Officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India. Delhi is a city where time travel is feasible. Step aboard your time machine and you can go from Old Delhi, where labourers haul sacks of spices and jewellers weigh gold on dusty scales, to modern New Delhi, with its colonial-era parliament buildings and penchant for high tea. Then on to the future: Gurgaon, a satellite city of skyscraping offices and glitzy malls. It is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh to the east. It is the most expansive city in India. It has a population of about 25 million, making it the second most populous city after Mumbai and most populous urban agglomeration in India and 3rd largest urban area.
This pulsating metropolis has a bigger population than Australia, and is one of the world’s most polluted cities. But woven into its rich fabric are moments of pure beauty: an elderly man threading temple marigolds; Sufi devotional songs; a boy flying a kite from a rooftop. Delhi is a lot more than just a city of love. It is the absolute combination of tradition and modernity. A city with innumerable monuments on one hand and a world class airport and metro on the other. Street food, shopping malls, thrifty shopping places, religious places, theatre; you name it and Delhi has it! So don’t be put off. Delhi is a city that has been repeatedly ravaged and reborn, with vestiges of lost empires in almost every neighbourhood. There’s so much to experience here, it’s like a country in itself.
All you have to do is figure out what they like, and choose from our list of famous tourist places in Delhi across different categories.
HUMAYUN’S TOMB :
Delhi is the first garden tomb in India, It was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. This is the third UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE on our list. It is the first garden tomb in the Indian Subcontinent. The tomb stands in the centre of a square garden called ‘Charbagh’ which has shallow water channels running through it. Several rulers of the Mughal Dynasty lie buried here.
The Humayun’s Tomb is a magnificent piece of architecture that took almost 9 years to complete with an expenditure of nearly one and a half million rupees. The mausoleum is a 140 feet high structure with a central dome. The double-layered dome has a white marble exterior but the rest of the tomb is made of red sandstone, with white marble ornamentation. Built over acres of lush green land and surrounded by fountains this complex is home to a well manicured garden, a beautiful mosque and several other tombs. Constructed out of red sandstone.
INDIA GATE :
Everyone knows of the glorious India Gate! Round the year one can see people picnicking or just enjoying a nice walk around the area. India Gate is one monument that defines Delhi or India for that matter, It was built in 1931 as a memorial for martyrs of World War I and war in Afghanistan. At Rajpath, the structure looks amazing in evening lights. There are beautiful fountains around to make the area nice and cozy. If you happen to come around the October-November period do sign up for the Airtel Half Marathon; an early morning run at Raj Path is bound to stay etched in your memory.
At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The India Gate is flanked by lush green lawns, which are a popular picnic spot, especially during winter afternoons and summer evenings. The wide roads surrounding the India Gate are also frequented by morning and evening walkers. There is also a small pond nearby where one can enjoy boating as well. At nightfall India Gate is beautifully lit up, including the surrounding fountains and makes for a beautiful sight.
RED FORT :
Founded by Emperor Shah Jahan and just a few decades older than the Palace of Versailles in France, this fort took 10 years to construct. Constructed using red sandstone, it remains one of the architectural marvels of the Mughal era. In 2007, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Red Fort symbolizes the era of Mughal rule in India. The Fort, built in 1638, is a magnificent monument that captivates your attention and exhibits the show of architectural splendor of Mughals.
The Red Fort is octagonal in design and there are beautiful flower decorations and calligraphy on the walls, examples of later Mughal style architecture. At one point the Read Fort was surrounded by a deep moat, used to keep intruders out. The fort is the setting for an evening sound and light show, narrated by Amitabh Bachchan. Tourists from India and abroad never miss the opportunity to visit this huge structure.
Chandni Chowk, which leads up to the Red Fort is one of the oldest markets in Delhi. It houses many religious buildings like the Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, Jama Masjid, historical mansions, shops and eateries. Paranthe Wali Gali is one of the most famous eating areas in the market. The market is an amazing place to shop for fabrics, stationary (at Nai Sadak), hardware and silver and gold jewelry.
QUTUB MINAR :
Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom. Qutub Minar is the 2nd tallest minar in India. It has been declared as a UNESCO Heritage Site. At the foot of the tower stands a mosque which is the first mosque built in India. Qutab Minar has five storeys and every storey is marked by a projected balcony. While red sandstone was used in the construction of first three stores, marble and sandstone were used to construct the last two stores. India’s first ever mosque, Quwwat-ul-Islam is at the foot of Qutab Minar.
Qutub Minar of Delhi is surrounded by a lush green manicured garden, which is a much favored leisure spot for Delhi locals. You can see tourists and locals loitering around the whole winter afternoons here and there inside the tower. If you only have time to visit just one of Delhi’s ancient ruins, make it this.
JAMA MASJID :
India’s largest mosque built in 1656, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan got the Jama Masjid built between 1644 and 1656 on a massive budget. The four watchtowers were used for security. There are two minarets standing 40m high, one of which can be climbed for amazing views. All of the three gates allow access to the mosque. Jama Masjid is situated in the older part of Delhi, now called Chandni Chowk and surrounded by beautiful Mughal structures. The purity of warm welcome can be felt here.
The principal prayer hall is situated on the western side. It is decorated with many elevated arches with cusps. The hall is utilized by the devotees on almost all the days except on Fridays and other Muslim holidays. On these special days of celebrations the courtyard remains packed up with the devotees offering their prayers.
LOTUS TEMPLE :
Lotus Temple, is a Bahá’í House of Worship completed in 1986. East of Nehru place, this temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is the last of seven Major Bahai’s temples built around the world. It serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion, or any other distinction. It is situated near mandir marg in Kalkaji, New Delhi. Lotus symbolizes four religions namely Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Jainism.
Designed by Fariborz Sahba the Lotus Temple is one of the greatest pieces of architecture in New Delhi. The Lotus temple, constructed entirely out of white marble, is known for its modern architecture, which stands out against the concrete jungle around it. The brainchild behind the architecture of this temple is a Canadian architect named Fariborz Sahba. He took 10 long years in planning the design and implementing it. The temple is surrounded by sparkling pools.
Lodi Gardens are one of the pleasantest green spaces in Delhi, with some labelled trees to help visitors from overseas become familiar with the Indian flora. Lodhi garden is located beside India International Center which is just 3 kilometers away from Humayun’s Tomb. It is one of the historical gardens in Delhi. Lodhi garden houses the tombs of Sayyid and Lodhi rulers. The tomb of Mohammed Shah, the last of the Sayyid dynasty rulers, the earliest of the tombs in the garden, was built in 1444 by Ala-ud-din Alam Shah as a tribute to Mohammed Shah.
The garden is very well kept and still have some historical monuments which are an added attraction for the tourists. The building of monumental tombs runs against the principles of Islam and it is probable that Delhi’s Turkish Sultans brought the idea from Persia to India. Once you enter the Lodhi Garden, you get to feel the history in its air only. Today it serves as one of the best jogger’s park in Delhi. You can find a large variety of people early in the morning at Lodhi garden- some joggers while some fitness freaks practicing yoga or meditation amidst the lush green environment.
Delhi has a lot to offer but the above-mentioned places are worth special mention. The three in the list, Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar are declared world heritage sites. Lotas Temple is unique being one among the seven major Bahai temples in the world. You will love Lodi Gardens for the serene atmosphere and lush greens while Swaminarayan Akshardham is not only a visual delight but also a clear example of architectural excellence and splendor of Modern India. India Gate not only relives memory but offers a pleasant atmosphere. Do not miss out on the special tourist places in Delhi during your visit. But if you live in Delhi and are looking for places to enjoy weekend getaways; you need not worry as there are many picnic spots and hill stations near Delhi which are perfect for that.
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