Delhi

Brief

New Delhi, the capital of India, forms a small part of the Delhi metropolitan area. In 1911, the capital of India was transferred from Calcutta to Delhi. The name “New Delhi” was coined in 1927. While New Delhi has some magnificent sprawling British architecture, the old Delhi, a neighbourhood dating to the 1600s, has loads of imposing Mughal architecture. Even in today’s Delhi, we can find Shahjahan’s magical touch in building Shahjahanabad, along the banks of river Yamuna. Delhi is a highly cosmopolitan city merged with a legacy of age old culture, art and food

 

 

Travel Tips

October to March is the best time to visit Delhi. Mid-December to mid-January is chilling cold, temperatures lowering to even 3 degrees Celsius. The remaining mentioned moths are pleasant, temperature ranging from 24-13 degrees Celsius. Delhi is semi-arid, the summer temperatures ranging from 27-39 degrees, at times rising above 40 degrees Celsius.

Things to do

Raisina Hill, slightly elevated area (873feet), is the seat of government of India with the RashtrapatiBhavan, the two Secretariat Buildings, Prime Minister’s Office, the Parliament of India, the Rajpath, lined on both sides with huge trees, going through the Vijay Chowk, National War Museum, National Stadium, ending in the majestic India Gate. The Rajpath is where the Republic Day (26th of January) Parade takes place every year. Behind these Imperial buildings are the Mughal Gardens spread across 250 acres.One can visit the RastrapatiBhavan through online permission. On Saturday Mornings, the ceremony of ‘Change of the Guards’ is a splendid event to witness at the fore court of RashtrapatiBhavan, where 200 guards, knitted in ceremonial regalia perform their equestrian display and other foot drills, for 30 minutes. This area is beautifully illuminated in the evening. Rajpath and Janpath run criss-cross. From north run the roads from Connaught Place (CP), the financial centre of Delhi, into Rajpath. CP with its Imperial archways, colonnades and pavements, offers a pleasant stroll around the shopping archade, restaurants, cafes, book stores, boutiques and street hawkers.Janpath is also a very colourful and attractive market.

Pre British Delhi has a lot to offer. The PuranaQuila, with remains from Pre-Mauryan era has been continually inhabited for more than 2500 years. It is one of the oldest forts in Delhi and is spread over an area of 2kms with humungous walls and five doorways with horseshoe-shaped arches. It has a perfect harmony of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

The Humayun’s Tomb (1565), a UESCO World Heritage Site, is the first of the Mughal Garden tombs, beautifully designed with Persian architecture, made of red sand stone, with classic Mughal domes and fountains and gardens. The complex houses numerous other

monuments, the chief being the tomb of the Emperor Humayun, which houses the graves of Empress Bega Begum, Hamida and Shahjahan’s son and many other consorts.

Soak into the solace of Qawalisin the evening at sacred Dargah-e-HazratNizamuddin, the Mausoleum of the world famous Sufi saint of the Chisti Order, Nizamuddin Auliya. Inside the dargah complex, one can find the tombs of poet Amir Khusro too.

Safdarjung’s Tomb, a sandstone and marble mausoleum of Safdarjung, Nawab of Oudh and Prime Minister of the Mughal Empire in Delhi in 1748,was built in 1754 by his son. The complex has the onion domed mausoleum at the centre with the char bagh (4gardens) and the 3 domed mosque.

Overshadowed by the Mughal architectural grandeur, exists a 15th century garden spread across 90acres. The Lodhi Gardens is an architectural gem with tombs of Muhammad Shah and SikandarLodhi and Shisha Gumbada and Bara Gumbada.

JantarMantar, 18th century observatory, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur is famous for the huge sundial and other instruments.

AgrasenkiBaoli, a protected monument by the Archaeological Survey, is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide with 108 stairs, historical step well, near JantarMantar. It is believed that the Legendary King, Agrasen, built it around 3000BC which was rebuilt in the 14th Century.

Old Delhi is the repertoire of the legacy of the Mughals, both in terms of architecture and food. The iconic red lime stone fort, Red Fort or Lal Quila, constructed in 1639 by Shah Jahan, the 5th Mughal Emperor as the palace of his fortified capital Shahjahanabad, is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. It is spread over 254 acres, enclosed by 2.4 kms of defensive walls, punctuated by turrets and bastions and varying in height from 59-108 ft, with the Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-khas, Shah Burj and Moti Masjid. There is also an ASI Museum. The light and sound show (Hindi and English) stating the rich history of Delhi should not be missed. Each Year on the Indian Independence Day (15th August) the Prime Minister of India, hoists the Indian Flag and speaks to the nation from the Red Fort.

Jama Masjid, situated in the heart of old Delhi, is one of the largest mosques in India, built between 1560s by 5000 artisans, commissioned by Shah Jahan. It is a majestic red sand stone monument, set on an elevated mound, spacious enough to accommodate more than 25000 people at a time and preserves few relics of the prophet Muhammad.

In old Delhi one can also enjoy the aromatic Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest spice market, the colourful Jain Havelis and MirzaGhalib’s age old house.

Qutub Complex, built in 1192 by Qutb-Ud-Di Aibak, the then Sultan of Delhi,is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the QutubMinar,completed in 1200 by Iltutmish, as the star attraction.The QutubMinar, a 240ft high red sand stone tapering tower was constructed to celebrate the victory of Muhammad Ghori over Prithviraj Chauhan, the Rajput King. It marks the beginning of Muslim rule in India. The complex has the rust free 5th Century Iron Pillar of Meharauli built by ChandraGupta II, with inscriptions eulogising Gupta Dynasty. Numerous monuments like the Alai Darwaza (1311) and Iltutmish’s Tomband excavations from the pre sultanate and sultanate era, spread across an area of 200 acres makes it a fascinating tourist spot. The site hosts the famous Qutub Festival.

 

The Indira GandhiMemory Museum, the Raj Ghat, memorial to Mahatma Gandhi with an eternal flame burning and the National Museum are some popular destinations of the post imperial era.

 

The Lotus Temple (1986) and Akshardham (2005) are modern attractions with unique and amazing architecture.The Garden of the Five Senses, Buddha Jayanti Park and Nehru Park can help one get rid of the hustle and bustle of the capital city with their lustrous greens and cool water bodies.

 

Besides CPand Janpath, Paharganj, Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Karol Bagh, INA market, Khan Market and GK1marketare shoppers’ paradise. Do not miss DilliHaat, offering you a plethora of handicrafts and weaves and fabrics and also food from various states of India.

Almost all the heritage sites charge entry fees ranging from Rs.30-50 for Indians.

What to Eat & Where to Eat

The crowded Chandni Chowk is renounced for its gastronomic splendour. The ParathewaliGali is a famous street selling various kinds of stuffed breads or parathas. Eating at Al-Jawahar which serves some of the best Mughal dishes in Delhi and the historic Karim’swith their roots in the Mughal era should be an integral part of one’s Delhi trip.

Sitaram’sCholleBhature at ChunaMandi, Paharganj, Galaouti Kabab and Pan from PrincePan at GK1 M-Block Market, Ram Chat Bhandaar in Shakti Nagar, BittuTikkewala on Ghantaghar and Dahi Bade at BharatnagarNala are the best amongst Delhi’s tremendously popular street food joints.

Breakfast at American Diner, Indian Habitat Centre, is popular and do not miss their lemon cheese cake. Wengersat CP is a landmark patisserie. CP and Khan Market have numerous places to eat.

Chill at the HauzKhas to see how heritage blends with the boho. HauzKhas was the ‘Royal Tank’ or water reservoir built by AlauddinKhalji. Today the beautiful and green area located in posh South Delhi, adjacent to Deer Park,is an eclectic mix of galleries, boutiques, artsy stores, alternative cafes, cool lounges and trendy restaurants epitomising Delhi’s hip night life. While Social is most happening, Kuzum Travel Café is also pretty popular among travellers.

Getting Around

Hoho bus leaves every 45 mins, starting from 7.30am to 5.30 pm, from Baba Kharak Singh Marg, opposite Connaught Place Police Station. They charge Rs.499 for a day and Rs.599 for 2 days. Besides taxis, auto rickshaws are available everywhere. Cycle rickshaws are useful in the narrow and crowded lanes of old Delhi. Public buses are available too but are generally crowded. Metro railway is efficient way of travelling.

  • Flight

    Indira Gandhi International Airport is well connected to the city by taxis and buses

     

  • Train

    New Delhi station, Old Delhi Station, Delhi Sarai Rohillaand HazratNizamuddin station are popular Railway Stations.

     

  • Bus

    MaharanaPratap Interstate bus terminus (ISBT) connects to major cities outside Delhi.

Surrounding Attractions

The ruins of the 14th Century Fort at Tughlakabad, built by Ghiyas-Ud-Din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq Dynasty is intriguing.

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