Top 10 Places to Visit in Delhi
Delhi, the capital of India, is a destination of every traveler’s dreams with its abundance of amazing forts and temples. This city is a mixture of traditional and modern, with its old marketplaces like Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi and new malls like Connaught Place in New Delhi.
Delhi offers a lot of attractions that are rich in culture and history such as the Jama Masjid and Lotus Temple. From temples to gardens and museums, here are some of the must-visit places in India’s capital.
- Claimed to be the oldest and busiest market in Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is a shopping paradise for antiques, clothes, and electronics.
- Qutab Minar is a soaring 73-meter high tower that was built in 1193 to celebrate Muslim dominance in Delhi after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu ruler.
- Gandhi Smriti is one of the biggest museums about Mahatma Gandhi with a library of around 60,000 books.
- Connaught Place is the largest commercial center of Delhi containing many famous international chain stores, food chains, restaurants, and bars.
- The Lotus Temple is a Bahāʾī faith house of worship and is famous for its award-winning design that resembles a floating lotus flower.
The Difference Between Old Delhi and New Delhi
India's capital city of Delhi can be split into two different areas, New Delhi and Old Delhi. While they continue to grow side by side, each area of the city retains its distinct charm.
Old Delhi was founded by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 and was originally named ‘Shahjahanabad’. This part of the city is filled with narrow lanes and crowded streets and is where you can find traditional experiences and taste authentic Indian delicacies and snacks.
Old Delhi is home to many famous Mughal structures including the Red Fort and one of India’s biggest mosques, Jama Masjid. You can also find the bustling market of Chandni Chowk here.
New Delhi, on the other hand, is a symbol of modernity and progress. This part of the city has an excellent metro, wide roads, skyscrapers, and great infrastructure. You can find many air-conditioned shopping centers, pubs, and restaurants here.
Many streets of New Delhi are lined with impressive Colonial-era government buildings. Here, you can find the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, Secretariat Building, Parliament, Connaught Place, Lodhi Gardens, Jantar Mantar, and India Gate.
1. Jama Masjid
Across the road from the Red Fort and at the end of Chandni Chowk is the Jama Masjid which is the biggest and best-known mosque in India.
Some notable features of the mosque include its three entrance gates and two tall minarets made of red sandstone and white marble. There is also an open courtyard in front of the mosque with a pool made of marble where the devotees wash themselves before entering for prayer.
Jama Masjid was built by Shah Jahan in 1658 to be used as the emperor's main worship site. It is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture with Islamic, Indian, and Persian influences which can be seen in the structure’s sandstone and white marble walls that are adorned with floral motifs.
Location: Jama Masjid Rd, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
Hours: 7 am to 12 pm and 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm
2. Chandni Chowk
Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. It is considered to be the heart of the city and is an iconic shopping area.
The narrow lanes of this street are filled with shops selling clothes, perfumes, electronic items, jewelry, candles, idols of deities, and lifestyle goods. There are also many outlets offering Delhi’s famous street food such as sweet jalebis and savory samosas. Travelers can take a rickshaw ride to explore the market and weave their way through the busy streets.
Chandni Chowk was built in 1650 amd is also a religious hub that has different places of worship for different faiths. Some of these religious sites include the Sis Ganj Sahib Gurudwara, Christian Central Baptist Church, and Digambar Jain Temple.
Location: Central Delhi
Hours: 9:30 am to 8 pm
3. Humayun’s Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb is a splendid mausoleum that was built to commemorate Emperor Humayun, the second Mughal ruler to ascend to the throne. It was built in the mid-16th century by the emperor’s Persian-born first wife, Haji Begum.
The building complex contains several buildings including tombs and mosques. Some of the most popular buildings include the tomb of Afghan noble Isla Khan, the brilliant blue-tiled dome Nila Gumbad, and Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia which served as the residence of Delhi's patron saint Nizamuddin Auliya.
Humayan’s Tomb is an example of Mughal architecture with a mix of Islamic and Persian influences. It was the first-ever garden-style tomb to be constructed in India. The structure is made of red sandstone and white marble and was built in an octagonal shape with a high central arch.
Location: Mathura Road Opposite, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, Nizamuddin, New Delhi
Hours: 6 am to 6 pm
4. Qutub Minar
Qutub Minar is a soaring 73-meter tall tower that was built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1193 to celebrate the Muslim control of Delhi after the defeat of the city’s last Hindu ruler.
The tower is made of sandstone and marble with five tapering stories. Each story has a balcony that is surrounded by exclusive artwork. Visitors can also find the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque at the foot of the monument.
The construction of the Qutub Minar was started by Qutub-ud-Din Aibak, the first Islamic ruler of North India. Aibak built only the basement and then his successor, Iltutmish, added three more stories. The last two stories were completed by Firoz Shah Tuglak.
Location: Mehrauli, New Delhi
Hours: 7 am to 5 pm
5. The Red Fort
Located in the center of Delhi, the Red Fort was home to emperors of the Mughal dynasty for almost 200 years until 1857 when the British took over the city.
Covering 254 acres of land, the Red Fort is an octagonal red sandstone fort that is decorated with marble. Travelers can visit some of the popular structures inside the fort including the Hall of Public Audience, the Hall of Private Audience, and the Pearl Mosque.
The fort was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and served as his royal residence. The structure is decorated with white marble, impressive domes, and flower engravings. The Red Fort is a great example of Mughal architecture with a combination of Indian, Persian, and Timurid features.
Location: Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi
Hours: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, closed on Mondays
6. Gandhi Smriti and Raj Ghat
Gandhi Smriti and Raj Ghat are both buildings in Delhi that are dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi Smriti is a museum whereas Raj Ghat is a memorial.
Gandhi Smriti is one of the world’s largest museums that is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi with a library of around 60,000 books about the Father of the Nation. Built in 1928 by Ghanshyam Das Birla, Gandhi Smriti is the site where Mahatma Gandhi spent the last 144 days of his life and where he was assassinated on January 30th, 1948.
Located on the banks of the River Yamuna, Raj Ghat is the memorial of many of India’s leaders including Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi. Raj Ghat is where Mahatma Gandhi’s last rites were performed on January 31st, 1948.
Location: Gandhi Smriti - Near Birla House, 5, Tees January Marg, Tees January Road Area, Motilal Nehru Marg Area, New Delhi
Hours: Gandhi Smriti – 10 am to 5:30 pm
7. India Gate
The India Gate is one of the largest war memorials in India. It is located in the heart of Delhi and stands at a height of 42 meters (138 feet).
The India Gate was originally called the All India War Memorial and is a memorial that was constructed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1931 to honor the 82,000 Indian and British soldiers who died during World War I.
Here, visitors can see the names of 13,300 Indian servicemen inscribed on the surface of the monument. This is also a great location to enjoy a picnic or an early morning walk.
Location: Rajpath, India Gate, New Delhi
8. Connaught Place
Connaught Place is the largest commercial center in Delhi and the ninth most expensive office location in the world.
Connaught Place was built with Georgian-style architecture and was named after Prince Arthur, the first Duke of Connaught. This immense circular structure was built by the British in 1929 as part of their project to relocate the seat of governance from Civil Lines to Lutyen’s Delhi.
Commonly known as ‘CP’, this market complex houses many famous international chain stores, fast food chains, restaurants, and bars. It is also regarded as one of the top heritage buildings in the city and contains many contemporary art galleries.
Location: G-22 Marina Arcade, New Delhi
Hours: 10 am to 8:30 pm, closed on Sunday
9. National Museum
The National Museum in New Delhi is one of the largest museums in India and is devoted to showcasing Indian art history as well as Buddhist studies.
Visitors to the museum can enjoy the 200,000 pieces of art from both Indian and foreign origins that cover around 5,000 years of cultural heritage. The artwork in the museum includes old manuscripts, temple hangings, lavish saris, weapons inlaid with precious stones, murals, and painted pottery.
The National Museum was established on August 15th, 1949. In 1955, it was moved from Rashtrapati Bhawan to its current location and was formally inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India in 1960. The museum is currently maintained and managed by the Ministry of Culture.
Location: Janpath Rd, Rajpath Area, Central Secretariat, New Delhi
Hours: 10 am to 6 pm
10. Lodi Gardens
Located near the India International Center and three kilometers from Humayan’s Tomb, Lodi Gardens is a beautiful park that covers an area of 80 acres.
The gardens get their name from the four monuments of the Lodi dynasty that are located there including the tomb of Mohammed Shah, the Bara Gumbad, the Sheesh Gumbad, and the tomb of Sikander Lodi. Despite being a great place to view historical monuments, the Lodi Gardens is also a famous picnic spot for college students and families.
Lodi Gardens was built by Delhi’s Islamic rulers and was previously known as ‘Lady Willingdon Park’. The gardens are a blend of natural and manmade beauty. Here you can also see the remains of a waterway that connects the Yamuna River to the Tomb of Sikandar Lodi.
Location: Lodhi Rd, Lodhi Gardens, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi
Hours: 5 am to 8 pm
11. The Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple is a Bahāʾī house of worship that is visited by around 10,000 people every day. Baha’i is a faith that believes in the value of all religions and unifies every world religion into one belief system.
The Lotus Temple was built to resemble a giant floating lotus flower and is made from 27 marble "petals" that are organized in clusters of three to form nine sides. The lotus design was chosen because of its symbolic importance to many world religions including Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.
Many visitors come to this temple to admire its geometric structure. The building exterior is especially beautiful at sunset when it changes color with the fading light. There are also educational exhibits at the Information Center for visitors that are interested in learning about the Baha’i faith and the temple itself.
Location: Lotus Temple Rd, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Bahapur, Kalkaji, New Delhi
Hours: 9 am to 7 pm
12. Akshardham Temple
The Akshardham Temple is dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan, a famous yoga master who revived certain Hindu beliefs, and is known as the world's largest comprehensive Hindu temple.
The Akshardham Temple was built in 2005 and the term 'Akshardham' means the eternal abode. No iron or steel was used during the temple’s construction and all of its buildings are made of stone or marble.
The main attraction at this complex is the Akshardham Mandir Temple which is made of Rajasthani sandstone and Italian Carrara marble. The walls and ceiling of the temple interior are decorated with images of different deities, musicians, dancers, flowers, and animals.
Here, visitors can also enjoy a water show, a theme garden, and a relaxing boat ride.
Location: Noida Mor, New Delhi
Hours: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Explore Delhi with Asia Highlights
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