Delhi, India’s capital city is an immense metropolis that offers a great combination of historical attractions along with cosmopolitan flair. While its history can be traced back to 5000 years, tangible proof of its rich culture dates back to the Mughal era, dotting the city with beautiful monuments, forts and mosques. Add to this the contributions of the local indigenous flavour and the architecture during the British rule, to be presented with a mindboggling choice of things to experience and do. If you're wondering where to start, here’s a list of absolute must do attractions that give this city its unique flavour:
1. Humayun's Tomb: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely one of the most impressive examples of Mughal architecture. It was with this tomb that the Mughals tested their famous Persian Charbagh architectural site that was later featured in Agra's Taj Mahal.
2. Red Fort: The city's most iconic monument and a symbol of the Mughal Emperors that once ruled India. The light and sound show held here each evening provides a glimpse into the splendid history of the Red Fort in poetic style.
3. Jama Masjid: This is the largest mosque of the country, capable of holding 25,000 people at once. From its stunning architecture to the beautiful view of the old city from the top of the tower, Jama Masjid is a visual treat.
4. Lodi Gardens: Built in 1936 by the British, the gardens conveniently located bang in the heart of Delhi provides a serene and relaxing retreat from the city today. Busiest at the early morning hours when Delhiites throng from all over for a jog or a walk, a picnic to unwind is a good idea to take a break from the noise and giddy pace of the city.
5. Chandni Chowk: The crowning glory of Old Delhi, Chandni Chawk is a chaotic but captivating street packed with crumbing shops, surges of pedestrians, colorful jewelry, clothes, cycle rickshaws and more. It is also an excellent place to enjoy Delhi's impressive street food. A good tip would be enjoy this touristic sight with your Delhi guide, as you navigate maze like lanes that are so narrow that only single persons pass through only to open into massive “havelis” or houses with huge courtyards.
6. India Gate: Located in the heart of New Delhi, India Gate stands towering over the city. The monument was built as a war memorial to honor the soldiers that lost their lives in World War I fighting for British Army. Vast green stretches geometrically laid out make it another favourite picnic spot; treat yourself to an ice cream from the vendor carts nearby as you take the sights in.
7. Lotus Temple: Shaped like a lotus, the Lotus Temple or Bahai Temple paints a pretty picture with its expansive white marble, tranquil ponds and gardens. It is particularly beautiful at night with attractive lighting. Lotus is a symbol that is common to Islam, Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism and it was consciously chosen as the temple is open to believers of all faiths.
8. Akshardham Temple: This large temple complex stands on the banks of the Yamuna River and is an impressive sight. The temple's design and architecture display the ancient Hindu traditions, culture and beliefs. The temple features a cultural boat ride, many exhibition shows, beautifully landscaped garden and a musical fountain show that is incredibly popular with tourists.
9. Garden of Five Senses: For a glimpse into Delhi's suave side, visit the Garden of Five Senses. The garden was built to appeal to all five senses. Spread over 20 acres, it showcases beautifully landscaped gardens featuring sculptures, rocks, waterfalls, flowers, spiral walkways and murals. Inside is an amphitheater for live music, several bars as well as restaurants to spend a relaxing evening.
10. Rashtrapati Bhavan: Spread over 200,000 square feet and featuring 340 rooms, Rashtrapati Bhavan is a breathtaking mansion that acts as the residence of the country's President. Built with a mix of Indian and Western architectural style, the splendor and sheer size of the monument is very impressive particularly around the time of India’s republic Day when it is tastefully decorated with lights.
Credits: https://flic.kr/p/4fPyNB (breicCC BY-SA 2.0, RED FORT 005 byshela maryCC BY, Jama Masjid bySaad AkhtarCC BY, Lodhi Garden - Bada Gumbad - a three domed masjid (mosque) – Morning byShashwat NagpalCC BY, 20110428_Chandni_Chowk_019 byChristopher John SSFCC BY, India Gate byBijoy MohanCC BY, Delhi, Lotus Temple byArian ZwegersCC BY, Akshardham Temple byRuss BowlingCC BY, The Garden of Five Senses byKprateek88CC-BY-SA, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi byRoshan Raj - ExplorerCC BY.