Delhi, India travel guide – Trip to New Delhi, India – Tourist attractions in New Delhi, India
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Delhi is India’s capital city and the home of executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the Government of India. Delhi is a large metropolis with strengths in arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence.
See in Delhi
The Red Fort (Lal Qila) is one of Delhi’s top tourist sights. A brilliant red sandstone fort built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built Agra’s Taj Mahal) as his ruling palace. Completed in 1648, the years since have not treated the buildings kindly: the rooms have long since been stripped of all objects, the marble inlays are long gone and quite a few buildings are off limits. Still, the scale remains imposing and the gardens are kept lush and green even in midwinter. Major buildings within include:
Chatta Chowk, (Covered Bazaar). True to the name, this is a covered bazaar between the gate and the fort itself, now filled with souvenir hawkers.
Diwan-i-Am, (Hall of Public Audience). This building separates the outer court from the inner court, and has a marble platform for the emperor’s throne.
Hayat Baksh Bagh, (Life-Bestowing Gardens). Once a grand garden of full of fountains and streams, now sadly all dry — only dry channels and acres of green grass remain.
Diwan-i-Khas, (Hall of Private Audience). Built completely of marble, this is where the emperor received special visitors.
Khas Mahal, (Private Palace), The Emperor’s main residence. The octagonal Mussaman Burj tower looks out toward the Yamuna River, and is where the Emperor used to appear before the public for each morning.
Rang Mahal, (Colour Palace). The residence of the Sultan’s main wife.
Mumtaz Mahal, (Jewel Palace). Contained six apartments for the Sultan’s harem. Now used as a museum of court textiles, carpets, weapons, etc (free).
Daawat Khana, A minor palace at the northmost end of the Fort, this was originally the residence of a prince, but it was converted into a tea house by the British, a function it continues today. Basic meals go for around 60 rupees, drinks 10-20 rupees, and it also has the cleanest toilets around.
Swatantra Sangrama Sangrahalaya, (Museum of the Independence Movement). To the left after the Chatta Chowk, this is a reasonably well-presented museum on the history of independence activism in India, starting from the Mutiny of 1857 all the way to Gandhi.
The only open entrance is Lahore Gate, on the west side. Security in and around the Fort is very heavy, as it was the scene of a terrorist attack in 2000 that killed three people. Bags are allowed, but they’ll be X-rayed and you’ll be patted down. Tickets cost Rs 10/250 rupees for Indians/foreigners, photography free, video cameras Rs 25 extra. Open sunrise to sunset daily except Monday. Allow for 3-4 hr in your schedule in case of long weekends and national holidays as lot of tourists flock around then. The most scenic way of reaching the fort is to take the Metro to Chawri Bazaar and then a cycle-rickshaw through the incredibly packed bazaar to the Fort (price negotiable, aim for Rs 20).
The fort has a light and sound show (Rs 50) in the evenings from 7:30PM-9PM, depending on the season.
Be careful buying tickets at the booth, as the ticket sellers will attempt to shortchange you. Try to have a small bill. Due to enhanced security the parking can be a bit tricky as the walk from the now distanced away parking at nearby alternative slots is quite a bit. The congested traffic makes crossing the road even trickier.
Humayun’s Tomb in south Delhi, near Hazrat Nizamuddin station, is one of Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Open daily from sunrise to sunset, entry is Rs 10/250, Indians/foreigners.
Qutub Minar, The most famous structure on grounds, this 72.5 m minaret was the tallest “skyscraper” in the world when built (1193-1368) – it was constructed on the orders of Qutb-ud-din Aybak. Delicately carved, it has been astonishingly well-preserved and is still an awe-inspiring sight today. It’s often visible from air when flying into IGI airport! (Sticklers for archaeological truth will, however, note that the top of the tower has twice been rebuilt after an earthquake, and the base has been restored more recently.) While entry into the tower itself is no longer permitted, for Rs 10 per 5 min you can view the scenery via a little webcam on top.
Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Delhi’s first and grandest mosque, now mostly in ruins, but many parts of the complex are still standing and the sandstone decorations are still impressive. Check out the extraordinarily ornate carvings near the tomb of Iltutmish on the west side of the complex.