Delhi, the capital city and power seat of India, is divided into two parts – Old and New Delhi. The walled city of Old Delhi narrates the history of the city, whilst the contemporary New Delhi reflects the cosmopolitan face of India. From the chaotic streets of Chandni Chowk to the imposing features of Lutyen’s Delhi, this capital city encapsulates the extremities of historic and modern India.
Tourist Attractions of Delhi
India Gate : Located at the heart of Delhi, the names of all the soldiers who laid down their lives during the Afghan war are inscribed here. India Gate pays homage to all Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to uphold the honour of their motherland. India gate is surrounded by lush green lawns on both sides.
The Red Fort : The Red Fort in old Delhi is a magnificent example of Mughal architectural style. The fort was constructed by Shahjahan in the 17th century when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. The beautiful interiors of the fort, including intricate carvings, throw light on the luxurious lifestyle of Mughal rulers.
Rashtrapati Bhawan : The official residence of President of India is a superb example of British architectural style during colonial period. There is a slight ascent of Rajpath from India Gate leading to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan, particularly Mughal gardens rank among the gardens in India.
Raj Ghat : Raj Ghat is the place where the samadhi of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, is situated. Located in a sprawling well maintained campus, people in large numbers visit Raj Ghat to pay respect to the Mahatma. The place has a very serene ambience.
Qutab Minar : Qutab Minar is located at Mehrauli in south Delhi. A fine example of early medieval period architecture, Qutab Minar was built by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak in the 13th century. Built in red sand stone, the Minar rises to a height of 72.5 metres from the ground. There are intricate carvings and verses from the holy Quran inscribed on the walls of the Minar.
Bahai (Lotus) Temple : Among the relatively newly built attractions adorning Delhi's landscape is the magnificent Bahai Temple, more popularly called ‘Lotus Temple’. Built with meticulous care in the shape of a lotus, the temple is a great example of modern architecture. A deep serenity pervades the entire place. The temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens on all sides.
Jama Masjid : The great mosque of Old Delhi is both the largest congregational mosques in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shahjahan. Having three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40m high, the mosque is constructed with alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can hold about 25,000 people.
Chandni Chowk : Meaning ‘Silver street’, Chandni chowk is the main street of Old Delhi, one of the most congested and most colourful bazaar of India. At its eastern end (towards the Red Fort) is a Digambara (sky-clad) Jain Temple, a Shiva temple and Gurudwara Sis Ganj dedicated to the 9th Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur who was beheaded here by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The western end is marked by the Fatehpuri Masjid, which was built by one of Shahjahan's wives. The bazaar is one of the largest and busiest wholesale and retail markets of India, where you can find almost every thing ranging from clothes, fabrics, watches, shoes, books, gems and jewellery etc.
Connaught Place : In the heart of New Delhi, this is the stylish circular commercial and tourist centre of Delhi. It is an architecturally uniform series of white buildings mainly occupied by shops, banks, restaurants, state tourist offices, airline offices and travel agencies.
Jantar Mantar : located in the vicinity of Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory with masonry instruments designed by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1725. It's a collection of salmon-coloured instruments including a sundial and others that plot the course of planets and determine the time based on the direction of the sun.
Humayun's Tomb : built in the mid-16th century by Haji Begum, the senior wife of Mughal Emperor Humayun, this tomb is a wonderful example of early Mughal architecture. It is considered to be the predecessor of Taj Mahal. The Emperor along with his wife and other members lay buried here. It is built in classic Persian char bagh style - a central tomb surrounded by gardens.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib : Located in the heart of Delhi, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most popular Sikh temples of India, was the erstwhile royal palace of Raja Jai Singh, who dedicated this palace to the sacred memory of the 8th Sikh Guru Harkishanji. Today, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most popular Sikh temples in active worship, visited by thousands of devotees on a daily basis. The Gurudwara also houses one of Delhi’s largest holy water reservoirs and communal kitchen where tons of food is cooked and served for free daily.
Akshardham temple complex : this temple epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur and beauty. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind. A relatively new addition to Delhi’s tourist map, Akshardham is unique and modern and strikingly different to any other temple in India.
Unique Experience of Delhi
The famous flower market of Delhi:If you are up before dawn, it is worth visiting India’s largest wholesale flower market in Connaught Place, New Delhi. An incredible experience in the early hours of the morning, when Delhi looks unusually serene and quiet, you get a chance to meet the flower traders and cherish the beauty of a large variety of flowers. A temporary market, which starts business at 04:00am every morning, generates revenue of close to $100 million per annum!
Hang out with Delhi’ites If you really want to feel like a Delhi’ite, head straight to Priya Complex in Vasant Vihar, South Delhi. Here, you will feel the pulse of Delhi’s Gen Y! Packed with shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, night clubs and cinemas, Priya Complex has it all! Visit anytime of the day and you’ll find this place loaded with youngsters. For a more central location, head to Khan Market, famous for its cafes, book stores, music shops and exquisite boutiques – a popular hang out zone for Delhi’s elite.
The cosmopolitan end of Delhi: To see the modern face of New Delhi, try visiting Gurgaon (an extension to Delhi, which falls within the belt of National Capital Region). You cannot miss the extensive use of glass and metal to frame this cosmopolitan end of Delhi, which houses large multi-national offices, high rise expat accommodations, baby-boomers dream homes and of course the latest and largest malls of Delhi. Visit Ambience Mall, the largest mall of the capital city, always packed with shopaholics!
Experience the rustic charm of Old Delhi :To experience the rustic charm of old Delhi, spend some time in the narrow by-lanes ‘galees’ of Chandni Chowk. One of the largest and oldest wholesale trading bazaars of India, here you will find a shop for practically anything and everything! When in Chandani Chowk it is worth taking a rikshaw ride in the congested lanes and seeing the old heritage buildings. Ask for ‘Paranthey wali galee’ i.e. the famous by-lane that houses a century old roadside stand serving the stuffed Indian pancakes (a thick roti called ‘parantha’).
Experience Chor Bazaar : Have you ever shopped at a Thieves Market without being caught? If you haven't, then this is your chance! Visit the ‘Chor Bazaar’ i.e. ‘Theives Market’, a street side flea market near the famous Red Fort in old Delhi, open every Sunday.
Chor Bazaar sells all sorts of things ranging from hardware, kitchen ware, electronics, clothes, bags, belts, fake designer wear etc and for once buying from these thieves will not get cops knocking your door! Even if you don’t wish to shop, it is worth the experience a few photo clicks!
Local Markets of Delhi
Dilli Haat: Discover the regional crafts and foods of India at Dilli Haat. The unique Dilli Haat is an upgraded version of the traditional weekly market, offering a delightful amalgam of craft, food and cultural activities. Spread over spacious six acres, imaginative landscaping and traditional village architectural style have combined to produce the perfect ambience for a ‘Haat’ or market place.
A wide variety of skilfully crafted handicrafts, intrinsic to each part of the country are available in this exotic bazaar. These range from intricate rosewood and sandalwood carvings, embellished camelhide footwear, to sophisticated fabric and drapery. Gems, beads, brassware, metal crafts, silk and woollens....the range is limitless.
The food plaza enables visitors to savour flavours from various regions of India, offering a wide choice of ethnic food which is clean, hygienically prepared and reasonably priced.
Sarojini Nagar : the famous street market of Delhi, sells export rejects at unbeatable prices! It is not unusual to find fine brands at unexpected price here. This is not Bangkok, but is an ideal place to get some cotton shirts and wraps for your Indian sojourn.
Janpath : Located in the heart of Delhi, at the erstwhile Queensway, is Janpath, the most famous Tibetan street market of Delhi. Selling everything from handicrafts, shoes, bags, clothes, mirror studded linen, hats, music, sunglasses etc Janpath will have something to woo everyone. For the latest trends in fashion, this is where Delhi’s fashion chics shop and drop! Janpath is also renowned for the famous Cottage Industries Emporium, selling the finest quality handicrafts from all across India.
Khan Market : Famous for its cafes, book stores, music shops and exquisite boutiques – Khan market is a popular hang out zone for Delhi’s elite. For beautiful Indo-Western outfits, fabrics and furnishings in dazzling colours head to two of the most popular boutique stores - Anokhi and FAB India – for quality at price!
Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh : Two of the most popular and oldest markets of Delhi, Chandani Chowk and Karol Bagh sell everything under the sun! Even if shopping is not on top of your agenda, it is worth exploring the little congested lanes of these markets and experiencing what its like to live in a country of a billion people! With gold, diamonds and heavy stoned wedding wear to fakes, shoes, bags, and lots of food, you are bound to find everything here.