The Indian capital is a strange mix of the ancient and the modern.
Centuries old monuments rub shoulders with towering glass skyscrapers,
spanking new shopping malls reside bang next to ancient architectural
wonders and tiny bylanes lead to small houses packed with hi-tech
appliances. At nearly every nook and corner of this burgeoning metro, you
can get a glimpse of its illustrious and eventful past.
By far the best-known landmark of Delhi, the Qutub Minar was built
by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1193. It is a 73m high tower of victory, built
after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom by the Delhi Sultanate. The tower
has five storeys which keep tapering with height. Each storey has a separate
balcony with wonderful views of Delhi from the top. However, due to some
nasty accidents, entry to the tower has been banned.
Built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1638, the Red Fort is made of red
sandstone. The massive walls of the fort, also known as Lal Qila, rise 33m
and were designed to keep invaders out. Surrounded by a moat, it became the
focal point of patriotic fervour during India's struggle for freedom. So
much so that India's first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru,
addressed the nation from the ramparts of the fort when India became free at
midnight on August 15, 1947. This tradition continues to this day.
This great mosque situated opposite the Red Fort is the largest in India.
Capable of accommodating 25,000 believers, it was built in 1644 by
Shahjahan. This exquisite mosque has three great gateways, four towers and
two minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble.
Not far fron the banks of the river Yamuna, Raj Ghat has a simple memorial
to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. A commemorative ceremony is
held here every Friday, the day of the week on which he was assassinated by
Nathuram Godse. Two museums dedicated to the Mahatma stand close by.
Close to Connaught Place stands one of the seven observatories built by
Sawai Jai Singh, the astronomer-king of Jaipur.
Delhi is a marvellous place for shoppers. The Connaught Place, the
colonnaded shopping area in the centre of town, offers good shopping. An
entire range of Indian handicrafts and handlooms from all over the country
can be found at the State Emporia on Baba Kharak Singh Marg and at the
Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath. Shops along the Janpath
offer garments, leather work, curios, fabric and fine jewellery.
Chandni Chowk the once elegant 'shopping mall' of the Mughals is now a
frantically busy area, but its little lanes often selling just silks,
jewellery, semi precious stones or brassware are fascinating to explore and
marvellous for picking up bargains
Best season to visit
The best season to visit New Delhi is during the pleasant spring seasons of
February to April and August to November. Delhi wears a festive look between
February and April, the blooming season.
New Delhi has a national and an international airport and is therefore
linked to all the important cities in India and the world. The Old Delhi,
New Delhi, Nizamuddin and Cantonment stations are the most important
railheads in Delhi.