If you are an international tourist and plan to visit India, Delhi could obviously be your Gateway to India. Not that the famous India gate is located here or it now boasts of one of largest international terminals in the world,but being part of the famous Golden Triangle which also covers the other famous tourist destinations of Agra and Jaipur, it also gives you easy options to travel to the Kashmir or the other beautiful hill towns located around Delhi or to the Himalayas. Well, not to forget, Delhi itself has many must see places which have historic values. Here, we take you to four famous holiday spots.
If you have a look at some of the photos of Lotus temple in Delhi and mistake them for the famous Opera house in Sydney, you are in good company. The Lotus temple atleast from some angles indeed looks similar to the Opera House. The author has friends who liked the building as much as they did the Opera House.
The Lotus temple is a place of worship and gets its name due to its Lotus flower-like architectural design. The Lotus temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship and the building was completed in the year 1986 and has won innumerous awards from across the globe for its design. Well, this is not the only reason that makes the Lotus temple one of the most visited buildings in India. Being the house of Bahá’í worship, Lotus temple as per the Bahá’í traditions serves as a place of worship for people of all religions without any restrictions. Visitors are not allowed to wear footwear inside the temple and ritualistic ceremonies cannot be performed. What you are allowed to do is, worship your God without any inhibitions and disturbances.
The whole complex apart from the famous temple consists of nine ponds, gardens and is an architectural delight. Ironically, in a country which preaches equality for all and Secularism, Lotus temple remains one of the few buildings where entry is free of cost and free for all.
The Qutub Minar
The Qutub Minar in its present form was completed in the year 1386 and even till date remains as the worlds tallest brick minaret and the minaret along with its adjoining structures, some of which are in ruins is a declared UNESCO World heritage site. Still not convinced to visit..read on.
The Qutub minar measuring about 72.5 meters in height and a diameter of 14.42m at the base has around 379 steps that leads it to the top. Unfortunately, due to some unsavoury incidents in the past, taking the steps is currently prohibited. This structure along with the surrounding structures in this site offer you an interesting preview into the earliest Indo-Islamic architecture. The work was commenced in the year 1193 as per the wishes of Qutb-ud-din Aibak of the Mamluk dynasty. The work was completed in the year 1386 by his successor Iltutmish. The other famous structures in this site are the Quwwat Ul Islam Mosque, the Iron Pillar, the Tomb of Iltutmish and the Alai Darwaza. Notably, the mosque is one among the oldest in the city and the Iron Pillar which was erected during the 4th century has lasted all these years without much rusting and is a metallurgical marvel. If history, ruins and traditions are interesting for you, then you can spend hours here. The whole site is also a photographers delight. For others, though you can see the Qutub Minar from a long way back even from outsite the premises, we insist this is a Must see place in Delhi.
The Red Fort
The Red Fort is yet another declared UNESCO world heritage site in Delhi and this fort complex contains many other structures within it. Well, these are the wordings that greet you at the entrance in the Red Fort. “Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (A.D 1628 – 58) as royal residence within his new capital of Shahjahanbad, The Lal-Qila(Red Fort) has a perimeter of 2.41 Km. An oblong octagon on plan, the fort has two principal gates, Lahore Darwaza and Delhi Darwaza along its western and Southern sides respectively. Outside the ramparts runs a moat, originally connected with the river Yamuna. The palaces lie along the eastern side of the fort. The important buildings inside the fort are The Naqqar-Khana, Diwan – I – Am, Rang – Mahal, Khas – Mahal, Mumtaz – Mahal, Diwan – I – Khas, Moti – Masjid and Hammas. The two famous architects Hamid and Ustad Ahmad were associated with its construction that took 9 years (A.D 1639 -48 )to complete.”
The Red Fort is also one among the famous tourist attractions in Delhi and India. This is also the same place where the prime minister of India addresses the country on the Independence day. The sound and Light show within the complex at night also attracts many visitors.
These are some of the famous structures inside the Fort complex.
Rang Mahal : The Rang Mahal or the palace of color orginally served as a part of Imperial Seraglio was known as Imtiaz Mahal. The whole interior was once richly painted and decorated. Some apartments of this building are called Shish- Mahal due to the fact that their ceilings are decorated with tiny pieces of mirror. The Nahr-I-Bihist or the Stream of Paradise flowed through its centre.
Khas Mahal : The Khas Mahal served as the emperors residence. The projecting tower to the east of the Khas Mahal is called the Muthummam Burj where the emperor appeared every moring before his subjects.
Hammas : The Hammas(Baths) is richly decorated with colourful inlaid marbles and had arrangements for Hot and Cold Baths.
Moti Masjid : The Moti Masjid was built by Aurangazeb in the year 1660.
Diwan – I – Am : This large and magnificient hall was the Mughal emperors hall of public audience. The Diwan – I – Am consists of three sides backed by a set of rooms. The hall is divided into 27 square bays on a system of columns which support the arches.
Designed by Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in the year 1931, the India Gate is established in memory of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives for the British Empire in World War 1 and the Afgan Wars. After India’s independence the site became the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier also known as the Amar Jawan Jyothi. The Amar Jawan Jyothi stands under the India Gate structure and has been burning since 1971. The shrine is a black marble Cenotaph with a rifle placed on its barrel, and on the top of it is a soldiers helmet. An empty canopy made out of sandstone which previously contained the statue of King George V stands behind the India Gate.
The India Gate is a treat to watch at night when it is lighted and the India Gate and the lawns surrounding the Raj Path which leads you to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan are a visited by innumerous people everyday.