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Delhi, the capital and the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient and the modern. Standing along the West End of Gangetic Plain, the capital city, Delhi, unwinds a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries, gardens and exotic shows. Comprising of two contrasting yet harmonious parts, the Old Delhi and New Delhi, the city is a travel hub of Northern India.
Narrating the city's Mughal past, Old Delhi, takes you through the labyrinthine streets passing through formidable mosques, monuments and forts. You will also discover lively and colorful bazaars that boast to cater all sorts of good and items at mind-blowing prices amidst a barely controlled chaotic ambience. The imperial city of New Delhi displays the finely curved architecture of British Raj.
It generates a mesmerizing charm reflecting well-composed and spacious streets under the shade of beautifully lined avenues of trees and tall and imposing government buildings.
Punjabi cuisine and Mughlai delicacies like kababs and biryanis are popular in several parts of Delhi. Due to Delhi's large cosmopolitan population, cuisines from every part of India, including Rajasthani, Maharashtrian, Bengali, Hyderabadi cuisines, and South Indian food items like idli, sambar and dosa are widely available. Local delicacies include Chaat and Dahi-Papri. There are several food outlets in Delhi serving international cuisine including Italian and Chinese.
Historically, Delhi has always remained an important trading centre in northern India. Old Delhi still contains legacies of its rich Mughal past that can be found among the old city's tangle of snaking lanes and teeming bazaars. The dingy markets of the Old City has an eclectic product range from oil-swamped mango, lime and eggplant pickles, candy-colored herbal potions to silver jewelry, bridal attire, uncut material and linen, spices, sweets. Some of old regal havelis (palacial residences) are still there in the Old City. Chandni Chowk, a three century old shopping area, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewelery and Zari saris. Notable among Delhi's arts and crafts are the Zardozi (an embroidery done with gold thread) and Meenakari (the art of enameling). Dilli Haat, Hauz Khas, Pragati Maidan offer a variety of Indian handicrafts and handlooms. However, the city is said to have lost its own identity and socio-cultural legacies as it went to absorb multitude of humanity from across the country and has morphed into an amorphous pool of cultural styles.
Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of light), Guru Nanak's Birthday, Durga Puja, Holi, Lohri, Maha Shivaratri, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha and Buddha Jayanti. The Qutub Festival is a cultural event during which performances of musicians and dancers from all over India are showcased at night, with the Qutub Minar as the chosen backdrop of the event. Other events such as Kite Flying Festival,Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi.
In Delhi, exciting events takes place throughout the year. The festivals have their share of cultural, religious and state extravaganza.
Lori: Lori is a winter festival celebrated in January. The festival marks the peak of winter and celebrated with burning bonfires, singing and dancing.
Republic Day Parade: A national festival that no tourist should miss. Celebrated on the 26th of January when India became a Republic. It is the most spectacular pageant of Delhi. The march past includes military displays, elephant pageantry, floats representing different states etc.
Garden Tourism Festival: Delhi Tourism holds the Garden Tourism Festival at the end of February that is generally spread over three days and generates much enthusiasm amongst the gardening fraternity. Delhi is ablaze with flowers at this time. It is also a useful meeting ground for gardening enthusiasts, as well as fun and frolic for children of all ages.
Holi: This festival of color is celebrated in March. Men and women stain each other by throwing colors at. Singing and dancing accompany the joyous occasion.
Phoolwalon-ki-Sair: It means the festival of flower sellers. A Festival representative of communal harmony where large fans decorated with flowers are taken out in a procession. On this occasion the flower sellers present flowers to the gods and pray for a better flower season next year.
Mango Festival: The mango festival is held in Delhi during the month of July. Many verities of mangos from the 1100 plus verities those India grow are displayed.
Independent Day Celebrations: Independent Day is celebrated on August 15. Processions and flag hoisting on the Red Fort mark the celebration.
Dussehra: It is a ten days festival, celebrated in Sept./Oct., of which nine days are spent in worship. The tenth day is a celebration of victory of good over evil. Huge effigies of Ravana, the demon king, are burned on the last day of festival. The heroic deeds of Lord Rama who destroyed Ravana are enacted in songs and dance.
Qutab Festival of Classical Music and Dance: The festival is staged around Sharad Pournima in the month of October at the Qutab Minar complex. Evocative melodies and graceful dances are presented by various prominent artistes of the country.
Diwali: Diwali, the festival of lights and fireworks is celebrated throughout the country during Oct-Nov. People illuminate their houses with rows of earthen lamps to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. At night crackers are burst to celebrate the return of Lord Rama from exile.
Flower Shows: Delhi also conducts various flower shows in the winter months. Rose Show, Chrysanthemum Show and Delhi Flower Show are among them.
Urs Of Hazarat Nizamuddin Aulia: a Muslim saint of the 14th century, is celebrated in November or December at his tomb at Nizamuddin. This is celebrated with a lot of pomp along with the accompaniment of quawalis and a wide array of sweet meat and kababs.
Christmas: like elsewhere in the world is celebrated in Delhi with a lot of gaiety and festivity. Special services are held at the churches.
International Trade Fair: Quiet apart from religious events that take up the Delhi calendar, there are also other regular events that are hosted in Delhi like the International Trade Fair that is held annually at the Pragati Maidan. The Pragati Maidan also hosts a variety of events at regular intervals. This is also one of the largest Trade Fair Complexes in Asia.
Delhi Horse Show: In winter Delhi plays host to a number of events like the DELHI HORSE SHOW that is held in November or in December outside the walls of the Red Fort. The vintage car rally is also held in the same period and this is a show one should not miss. It displays a good number of cars left from the period of the British Raj.
Surajkund Crafts Mela: Then there is also the SURAJKUND CRAFTS MELA where the villagers from the adjoining villages bring out their handicrafts and also to display their skills. A variety of rural entertainment’s add colour to the impressive fair.
Delhi's association and geographic proximity to the capital, New Delhi, has amplified the importance of national events and holidays. National events such as Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi's birthday) are celebrated with great enthusiasm in Delhi. On India's Independence Day (15 August) the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the Red Fort. Most Delhiites celebrate the day by flying kites, which are considered a symbol of freedom. The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India's cultural diversity and military might.
Delhi's culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. This is exemplified by the many monuments of significance found in the city; the Archaeological Survey of India recognises 175 monuments in Delhi as national heritage sites. The Old City is the site where the Mughals and the Turkic rulers constructed several architectural marvels like the Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque) and Red Fort. Three World Heritage Sites—the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb—are located in Delhi. Other monuments include the India Gate, the Jantar Mantar (an 18th century astronomical observatory) and the Purana Qila (a 16th century fortress). The Lotus Temple, Laxminarayan Temple and Akshardham are examples of modern architecture. Raj Ghat and associated memorials houses memorials of Mahatma Gandhi and other notable personalities. New Delhi houses several government buildings and official residences reminiscent of the British colonial architecture. Important structures include the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, the Parliament of India and Vijay Chowk. Safdarjung's Tomb is an example of the Mughal gardens style.
THE RED FORT more popularly known as The Lal Quila (Lal ie. red and Quila ie.fort), stands strong on the banks of the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon. It is surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 Kilometers in circumferance and is built of Red Sandstone. The Mughal king Shah Jahan (popular for building the Taj Mahal of Agra) 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.
It is believed that the Pandavas 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.
It was built by a muslim king,Qutub - ud - din in 1199 A.D. 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 caught rust ever since it was built. Due to some precaution the Tourists are not allowed to climb the Qutub Minar i.e. to the tower.
INDIA GATE primarily a memorial to the unknown soldier was Designed by Lutyens. The 42 metre high structure is a war memorial in honour 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 honour the memory of the unknown soldiers. India Gate prominently located in the vicinity of Rastrapati Bhavan is a major crowd puller during the hot summer evenings of Delhi by virtue of its lush green lawns.
IT is Completed 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.
The house 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.
The simple 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.
Built by 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.
A marvellous piece of architecture where the bicameral legislature of India meets for its sessions. Lok sabha, the lower house and Rajya Sabha the upper house. Close to Rashtrapathi Bhavan, is a domed almost circular structure almost a kilometer in circumferance, and was designed by the famed architect Lutyens. It is the seat of the Indian Parliament and during the sessions of Parliament there is a flurry of activity in and around the structure.
One of the Architectural gift given by Shah Jahan, 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 of Delhi.
Set within 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 calender 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 modelled on the general pattren 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.
The Safdarjung tomb is besides the of 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 a saga of the last remnants of a dying empire.
West of Connaught Place on Mandir Marg, Lakshmi Narayan Mandir is a large modern and colorful temple also known as Birla Mandir after its sponsors, the famous industrial house of India. The main shrine is dedicated to Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of wealth) with some smaller shrines to Hanuman (the monkey god), and Ganesh (the elephant-headed god). The walls of the temple are decorated with many symbols and quotations from the ancient sacred scripture.
One of the finest museums in the world, the National Museum is a treasure house of a wide range of exhibits from over 5000 years of Indian culture, including exquisite Mughal miniature paintings and artifacts from the ancient Indus Valley Civilization dating back to 2000 BC.
The old Lady Willington Park, now known as Lodhi Garden, is dotted with monuments of Sayyid and Lodhi Periods, which include tombs mosques, and bridge .
The tombs of Muhammad Shah and Sikandar Lodhi are the good examples of octagonal tombs. Shish and Bara Gumbad are square tombs with imposing dome, turrets on corners and facades giving false impression of being double storeyed.
It is a favourite point for early morning walkers from the posh south Delhi colonies.
Azad Hind Gram Tourist Complex at Tikri Kalan is a project developed by Delhi Tourism to honour Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and to create quality leisure space and wayside amenities for the citizens.Located within two kilometers of the Delhi Haryana border on NH-10, the architecture of the project is inspired by the language of North Indian achitecture and the traditions of Indian craftsmanship.
Swaminarayan Akshardham reflects the essence and magnitude of India's ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spirituality.
The main monument, depicting ancient Indian "vastu shastra" and architecture, is a marvel in pink sandstone and white marble that is 141 feet high, 316 feet wide and 370 feet long with 234 ornate pillars, over 20,000 sculptures and statues of deities, eleven 72-foot-high huge domes (mandapams) and decorative arches. And like a necklace, a double-storied parikrama of red sandstone encircles the monuments with over 155 small domes and 1,160 pillars. The whole monument rises on the shoulders of 148 huge elephants with 11-feet tall panchdhatu statue of Swaminarayan presiding over the structure.
Connaught Place, Early Morning, PigeonsRecently renamed Rajiv Chowk,'CP' was intended to be the shopping arcade of the 'new' capital of Lutyen's Delhi in the mid 1930's, and is located right in the heart of Delhi; it is her epicenter, designed as a set of concentric circles. CP is an architectural splendor with its colossal white old colonial style buildings.
Famous For: The most popular of the radial roads leading off from City Centre is Janpatha treasure trove for shoppers, especially bargain hunters there are scores of Tibetan stall and other shops selling all manner of craft item, handcraft,curios,besides a few book stall and snack joints, ethnic wear, kohlapuri chappals, Rajasthani paintings and brassware another absolute treat for the shopper is the govt run Central Cottege Industries Emporium where you are offered a wide and rare collection of Indian artifacts from different corners of the country. Another place to visit is the underground Palika Bazaar an air-conditioned shopping centre with stalls of ready-to-wear,costume jewellery,accessories,books and a lot of odds and ends.
One of the famous Retail Market of Delhi. Having the products for household and also for the whole family. It has approximately 1500-2000 shops in one long row. They are offering products at best possible prices
Famous For: Ajmal Khan Road market in Karol Bagh. They contain lots of food-joints, jwellery and radimate garments.
Chandni Chowk MarketOne of the main markets of Delhi, Chandni Chowk was once lined with beautiful fountains. But today the place is very crowded and congested. Chandni Chowk is located opposite the Red Fort. The Area has got the Digamber Jain Temple, which houses the Birds hospital. On one end of Chandni Chowk is the Fatehpuri Mosque, which was erected by the wives of Shah Jahan. Opposite the old police station or the Kotwali is the Sunheri Masjid from where Nadir Shah ordered his troops to plunder and massacre Delhi.
Famous For: Unforgettable shopping experience offering every conceivable item from wedding turbans and brass ware to bicycles and electronics. Besides eating joints some of the important streets are dariba kalan the gleaing kinari bazar with its tinsel glitter offering rich silk sarees of the bridel trousseau. The legendary Ballimaran with its hakims and one time colourful inhabitance the appetizing parathe wali gali,khariboli the aromatic spice market.The Zoo
The Delhi Zoo is located near the Purana Qila on the Delhi-Mathura road. Delhi Zoo has many animals which includes the rare and exotic white tigers. This place is particularly popular among the children.
A complex of temples called Chattarpur mandir is located beyond the Qutab Minar in Mehrauli. Dedicated to Goddess Durga. Build in South Indian style the temple complex is spread over a large area with beautiful lawns and gardens. Though devotees visit these temples through the year, during the navratras devotees come from near and far. During the festivals there are special bus services to these temples.