Safdarjung Tomb – The Safdarjang tomb is besides the of Safdarjang airport. This tomb was built by the Nawab of Avadh for his father. The structure is one of the finest example of architecture of its time and tells a saga of the last remnants of a dying empire.
Jantar Mantar – Few minutes walk from Connaught Place is is a strange collection of solomon coloured structures. These were built by Maharaja Jai Singh and is actually an observatory. Though not as large as its compatriot in Jaipur Jantar Mantar at Delhi also an attraction for the tourists. The astonishing part of these observatories is that they can calculate many astronomical movements very accurately.
Red Fort – Built in Red Sand stone this imposing fort is 3 kms in perimeter with the height of the wall varying from 18 to 30 meters at places. When the Red fort was being built Yamuna used to flow on its one sides and there were deep moats on the other. Today Yamuna flows almost a kilometer away from the fort and the moats have dried up. In the evening the Delhi Tourism organises a light and sound show which narrates the history of Delhi in context of the Red Fort.
The Lahore gate, the main entrance, has some emotions and sentiments attached with the Indian independence as the Tricolour flutters on the top of this gate. On 15th August the Indian Prime minister addresses the nation from here. As soon one enters in the fort from the Lahore gate There is a small Bazzar, here all kinds of items are available. This Shopping arcade was known as the Mina Bazzar and was open only to women on Thursdays’s during the Mughal era.
The arcade leads to the Naubat Khana or the drum house where the Musicians used to play drums on the arrival of Emperors or princes. Just above the Naubat Khana is the Indian war memorial museum which has a rich collection of armours, guns, swords, and other items related to war.
The Dewan-i-Am or the place of public hearing had a wall paneled with marble in laid with precious stone which were removed during the mutiny of 1857. The Dewan-i-Khas or the place for special hearing was the area where the emperor used to hold meetings with his ministers. Next to Dewan-i-Khas are the royal baths or the Hammams and Shahi Burj which are closed for public viewing. The white marbled Moti Masjid or the pearl mosque was the private mosque for Aurangzeb.
Qutab Minar – In 1199, Qutbuddin raised the Qutab Minar either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32 mtrs. it tapers to 2.75 mtrs. at a height of 72.5 mtrs. It is still the highest stone tower in India, one of the finest stone tower in India, one of the finest Islamic structures ever raised and Delhi’s recognised landmark. It was completed by the Sultan’s successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish. The tomb of Iltutmish, which he himself built in 1235, is nearby, Its interiors are profusely decorated with calligraphy, though the dome has collapsed.
The Gardens – Though Delhi is fast being converted into a concrete jungle, the Delhi Development Authority is trying best to provide the residents of Delhi with some greenery by construction of parks and gardens. The DDA has also installed some musical fountains at specific locations which are worth visiting. Being part of the Aravalies,
Moghul Gardens – The Mughal Garden is located in the premises of the President house. This garden is not opened to public viewing. During the spring seasons of February and March, when the garden is in full bloom people are allowed inside. This garden have some exotic and rare flower plants. The dwarf orange trees and numerous Rose plants are special attraction in the garden. The fountains add to the beauty of the place.
Rose Garden – National Rose Garden is situated in the Chanakya Puri area of the capital. This garden has some of the rare and imported rose variety. The best season to visit this garden is during December / January when the flowers are in full bloom.
Lodhi Garden – Adjoining the India International Center is the Garden, around the tombs of Sayid and Lodhi rulers. This garden is very well planned and has artificial streams. The Tombs of the rulers adorn the architectural style which was latter used in the construction of Taj Mahal.
The Zoo – The Delhi Zoo is located near the Purana Qila on the Delhi-Mathura road. Delhi Zoo has many animals which includes the rare and exotic white tigers. This place is particularly popular among the children.