Most tourists visiting India for a short vacation use Delhi as a transit point to popular places like Jaipur and Agra, the hill stations in Kashmir and Himchal and piligrimage places in Uttarakhand. But Delhi by itself will reward a visitor richly who invests time exploring its historic monuments, gardens and temples. Delhi has a long history which and has the unique distinction of having been India’s capital longer than any other city. Historians refer to the “Seven Cities of Delhi” but, between 1100 A.D. and 1947 A.D., there have actually been eight of them: the oldest city near the site of the Qutab Minar, Siri, Tughlqabad, Jahanpanah, Firozobad, the city around Purana Qila, Shahjahanabad and New Delhi.
The history of Delhi as the Capital of India starts with the Muslim conquest of Northern India at the end of twelfth century.The city is dotted with marvelous mosques, forts, and monuments built by the Mughal rulers that once occupied the city. The government has decided to propose Shahjahanbad and the city designed by Edward Lutyens – New Delhi, for nomination to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage City under the category of Inhabited Historic Towns.
You can plan a vacation in Delhi and learn about its rich past. Alcove offers two Serviced Apartments in Delhi - East Patel Nagar and GK-1, that compare with any 3 star hotels in Delhi.
Here are the top must-see places in Delhi :
One of Delhi’s most famous historical monuments, Red fort or “Lal Qila” is made in red sandstone and was built by Shah Jahan in 1648. The fort contains halls of private and public audience called Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Am respectively, domed and arched marble palaces, lavish private apartments, a mosque, and aesthetically designed gardens.
Each night a Sound and Light show is performed in the Red Fort.
Sitauted on the banks of the Yamuna river, this Temple is built in pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble, with finely carved pillars, statues, and domes, beautiful, lush gardens and a musical fountain. There is a theatre where films and stories related to the Guru Swaminarayan are shown.
Lotus Temple’s has lotus shaped structure and is made of marble structure, and is surrounded by nine ponds and beautiful gardens. Though a Temple, it does not have statues or idols, no sermons are delivered, but every person, irrespective of his or her religion can come and worship God here.
The tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun, near Purana Qila, is a World Heritage Site and is a beautiful building made of red sandstone. Humayun’s Tomb was built for Humayun’s widow, Hamida Banu Begum, and completed in 1565.
Its Charbagh or four gardens are are botanical delights and the mausoleum has domes, lattice screens, and a centrally designed Mihrab (a screened window) at the main chamber, containing the Emperor’s cenotaph.
Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, this building connects to Rashtrapati Bhawan through Rajpath, from which the national parade takes place on the Republic Day. The place is dedicated to all the soldiers who have laid their lives for the nation, and are commemorated through the sacred fire of the Amar Jawan Jyoti, There is a cenotaph for all soldiers with a rifle and a soldier’s helmet at the top.
One of the most famous and largest mosques in India, built by Shah Jahan in 17th Century, on the Chawri Bazaar Chawk of Old Delhi, is Jama Masjid.
Old Fort or Purana Qila
Constructed in 16th century by the Mughal Emperor Humayun, this fort was later, and only ruins remain, including Sher Mandal and Qila-i-Kuhan Mosque. Excavations also took place on this site many times, resulting in the accumulation of many artifacts which are preserved in the Archaeological Museum.
Laxminarayan Temple (Birla Temple)
There are intricate carvings on every part and wall of the temple building depicting stories from Hindu mythology, waterfalls and landscaped gardens in the compound area, adorning the Temple.
Qutub Minar is the world’s tallest brick minaret, in the Indo- Islamic architecture; the building is surrounded by various other ruins and historical structures, together forming the Qutub Complex.
The red sandstone structure has carvings and sermons from the Quran. The building has survived many earthquakes and is now a World Heritage Site.
A memorial of Mahatma Gandhi , this place is an open air, black marbled platform, which is the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandhi.
One of the largest museums in India, the museum treasures art pieces from many fields, from paintings to arms, from manuscripts to armours, from Mohenjodaro times to the modern age.
The Jantar Mantar consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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