Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Delhi Tourist Attractions

Cradling a rich fusion of culture, history, heritage, power, politics, invasions, and conquests of free India, stands tall the capital of Delhi. A microcosm of India itself, the city might befuddle a first time visitor with its motley of human traffic, palatial edifices, age-old monuments, color-splashed flea markets, never-ending shopping malls and countless quaint and contemporary trappings. Holding two unique worlds – boisterous Old Delhi peppered with lanes, by-lanes, sub-lanes and sub-sub-lanes, and New Delhi strewn ed with a distinguishable variety of extravagant cafes, lounges, boutiques and shopping centers, a stay in Delhi becomes a truly exciting vacationing affair for tourists. Walk through the city by exploring the following tourist attractions:

Rashtrapati Bhawan (President's House)

president's house in india
Rastrapati Bhawan (President's House)

Located on Raisina Hill in the center of Delhi lies the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan- the erstwhile residence of the British Viceroy and now the official residence of the President of India. Designed by British architect, Edwin Landseer Luytens, it covers an area of 330 acres and has 340 rooms and is the largest residence of any Head of the State in the world. The Mughal Gardens inside the estate reflects a dramatic amalgamation of Mughal and British style and is the main attraction of the complex. In addition to the garden with its exotic variety of blooms, there are tennis courts, polo ground, golf course and a cricket field inside the premises of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is the venue for all the official functions of the President, including the coveted National Award ceremonies.

Parliament House

parliament house in india
Parliament House of India

Also known as Sansad Bhawan, the Parliament House located at the end of Parliament Street (Sansad Marg) is the place where the largest democracy of the world functions. Brainchild of Herbert Baker, it was built when a large Legislative Assembly was created following the Montague- Chelmsford reforms of 1919. The mammoth building encompasses a total area of 2.02 hectares and has 247 pillars that fringes a broad corridor. Official permission in the form of a letter of introduction is required to enter the premises of the Parliament House. While Indian citizens can apply to the Secretariat of the Parliament for official permission, foreigners can approach their embassies or high commissions for availing the same.

India Gate

india gate delhi
India Gate in Delhi

Situated at the heart of the capital at Rajpath is India Gate, also known as “All India War Memorial” - a 42 meter high gateway erected to pay homage to 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting British troops during the World War I.

Designed by Lutyens, the foundation stone of the edifice was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921. Another memorial, the Amar Jawan Jyoti was incorporated into the monument after independence. Under the arch, there is an eternal flame that burns incessantly and remind the nation of martyrs of the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.

With its lush environs and lake, it is an ideal spot to catch a quick bite of fruit chaat, bhelpuri, chana jor garam, pakodas during the day. With nightfall, the place wraps itself in a carnival-like spirit with the glittering arch, dazzling fountains, and countless vendors selling ice creams, candy flosses, aerated drinks and a variety of knick knacks – a sight not to be missed !

Red Fort

red fort delhi chandi chowk
Red Fort in Chandni Chowk

Situated near Chandi Chowk in Old Delhi is the Red Fort, also known as Lal Qila towering at a height of 33.5 meter. This awe-inspiring citadel made of red sandstone was originally named as “Qila-e-Mualla” and was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan after he transferred his capital to Delhi from Agra in 1638. Though its foundation stone was laid in 1639, it finally saw completion in 1648. Designed by famed Mughal architects, Ustad Hamid and Ahmad, around 75% of the fort was razed by the British. However, the iconic landmark still bears testimony of Mughal architectural excellence in the form of its palaces and gateways. Steeped with historical significance, it was from here that the British ousted Bahadur Shah Zafar – the last ruler of the Mughal dynasty. It was also from the ramparts of the Red Fort that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, declared to the nation that India was free from colonial rule. Even today, on Independence Day (15th August), the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Qutab Minar

Qutub minar delhi mehrauli
Qutub Minar in Mehrauli

Verbalizing the pride of Delhi Sultanate is the Qutab Minar, the highest brick pillar in the world, located at Mehrauli in South Delhi. An imposing minaret constructed during the reign of Sultan Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1199 A.D., this red sandstone tower is 72.5 m high and is listed as a World Heritage Site. Iltutmish, the son-in-law and successor of Qutubuddin, completed the structure and extravagantly decorated its interiors with calligraphy. Its etchings also feature inscriptions of verses from Holy Quran. The Qutab complex houses the tomb of Adham Khan, Zafar Mahal and Jamali-Kamali. Adjacent to the fort are the ruins of Kila Ri Pithora, the fort of Prithviraj Chauhan, and an iron pillar from Gupta period.

Bahai Temple

bahai temple in delhi
Bahai Temple in South Delhi

Sculpted like a lotus flower, the elegant Bahai Temple or Lotus Temple is situated at Kalkaji in South Delhi. Its architecture is characterized by 27 white lotus petals that sprout from nine pools and walkways and signify the nine unifying spiritual paths of the Bahai faith. Fabricated using marble, cement, dolomite and sand, the temple representing Bahai sect embraces people of all faiths and religious backgrounds. Contemporary in outlook and aesthetic in design, this white marble structure saw completion in 1986 and is recognized as the seventh and most recent Bahai House of Worship in the world. Surrounded by manicured lawns and gleaming pools, it is an ideal place for meditating and indulging in spiritual exercise.

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Delhi at a Glance 
Delhi Tourist Information

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