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Delhi - The Heart of India

Delhi has two parts: New Delhi, India's capital and the seat of government, is a modern city, offering wide tree-lined boulevards, spacious parks and the distinctive style of Lutyens' architectural design; 'Old' Delhi, on the other hand, is a city several centuries old, teeming with narrow winding streets, temples, mosques and bazaars.

Must sees include the Red Fort and the nearby Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque) both built in the mid-17th century at the height of the Moghul Empire. Also of note is the Qutab Minar's soaring tower built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. At the base of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque built in the same period using stone from demolished Hindu temples. Delhi attracts the finest musicians and dancers offering an ideal opportunity to hear the sitar, sarod and the subtle rhythm of the tabla, and to see an enthralling variety of dance forms, each with its own costumes and elaborate language of gestures. Theaters and cinemas show films from all over India, and the city has some of the country's finest restaurants offering many styles of regional cuisine.

Delhi Known For Enriched Tapestry of Ancient and Modern India and this is where it all begins and also ends.

Places of Interest:

Moghul Monuments: Red Fort ("Lal Qila"), Kabuli or Khuni Darwaza, Feroz Shah Kotla, Qutub Minar, Tughlaqabad, Nizamuddin Aulia, Humayun's Tomb, Lodi's Tomb, Safdarjung's Tomb, Jama Masjid, Jantar Mantar.

British Monuments: India Gate, The Secretariat Complex, Rashtrapati Bhavan & Mughal Gardens, Parliament House, Teen Murti House and Connaught Place.

Excursions: Badhkal Lake-32 km, Ballabgarh-36.8 km, Karnalake-132 km, Dabchick- 92 km, Dasna- 40 km, Dhanaa- 41 km, Dharudara-70 km, Hindon- 19 km, Hodal- 90 km, Maur Bund- 32 km, Okhla-11 km, Sardhana- 24 km, Sohna-56 km and Suraj Kund- 18 km.

Other Monuments: The Supreme Court, Raj Ghat, Shanti Vana, Vijay Ghat, Ladakh Buddha Vihar, Bahai's temple, Vigyan Bhavan, Diplomatic Enclave.
 

humayuns-tomb

Humayun's Tomb

As the name suggests, Humayun's tomb is the final resting place of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. Located in the Nizamuddin East area of Delhi, it is the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent. This splendid piece of architecture was commissioned for construction by Humayun's chief consort empress Bega Begum in the year 1569-70 and is one of the very few structures that used red sandstone on such a massive scale at that time. The design of Humayun's tomb pertains to typical Mughal architecture with Persian influences and was conceptualized by Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyath. Owing to its magnificent design and illustrious history, Humayun's Tomb was featured in UNESCO's World Heritage List in the year 1993.

The architectural genius of Humayun's tomb is hard to miss. This magnificent tomb sits in the middle of a huge, ornate Mughal Garden and its beauty is only enhanced during the winter months. Situated on the banks of the River Yamuna, this mausoleum is also home to the remains of many other Mughals, including his wives, son and descendants of the later Emperor Shah Jahan, as well as numerous other subsequent Mughals. Its incredibly ornate design and careful construction set the tone for all Mughal architectures to come.
 
red-fort

Red Fort - Lal Qila

The Red Fort is a historical fortification in the national capital of New Delhi. Located in the center of the city, it was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty. It was constructed by Shah Jahan in the year 1939 as a result of a capital shift from Agra to Delhi. This imposing piece of architecture derives its name from its impregnable red sandstone walls. In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political center of the Mughal state and the setting for events critically impacting the region. Today, this monument is home to a number of museums that have an assortment of precious artifacts on display. Every year, the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the national flag here on the Independence Day.

Formerly known as Quila-e-Mubarak or the Blessed Fort, the Red Fort lies along the banks of the river Yamuna, whose waters fed the moats surrounding the fort. It was a part of the medieval city of Shahjahanabad, popularly known today as 'Old Delhi'. The entire fort complex is said to represent the architectural creativity and brilliance of Mughal architecture. With so much history and heritage associated with it, the Red Fort is one of the most popular monuments in India and a major tourist attraction in Delhi. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. The Archaeological Survey of India is at present responsible for the security and preservation of this magnificent monument.

qutub-minar

Qutub Minar

The soaring and brave tower that allures tourists despite being destroyed by ravages of natural apocalypses several times, Qutub Minar is the tallest individual tower in the world and second tallest monument of Delhi. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located in Mehrauli and its construction was started in 1192 by Qutb Ud-Din-Aibak, founder of Delhi Sultanate. Later, the tower was built by various rulers over the centuries. The sight of this glorious monument takes you back to the rich history of India.

The astounding architecture which includes immaculate carvings will leave you bewitched. Besides Qutub Minar, the Qutub Complex has many other ancient structures to offer you like Iron Pillar and the Alai Darwaza. As you roam around, the place will surely compel you to immerse deeper into India's past and admire the vintage architecture. The architecture aficionados will never have enough of Qutub Minar. It has become a favourite picnic spot for Delhiites where they just relax with the Minar in the backdrop. Also, the opulent Qutub Festival which brags about the glory of the tower is a major attraction for tourists. So, live the illustrious history of India with Qutub Minar and other different monuments erected at one place.

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India Gate

The All India War Memorial, popularly known as the India Gate, is located along the Rajpath in New Delhi. The imposing structure of India Gate is an awe-inspiring sight and is often compared to the Arch de Triomphe in France, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and the Arch of Constantine in Rome. This 42-meter tall historical structure was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is one of the largest war memorials in the country. India Gate is also famous for hosting the Republic Day Parade every year.

Dedicated to 82,000 Indian and British soldiers who died during the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War, this monument has the names of 13,300 servicemen inscribed on its surface. The foundation stone of this structure was laid down in the year 1921, and the final building was unveiled in the year 1931 by the Indian Viceroy Lord Irwin. The premises of India Gate also houses the Amar Jawan Jyoti, which is a kindled structure right underneath the archway. Built in 1971 post the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Amar Jawan Jyoti symbolises the eternal, immortal soldiers of India. Owing to its rich historical background and astonishing architecture, India Gate has become one of the most popular picnic spots in the city.

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Chandini Chowk

One of the oldest markets in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is Old Delhi's main thoroughfare which is a chaotic shopping street lined by hawkers and porters with narrow lanes offering full medieval bazaar experience. It is an important historical site renowned for the availability of every kind of goods as well as food. It was constructed in the 17th-century b the Mughal ruler of India Shah Jahan. It is situated opposite the Red Fort and provides a view of the Fatehpuri Mosque.

Crisscrossed by narrow streets with shops jostling for space, Chandi Chowk gives a feel of old Delhi shopping. Since the 17th-century era, this places is rightly called a "shoppers paradise" in Delhi. During the reign of Shah Jahan, there was a tree-lined canal running through its centre, reflecting the moon. Hence, the name "Chandni Chowk" came to being which means "moonlight place". Shopping at Chandni Chowk is fun as the market is distributed in several streets and these narrow streets are inundated with vibrant varieties of clothes, perfumes, electronic items, jewellery, candles, idols of deities and lifestyle goods.

The market deals in everything that shoppers might think to buy for oneself and as well as for home. As this is a wholesale market, one can get huge discounts on most of the items. These shopping streets is a heaven for retailers too. Apart from shopping, this place is equally famous for its eateries, street food, and Indian snacks. It has been aptly said for this barrage of noise, colour and smell, "Are janaab Dilli aae aur chandni chowk nahi dekha to kya dekha?"

lotus-temple

Lotus Temple

Located in the national capital of New Delhi, the Lotus Temple is an edifice dedicated to the Baha'i faith. The magnificent structure of this building unfolds in the form of a stupendous white petal lotus and is one of the most visited establishments in the world. The design of this shrine was conceptualized by Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba and was completed in the year 1986. This temple seeks to propagate the oneness of the Almighty and is open to all regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender. The Lotus temple it is one of the seven Baha'i House of Worship present around the world.

As you enter the complex of the temple, you encounter an enchanting entrance gate, beautiful floral gardens and scintillating pools. The pathway leading up to the temple doors is lined with lush green shrubs and a feeling of tranquillity adorns the atmosphere despite the bubbling crowd. Once inside, the mesmerising architecture will lull you into an introspective silence. You can read and chant religious texts of any faith, and musical renditions of religious texts can be sung without any inhibitions in the temple complex. The Bahai Lotus Temple is without a doubt one of the must-visit places in the capital. not just for its marvellous architecture but also to experience a new way of meditation in a completely different, blissful ambience.

jantar-mantar

Jantar Mantar

Located in the Parliament Street, south Connaught Circle of New Delhi, Jantar Mantar is a vast observatory built to help and improve upon the studies of time and space as was known. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the year 1724 and forms a part of a collection of five such observatories located in Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. Delhi's Jantar Mantar consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments which can be used to compile the astronomical tables and to predict the movement and timings of the sun, moon and planets. The intelligent construction and placement of these instruments allowed the observer to note the position of heavenly bodies with their naked eye alone.

Jantar Mantar observatory consists of masonry built astronomical instruments that have stood the test of time and still work as well as they did in the olden days. Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur was keenly interested in these astronomical observations and the study of all the systems, and this observatory was erected by him upon the instructions of Muhammad Shah. Built out of brick, rubble and then plastered with lime, these instruments have been repaired and restored from time to time without making any significant alteration. The apparatus here pertains to Egypt's Ptolemaic astronomy and follows three classical celestial coordinates to track the positions of heavenly bodies- namely horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system and the ecliptic system. There are four primary devices constructed here: The Samrat Yantra, the Jai Prakash, Ram Yantra and Misra Yantra. There lies a small temple of Bhairava to the east of the main site and even that was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II.

jamia-masjid-delhi

Jamia Masjid

Amidst the rush and chaos of Central Delhi, lies the peace and tranquillity of the largest mosque in the country. The 'Masjid-I Jahan-Numa' or Jama Masjid as it is more commonly known, means "World Reflecting Mosque." It was the last of Shah Jahan's impressive collection of architectural undertakings, after the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. The mosque hosts thousands of pilgrims each year on the holy occasion of Eid to offer special Namaz in the morning. The Jama Masjid, Connaught Place and Parliament house all fall on a straight line thanks to the genius of Edwin Lutyens, the architect of New Delhi. With a capacity of twenty-five thousand people in the courtyard, Jama Masjid is arguably the largest mosque in the country.Unfortunately, non-Muslims are not allowed inside the Masjid during Namaz offerings. Evenings are surreal when the steps leading to the mosque are filled with food and book stalls.

Jama Masjid is situated in the older part of Delhi, now called Chandni Chowk and surrounded by beautiful Mughal structures. It took a huge construction cost of one million rupees at the time, five thousand workers and six years (1650-1656) to complete.The purity of warm welcome can be felt here. To reach the entrance one needs to climb 121 steps. The massive central dome is an outstanding example of Islamic architecture. Most of the enhancement has been done through fluorescent motifs. The structures are adorned with floral designs with the lavish use of arches, under arch, wall, under domes, on the columns and floors.

The courtyard in front of the mosque is spread across 408 square feet and has an impressive capacity of twenty-five thousand worshippers. Jama Masjid extends for about 1200 square meters in area with three gateways, four towers and two minarets which are forty meters high. Built of sandstone and white marble, this architectural masterpiece is an imposing structure with significant Islamic relics like the red-beard hair of the Prophet Muhammad, his footwear and foot mark along with an Old Quran transcript on a deer skin preserved inside. Sadaullah Khan who was the Wazir (prime minister) during Shah Jahan's rule supervised the construction of the mosque. Travelers may also hire robes outside the North gate. The mosque is also known as the "Friday Mosque."

rashtrapati-bhawan-delhi"

Rashtrapati Bhawan

Located on the western end of the Rajpath in New Delhi, the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India. It was originally built with the intent of serving as the Viceroy's House. With its 340 room main building covering 5 acres on an estate of 330 acres, it is one of the largest residences of any head of the state in the world. This majestic piece of architecture was conceptualized by renowned architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. The construction saw completion in the year 1929 and now stands today as a magnificent symbol of all that India is. Its current inhabitant is President Ram Nath Kovid who assumed office in July 2017.

The premises of the Rashtrapati Bhavan has been divided into three circuits and can be accessed by an authorised visitor at specific times slots over the day. The first one is the Main Building and Central Lawn, where you can spectate the architecture firsthand. The second circuit is the Rashtrapati Bhawan Museum complex, which has a number of buildings within its own perimeter. The third circuit comprises of the marvellous Mughal Gardens which is a paradise of elegant gardens and lush greenery. Visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan for a marvellous acquaintance with all that is splendid and awe-inspiring.

connaught place Delhi

Connaught Place

Connaught Place or 'CP' as it is more commonly known is a massive commercial and financial centre in New Delhi. Named after the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, this confusing market complex houses almost all famous international chain stores, famous food chains, restaurants and bars. The central park hosts a lot of cultural events. This circular, greying whitewashed structure has two concentric circles; the inner circle which has blocks A to F and the outer circle which has blocks G to N. The inner circle was renamed as Rajiv Chowk and the outer circle was renamed as Indira Chowk after Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi respectively.

Connaught Place is regarded as one of the top heritage buildings in the city. Always bustling and vibrating with people, it is also filled with Contemporary art galleries, antique theatres like Regal Cinema and toy stores. Delhi's first ice cream parlour, first toy store and first art gallery were all opened at this place. It is the ninth most expensive office market, costlier than Dubai, downtown Boston and Shanghai. Be it Indian or western fashion, khadi garments, accessories or various Indian handicrafts; one can get everything here.

Rajghat Delhi

Rajghat

Rajghat is a place where Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation was cremated followed by his assassination in the year 1948. Visitors from all around the world come here to pay their homage.

Rajghat, situated 4 km away from Janpath, holds a great significance in the history of India. This memorial of Mahatma Gandhi is a place where his last rites were performed on 31st January 1948. The place is visited by locals as well as foreigners and various delegates and VIPs to pay their homage to the Father of the Nation. A prayer is held every Friday, the day he died at Rajghat. Gandhiji's philosophy is projected through picture, sculpture and photos At Gandhi memorial Museum at Rajghat, his life and philosophy of Sarvodaya Movement are also shown through a film in English and Hindi between 9:30 AM till 5:30 Pm except on Thursday. On Sunday, it is featured in Hindi at 4 PM and at 5 PM in English.

Nizamuddin Dargah Delhi

Nizamuddin Dargah

Dedicated to the world famous Muslim Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Chisti, the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is a mausoleum and shrine located in Delhi. The complex of the dargah is a beautiful amalgam of red stone and white marble and was built in the year 1526. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah seeks to propagate the Sufi tradition which is based on spirituality and views all religions as equal. As an implication of the same, people of all religions are allowed to pay their respects to the grave of the great saint, and they do visit the shrine in the counts of thousands every week. The tombs of many other people Mughals such as Jahan Ara Begum and Inayat Khan are also present in the premises of the dargah. The tomb of lyricist Amir Khusro (disciple of Hazrat Nizammudin) is also situated within the Nizamuddin Dargah complex.

A vibe of spirituality and serenity seems to be omnipresent at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, where you can find throngs of devotees even in the later hours of the evening. The spirit of service is commonplace here, and a langar or free community kitchen is held every Thursday and Sunday for the devotees where only vegetarian food is served. Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah also plays host to qawwali and a Sufi singing session on Thursdays and Saturdays and a number of Sufi singers come here to pay their homage. One can easily spend hours of their time listening to the melodious renditions of the qawalls, or simply contemplate the divine under the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah sky.