Delhi has been at the center of succession of mighty empires and powerful kingdoms throughout history, making it one of the longest-serving capitals and one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Old Delhi served as the political and financial center of several empires of ancient India and the Delhi Sultanate, most notably of the Mughal Empire. This city has such a rich history because it has been influenced by so many different dynasties and rulers. The intersection of numerous rulers has given birth to the cosmopolitan city of New Delhi, the multi-ethic and multi-cultural hub of India. New Delhi’s uniqueness and the vibrancy of its culture make it an extremely fascinating place to explore.
1. Red Fort
The Red Fort served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. The Red Fort complex has numerous structures within it like the Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khaas, Mumtaz Mahal, Hayat Bakhsh Bagh etc. It has become a UNSECO World Heritage site because the fort represents a fusion of the Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions.
I was completely mesmerized by its beauty and architectural excellence when I visited the Red Fort. For me, it was a gateway into the 17th century and the lives of the ancient emperors. The numerous structures showed me how kingdoms were run and it gave me a distinct insight on the ancient cultures & traditions. The complex has so many interesting spots that even if you spend an entire day exploring it, you’d only have discovered the top. I would recommend bringing a picnic basket and ample amount of time to soak in all the beauty and culture of this unique labyrinth.
2. Qutub Minar
The Qutub Minar is a minaret that forms part of the Qutub complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the tallest minaret in the world built of bricks.
The Iron Pillar in the courtyard bears an inscription in Sanskrit of fourth century A.D., according to which the pillar was set up as god Vishnu. These are the most unique aspects of the complex.
I found it really interesting that numerous airplanes were flying over the structure because it made me realize how much the city of Delhi and the human civilization as a whole has progressed over time.
3. Rashtrapati Bhavan
The Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) is the official residence of the President of India located at the Western end of Rajpath in New Delhi. The British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens, a major member of the city-planning process, was responsible for designing it.
Its splendor is multi-dimensional and the architecture of the vast mansion is breathtaking. More than these, it has a hallowed existence in the annals of democracy for being the residence of the President of the largest democracy in the world. It is also richly symbolic to India’s independence from the British Colonial Empire.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s words “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom…” still echo in the Durbar hall. His speech envisioned a bright future for India and the magnificent Durbar Hall bears testimony to this historic moment of the swearing in ceremony of Independent India’s first government.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan is truly a hidden gem in New Delhi that people must visit. You can book a ticket on the President of India’s site beforehand for a 1 hour guided tour of the mansion.
4. Agrasen Ki Baoli
Agrasen ki Baoli is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well, built by the legendary king Agrasen in the 14th century.
This monument is said to be haunted, but my fellow travelers I assure you it is totally safe. This is a great place to escape the bustling city and experience the ancient culture of India.
5. The Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple is a Baháʼí House of Worship that was dedicated in December 1986. It is dedicated to the oneness of humanity and religion, which is a pivotal principle of the Bahá’í Faith.
It is visited by 4.5 million people every year and is known for its beautiful flower-like architecture. The marvelous ambiance of the lotus temple campus make it a popular tourist attraction for people of all faiths.
The place does get crowded during the peak tourist seasons, however, they have a very organized process for managing enormous crowds. I was personally hypnotized by the beauty of the structure and the aura of the Bahá’í Faith. I would definitely recommend seeing this wonder and experiencing the peace that Bahá’í Faith offers at least once in your life.