Places to visit in Delhi
Places to visit in Delhi & The best Tourist places in Delhi
Delhi, The capital of India has a rich and long history, what are the places to visit in Delhi when planning a trip? Here is a list of top Tourist Places in Delhi which should be on your list of Places to visit.
Delhi has been known by many names during different times, during the days of Mahabharata it was known as Indraprastha, the city of Pandavas since then city has been looted and plundered by many rulers and Invaders, each wanting to leave a mark on History.
The Delhi as we know of today was established in 1639 by 6th Mughal ruler Shahjehan who named it after him and called it Shajehanabad. His citadel now known as Red Fort and Jama Masjid are a testimonial to Mughal Architecture.
After the first war of Independence in 1857 (the British refer to it as Sepoy Mutiny, depends on which side you are on) the British captured the Fort and made Delhi an important seat to control the North of India.
In 1911 when King George V visited Delhi, a royal Darbar was planned and decision to shift the capital to Delhi was taken which resulted in what is known as New Delhi being built. Hence the names old and new Delhi.
Due to this the Places to visit in Delhi are numerous, with Archaeological Survey of India having 10 Ticketed Monuments in Delhi alone, Out of which 3 are World Heritage sites and amongst the top tourist places in Delhi.
In all there are a total of 174 Monuments of national importance in Delhi alone, some of major importance and some of minor importance.
Tourist Places in Delhi (Old Delhi)
Red Fort Delhi
Built as a Citadel in the year 1639 by the Ruler of Delhi to house his garrison and private palaces, the Red Fort is a marvel of architecture. Flanked by a moat on the outside, which as Story has it was filled with crocodiles and a massive tall red sandstone wall, it was an impregnable fort.
There are two entrances one used by the Tourists called the Lahori Gate (as it faces the city of Lahore) and one by the Army called the Delhi gate as over 80% of the fort (Garrison area) is still under the Indian Army.
The Lahore gate leads to the Meena bazaar where during the days of the Mughal rule, on certain days a bazaar used to take place, a bazaar for women, by the women which allowed them the privacy.
Meena bazaar leads upto the Main entrance to the palace area where one can see the various public and private palaces which were built by Shahjehan.
Built after the Citadel Red Fort, between 1650 and 56 and called Masjid e Jahan Numa, (Mosque commanding view of the world), this is the largest Mosque in India. With 3 towering entrance gates visible from a far, this was truly a magnificent structure with exquisite architecture.
In 1857 after british took over the city, they confiscated the mosque and stationed their soldiers here. They also wanted to destroy the mosque as an act of punishment to the city. But due to opposition faced, the demolition was not done.
The iconic mosque is one of the last monuments built under Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. After the construction of the monument in 1656, it remained the royal mosque of the emperors until the end of the Mughal period.
The final resting place of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Located not far from the river Yamuna it was originally the name of a historic ghat. There was the ‘Raj Ghat Gate’ of the walled city, opening at Raj Ghat on the Yamuna. Eventually, the memorial area was also called Raj Ghat. It was here where Mahatma Gandhi’s last rites were performed on January 31, 1948, a day after his death..
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The Moonlit Square is what Chandni Chowk translates down to. It is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. If you are looking for Shopping, Sightseeing and eating, this is the place to be. Whether you are looking for a Needle or literally parts to build an aircraft engine you will find it all here.
Chandni Chowk is set on an East West axis with Redfort being on one end and Fatehpuri Mosque being on the other. The best way to experience is to walk from one end to the other and just enjoy the lanes and by lanes.
Must visit are the Dariba Kalan (jewellers market) with its small and big jewellery shops (some dating back a few generations) the Kinari Bazaar which is about 15 feet wide and has scores of shops on either side, some the size of a matchbox while some are large enough to be showrooms.
Paranthe wali gali (The Stuffed bread lane) where one could have over 100 different varities of Parathas or discover spices and dry fruits behind the Fatehpuri Mosque.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
The Most prominent Sikh Temple in Delhi. The word Gurudwara comes from 2 words, Guru (teacher) Dwar (the door or the one who brings us on the path). The door that the Guru teaches us to take towards enlightenment.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is a magnificent white-marble structure, topped by glinting golden onion domes, it has been Constructed at the site where The Eight Sikh Guru Harkrishan Dev had stayed till his death in 1664.
The large water tank in the complex is said to have healing powers and this is also where the 8th guru tended to victims of Delhi’s cholera and smallpox epidemic.
Most of the day the Gurudwara has a Pulsating atmosphere, full of colour and life, yet tranquil, and live devotional songs can be heard all around.
As with all Gurudwaras, Bangla Sahib also has a free kitchen (langar) which feeds between 25000 on a weekday to 40000 people on a weekend.
CP as it is more commonly known is a massive commercial and financial centre in the heart of New Delhi. Named after the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and shaped like a wheel with spokes going out, one finds in this confusing maze almost all famous international chain stores, famous food chains, restaurants and bars.
Not too far from Connaught Place, towards the end of Rajpath (earlier called Kingsway) is a war memorial built to honour the Soldiers of British East India army who died between 1914 and 1919.
Designed by the Chief architect of Delhi Sir Edwin Lutyens, India Gate has the names of over 82,000 soldiers, both Indian and British, who died during the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.
The Amar Jawan Jyoti right underneath the archway, symbolizes the eternal, immortal soldiers of India.
One of the world heritage sites in Delhi, The tomb dedicated to the 2nd Mughal emperor is also known as the forerunner to the Taj Mahal. Built 61 years before Taj, Humayun’s Tomb is also extremely important on account of being the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.
It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.
There are also other tombs in the complex, the most popular one being the final resting place of Isa Khan- a courtesan for Sher Shah Suri and his son Islam Shah Suri
Though countless invasions had taken places from the Islamic world, none of them had been successful till 1191-92. Towards the end of the 12th Century, in 1191 -92 Qutab-ud-din Aibak became the first Invader to defeat Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom.
To commemorate his victory he commissioned the Victory Tower to be built. His successor added 3 more stories to this and finally Firoz Shah Tuqlaq of the Turkish Tuqlaq dynasty repaired the top story which was damaged and added another one.
Qutub Minar today Stands at 73 m tall, is a world heritage site and also has a mosque which was built around it, called the Quwut ul Islam (might of Islam).
However to build this mosque a Temple complex which had Hindu and Jain Temple nearby was destroyed and the pillars and stones from this used. Since the Hindu and Jain Temples had statues and carvings on the pillars and Islam forbids any form of such depiction. This was abandoned and a small mosque was built nearby.
Entry inside the Qutub Minar is not allowed.
There is another minaret adjacent to the Qutub Minar in the same complex, called the Ajai Minar which was started in 1193 but was never finished. Aimed at building another tower meant to be taller than the Qutub Minar this project was later abandoned.
Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple.
Akshardham’ means the divine abode of God. It is hailed as an eternal place of devotion, purity and peace. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan who worked tirelessly for uplifting the Mankind.
The Temple opened its doors in 2005, The Main Temple is 141-foot (43 m) tall, spans 316-foot (96 m) wide, and 356-foot (109 m) long. The intrinsic carvings on the temple walls, pillars and other structures are a marvel in history.
The entire temple is Strictly based on the Hindu shilp shastra, and follows the architectural guidelines as laid down in the old Manuscripts, that assure a long life span for the temple.
Despite having been built in the modern times, the temple has not employed any metal, steel or concrete in its construction, having entirely built on Rajasthani pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble.
Jantar Mantar – New Delhi.
Built by Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, The Jantar Mantar is one of the 5 Observatories to study the Zij. Jai Singh noticed that the Zij, which was used for determining the position of celestial objects, did not match the positions calculated on the table.
He proceeded to constructed five new observatories in different cities in order to create a more accurate Zij.The other four are in Jaipur, Mathura, Ujjain and Varanasi. It consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments.
Jaipur Jantar Mantar – read here
Spread over 90 acres, Lodhi Gardens is a city park which houses many a tombs and is Popular with Locals and Tourists alike.
The tomb of Mohammed Shah, the earliest of the tombs in the garden, was built in 1444 by Ala-ud-din Alam Shah as a tribute to Mohammed Shah.
Since very little architecture from that period remains. Lodi Gardens is an important place of preservation. The tomb of Mohammed Shah is visible from the road, and is characterised by the octagonal chamber, with stone chhajjas on the roof and guldastas on the corners.
Apart from this it also has Tombs of Sikandar Lodi, Shisha Gumbad and Bara Gumbad, architectural works of the 15th century by Lodis – who ruled from 1451 to 1526 (when they were defeated by Babur the first mughal to capture India)
Built in 1754 for Nawab Safdarjung, who was Nawab of Oudh/Awadh (Modern day region of Lucknow), He rose to the important position of prime minister of the Mughal Empire (Wazir ul-Mamlak-i-Hindustan) when Ahmed Shah Bahadur ascended the throne in 1748.
Built in the late Mughal Style, the monument has an ambience of spaciousness and an imposing presence with its domed and arched red brown and white coloured structures.
Laxmi Narayan Temple.
Laxmi Narayan Temple or Birla temple as it is also known, is The first large Hindu temple built in Delhi and spread in an area of over 7.5 acres.
Adorned with many shrines, fountains, and a large garden with Hindu and Nationalistic sculptures, it also houses Geeta Bhawan where regular discourses on the Bhagwat Gita are conducted.
The temple built between 1933 and 39 by Jugal Kishore Birla from the Industrial Birla family, was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. The side temples are dedicated to Shiva, Krishna and Buddha.
All the religions have found a home in India and the Lotus Temple is a house of worship of the Bahai Religion. The Lotus Temple has become a prominent attraction in the city on account of its flowerlike shape.
In the True Bahai Tradition all Bahá’í Houses of Worship are open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification.
Lotus Temple of Delhi has 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides, with nine doors opening onto a central hall with a height of slightly over 34.27metres and a capacity of 2500 people.
Photo Courtsey Varun Shiv Kapur
Purana Qila or The Old Fort.
Purana Quila or Old Fort is one of the Oldest forts in Delhi. The site has been continuously inhabited for appx: 2,500 years and remains dating from the pre-Mauryan period have been found.
The present citadel was begun in the time of Humayun and its construction continued under Sher Shah Suri, hence it is also referred to as Shergarh & Sher Fort.
The site is often identified with the site of Indraprastha, the capital of the kingdoms of the Pandavas from the Mahabharata.
Apart from the ruins one can also go for Boating in the small lake in front of the fort.
If Railways is something that Interests you, then the Rail Museum of delhi is a must visit. Spread over 10 acres once can experience the 163 years of rich Indian Railway’s historic heritage in the company of rare steam, diesel and electric locomotives, royal saloons and lots of other artifacts.
National Museum Delhi.
If History is your thing then the National Museum, established in 1949 is a place to go. With artefacts dating back to Indus Valley civilization, this happens to be one of the best places to deep dive into Indian History. To check on the artefacts and current exhibitions check on their website here
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