New Delhi, the capital of India,
sprawled over the west bank of the river Yamuna is one of the
fastest growing cities in India. Historically, the city has long
since been the foremost in political importance with successive
dynasties choosing it as their seat of power, between the 13th
and the 17th centuries. Remnants of the glorious past survive as
important monuments in different parts of the city.
The myriad faces of the city are simply fascinating. In some
places it remains a garden city, tree lined with beautiful
parks, but in some places it is crowded with heavy traffic.
Turbaned Sikhs, colorfully dressed women from Rajasthan and
Gujarat working in offices, Muslim shopkeepers along Chandni
Chowk in Old Delhi, Tibetans and Ladakhis in the street stalls
along Janpath and Kashmiris in the handicraft emporia around
Connaught Place, all add to the cosmopolitan feel of the city.
Soaring skyscrapers, posh residential colonies and bustling
commercial complexes can be seen along with the ancient
historical monuments. Its boutiques and shopping arcades offer
access to a wealth of traditional and contemporary crafts, from
all over the country. Old Delhi looks entirely different from
the more modern New Delhi and south Delhi areas.
Delhi, has seen the rise and fall of many empires which have
left behind a plethora of monuments that the grandeur and glory
of bygone ages. A city which traces its history to Mahabharata,
the great epic tale of wars fought between estranged cousins,
the Kauravas and the Pandavas for the city of Indraprastha.
Mughals ruled Delhi in succession starting from Qutab-ub-din to
Khiljis, Tughlaqs . The city of Delhi passed on to the hands of
the British in 1803 AD. It was in 1911, when the capital of
British empire was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi, that Delhi
got its present prestige. After independence also, a kind of
autonomy was conferred on the capital but it largely remained a
chief commissioners regime. In 1956 Delhi was converted into a
Union territory and the chief commissioner was replaced by a Lt.
Governor. In 1991, the national capital territory Act was passed
by the parliament and a system of diarchy was introduced under
which, the elected Government was given wide powers; except law
and order which remained with the central Government. The actual
enforcement of the legislation came in 1993.
Fort: Also known as The Lal Quila (Lal = red Quila = fort),
stands on the banks of Yamuna. It is surrounded by a perimeter
wall of about 2.4 Kilometers and is built of Red Sandstone. The
Mughal king Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal)
transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and the fort was
completed in 1648, nine years after the king shifted to this
city. The fort has two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the
Lahori Gate which faces the famed Chandni Chowk market.
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.
built by a muslim king, Qutub - ud - din in 1199 AD and a part
of which he could not finish was completed by Itutmish, another
Muslim king. It is situated in the southern part of the capital.
The height of the tower is about 72.5 meter high and there is a
mosque at its base. In front the Qutub Minar there is an iron
pillar which is believed that it was built in 5th century. The
uniqueness part of the pillar is that it has not rusted ever
since it was built. Due to some precaution the Tourists are not
allowed to climb the Qutub Minar i.e. to the tower.
memorial to the unknown soldier was designed by Lutyens. The 42
meter high structure is a war memorial in honor of the soldiers
who died during the second world war. The imposing structure
from where stretch massive lush green lawns has an eternal flame
(Amar Jawan Jyoti) to honor the memory of the unknown soldiers.
India Gate prominently located in the vicinity of Rashtrapati
Bhavan is a major crowd puller during the hot summer evenings of
Delhi by virtue of its lush green lawns.
in 1986, the Bahai temple is set amidst pools and gardens, and
adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or
meditate silently according to their own religion. The structure
is in lotus shape so it often called the lotus temple. The view
of the temple is very spectacular just before dusk when the
temple is flood lit.
that houses the President of India and the house that boasts of
having welcomed the most powerful men in history. The
Rashtrapati Bhavan was designed by Edwin Lutyens and built in
1931, to be the central point of the British power in Delhi.
Originally called the Viceroy's House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan
covers an area of 4.5 acres of land. It has 340 rooms, 37
salons, 74 lobbies and loggias, 18 staircases and 37 fountains.
The most magnificent room in the Rashtrapati Bhavan is the
Durbar Hall, which lies directly beneath the main dome. All
important Indian State and Official ceremonies are held here. To
the west, is the famous and beautifully landscaped Mughal
Gardens, designed after the terraced gardens the Mughals built
in Kashmir. The garden is famous as the 'Butterfly Garden' for
the numerous butterflies that visit the varied flowers. The
garden is open to the public in February.
Parliament House accommodates the two
Houses of Parliament, Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya
Sabha (Council of States). Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert
Baker, the architects of New Delhi, designed this building. His
Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught, laid the foundation stone
of Parliament House in the year 1921. It took six years to
complete the Delhi Parliament House and its was inaugurated in
the year 1927 by the then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin.
A circular building, it also houses ministerial offices, a
number of committee rooms and a brilliant library.
The Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha meetings are held in the domed
circular central hall and the three semi-circular buildings.
Sansad Bhavan of New is adorned with an open verandah with 144
columns and a 28 m central dome. Made up of blocks of sandstone,
it has a diameter of approximately 174 m. Enclosing the
Parliament House Estate is an attractive red sandstone wall or
iron grill with iron gates. It is necessary to take prior
permission before visiting the Parliament House of Delhi.
Indians need to get permission by applying at the Parliament
Secretariat and foreigners through their Embassies or High
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.
square platform of black marble on the banks of the river Yamuna
marks the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. His last
words 'Hey Ram' are inscribed on this platform which is
surrounded by a serene garden.
One of the
Architectural gift given by Shah Jahan (who built Taj Mahal),
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques not only in Delhi but
in India. Completed in 1658 this Mosque has three gateways, Four
angle towers and two 40 m high minarets. You can enter the
mosque but take precaution to take off your shoes and make sure
that you are properly dressed before entering. One can also go
to the top of minarets. From here you can have a birds eye view
the a garden of stately palms, it was built by Maharaja Jai
Singh of Jaipur in 1719. He had been entrusted with the task of
revising the calendar and correcting the astronomical tables
then in use. He made daily astral observation for seven years
before embarking on these stone constructions. He discarded the
usual instruments of brass and built these massive ones in
masonry which are used to the movements of stars. This
observatory, together with the one at Jaipur, are the finest
examples anywhere of observatories modeled on the general
pattern laid down by Ulugh Baigh of Samarkand in the 14th
century. The observatory is conceived with perfect stability and
is adjusted to the meridian and latitude of the location.
tomb is besides the Safdarjung 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 the saga of
a dying empire
Museums of Delhi
Timing: 9 am - 5 pm Closed: Government holidays
Location: Red Fort, Old Delhi. Attractions: Paintings, textiles,
costumes. Situated in the historic Red Fort, the museum exhibits
objects that date to the Mughal period. On view are manuscripts
and firemans' that demonstrate the fine art of calligraphy. One
section concentrates on relics of the 1857 war (First war of
Independence) like maps and weapons.
Timing: Jul to Sep: 9.30 am - 5 pm; Oct to Jun: 9.30 am - 6
pm Closed: Monday
Location: Bhairon Road, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. The crafts
museum complex is a charming oasis in the midst of the hustle
and bustle of Delhi. Mud huts with painted walls and thatched
roofs, courtyards, terracotta horses recreating village shrines,
craftsmen at work are some of the elements that add to the rural
ambience of the place. Within the museum itself are examples of
traditional Indian crafts, wooden carvings and images, metalware,
especially ewe Perdue objects from Bastar, West Bengal and
Bihar, clay and terracotta pots, toys and images, folk and
tribal paintings, jewellery and textiles.
Timing: 10.00 am - 5:30 pm Closed: Monday
Location: Opposite Raj Ghat, Ring Road, Delhi. Personal
belongings of Gandhiji. Situated opposite to Raj Ghat is the
Gandhi Museum. Dedicated to the Father of the Nation, the museum
contains some of his personal belongings. There are five
pavilions one can go through that comprise of sculpture,
photographs and paintings of Gandhiji and the history of the
satyagraha movement as well as the philosophy of 'ahimsa'
NATIONAL RAIL MUSEUM
Timing: Apr-Sep 9.30 am - 7.00 pm Oct-Mar 9:30 am - 5 pm
Location: Shanti Path, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The Rail
Transport Museum is a must for rail buffs. There are models of
train engines and coaches and it is a train-lovers delight. Its
pride is a model of India's very first train, a steam engine
that made its journey from Mumbai to Thane in 1853. The
locomotives here are all displayed in the open although there is
a museum as well, which is a storehouse of information on the
history of railways in India.
Its vintage displays include the oldest locomotive in the
world-still working; the Viceregal Dining Car (1889) and the
Prince of Wales Saloon (1875), Maharaja of Mysore's Saloon
(1899), Maharaja of Baroda's Saloon (1886). The royal saloons
are definitely worth a look for the elaborate interior design.
To enter the royal saloons one has to buy a ticket. The star
attraction is the Fairy Queen, built in 1855, and considered to
be the best preserved steam locomotive engines of her age.
Children can enjoy a ride on the miniature rail track.
NEHRU MUSEUM & PLANETARIUM
Spl. School Programs: 9:30 am to 10:30 pm
Location: Teen Murti Bhavan, Teen Murti Marg, New Delhi.
Additional shows on Sundays and holidays in Hindi- 10:30 am to
3:00 pm. Hindi Shows- 10 am to 5 pm. The residence of Late
Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India was
converted into a museum after his death. The museum is a
fascinating place to learn about the history of the Independence
There are several photographs of the erstwhile Prime Minister,
giving an account of his life. Besides this, the colonial
building is also equally interesting, with its teak paneled
rooms with high ceilings, spacious verandas and well kept
TEMPLE (Birla Temple )
Temple as viewed from the street The Laxminarayan Temple, (also
called the Birla Mandir), in Delhi, India, is a temple built in
honor of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Laxmi, and of her consort,
Lord Vishnu – the Preserver of the Hindu Trinity. It is a temple
with many shrines, fountains, and a large garden . The temple
attracts thousands of devotees on Janmashtami day, the birthday
of Lord Krishna.
The famous Birla
temple patronized by Mahatma Gandhi, who inaugurated this temple
in 1938 after Raja Baldev Birla constructed it, is dedicated to
Goddess Lakshmi. It is close to Connaught Place and is
frequented by many devotees regularly. The temple was
inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on the condition that people of
all strata of society be allowed to offer prayers there on
account of the large scale prevalence of untouchability at that
time. One of the most important festivals of the Hindus
Janamashtami coinciding with the birth of Lord Krishna is
celebrated with great fervour in the temple with more.
recently as 1998, the ISKCON temple complex at Hari Krishna Hill
in East of Kailash is one of the most lavish and grand temples
of Delhi. A fine example of architecture, it sports 'Shikharas'
rising to a height of 90-ft above ground level and centrally
air-conditioned hall that can hold as many as 1,500 people at
once. The fine art paintings by Russian artists here depict
lives and events related to Hindu mythological characters such
as Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram, Laxman, Hanuman and Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu. Special sermons and prayer meeting are held in the
temple, every Sunday afternoon. Dedicated mainly to Lord
Krishna, the elegant temple was built by the followers of 'Hare-Rama
Hare-Krishna' cult. One of the largest temple complexes in
India, it also boasts of a Robot, which was built especially to
enact and preach 'Gita'. The temple remains opened every day
from 4.30 am to noontime and from 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm
Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God,
the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in
the Vedas and Upanishads where divine bhakti, purity and peace
Swaminarayan Akshardham reflects the essence and magnitude of
India's ancient architecture, traditions and timeless
The beautiful monument built without steel, consists of 234
ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars,
a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and
20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees,
acharyas and divine personalities.
The monument is a fusion of pink stone and pure white marble,
where pink stone symbolizes bhakti in eternal bloom and white
marble that of absolute purity and eternal peace. Akshardham was
created by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in fulfillment to the wish
of his guru, Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth successor
in the spiritual hierarchy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. In only a
short timespan of five years Swaminarayan Akshardham became a
reality through the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, 300
million man hours of epic services rendered by 11,000
volunteers, sadhus and artisans and the immense sacrifice,
austerities, prayers of hundreds of thousands of young and old
devotees of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.