5 Sep 2013

Delhi - A Glimpse

Delhi - A Glimpse

A city which is a conundrum for Historians and Authors, a city which is immortalized as the capital of more than six dynasties, a city which has the Metro Rail, a city which is known for Large Hearted people, a city which gives an opportunity to walk back in an era of Kings and Emperors, a city which is filled with finger licking delicacies, a city which is a political hub of India, and the harangue goes on. Welcome to the city which is a perfect coalesces of History, Culture, Modernity, Politics and Technology, Welcome to the capital of the largest democracy of the World – Delhi.


The Heart of the Nation, Delhi, has many features one can mention while writing a travelogue. Reaching Delhi is not an issue at all as it is well connected internationally as well as domestically. The Indira GandhiInternational Airport is equivalent to the best airports in the world. The city has many Inter State Bus Termini in which buses from most of states of India arrive and depart. Moreover, Delhi has a good railway facility too as one can observe from the four major railway stations which are extremely busy. As far as the Intra city transport is concerned; one can travel by the means of pollution free DTC buses, cab’s, auto rickshaws and Delhi metro which should be chosen according to the budget and the needs. It’s easy to find an accommodation too in this city as it serves you with multiple choices from low cost Guest rooms to Five Star Hotels. 



Let’s start the Party from the monuments. The Red Fort (Lal Quila) is the most visited tourist sites, which is a brilliant red sandstone fort built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as his ruling palace. The only open entrance is Lahore Gate, on the west side. Chatta Chowk (Covered Bazaar, Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), Hayat Baksh BaghDiwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Khas Mahal (Private Palace), Rang Mahal (Colour Palace), Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel Palace), Swatantra Sangrama Sangrahalaya (Museum of the Independence Movement) : These are the places to see inside the red fort. Tickets cost Rs 10/250 rupees for Indians/foreigners, photography free, video cameras Rs 25 extra and it’s open from sunrise to sunset daily except Monday. The fort has a light and sound show (Rs 50) in the evenings.





One of the Delhi's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Humayun’s Tomb, is so large and is built in Chaar  Bagh (four corners) style. As you enter the place, the first giant monument on your right is the bulbous, octagonal tomb of Iza Khan, a court noble who built it in his own lifetime, some 20 years before Humayun's tomb. As you forge through the first gate, you will see the dome of the tomb and enter a floral path leading to the second (West) gate, which now acts as the entrance to the beautiful central garden. The centerpiece is the eponymous tomb of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor. Its open daily from sunrise to sunset, entry is Rs 10/250, Indians/foreigners.





The Qutub Complex is one of the most splendid demonstrations of architecture. The complex consists of Qutub Minar, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Iron Pillar, Ala-i-Minar, Ala-i-Darwaza, and Tomb of Imam Zamin. Qutub Minar, The most famous structure on grounds, this 72.5 m minaret was the tallest "skyscraper" in the world when built (1193-1368) - it was constructed on the orders of Qutb-ud-din Aybak. Delicately carved, it has been astonishingly well-preserved and is still an awe-inspiring sight today. Iron Pillar, iIn the centre of the mosque. True to its name, this is a 7 m iron pillar erected in 400 AD by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya, also known as "he, by the breezes of whose prowess the southern ocean is even still perfumed" according to the inscription carved on the base.  Its open daily from sunrise to sunset, entry is 20/250 rupees Indians/foreigners, and the Light-and-sound show is held on most nights after sunset.




The other Monuments which one can check out are : Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate, Jantar Mantar, Raj Ghat, Purana Quila, Tughlaqa Bad Fort and some others too.



Let’s shift to the amazing Museums located in the city.


  •  Gandhi Smriti 10AM-5PM (closed Monday). This site of Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom includes a museum celebrating his life and the room he lived in during his final days. 
  • India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Rd. This center though not a museum is most noted for its ever-changing art exhibits, plays and films.
  • International Doll's Museum, Nehru House (T-S 10AM-6PM, Rs 10.). A museum of dolls from all over the country. You get to see the costumes and art from all over India, as well as some nice crafts.
  • National Museum, {Janpath,Entry : Rs 300 for foreigners (includes useful audioguide), Rs 10 Indians (optional audioguide Rs 150 extra), 1 rupees for Indian Students, plus Rs 300 if you want to use a camera.} The collection here is unparalleled and contains some true masterpieces. The section on the Indus Valley Culture and the one on Buddhist Heritage is most informative. The museum also showcases the arts and handicrafts from different regions of India
  • National Science Centre, Pragati Maidan. Although the name is too grand, the museum is definitely a must see for science enthusiasts, especially those who are young.
  • National Railway Museum, Chanakyapuri,{ Open 9:30AM-7:30PM (Apr-Sept) and 9:30AM-5:30PM (Oct-Mar). Closed Mondays and national holidays.} It houses a collection of Indian trains from the past to the present - a worthwhile look into India's proud railway heritage.
  • Nehru Memorial Museum (Teen Murti Bhavan),{ 9AM-5PM (Closed Monday, Entry fee is Rs.50 For adults an 25 for childrens. } Former residence of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, now a museum of his life. Includes a Planetarium.





As I was talking about the blend in the beginning, Delhi reflects the true colors of Religion also. Some of the Religious places/temples to see in Delhi are:


  • Bahá'í Lotus Temple, Kalkaji, Its Shaped like a lotus bud with 27 petals, this classic temple suspended above milky-blue ponds is surely one of the most magnificent monuments ever made from concrete, however there is very little to see inside. The lush park around is well landscaped but mostly off-limits. Free entry.{ Open Tue-Sun, 1st April to 30th September 9AM-7:PM, 1 Oct-31 Mar 9:30AM-5:30PM.}
  • Chattarpur Mandir  Huge & beautiful temple complex with a big surrounding campus .
  • Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Connaught Place, is the main gurudwara for the many Sikhs of Delhi.
  • Sacred Heart Cathedral ,Connaught Place. It is the biggest church in terms of structure and also the headquarters of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. A must visit to enjoy the beutiful architecture and pristine beauty.
  • Jama Masjid ,Old Delhi, { Open from 7AM-sunset, but note that tourists are not allowed in from 12:15PM-1:45PM or in the half-hour before sunset.} – The largest mosque in India and a must-see while in Delhi.
  • Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple , East Delhi(Tue-Sun 9AM-7PM.). This large and elaborate temple carved of red sandstone is an amazing site to see and visit while one is in Delhi. The central monument, built without any steel, houses an 11-ft golden statue of the founder of the Swaminarayan faith, Bhagwan Swaminarayan.



Some of the activities which one should not miss while in Delhi are :


  • Some relaxation at Hauz Khas Village
  • A footloose in Old Delhi
  • An early morning walk in Lodhi Gardens
  • Some street shopping at Janpath, Sarojini Nagar market, Kamla nagar market.
  • 9A visit to underground Palika bazaar.
  • A walk around Cannaught place itself.



How I can forget to give some delight to the foodies, after all its Delhi man! One cannot simply afford to miss these places :


  • The place of bliss for non-vegetarians : Karim’s, Jama Masjid
  • Parantha’s at Paranthe wali Gali, Chandni Chowk
  • Chaat at Natraj Dahi Bhalla Corner, Chandni Chowk
  • Sweet Paan at Odions, Cannaught place
  • Cold coffee and cheese balls at De paul’s, Cannaught place
  • Rumali rolls and kababs at Khan Chacha, Khan Market
  • Pav bhaji and Tikki at Bitoo Tikki Walla
  • Bukhara, Mourya Sheraton
  • Sweets at Ghantewala, Chandni Chowk



Above all, Delhi -has a charm of its own - it perhaps owns magnetic powers. Come – feel the spark – come visit the heart, ‘Dil walo ki Dilli.’



© Kaul

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