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Delhi Travel Sites

Delhi The Story
The Mughal Delhi, The Modern Delhi, Ashoka Pillar, Ghoonidarwaza 

Places to see: Asoka Pillar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Raj Ghat, Purana Qila, Humayun's tomb, India Gate, Birla House (Gandhi Smriti), Indira Gandhi Museum, Teen Murthi, Qutab Minar, Chhattarpur temple, Kalka Mandir, Bahaii temple, ISCON temple, Jantar Mantar, Hanuman Mandir, Connaught Place

Monuments of Mughal period and earlier

     Qutab Minar: Qutbuddin Aibak built Qutb Minar in 1199. It has a base of 14.32 mts and top 2.75 mts and a height of 72.5 mts. It is the highest stone tower in India. This is also one of the most important monuments one has to see in Delhi. Quwwat-ul-Islam or might of Islam, also built by Qutbuddin, is the earliest extant mosque in India. A 4th century iron pillar, signifying the relics of a temple, which does not rust, has been left untouched in its courtyard.

     Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (d. 1325): Muslim devotees from all over the sub-continent visit the shrine of the Sufi saint. It lies across the road to Humayun's tomb. Amir Khusrau, a poet and his disciple, is also buried here. The area has a lot of monuments.

     Feroze Shah Kotla: This was the palace built by Feroze Shah Tughlaq. There is an interesting anecdote how meticulously he managed the uprooting and shifting of an Ashoka pillar from Amritsar and got it erected in the premises. It is a precious relic. However, its top is missing.

     Lodhi Gardens: The tombs here are a contribution which Lady Willington later got landscaped. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in Delhi. The tomb of Muhammad Shah, the Bara Gumbad and the tomb of Sikandar Lodi are among its monuments.

     Purana Qila: Purana Qila area was Delhi's sixth city built by Babur's son, Humayun, on Mathura Road, down India Gate. This is the spot where the Pandavas had their Capital of Indraprastha. Across the road towards India Gate side is Sher Sha Suri's monument built with unchiselled stone. This illustrates the difference between the Mughal and pre-Mughal architecture.

     Humayun's Tomb: This tomb was built by Humayun's widow Haji Begum, near Purana Qila. Designed by Persian architect Misak Mirza Ghiyas in 1564, it is an example of garden tomb. Humayun's wives and some later Mughals are buried here. In the 1857 upheaval, the last Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar, took refuge here but was caught and exiled to erstwhile Rangoon by the British.

     Shahjahanabad: This is the seventh city of Delhi built by Shah Jahan. He completed the shifting of the Capital from Agra to this place in 1648, incidentally, after the work had started on Taj Mahal, or Taj Mahal was an omen that marked a turning point in the history of Delhi and the empire. Delhi because it got back its status as Capital. For the empire, the other way round: For, it is believed, the flaw lay in the design of the new palace (See Red Fort below) that was a blatant violation of the basic principles of architecture: Mumtaz never came and Mumtaz Mahal remains new for ever. And Aurangzeb was to be a pious son who decided to sell caps to make a living. The rest is all the story of continuing decline and dismemberment of the empire that was all set to climb the heights of glory further and further.

     Red Fort: Built in red sandstone by Shah Jahan, it is situated on the eastern side of the walled city. It is from the ramparts of Red Fort the Prime Minister of independent India addresses the nation on Independence Day. Lahore Gate is the fort's entry point. The roofed passage called Chatta Chowk, now known as Meena Baxzar, has antique stores. The royal enclosure next to the entry is called Naqqar Khana or drum house which today houses the war memorial museum. Beyond the lawns is Diwan-in-Am, the hall of public audience. Its ceiling has gilded stucco. The six royal apartments built along the bank of Yamuna are: Mumtaz Mahal, which today houses the Delhi museum of archaeology; mirror-studded Rang Mahal or Sheesh Mahal; Khas Mahal; Muzamman Burz; Diwan-e-Khas, hall of private audience which had the legendary peacock throne; Sabhu Jat or Guest House. Of course, there are a few more on the outer side of Pearl mosque. The Hamam near Diwan-i-Khas was the royal bath. Near these is situated the Pearl mosque built by Shah Jahan's son Aurangzeb. Towards its northern side is sprawled the Hayat Baksh (life-bestowing) gardens whose mango trees were famous.

     Jama Masjid: This was also built by Shah Jahan. It is the largest mosque in India, situated opposite to Red Fort.

     Chandni Chowk: Shah Jahan's daughter Jahanara Begum was associated with the construction of the complex. It lies north of Jama Masjid and opposite to Red Fort. It is almost the oldest and largest commercial centre. Gurdwara Sisganj is situated here. Ghantewala sweetmeat shop and Gulab Perfumes are two of the oldest shops here. Some of the streets are Dariba Kalan for jewellery, Khari Baoli for spices, Kinari bazar for tinsels, Nai Sadak for books.

     Jantar Mantar: It is an astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jaisingh II of Jaipur in 1725.

     Safdarjung Tomb: Built in 1754, this has been described as ``the last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture''. It is situated at one end of Lodi Road. A later or last construction of the Mughals was the Zafar Mahal, a summer palace, in Mehrauli, by the last Mughal.

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