Two contrasting cities - one New and one Old!
A kingdom that has created more than one empire, ‘Delhi’ today is an incredible combination of the ancient and the contemporary. It was the magnet, which drew the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals and the British, all of whom contributed to its glorious but turbulent past. The fascination with Delhi was such that even though it was abandoned many times, its rulers returned to it again and again rebuilding it at least seven times. Today, the twin cities of Old and New Delhi gives out a stark contrast for a first-time traveller. You may find high rise towers, swanky malls and BMWs’ in harmony with the historical monuments, rustic ruins and bullock carts. An excellent doorway to unwind flashback without compromising on luxury, this city is sure to take you by surprise.
Here we have selected a few of the sights and experiences that you really should see on a visit to Delhi.
Qutub Minar is a soaring 73 m-high tower of victory built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak. The first three of its five distinct stories are made of red sandstone, with the two at the top made of marble and sandstone. Each storey is marked with a balcony and tapers and the entire exterior is marked with detailed carvings and verses from the Qur'an. It is surrounded by several historically significant monuments including the Iron Pillar of Delhi, Alai Darwaza and the Tomb of Iltutmish.
Built in 1572, Humayun's Tomb is one of the most magnificent tombs built in Delhi during the Mughal rule. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an excellent example of Persian and Indian architecture. The tomb is made with red sandstone along with use of white and black marble. It was considered as the first and foremost garden style tomb in India. This tomb complex is also known as the 'Dormitory of the Mughals' as it houses more than a hundred graves from the Royal family.
Built in 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, it features the best of Hindu and Islamic architecture. Approximately 25,000 pilgrims can offer their prayers in this mosque together. It has three gates, four towers and two 40m high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble. The mosque houses several relics of Islamic religious significance like an age old transcript of the Quran printed on deer skin and a red beard-hair of the Holy Prophet Mohammad.
India Gate, 42 metres high, is counted among the largest war memorials in India. Built in 1921, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, a leading war memorial designer at that time. The names of all the soldiers who have sacrificed their lives during the World War 1 and the Afghan war are scripted on the walls of India Gate.
Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India, stands on a 330-acre estate and the building itself covers an area of five acres. The building, designed by the British Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, is a mixture of Indian and Western schools of architecture. The building contains 11/2 miles of corridors, 340 rooms of which 63 are living rooms, 227 columns, 35 loggias and 37 fountains including the roof fountains. The main palace building was formerly known as Viceroy's House and Lord Irwin was the first Viceroy to move into it.