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Delhi the capital of India, needs no introduction. A city, famous for its historical heritage, mouth-watering delicacies, unlimited shopping options and much more.
Our past trips to Delhi were limited mostly to visiting malls and restaurants. But this time with 2 extra days in hand, I made sure to explore some of the best places that the city has to offer, especially historical monuments.
Places to visit in Delhi
Thanks to Delhi’s glorious past as the Political Centre of India, there is no dearth of historical sites and monuments. City has witnessed succession of mighty empires and powerful kingdoms, making it one of the longest-serving capitals and oldest inhabited cities in the world.
Delhi, the capital of India is a perfect place, if you are fond of historical places and monuments. On the other hand, it can overwhelm you with number of options available. Sharing a list of must visit places in Delhi, when you have 2-3 days. In this post I have chosen the places in and around South and central Delhi.
Best historical places in Delhi
Qutub Minar complex
Timings: 7 am to 5 pm
Entry fee: INR 30 for Indians, INR 500 for Foreign tourists
Approximate time required: 2 hours
Staring at it from the distance, I always assumed Qutub minar as just one tall minaret. But when we actually visited Qutub complex, to my surprise, complex had many monuments.
Qutub complex, a UNESCO World heritage site, houses several monuments and structures of Delhi Sultanate, built during different periods. Visit to Qutub minar complex was simply intriguing.
Monuments in Qutub Complex
Qutub minar is the most prominent monuments in the complex. It was built in 1192 ADas a Victory Tower, to celebrate the victory of Muhammad Ghori over Rajput king, Prithviraj Chauhan,by his then viceroy Qutb ud din Aibak and later by his successor Iltutmish. It was finally completed by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, from the Tughlaq dynasty in 1368 AD.
5 storey minaret with fluted columns made of red and buff colored sandstone, carved beautifully with Kufic style of Islamic Calligraphy was captivating site.
The iron pillar, in the complex is one of the world’s foremost metallurgical curiosities, as it never gets rusted. 7.21-metre highpillar, was originally erected by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya(375–414 AD) inUdaygiri.Later it was shifted to its present location in 10th century CE. Thepillar bears an inscription in Sanskrit in Brahmi script dating 4th century AD.
The complex has many interestingand ornate monuments like Alai Darwaza, Quwwat ul Islam Mosque, Tombsof Iltutmish, Tombs of Imam Zamin, Ala-ud-din Khilji’s tomb and madrasa, Alai Minar of Khalji. While gazing through the monuments we also came across some pillars and carvings which looked more like temple carvings. We found out that the mosque in the complex was built over the ruins of Jain temples.
Location: Mathura Road Opposite, Nizamuddin, New Delhi
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm
Entry fee: INR 30 for Indians & tourists from SAARC nations, INR 500 for Foreign tourists
Approximate time required: 1-1.5 hours
To me Humayun’s tomb looked like a replica of Taj Mahal, of course not as grand and awe-inspiring as the Taj, one of the wonders of the world. But surely an architectural masterpiece.
Declared as UNESCO world heritage site in 1993, Humayun’s Tomb is the first structure in India, built in Mughal style of Architecture. Vibrant red sandstone and white marble, symmetrical design and a beautiful garden surrounding the tomb, symbolizing the garden of Paradise makes it, every photographer’s and monument lover’s delight.
The tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun,was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, in 1569-70, and designed by Persian architects Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad.There are many buildings inside the complex includingtombs, mosques, a wellalong with an accommodation.
There are around 150 tombs in the entire Humayun’s tomb complex including many Mughal Royals, while the main complex houses tombs of Bega Begum, Hamida Banu Begum, Dara Shikoh etc.
Tomb of Isa Khan
Location : Humayun’s Tomb complex
Right next to Humayun’s tomb, is yet another small but elegant octagonal tomb with blue colored embellishments on the dome. Isa khan’s tomb is a walled complex and is the resting place of Isa Khan Niyazi, a noble of influence at the court of Sher Shan Suri. Constructed inA.D. 1547-1548, tomb complex also has a mosque, located west of the mausoleum.
Location: Nizamuddin, New Delhi,
Timing : 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Entry fee: INR 30 for India visitors and INR 100 for foreign nationals
Approximate time required: 1-1.5 hours
Right adjacent to Humayun’s tomb complex is this beautiful Oasis. Although the name is misleading, but Sunder Nursery is a beautifully landscaped 16th-century heritage park complex encompassing many small monuments. Originally known as Azim Bagh and built by the Mughals in the 16th century, Sunder nursery is spread over 90 acres. It has fifteen heritage monuments of which 6 are UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) protected Sundarwala Burj, Sundarwala Mahal and Lakkarwala Burj.
Paradise for both nature lovers as well as monument lovers, Sunder nursery is perfect place to enjoy winter mornings or cool summer evenings.
Agrasen Ki Baoli
Location: Hailey Road, KG Marg, New Delhi
Timing : 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Entry fee: No entry fee
Approximate time required: 20-30 minutes
Located in the middle of a residential area, Agrasen ki Baoli is popular as one of the most haunted places in Delhi. This hidden & mysterious charm is believed to have been built by King Agrasen, dating back to the times of Mahabharata. And rebuilt later by the Agrawal community in the 14th century. Baoli or the step well meant for storing water, is 15-meter wide and 60-meter long with108 steps. Step well has three levels; each level lined with arched niches on both sides.
The black water of the Baoli is said to invite people to jump in it and commit suicide.Baoli is home to bats and pigeons, which surely makes it mysterious and a bit spooky.
Nonetheless this spot is absolutely intriguing and an excellent place for photography enthusiasts.
Location: Rajpath, India Gate, New Delhi
Entry fee: No entry fee
Not as ancient or historical as the other monuments mentioned in the list, but India gate is a place worth visiting to feel the Delhi vibes. India gate is sandstone arch dedicated to the troops of British India who died in wars fought between 1914 and 1919.The arch is about 138 feet (42 metres) in height. This place is more like a picnic Spot, and comes alive especially during the night. You can enjoy all the chaos of a mini carnival including street food, hawkers selling balloons, toys etc. You can also enjoy walking near Rashtrapati bhavan, as its well-lit up during the night and appears magnificent
Some important tips
- Carry your Sunglasses, hat and sunscreen lotion as most of these monuments are open with little or no shade.
- Carry water bottle and light snacks to avoid dehydration, it requires a bit of walking specially at Humayun’s tomb and Sunder Nursery
- Don’t forget your camera
Apart from these, Delhi has countless historical monuments to explore, provided you have enough time in hand. I am hoping to explore more of this treasure during my next visit.
Which is your favorite historical monument or places in Delhi?
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