Though there are many things to do in Delhi, without knowing the heritage and culture of Delhi, your trip would be incomplete. Very few cities in India would have seen the changing face of time as Delhi has. From being the capital of the Pandavas to being the ruling centre of many empires, and now housing the capital of the nation, Delhi is a seamless blend of the eras it has lived through.
Exploring the ancient architecture of Delhi, it is impossible to miss the contributions of the Turkish and Mughal Empires. With their grand domes and intricate carvings, the monuments are nothing short of breathtaking. Some of the notable structures would be:
- Purana Qila, which literally translates to “Old Fort”, is one of the oldest monuments in the city. While the current fort was built by Humayun to fortify the city of Dinpanah (a city built as a symbol of religious tolerance), artefacts recovered during excavations here suggest that the area actually belongs to the mythological city of Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandava kingdom.
- Qutub Minar is a 73-meter tall minaret which signifies victory and triumph. Constructed by rulers of the Mamluk dynasty in 1220, the Qutub Minar is recognised as a World Heritage Site today. Also within these premises lie two other structures of historical significance – the Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century, and Quwwat-ul-Islam, the first mosque of Delhi.
- Humayun’s tomb is another architectural marvel of this city. The mausoleum houses the tombs of several members of the Mughal dynasty. The earthy red of the building complements the lush green lawns, making it a picture-perfect treat.
- Red Fort can very well be considered Delhi’s pride. The fort served as a residence to the Mughal rulers for almost 200 years, and today hosts the Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations each year. Made in sandstone, the fort is a classic piece of Muslim architecture, with massive walls and spacious lawns.
Serving as the centre of developments during India’s freedom movement of 1947, and as the capital of the country since, New Delhi also offers some monuments and architectures of great political importance.
- Rashtrapati Bhavan is home to the President of India and is an architectural spectacle. The spacious premises reflect grandeur as well as simplicity. Spread across 5 acres, the main building is draped in simple and elegant exteriors and consists of 340 rooms. The lawns surrounding the residence have a wide variety of flora. To visit the premises, prior bookings can be made online.
- India Gate is a memorial dedicated to the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting for the British Army in World War I. In front of the India Gate is the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a flame which is kept alive eternally in the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in the India-Pakistan war of 1971. The memorial is lit up every evening, and the lawns around it are a regular picnic spot for many families.
Delhi has been a land of many cultures and houses people with various religious beliefs. While in the city, do visit the various places of worship, such as:
- Lakshminarayan Temple, also known as the Birla Mandir, is dedicated to Lord Laxminarayan, which refers to the Hindu God Vishnu and his consort, Goddess Laxmi. Spread over 7.5 acres, the temple consists of shrines, fountains, gardens and a Geeta Bhawan.
- Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple is one of the most recent additions to the city. The temple showcases the best of Indian architecture, with inspiration derived from various temples across the country. It holds a Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest comprehensive Hindu temple.
- Lotus Temple is one if the 10 existing Baha’i Houses of Worship across the globe. As the name suggests, the temple is shaped like a lotus flower with 27 marble petals. The structure is surrounded by small ponds and lawn, and is open to people from all sections of society.
- Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India with room for 25,000 devotees. Located in Old Delhi, the mosque is the last architectural project by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also made the Taj Mahal.
Delhi is one of the few cities around the world which has been at the centre of civilisation to this date. Read our blogs of Delhi’s favourite delicacies, and its street shopping experiences to explore the spirit and pulse which makes the city all that it is today.