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Must visit places in Delhi

Discussion in 'North India' started by Shrishti, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Shrishti

    Shrishti New Member

    I am finally moving back to Punjab after living in Delhi for two years. It may be surprising but I had never got a chance to visit places in Delhi apart from going to India Gate.

    I have a few days left here in Delhi and I would really love to visit some places and would like to know what the must visit places in Delhi are.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi, @Shrishti, welcome to the forum!

    (Images Courtesy of Historical Time of India, Antematters and Akshardham)

    Want to see a summarised version of India with just little time? There's no better place for that than in Delhi, the capital of the country.
    Delhi, in all its glory, is a mixture of the modern and the traditional city. Its heritage sites provide you with a glimpse of the strong and mighty Mughal era. Artistic designs and spell-binding architecture are their main features. Its newer attractions provide you with an understanding of the present India. Such clash of culture and modernity can be hard to find in any other cities. Delhi, no matter how chaotic it is, proves to be one of the most important destinations in the country.

    Must Visit Places in Delhi

    • Humayun's Tomb - The precursor for all grand mausoleums in the country, even the Taj Mahal, is believed to be the Humayun's Tomb. The tomb was the first one to utilise the garden concept which became this trademark of the Mughal style of architecture when it comes to mausoleums. Interestingly, the tomb was not built by the ruler, but rather by his wife, named Haji Begum, and was completed many years after his death. It is actually a tomb complex, comprising of many different tombs but the main one is that of Humayun, the second Mughal ruler after Babar, which is his father. With a mixture of red sandstones and marble, the unique design of the tomb is very apparent especially as it stands in contrast to the surrounding gardens. Nearby to the tomb of Humayun is the Barber's Tomb, what's fascinating is that it stands the closest to the tomb of the ruler. Much like the former tomb, the Barber's Tomb was made using red sandstone and also complete with exquisite lattice works. You can also explore the other tombs and structures within the tomb complex, like that of Isa Khan's Tomb and the Afsarwala Mosque. All these structures would give you a glimpse of the early Mughal style of architecture, which on its own is very fascinating and quite mesmerising to see.
    Humayun's Tomb (Image Courtesy of Historical Time of India)
    • Red Fort - Shah Jahan's capital in Delhi was the Red Fort, also known as the Lal Qila. Its imposing red facade is very noticeable as soon as you see the fort but did you know that the fort once has white-washed walls? Due to changes in time, this white facade faded and so the fort was painted a bright red. Regardless, the beauty of the fort and its inner structures cannot be explained. The architectural style of Shah Jahan, which also constructed the Taj Mahal, is one-of-a-kind. Inside the fort, you can find two halls, namely, the Diwan I Am, where the emperor used to deliver public speeches, and the Diwan I Khas, where the emperor used to meet with important people. Both halls are open and have elaborate carvings on their ceilings and pillars. Also worth mentioning is the Rang Mahal, where the wives of Shah Jahan used to live. Once upon a time, this palace was brightly coloured and consisted of exquisite mirror works which unfortunately, cannot be seen now. The Mumtaz Mahal is where his beloved Arjumand Banu Begum stayed in, it has been converted into a museum now showcasing some paintings, textiles and other artefacts from the Mughal dynasty.
    • Mehrauli Archeological Park - Lying off a trail from the Qutub Minar is the Mehrauli Archeological Park. The collection of ruins here is spread over 200 acres so it can take a few hours to explore. The structures here are mostly in ruins though, so you need a bit of imagination to understand the glory that once took place in Mehrauli, or Lalkot, the third city of Delhi. This is very much an underrated attraction in the city but there are lots to explore here. The main attraction being the Rajon Ki Baoli, which is a five-storeyed step well. Just beside the step well is a mosque and even resting rooms, giving you a glimpse of the once grandeur of the place. There's also the Tomb of Jamali Kamali, the design of it having a fusion of both Lodhi and Mughal styles of architecture. And lastly, you cannot miss the Dilkhusha Complex, where you can find the Tomb of Quli Khan. But aside from that, this complex became the summer residence of even the British rulers so you can find additions of their residences here, standing quite in contrast to the other structures in the whole complex.
    • Purana Qila - Talking about the cities of the Old Delhi, there's the Purana Qila, considered as its sixth city. The Purana Qila is also known as the Old Fort, it was built by Humayun but was completed by Sher Shah Suri. While the fort is large and one of the most well-preserved in the city, there's not much that you can see inside. First, take your time to visit the three gates of the fort, namely, the Bara Darwaza, Humayun Darwaza and Tralaqi Darwaza. There's also the Qila-e-Kuhna Masjid, probably one of the most elaborately carved structures in the fort. The use of marble and sandstone balances the look of the mosque as well. There's also the Sher Mandal, where Humayun died as he tripped over and fell into the stairs. The Purana Qila might not be as grand as the Red Fort but its sheer simplicity makes it stand out even more.
    • Agrasen Ki Baoli - The exact date when the Agrasen Ki Baoli was built is not known but references say that it was built around the 11th century or even earlier. The recent structure of the step well can be attributed to Nattal Sahu and its architectural style is that of the Mughals. The step well has three storeys, which you can reach by climbing down over 100 steps. The step well doesn't have water anymore although it did so for a long time, which caused plenty of drowning accidents. Now though, your only accompaniments when visiting the step well are the birds and bats who had made the place their own.
    • Qutub Minar Complex - The Qutub Minar is the tallest bricked minaret in the country. It was commissioned to be built by then ruler Qutub-ud-din Aibak, in which the base of the Qutub Minar was completed during his rule. The other storeys of the minaret were added by Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, Firuz Shah Tughlaq and Sikandar Lodi. Now, the minaret has five storeys, formerly it had seven storeys but the last two were removed. Each floor is separated from the other by an elaborately designed balcony. Nearby the minaret is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, also built by the same ruler. Some of the materials used in both the structures were taken from destroyed Hindu temples around the site. Standing close to these structures is the Iron Pillar, which is very fascinating as it still stands strongly even after decades, free from any sort of damage or erosions.
    • Rashtrapati Bhavan - Home to the highest leader of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan is one of Delhi's most notable landmarks. The grand presidential house was built over a span of 17 years and is a showcase of the British architectural style. There are some elements of Indian style of architecture in the presidential house though, with the addition of domes, water works and even some animal statues around it. The house also has over 340 rooms to accommodate dignitary guests and even the important staff of the president. Outside the presidential house is the Mughal Gardens, although it is open for visitors only from February to March.
    • India Gate - The India Gate is dedicated to the British and Indian soldiers who have lost their lives during the World War I. It was built by Edwin Lutyens, also the same person who built the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Look closely into the monument and you would find an inscription expressing the gratitude of the British army for the dedication and sacrifice of the Indian soldiers during the war. During day time, the monument is very lively, with tons of hawkers and food sellers around the place. During night time, the monument is illuminated which gives it this serene vibe. The monument can be visited any time of the day or night and you can give your respects to the soldiers too.
    • Tughlaqabad Fort - Tughlaqabad was the fifth city of Old Delhi and this fort was built by Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq. Interestingly, the fort was only occupied for a short time before it was abandoned fully up to this date. Now only the remains of the fort remain along with a few inner structures. While most forts were built with a certain architectural style in mind and even majestic structures inside, the Tughlaqabad Fort was built mainly for defensive purposes. As such, there are no grand palaces here nor elaborate carvings and that is what makes the fort very unique. The thick walls, the deep moats, the underground pathways... All these features make the fort a must-visit attraction in the city. You can also explore the nearby Tomb of Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq.
    • Hauz Khas Complex - The Hauz Khas Complex was built around the fourth city of Old Delhi, Siri. The fort is very much in ruins now although much of the inner structures still remain. The fort was built around the Royal Tank or Reservoir, which once supplied water to the residents of the city. The Madrasa is probably the most important and renowned structure here, as it was once a learning centre visited by students from all over the world. It was built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq, the creator of the city of Firozabad, the seventh city of Delhi. Around the Madrasa are several Pavilions, which were once heavily ornamented and designed but due to time, these designs were already erased and faded. Around Hauz Khas, there are plenty of cafes that you can visit too, in case you get hungry.
    • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib - The Gurudwara Bangal Sahib is a Sikh temple right at the heart of Delhi. It was built around the 17th century to commemorate the life of Guru Har Kishan Sahib, who died tending to the epidemic-plagued individuals of Delhi. As a temple, the gurudwara is very simple, with just a white facade and golden dome. Not missing is the Nishan Sahib, the orange flag located in every Sikh temple in the country. As Sikhism doesn't believe in any deities, there are no idols or statues here. But the Sikhs do revere the holy Guru Granth Sahib, the book that the 10 gurus of Sikhism completed, stating the teachings of the religion. There is also a dining hall here where the temple provides free foods for all guests, regardless of religion, status in life or gender.
    • Swaminarayan Akshardham - Being one of the largest Hindu complexes in the world, the Swaminarayan Akshardham is another can't be missed attraction in Delhi. It is a fairly new religious site though, completed in just 2005, but took over 5 years to be finished. The complex has different sections with the main one being the Swaminarayam Akshardham Mandir. It is a very elaborate temple, almost all its walls are covered with intricate carvings of animals and Hindu deities. The exterior of the temple was made using pink sandstone while the interiors have marble materials. There are also exhibition halls inside the complex, namely, the Hall of Values, Giant Screen Film and Cultural Boat Ride. You also cannot miss the elegant gardens that are as well-designed as the temple itself.
    Swaminarayan Akshardham (Image Courtesy of Akshardham)
    • Bahai Lotus Temple - Resembling a large lotus flower in design is the Bahai Lotus Temple. Unlike the former temples, the Bahai Lotus Temple doesn't cater to just one religion as it is open for worship for any person, regardless of their spiritual beliefs. Coming back to its architectural design, the temple itself has petals resembling that of a lotus, complete with nine water works around it. The facade of the temple is white as it was made using marble. There are no deities nor idols within the temple but you are free to pray or meditate inside its hall.
    • Birla Mandir - With its yellow and red facade, it's hard to miss the Birla Mandir, also known as the Laxmi Narayan Temple, when around Connaught Place in Delhi. This is the only temple inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, on the condition that the temple would be open to all, regardless of caste. The main temple is dedicated to both Lakshmi and Narayana although there are other smaller shrines too dedicated to Lord Shiva and Krishna. There's a small garden in the premises too, which has statues of animals and other Hindu deities.
    • Jama Masjid - To complete this list is a Muslim mosque, the Jama Masjid, built by Emperor Shah Jahan. In comparison to his other structures, this mosque is much simpler in design and architecture. Still, the same materials of red sandstone and white marble are evident in the facade of the mosque. There's a huge courtyard too, which can easily accommodate thousands of worshippers. The Jama Masjid provides one with a glimpse of the simpler version of Shah Jahan, yet there's still this aura of grandeur that the mosque exudes.
    • Lodhi Gardens - While the Lodhi Gardens is actually comprised of several tombs and gumbads, it is mainly a recreational attraction, not only for tourists but also for the locals. The gardens are spread over the Tomb of Sikandar Lodhi, an octagonal mausoleum, with a dome and three arched entry ways. The gardens are well-maintained and has a few plants and flowers around. There are also small ponds lining the gardens along with a bridge, standing over the remains of what used to be a tributary of the Yamuna River. Other attractions inside the gardens are the Sheesh Gumbad and Bara Gumbad. Outside the gardens, you would find the Tomb of Mohammad Shah, which is probably the largest tomb in the area. The tomb is also highly decorated, with painted ceilings and some carved pillars. The Lodhi Gardens is the perfect place to unwind while also enjoying some historical sites along your stroll.
    Lodhi Gardens (Image Courtesy of Hello Travel)
    • Nehru Park - The Nehru Park is a favourite amongst locals for having a small picnic with their loved ones or friends. The green cover and the surrounding plants add to that breath of fresh air out of the chaotic commercial centres of Delhi. Ample spaces give groups of friends some opportunity to play cricket or other sports too. There's also a designated jogging track for the health enthusiasts. Overall, the Nehru Park is a slice of nature at the heart of the city itself.
    • National Zoological Park - Located close to the Purana Qila is the National Zoological Park of Delhi. The zoo is home to plenty of animals like tigers, lions, Indian rhinoceroses, black bucks and many more. Bird species are also abundant in the zoological park with the likes of peacocks, vultures and blue-yellow macaws. Keep in mind that these animals are kept in enclosures though so the wildlife experience here might not be as authentic. For families with small children though, the experience might be fun as there are over 1,000 animals to see here. Plus, you can tour the zoo either by foot or the more preferred, battery-operated trolleys.
    • Select Citywalk - As mentioned above, the city of Delhi has a mixture of old and new attractions. The Select Citywalk is a shopping complex, complete with restaurants, retail stores and entertainment centres. Thus, it's a great place to experience the modern Delhi, as you can enjoy shopping here while indoors. Even international brands like H&M and Aeropostale have their stores here. Entertainment centres such as theatres and a theme park are also located within the mall. You can also enjoy both local and global cuisines with the numerous restaurants around the mall.
    • Connaught Place - Another posh shopping centre in Delhi is the Connaught Place. The whole commercial centre is reminiscent of the British era though because of the outlines and architectural designs of the buildings. Restaurants, handicraft stores and boutiques line the entire area. Shopping here is a bit of a luxury though as the items are on the higher side.
    • Dilli Haat - If you are into traditional or ethnic Indian clothing, then Dilli Haat might be a better shopping area for you. There are three Dilli Haat locations in Delhi, one in Janakpur, one in Pitampura and the original Dilli Haat in South Delhi. Of course, the original Dilli Haat is a must visit as it outlines the features of a traditional rural village. Here you can find various ethnic clothes such as kashmiris and textiles. There is also an assortment of handicrafts from various regions of the country. The Dilli Haat in Janakpuri is the largest and newest one, it also has handicraft stalls as well as an exhibition theatre for various cultural performances. And lastly, the Dilli Haat in Pitampura is well-known for its festivals, held usually in different times of the year.
    Dilli Haat in South Delhi(Image Courtesy of Travel Bonkers)
    • Sarojini Nagar - This is another open-air market, but it mostly caters to the trend conscious shoppers. Since it is an open-air market, you can haggle to your heart's content. You can also find branded items here, for over half their original prices, although of course, it's at your own risk if they are fake or original. Accessories stalls also line the area, with bangles, necklaces, earrings and all the little things that make women happy. If ever you get hungry while shopping, don't worry, as there are also plenty of food stalls around the market.
    • National Rail Museum - Did you know that the Indian Railways is the fourth largest train operator in the world? As such, knowing more about the history of the company, its humble beginnings and to what extent it expanded is a must. There's no better place for that than in the National Rail Museum of Delhi. The museum itself has two sections, an indoor museum and an outdoor museum. The indoor museum tackles the history of the Indian Railways as well as the different engines that make the trains work. The outdoor museum has exhibits of real trains which were used before the modern era. There is also a working toy train here that can take you around the outdoor area.
    National Rail Museum (Image Courtesy of India Today)
    • Gandhi Smriti - Once the home of the Birla family, the Birla Bhavan was converted into the Gandhi Smriti, a place commemorating the life of Mahatma Gandhi, an influential person in the midst of the freedom struggle of India. It is here that he was assassinated and where he spent his last living days. The entire house highlights the life of Gandhi, through pictures and written stories, what he has done for the nation and how he spent his last days here. You can even visit the exact spot where he was assassinated.
    • National Gandhi Museum - In relation the the former attraction is the National Gandhi Museum. It is located just opposite the Raj Ghat in Ring Road in Delhi. While the former highlights the personal story and life of Gandhi, this museum showcases the personal belongings of the freedom leader. Since Gandhi lived a very simple life, there are no glitzy or glamorous items here. You would find the exact clothes and items he was wearing though the day he was assassinated. There are also some books and newspaper articles about the freedom leader here.
    • National Museum - The National Museum is located in Janpath in Delhi. It is one of the largest museums in the country, spread over three storeys. The first floor focuses mostly on the ancient arts of different civilisations and religions. For this floor, a must mention is the India Miniature Paintings section, depicting scenes from Hindu mythologies and other themes. The second floor focuses mostly on ancient antiquities like coins, manuscripts and also some paintings. The last floor has exhibits showcasing textiles, weaponries and even tribal musical instruments.
    • Jantar Mantar - And lastly, an ancient observatory, the Jantar Mantar, is located right at the heart of Delhi, close to Connaught Place. If you have ever wondered how the people from older times were able to tell time or predict solar movements, then the Jantar Mantar is the answer to that. Comprising of about 13 astronomy instruments which can accurately predict time and also solar movements, the Jantar Mantar is an interesting site aseptically for science lovers. The Samrat Yantra is the large sundial here, it overcasts shadows which were then used to predict the time, including the hours, seconds and minutes of the day. The Mishra Yantra is another sundial, but it predicts time for other countries. Instruments such as the Ram Yantra and Jai Prakash Yantra were used to predict the altitude and positions of celestial bodies back then. With such instruments, it makes you wonder how architecturally and scientifically gifted the builders were back then.

    I've highlighted the must visit places in Delhi above but there are plenty more that you can explore in the city. So if you love history, spirituality, science or even shopping, Delhi would give all these places to you and much more. Enjoy your sightseeing in Delhi!