Delhi Travelogue

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - 14:26

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Historic Places:

Qutub Minar: One of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture in India, Qutub Minar is known as the tallest brick minaret in the world. With a height of 72.5 meters (237.8 ft), the construction of the minaret started in 1193 under the orders of India’s first Muslim ruler Qutb-ud-din Aibak.

It is surrounded by several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as Qutub complex.

Ashoka Pillar: The Ashoka Pillar, or the Iron Pillar of Delhi, was built during the reign of Chandragupta Vikramaditya (375–413) and is one of the most prominent constructions in the Qutub Complex, apart from the Qutub Minar. The 7 meter (22 feet) high pillar, which weighs more than six tons, is notable for the composition of the metals used in its construction. The pillar is 98% pure wrought iron, and is an evidence of the extraordinary skills possessed by ancient Indian blacksmiths.

The Ashoka Pillar has been a subject of immense interest among archaeologists and metallurgists as it has withstood corrosion for over 1,600 years in the open air.

Purana Qila (Old Fort) : Purana Qila, a.k.a., “Pandovon Ka Quila” (the Fort of the Pandavas) is the oldest fort of Delhi. Pandavs were the rulers of Hastinapur (Delhi) during the times of Mahabharat War around 5000 years ago. A visit at the Purana Qila will take you to the time of Mahabharat, an epic story of ancient India.

Lal Qila (Red Fort) : La Qila was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the walled city of Old Delhi in 17th century. It served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British Indian government. It was used as a military camp by the British till the India gained its independence in 1947.

The Red Fort is still the centre of India’s Independence celebration as the Prime Minister of India raises the flag of India on the ramparts of the Lahori Gate of the fort complex every year on Independence Day. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Tughlaqabad Qila (Tughlaqabad Fort) : Tughlaqabad Fort or the Tughlaqabad Qila was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of Tughlaq dynasty, of the Delhi Sultanate of India in 1321. Stretching across 6.5 kilometers, the fort was later abandoned in 1327.

Humayun’s Tomb: Humayun’s Tomb is one of Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, the Tomb is a complex of buildings built as the Mughal Emperor Humayun’s tomb, commissioned by Humayun’s wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562 CE, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale.

Religious places:

Chattarpur Temples: Situated in the South Delhi, the Chattarpur temples is a collection of 4-5 Hindu temple which are built on the lines of flamboyant South Indian architecture. The main temple dedicated to goddess Durga also built in South Indian style.

Though devotees offer their payers here round the year, the main time to visit these exotic Temples is during the ‘Navratri’ festival. This year, the dates do coincide with the Commonwealth Games, so make sure to make your way to the temple at least once.

Baha’i Temple (Lotus Temple) : Another architectural miracle, the Baha’i house of Worship is also known as the Lotus Temple due to its beautiful flowerlike shape. Having won numerous architectural awards, the Lotus Temple invites everybody and anybody, irrespective of his/her caste, creed or religion, to find some peace of mind. The Bahá’í laws emphasize that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions.

Jama Masjid: The Masjid-i Jahan-Numa, or Jama Masjid, as it is more popularly known, was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1656 AD. It is the principal mosque of Old Delhi and is also the largest in India. Jama Masjid is also the third UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Delhi.

Akshardham Temple: You come to Delhi and you surely can’t miss the world largest comprehensive Hindu temple. Welcome to Akshardham Delhi: Indian tradition, Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture personified. Inspired and moderated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, The Akshardham temple in Delhi is based on the banks of river Yamuna is adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village.

Bangla Sahib Gurdwara: Bangla Sahib Gurdwara is one of the most revered places of worship in India. Known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, the Gurudwara consists of a pond inside its complex, known as the “Sarovar”, whose water is considered as “Amrit” by the Sikh community. Situated in central part of Delhi, Connaught Place, Bangla Sahib Gurudwara is instantly recognisable by its stunning golden dome and tall flagpole, Nishan Sahib.

Sheesh Ganj Sahib Gurdwara: The Sheesh Ganj Sahib is built at the site in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi, where the ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the orders of the Mughal emperor in 1675 A.D., Aurangzeb, for refusing to convert to Islam.

Other places:

India Gate: The landmark national monument in India, the India Gate situated in the heart of New Delhi. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the India Gate was originally known as All India War Memorial. It commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the British Empire in India in World War I and the Afghan Wars. Following India’s independence, India Gate became the site of the Indian Army’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, known as the Amar Jawan Jyoti (Immortal Soldier).

Raj Ghat: Raj Ghat is the last resting place of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi). He was cremated here on 31st January 1948 after he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu radical with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha. The last words uttered by Mahatma “Hey Ram” are inscribed near the black platform. An eternal flame keeps burning in a copper urn in the Raj Ghat. A memorial ceremony is held every Friday along with special prayers being offered on his remembrance on his Birth (2nd October) and Death (30th January) Anniversaries.

Shakti Sthal: Shakti Sthal is the memorial of India’s first and only lady prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi. She was the only child of Jawahar Lal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. She was the third Prime Minister of India and occupied the post for nearly three terms. It was during her third term as prime minister that her own bodyguards assassinated her, in the year 1984.

Vir Bhumi: Vir Bhumi is the memorial of the sixth and youngest prime minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. Popularly known as a man with great dreams for his country and his countrymen, Rajiv Gandhi was the first son of Indira and Feroze Gandhi. He was appointed as prime minister of the country within hours of his mother’s assassination in 1984. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE suicide bomber, at Sriperumbudur, 40-km away from Chennai in Tamil Nadu, in May 1991.

Vijay Ghat: Vijay Ghat is the memorial of India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri where he was cremated in 1966. Shastri was a great statesman and freedom fighter who led many defiant campaigns and spent a total of seven years in British jails. Remembered for his popular slogan ‘Jai Jawan and Jai Kisan’, he played a very constructive role in the governance of the country after independence. It was due to his great inner strength and resolve that India emerged victorious in 1965 war against Pakistan. He was the first person to be posthumously awarded the prestigious award ‘Bharat Ratna’.

Rashtrapati Bhavan: Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official residence of the President of India and is located near the India Gate. Until 1950 it was known as “Viceroy’s House” and served as the residence of the Viceroy of India. It is at the heart of an area known as Lutyens’ Delhi. It is the largest residence of any Head of the State in the world.

Museums:

Shankar’s International Doll Museum: A unique collection of dolls from all over the world by famous political cartoonist K Shankar Pillai led to the establishment of the International Doll Museum.

National Museum: The largest museum in India, National Museum in New Delhi comprises of some unparalleled collections and true masterpieces. The museum showcases the arts and handicrafts from different regions of India. Keep an eye out for the 4600-year-old Harappan temple dancer, the Gandhara-era standing Buddha with Greek hair and a Roman toga, the stunning miniature painting gallery, and the giant temple chariot parked outside.

National Railway Museum: National Railway Museum houses a collection of Indian trains from the past to the present - a worthwhile look into India’s proud railway heritage.

Tibet House: Established by HH Dalai Lama with the aim of preserving the cultural heritage of Tibet.

SHOPPING SPREE:

Come to Delhi, and the places to shop your heart are the local markets. Do not go for malls as those are something which are found everywhere and anywhere in the world.

If you are putting up in South Delhi, Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar markets are the places to be. Affordable prices and a wide range of variety; from clothes to shoes, from day-to-day items to house decoratives; these two markets will offer you all that you have in your shopping list. These markets, however, tests your bargaining skills to the fullest; so do not shy away from negotiating for your purchase.

If you are a handicraft lover, Dilli Haat (also in South Delhi) is sure to please you. A combination of food plaza and craft bazaar, Dilli Haat has stalls representing each state of India, giving a complete variety of tastes available all over India.

Indian Handicrafts Emporium in Mehrauli too is a great place to satisfy your love for Indian handicrafts.

For those residing near Old Delhi, one cannot miss going to Chandni Chowk. A Chandni Chowk is more famous for traditional Indian wear and is surely a paradise for foodies.

Located at the heart of city, that is, below the inner circle of Connaught Place, Palika Bazar is an underground, air-conditioned market. It hosts several hundred shops selling a diverse range of items; however, the market is dominated by electronic items and clothing. Again, do make sure to put your bargaining skills to practice.

Just a 5-minute walk away from Palika Bazaar, is the Janpath street. Handicrafts, clothes, bags and accessories, Janpath is the market for those who love to stay in fashion, yet are concerned about their pockets.



First Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 15:56

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