Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the major tourist hotspots to visit. Occupied with some of the major historical destinations, this state is also a major industrial center with numerous outing destinations. Since the city of Delhi is believed to be one of the most ancient cities in India, the place has witnessed several historical events and still preserves its age old monuments. The famous historical monuments such as the Qutub Minar, the Red Fort, and the Humayun’s Tomb, which are listed in the UNESCO’s world heritage list, are present in this very state. Let us now take a look at the historical background of this state and some of its major tourist attractions.
History of Delhi
Believed to be continuously inhabited right from the sixth century BC, the state of Delhi has served as the capital of several empires and kingdoms. Delhi is considered to be the site of Indraprastha, which was a legendary capital of Pandavas from the epic Mahabharata. However, the history of this state can only be tracked from 302 BC with the rise of the Mauryan Empire by Chandragupta Vikramaditya. This state prospered under the Mauryan rule and became a major trade destination between the northwest India and the Gangetic plans. Later on, after the fall of the Mauryan dynasty, this state was ruled by many empires including the Tomaras, Muhammad Ghori, Qutb-ud-din-Aybak, Lodhis, Timur, Hem Chandra Vikramaditya, and lastly the Mughals.
Delhi remained under the rule of Mughals for more than two hundred years during which it became their capital and flourished to a great extent. Several artistic monuments were constructed during the Mughal rule, which stand the same today and are the major attractions of this state. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Delhi was annexed by the British and was later made the capital of British rule in India in 1911. The city after this prospered further with the construction of some of the most spectacular buildings.
Major Tourist Attractions in Delhi
Qutub Minar: One of the UNESCO declared World Heritage Sites and a major tourist attraction in Delhi, Qutub Minar is a 238 feet high tower built by the Qutub king Qutub-ud-din-Aibak. Believed to be constructed around 1192 AD, this monument is the tallest tower in India. This historical monument is made up of red sandstone and has some of the utmost magnificent carvings on it. The elegant carvings, fascinating lattice work, and outstanding architecture make this monument one of the must visit destinations in Delhi. Some of the other attractions in the Qutub complex include the Alai Darwaza, Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, iron pillar, tombs of Iltumish, Alauddin Khilji and Imam Zamin, Alai Minar, etc.
Tomb of Humayun: The tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and a magnificent monument to visit in Delhi. Hamida Banu Begum, Humayun’s wife commissioned this tomb in 1562 AD. Built with the Mughal style of architecture, this monument houses several other tombs, including that of Hamida Begum, Jahandar Shah, Farrukhsiyar, Alamgir II, Rafi Ul-Darjat, Dara Shikoh, and Rafi Ul-Daulat. The circular dome, huge arch, two level niches, and lattice screen on windows actually captivate one’s attention. The Char Bagh garden surrounding this tomb monument is spectacular and worth visiting.
Red Fort: The Red Fort served as the residence for most of the Mughal Emperors. This fort was constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in around 1648 and is situated on the banks of river Yamuna. This spectacular fort is divided into several compartments consisting of official halls, residing complexes, specious pathways and corridors, gardens, and mosques. Some of the major attractions of this fort include the Diwan-i-Aam courtroom, Diwan-i-Khas courtroom, Zenana, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh, Moti Masjid, Nahr-i-Behisht, etc. The Red fort offers one of the spectacular views of Mughal architecture with magnificent carvings and paintings.
Purana Qila: Purana Qila literary means old fort and is a major historical site in Delhi. Considered to be founded by the Pandavas around 5000 years ago, this fort is also a major archaeological site. Several excavations inside this fort unearthed Painted Grey Ware that date approximately around 1000 BC. This fort is a unique example of Mughal and Rajasthani style of architecture. Today, some of the major attractions of this fort include its strong fortified wall, the southern ramparts including the Humayun Gate, the huge Sher Shah Suri Gate or the Lal Darwaza, the Qila Kuhna Masjid, Humayun’s Library or the Sher Mandal, the north gate of Talaqi Darwaza, the west gate of Bara Darwaza, and the Khairul Manazil mosque.
Chandni Chowk: Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest market places in Delhi and was built by Shah Jahan so that his daughter could shop in this market. It is said that the market was magnificently planned with several water channels dividing it. However, none of these channels exist today. Chandni Chowk still remains the main market place and a major tourist attraction and shopping center in Delhi. Some of the other major attractions and destinations around Chandni Chowk include the Lahori Darwaza, Chowk Kotwali, Fatehpuri Masjid, Chunnamal haveli, Jama Masjid, Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Christian Central Bapist Church, Sis Ganj Sahib Gurdwara, etc.
Masjid-i-Jahan-Numa: This mosque is one of the oldest and biggest mosques in India. Also famously known as the Jama Masjid, it was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1650. It almost took six long years to build this mosque and was finally completed in 1656. This spectacular mosque is so huge that it holds upto twenty-five thousand worshipers at a time. Some of the major attractions of this mosque include the impressive main entrance with an iron door, the central dome, minarets, cusped arches within the interior, the prayer area within the mosque, the southern gate, view of Red fort from the mosque, etc.
Akshardham Temple: The Akshardham temple is the largest Hindu temple in the world. This temple was developed by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha under the inspiration of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. This spectacular temple is believed to attract almost seventy percent of tourists visiting Delhi. Some of the major attractions of this temple include the magnificent carvings on the exterior as well as the interiors of the temple walls, central dome of the temple, musical fountain, statue of the Neelkanth Varni, Hall of values, the boat ride, garden of India, Narayan Sarovar, etc. This temple is highly spiritual and offers immense bliss to its devotees.
Cathedral Church of the Redemption: Also commonly known as the Viceroy Church, the Cathedral Church of Redemption is one of the most magnificent churches in India. The architecture of this church resembles a birthday cake with a candle on its top. This church dates back to around 1900 AD and was designed by Henry Medd, whose architecture impressed Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy, so much that he gifted an organ and a silver cross to this church. Today, this church serves several community activities including health and education. Some of the prestigious institutes under this church include the St. Stephen’s College, The Victoria School, St. Stephen hospital, etc.
Apart from the above mentioned places, the city of Delhi possesses several other attractions including the National Museum, National Agriculture Science Museum, Raj Ghat, Jantar Mantar, Nizamuddin Dargah, Lodhi Gardens, Shanti Vana, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Salimgarh fort, Sansad Bhawan, Connaught Place, India Gate and Rajpath, etc.
How to Reach Delhi
Since Delhi is the capital city and state of India, it is one of the best connected places. Delhi is well connected to the rest of the country with frequent flights, railways, and road transport. Following information will help you in reaching this city/state.
Air: The Indira Gandhi International Airport is connected to almost all the other airports in India. Thus, reaching Delhi by airway is not a difficult task.
Railway: The Nizamuddin, Old Delhi, and the New Delhi railway stations are the three major railway stations that are well connected to the rest of the country. Frequent railways are scheduled from all the major cities in India that reach these rail heads.
Hotels in Delhi
Since Delhi is the capital of India, a huge number of diplomats and industrialists keep flying to this state. Thus, it has some of the most elegant hotels with the best amenities. Following are some of the best hotels in Delhi.
Hotel Suryaa: This is one of the best hotels in Delhi that offers you utmost luxury. Some of the major amenities provided by this hotel include steam, hydrobath, Sauna, impulse shower, swiss massages, health and fitness center, swimming pool, barbeque grills, business center, satellite television, coffee and tea maker, wireless data connection, hairdryer, laundry, etc. Following is some of the important information about this hotel.
Address: The Suryaa, New Friends Colony, New Delhi – 110025
Contact Number: +91 (0)11 26835070
The Lalit: This hotel is another worth staying hotel and offers a wide range of amenities and services. Some of the major amenities include airport transportation, currency exchange, bar/lounge, sauna, swimming pool, wedding services, coffee/tea maker, hair dryer, iron, laundry, minibar, smoking rooms, roll-away beds, etc. Some important information about this hotel is given below.
Address: The Lalat, Barakhamba Avenue, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001
Contact Number: 1800 11 77 11 (toll free), +91 11 4444 4747 (outside India)
The above mentioned information about Delhi will help you in understanding the major tourist attractions here. Hope this information helps you in experiencing “The Paradise of Mughal Architecture”.