Ever since the capital was shifted in 1911 from Calcutta, New Delhi has been the center of all the important political activities. The city that was built by the British in early 20th century has today turned into a fast growing modern city. It is full of opportunities for the youth and the new cities at Noida and Gurgaon are full of IT professionals form all over the country.
From the tourism point of view, New Delhi benefits a lot from its history. The city was built to the south of the old city built by Shahjahan. Before the Mughuls came on the scene, Delhi was the headquarters of many dynasties that have ruled India or major parts of it. Tughlaqabad, Old Fort built by Humayun, the monuments at Mehrauli, and of course, the Red Fort are among the best known tourist attractions of New Delhi. Later additions by the British like the Viceroy’s House ( Rashtrapati Bhavan ), the parliament House, and Connaught Place are also among the highlights of the Delhi India Travel.
The city holds tremendous importance for the country, being the national capital. All the major ministries and the secretariats are located here as are the head offices of major government organizations. New Delhi is synonymous to the governance of modern India, much as Old Delhi was the center of political activities in medieval India.
Tourism in New Delhi comprises all the major historical places and monuments that are the relics of the past dynasties. These include the famous monuments like Red Fort and Qutb Minar, and a large number of forts, palaces and tombs built by the erstwhile rulers. The Rashtrapati Bhavan, Rajpath, India gate, Connaught Place, and the parliament House are some of the modern buildings which should be visited by tourists during New Delhi tours. In addition to the above mentioned spots, New Delhi is also home to a large number of religious places. The most prominent among these are the Jumma Masjid, the Akshardham temple, and the Lotus temple. New Delhi has been the residence of many prominent figures of Indian politics including the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his equally famous descendants. The residence of Jawaharlal Nehru is also a major tourist attraction of New Delhi. The memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the father of the nation, at Rajghat, and the memorials of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, both of whom were assassinated, are also some notable sites.
New Delhi is a vibrant city and there is plenty to look forward to for tourists. The bustling bazaars which haven’t changed much from the time of the famous chandni chowk, and the contrasting shopping malls with all their modern glitz are also an integral part of tourism in New Delhi. The nightlife of the city is also fast catching up with that in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. Tourists can look forward to a wide range of hotels, restaurants, pubs and discos in the city.
Tourist Attractions of New Delhi
There are several places to see, visit, and explore in New Delhi. New Delhi is an international metropolis with excellent tourist spots, recreational facilities, and a history that goes back to antiquity. A remarkable feature of New Delhi is the extent of greenery all over. New Delhi is also a dream city for visitors looking for items of handicrafts, not only the rich artistic crafts of its own craftsmen but also of craftsmen from all over the country. New Delhi offers a multitude of interesting places and attractions to the visitor, so much so that it becomes difficult to decide from where to begin exploring the city.
A memorial inscribed with the names of the valiant Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I. The green, velvety lawns at India Gate, particularly, are a popular evening and holiday rendezvous for young and old alike. A must visit place in New Delhi.
In Old Delhi, you may visit the ramparts of the Red Fort. The decision for constructing the fort was taken in 1639, when Shahjahan decided to shift his capital to New Delhi from Agra. Within eight years, Shahjahanabad was completed with the Red Fort-Qila-i-Mubarak (fortunate citadel)-New Delhi's seventh fort, ready in all its magnificence to receive the Emperor. The Red Fort still retains some of its lost glory. The Red Fort was the last fort built in New Delhi and it witnessed the vicissitudes of fortune, the splendour and the fall of the Mughals, British rule, and finally the dawn of Indian Independence. A place must see by all tourists visiting Delhi.
Modern New Delhi, or New Delhi as it is called, centers around the Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is architecturally a very impressive building standing at a height, flowing down as it were to India Gate. This stretch called the Rajpath is where the Republic Day parade is held. The imposing plan of this area conceived by Lutyens does not fade in its charm with the numerous summers or winters that go past.
For lovers of flowers and beauty, the annual spring opening of the glorious, meticulously tended Mughal Gardens at the stately Rashtrapati Bhawan is a bonanza topped by an amazing assembly of roses in perfect bloom-perhaps the best in the whole of India. Mughal Gardens is indeed a place to see.
Raj Ghat On the bank of the legendary Yamuna, which flows past New Delhi, there is Raj Ghat-the last resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. It has become an essential point of call for all visiting dignitaries. Besides Raj Ghat the other near by places must see in New Delhi are the two museums dedicated to Gandhi.
The Qutub Minar is located at a small village called Mehrauli in South New Delhi. Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty, who took possession of New Delhi in 1206, built it. It is a fluted red sandstone tower, which tapers up to a height of 72.5 metres and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the holy Qur'an. The landmark of New Delhi is a place to see.
Also called the Birla Mandir, the Laxminarayan Temple was built by the Birla family in 1938. It is a temple with a large garden and fountains behind it. The temple attracts thousands of devotees on Janmashtami day, the birthday of Lord Krishna. The temple is a place to visit by most of the tourist coming to New Delhi.
Humayun's wife Haji Begum built his Tomb nine years after his death. Designed by a Persian architect named Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, and completed in 1565, the edifice was a trendsetter of the time by remains a must visit place in New Delhi till date.
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 Commissions.
Jantar Mantar is very popular among tourists and the people of Delhi. The structure is another great masterpiece of Indian architecture which shows the scientific acumen of ancient India. Jantar Manter is situated at Parliament Street, very close to Connaught Place. Jantar Mantar is also called Delhi Observatory. It is maintained by the Jaipur government because it was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1710 A.D.
It is a remarkable structure which consists of fourteen geometric devices used for measuring time, forecasting weather changes, predicting behaviour of planets and finding extraterrestrial altitude. All these devices are fixed structures and point to a specific direction. The largest device or instrument is the Samrat Jantar which is 90 feet high and its shadow is plotted in such a manner so that is shows the exact time of the day. Any weather change or the onset of monsoons can be ascertained by the Hindu Chhatri, which is a small domed structure.
The whole structure is made of stone and marble with each of then having an engraved astronomical scale. Jantar Mantar finally got the status of a national monument in 1948. It has always attracted architects, historians and scientists from all over the world.
Maharaja Jai Singh was a fanatical astronomer himself who studied various works from Hindu, Muslim and European astronomy. He had the perception that the tables used by the pundits were deceptive and the actual planetary changes and predictions of eclipses would not have been possible through these measuring parameters. So he thought that he would find an improved and efficient means through which exact prediction could be made. It was his own inspiration and foresightedness that gave shape to such an instrument. He built other observatories at Jaipur, Ujjain, Benares and Mathura to have an exact calculation. It took almost seven years before the whole structure was fully operational because he wanted to be fully satisfied with the accuracy of the instruments at Jantar Mantar.
Some of the major instruments at Jantar Mantar are:
* The Samrat Yantra 'Prince of Dials' (the largest device)
* The Ram Yantra - two circular buildings
* The Jai Prakash
* The Misra Yantra (north-west to the Samrat Yantra)
* Pillars on the southwest of Mishra Yantra used to measure the shortest and longest days of the year.
The Samrat Yantra measured the accurate time of the day. It also measured the declination of the sun which can be seen by the shadow moving around the structure.
The Jai Prakash shows the sun's position at the time of equinox. There is a hole near the bottom of the structure which witnesses sunshine only once in a year that is on 21 march, called vernal eqinox.
Another important structure called the Ram Yantra, consists of two large buildings with open top. Both these two buildings form a complete device. The device is used to measure the altitude of stars which is equivalent to the latitude and the longitude on the earth.
To the north-west of the Prakash Yantra, there is a structure or instrument called Mishra Yantra. It consists of five instruments. Pillars on the southwest of Mishra Yantra are used to measure the shortest day (21 December) and the longest day (21 June) of the year.
It is no denying the fact that the structure does represent the scientific heritage of India, though not being used in the modern scientific research. Having said that, we must give accreditation to the Jantar Mantar for its scientific acumen which could have reaped more fruits had there been appropriate motivation and resource given for research and development.
The living legacy of New Delhi is Shahjahanabad. Created by the builder of Taj Mahal, this city, with the Red Fort as the focal point and Jama Masjid as the praying centre, has a fascinating market planned to shine under the light of the moon, called Chandni Chowk. Shahjahan planned Chandni Chowk so that his daughter could shop for all that she wanted. It was divided by canals filled with water, which glistened like silver in moonlight. The canals are now closed, but Chandni Chowk remains Asia's largest wholesale market. A must visit place in New Delhi
Lying close to the Raj Ghat, the Shanti Vana (literally, the forest of peace) is the place where India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was cremated. The area is now a beautiful park adorned by trees planted by visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
Bahai Temple/Lotus Temple
The Bahai Temple, situated in South New Delhi, is shaped like a lotus. It is an eye-catching edifice worth exploring. Built by the Baha'i community, it offers the visitor a serenity that pervades the temple and its artistic design.
The Purana Quila is a good example of medieval military architecture. Built by Humayun, with later-day modifications by Sher Shah Suri, the Purana Quila is a monument of bold design, which is strong, straightforward and every inch a fortress. It is different from the well planned, carefully decorated, and palatial forts of the later Mughal rulers. Purana Quila is also different from the later forts of the Mughals, as it does not have a complex of palaces, administrative and recreational buildings, as is generally found in the forts built later on. The main purpose of this now-dilapidated fort was its utility, with less emphasis on decoration. The Qal'a-I-Kunha Masjid and the Sher Mandal are two important monuments inside the fort.
Many wildlife sanctuaries, heritage sites, hill stations, and quaint little places to visit and see around New Delhi. Haryana, which encloses New Delhi on three sides, is ideal for quick getaways as most of its tourist spots are quite close. The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary and Tilayar, Surajkund, and Badhkal lakes are only a few of the plethora of attractions that Haryana has to offer. Move over to the nearby places of Rajasthan like Neemrana and Kesroli and you are sure to have a wonderful time amidst nature-if only for a weekend. Escape to the Mud Fort at Kuchesar in Uttar Pradesh and let the cool air and scenic beauty revive your spirit.
Situated 122 km from New Delhi, on a rocky outcrop just above an unspoilt village, lays Neemrana, the site of a majestic fort built in 1464 by Prithviraj Chauhan III. The Neemrana Fort, now heritage resort.
A three-hour drive from New Delhi, Kesroli in Rajasthan is the site of a seven-turreted fort built in the 16th century. The splendid views of the surroundings from the fort's ramparts make it a place to visit.
Barely 80 km from the din and bustle of New Delhi stands the Mud Fort of Kuchesar, which was built in the mid-18th century by the Jat rulers. The fort has bravely withstood the onslaught of the Marathas, Sikhs, Rohillas, and Rajputs, as well as the French and East India Company. The fort was built with seven turrets so as to withstand the cannons of the British.
Located 46 km from New Delhi, just beyond Gurgaon, Sultanpur is a small bird sanctuary. The jheel (shallow lake) with reeds and other waterside plants growing around it becomes a hub of activity in November-December every year when northern migratory birds arrive here. The jheel is home to the only indigenous Indian crane, sarus. It is a place worth visiting from Delhi.
Situated 70 km from New Delhi in Rohtak district, the Tilayar Lake is a favorite getaway for tourists. The lake offers facilities for boating, accommodation, restaurants, bar, children's park and a mini zoo.
Situated 11 km from the Qutab Minar on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, Surajkund is the site of a perennial lake surrounded by rock-cut steps. The Sun temple built by a Tomar chieftain named Surajpal stood here during AD 1000, the remains of which can still be seen. It was around this temple and pool that a tourist resort came up in Surajkund. It is a must visit place during the annual Surajkund Crafts Mela held during the first fortnight of February when craftsmen from all over the country assemble.
Situated in the Faridabad district of Haryana, the panoramic Badhkal Lake is a natural pool surrounded by vast lawns and lush greenery. Just over 30 km from New Delhi, the lake is a popular picnic spot. It also offers boating facilities to tourists.
Events And Festivals
Different communities who have settled in New Delhi celebrate their own festivals with great gusto and add color and variety to the cultural fabric of the mega polis. One cannot imagine New Delhi without Durga Puja in Chittaranjan Park or Muharram, Id-ul-Zuha and Id-Ul-Fitr in Old Delhi.
As the capital of India, New Delhi is center stage for many national celebrations, the two most prominent ones being Republic Day on January 26, and Independence Day on August 15. Preparations for these two occasions begin months in advance, especially for Republic Day, which is celebrated with great pomp and pageantry.
Independence Day is celebrated in New Delhi in commemoration of the day India threw off the colonial yoke. The highlights of this occasion are the Prime Minister's address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, flag hoisting in educational institutions, public sector enterprises, army cantonments, and private homes.
New Delhi also boasts of festivals unique to it-Phoolwalon-ki-Sair (procession of flower-sellers) is one such celebration. In August, flower vendors from different religions gather at Mehrauli with flowers woven into beautiful sheets called pankhas or fans which are offered at the shrine of Hazrat Bakhtiyar Kaki, a famous Muslim saint and at a nearby temple. This is a centuries old tradition practiced in the hope of bountiful harvest of flowers in the coming season and is aimed at promoting communal harmony.
The Urs of Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia is another festival special to New Delhi. His tomb in Nizammuddin is crowded with devotees from all over India and special poems composed in his honor are sung. The streets in the area are transformed into one giant fair with stalls selling special foods, religious artifacts, holy books, and clothes.
How to reach Delhi
Delhi is well connected by air, rail and road, making it easy for the overseas traveller to reach Delhi.
How to Reach Delhi by Air:Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport is connected to all the important cities of the world with almost all the major international airlines operating out of here. Palam Domestic Airport connects Delhi to the major cities in India. Some of the domestic airlines operating regular flights to and from Delhi are
How to Reach Delhi by Rail: The Indian Railway with their modern and organized network connects Delhi to all major and minor destinations in India. The city has three major railway stations at New Delhi, Old Delhi, and Nizamuddin. Luxury trains like the Palace-on-Wheels, Fairy Queen, and Royal Orient Express can be taken from New Delhi Cantonment railway station. Rajdhani Express trains connect New Delhi from the state capitals. Shatabdi Express trains connect New Delhi to the neighboring cities.
How to Reach Delhi by Road: Delhi is well connected to all the major cities of India by a network of highways and roads. Buses can be taken from the three Inter State Bus Terminuses (ISBT), at Kashmere Gate, Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar, as well as many starting points in and around the city, from which various state-managed and privately run transport facilities like airconditioned, deluxe and ordinary coaches operate.
How to travel in Delhi: For travel in Delhi there are buses, the Metro train, auto-rickshaws and cycle- rickshaws. Tourist taxis ply interstate while the yellow and black taxis can be used to commute anywhere within the city Delhi and are safe but relatively expensive. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses go anywhere in the city and are the cheapest mode of transport. Auto rickshaws are another option, but it is always important to bargain for a reasonable fare. Luxurious special tourist buses are also available with packaged tours to all the tourist attractions in Delhi. The recently introduced Delhi Metro railway line is a convenient and efficient mode of transport connecting all major places within the city Delhi.