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
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
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.