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Home >> India Tourism Guide >> Delhi Travel Guide

Delhi Travel Guide

Delhi is India's main point of arrival for overseas visitors, and the major transport hub for destinations in the states of Rajasthan, the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh as well as central north India. Delhi city, the showcase of India, has been the centre of political activity from time immemorial. The ancient fortness, majestic buildings and historic ruins find their modern counterparts in the tall skyscrapers, diplomatic enclaves and well-planned townships of New Delhi. The people here, their lifestyles, traditions and even the climate are a rich and varied mixture of all that is India.
Delhi, where a empire rose and fell before the dawn of history; where citadels of emperors appeared and disappeared; a city of mysterious eternity whose old ruins proclaim a majestic and imperial past and whose present pulsates vibrantly with the ever flowing life of India. The eternal Jamuna bears witness to the glorious and tumultuous 5,000 year old history of Delhi. A history which begins with the creation of Indraprastha by the Pandavas and the transformation of this barren gift of the Kauravas into an idyllic haven.

A history which encompasses all the various kings and emperors who fixed their royal citadels here-- Indraprastha, Lal Kot, Quila Rai Pithora, Siri, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad, Ferozabad, Dinpanah, Delhi Sher Shahi or then Shahjahanabad. but, combined and integrated into one, these 'new cities' have always been called Delhi and howsoever many names it may have acquired, Delhi has always been intrinsically identified with power and imperial sway. There have been at least eight cities around modern Delhi, and the old saying that whoever founds a new city at Delhi will lose it has come true every time -- most recently for the British who founded New Delhi in 1911.
The historic Purana Qila, which has stood witness to Delhi's rejuvenation, periods of anarchy, and the rise & fall of empires, brings alive history of the capital. Amidst the tranquility of the splendidly panoramic environs of Purana Qila, Delhi's historic and legendary past come to life. After Shah Jahan built Red Fort the attention of administration shifted to gorgeous palaces of the fort. Today the fort is open for the public but only limited area can be accessed. More than half of the fort area has been taken over by the Army. But even what is open to visit reminds one of the splendour and lavish life style which our rulers lived. Delhi has seen the death of many empires and resisted bloody attempts to eliminate her. Nadir Shah had ordered his soldiers to plunder and massacre Delhi. It is said that he got so much wealth from Delhi that he was not able to carry in home. Abdali and Taimur Lane were no different they had tried their best to demolish the city of Delhi but it was some kind of a boon which helped it to regain its lost glory each time Delhi was plundered.

Delhi was the focal point for the first war of independence in 1857. Though the revolt did not reach its desired conclusion, Delhi became a thorn in the eyes of the British. Not only in ancient times or the mediaeval period, Delhi has been the center of any activity at all times. As the Britishers shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi, all the activities during the freedom struggle were directed towards Delhi. Thus, Delhi also bears the marks of the freedom struggle. The ultimate goal of the Azad Hind Fauz during the freedom struggle was to capture Delhi and established Swaraj. The slogan 'Dilli Chalo' is still used by leaders and political parties when they oraganise any rally or demonstration. It was the hosting of the tricolour at Red Fort in Delhi which marked a chapter in the history of India.

Places to See

Humayun's Tomb
Built by the wife of Humayun, Haji Begum in the mid 16th century, this red sand stone structure is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal. The structure is one of the best example of Mughal Architecture. Humayun's wife is also buried in the red and white sandstone, black and yellow marble tomb. The entry in the complex is free on Fridays.

Old Fort
It is believed that the Pandavas had built their capital, Indraprastha at the place where the old fort stands today. This fort, now in ruins, was the seat for administration for many emperors. The legendary Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from here till he was defeated by Abdali in the battle of Panipat. A new light & sound show is held by the Department of Delhi Tourism every evening. Timings and Tickets are available from the tourist office.

Safdarjung Tomb
The Safdarjang tomb is besides the of Safdarjang airport. This tomb was built by the Nawab of Avadh for his father. The structure is one of the finest example of architecture of its time and tells a saga of the last remnants of a dying empire.

Jantar Mantar
Few minutes walk from Connaught Place is is a strange collection of solomon coloured structures. These were built by Maharaja Jai Singh and is actually an observatory. Though not as large as its compatriot in Jaipur Jantar Mantar at Delhi also an attraction for the tourists. The astonishing part of these observatories is that they can calculate many astronomical movements very accurately.

Red Fort
Built in Red Sand stone this imposing fort is 3 kms in perimeter with the height of the wall varying from 18 to 30 meters at places. When the Red fort was being built Yamuna used to flow on its one sides and there were deep moats on the other. Today Yamuna flows almost a kilometer away from the fort and the moats have dried up. In the evening the Delhi Tourism organises a light and sound show which narrates the history of Delhi in context of the Red Fort.

The Lahore gate, the main entrance, has some emotions and sentiments attached with the Indian independence as the Tricolour flutters on the top of this gate. On 15th August the Indian Prime minister addresses the nation from here. As soon one enters in the fort from the Lahore gate There is a small Bazzar, here all kinds of items are available. This Shopping arcade was known as the Mina Bazzar and was open only to women on Thursdays's during the Mughal era.

The arcade leads to the Naubat Khana or the drum house where the Musicians used to play drums on the arrival of Emperors or princes. Just above the Naubat Khana is the Indian war memorial museum which has a rich collection of armours, guns, swords, and other items related to war.

The Dewan-i-Am or the place of public hearing had a wall paneled with marble in laid with precious stone which were removed during the mutiny of 1857. The Dewan-i-Khas or the place for special hearing was the area where the emperor used to hold meetings with his ministers. Next to Dewan-i-Khas are the royal baths or the Hammams and Shahi Burj which are closed for public viewing. The white marbled Moti Masjid or the pearl mosque was the private mosque for Aurangzeb.

Qutab Minar
In 1199, Qutbuddin raised the Qutab Minar either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32 mtrs. it tapers to 2.75 mtrs. at a height of 72.5 mtrs. It is still the highest stone tower in India, one of the finest stone tower in India, one of the finest Islamic structures ever raised and Delhi's recognised landmark. It was completed by the Sultan's successor and son-in-law, Iltutmish. The tomb of Iltutmish, which he himself built in 1235, is nearby, Its interiors are profusely decorated with calligraphy, though the dome has collapsed.


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