Delhi, the melting pot of various cultures, is the modern capital of India. The metropolitan city is located in North-Central India on the west bank of Yamuna River. The city has an interesting history and it was destroyed and rebuilt many times. It was chosen to be the capital city in 1947 and it consists of two main components; Old Delhi, in the North, and New Delhi, in the South.
The two parts of Delhi are two totally different worlds. New Delhi was inaugurated by the British in 1931 to serve as the capital of British India. Nowadays, it is the modern capital and seat of government. On the other hand, Old Delhi is thought of as the heart of the great cosmopolitan area of the city.
Being one of the most populated cities in the world, Delhi has a mix of tradition and modernity. Thus, the city offers great attractions for its visitors.
Places to Visit in Delhi
The city of Delhi offers its visitors many different attractions. However, the city might not be easy to navigate for first time goers. So, here’s your quick guide to the top 15 places to visit in Delhi!
India Gate is officially named Delhi Memorial and was originally called All-India War Memorial. It is one of the most important monuments in Delhi. This memorial symbolizes the sacrifice of around 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives battling against the foreign army during World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.
The monument looks a little like the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris and is situated at Rajpath in Delhi. It stands at 138 feet high on a base of red stone and has a shallow domed bowl on top.
The top is usually filled with burning oil on important anniversaries. Each year, on the 26th of January, the prestigious India Gate Parade takes place right in front of India Gate. On this day, India celebrates the day it became a republic.
India gate is surrounded by many gardens. Locals and tourists alike go on picnics and enjoy the amazing view. The best time to go there is either in the afternoon in winter or at night in summer. This is to avoid the cold winter nights and hot summer afternoons. However, whether you visit in winter or summer, India Gate is one of the places to visit in Delhi. Don’t miss it!
Spreading over 90 acres, Lodhi Garden is a park located in the city of Delhi. The park has more to offer than its name suggests, it is not just a garden. It has exquisite architectural work from the 15th century from the Sayyid and Lodi Dynasties. The famous garden is visited by many locals as it combines both nature and history and offers a peaceful vibe.
Constructed during the Lodhi reign, Lodhi Garden is located north Delhi between Khan Market and Safdarjung tomb and has many sights to be seen. In the middle of the park, there are Bada Gumband (big dome), Shisha Gumband, a three domed mosque and the Tomb Of Mohammad Shah Sayyid. Adorns the cosmopolitan city of Delhi. On the other side of the park lies the tomb of Sikandar Lodi.
History is not the only reason that makes this park one of the places to visit in Delhi. The park’s magnificent grandeur adorns the diverse city of Delhi. At one end of the park, you can see the pond with its beautiful swans, which is a scene not to be missed. The bridge that goes over the pond offers an even more dazzling sight of the flowerbeds of seasonal flowers.
When you visit the beautiful park of Lodhi Garden, make sure to wear a comfortable outfit and walking shoes as the park is massive. You can visit on any day as the park is open daily from 06:00 am to 07:30 pm and has no entrance fees. Even if your visit to Delhi is a short one, make sure to visit the park to have a glimpse of what the city is like.
The Red Fort
Constructed in 1639 by the Mughals, the Red Fort represents the Mughal architecture at its best. The planning and designing of the fort is a fusion of Mughal, Persian, Hindu, Timurid traditions. The highlights of this architectural creativity include the peacock throne, step well, imperial bath, Moti Masjid and Hira Mahal.
It was the primary residence of the Mughal Dynasty for over 200 years. The fort is a symbol of India’s struggle for freedom which makes it one of the places to visit in Delhi.
The octagonal-shaped fort is located in Old Delhi and is spread over 254 acres. It gets its name from its grand red-colored sandstone walls and features a museum that displays Mughal artefacts. The fort is managed by the Archeological Survey of India and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
Despite the architectural brilliance of the fort, it is not the main reason for its fame. The amazing site became famous because of the midnight speech by Jawahar Lal Nehru before India was going to wake up to independence from British rule.
Given its significance in India’s history, the fort hosts the annual celebration of the country’s Independence Day. The Red Fort also holds a daily light and sound show for an hour in the evening. The show is bilingual; English and Arabic and presents the history of Red Fort and the capital city of Delhi.
For your Red Fort visit, make sure to avoid Mondays as the site is closed every Monday. The official visiting hours on the other days are from 09:30 am to 04:30 pm, and the entrance fee is INR 150/person ($2.04).
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Bangla Sahib is the most important Sikh gurudwara (place of worship). It was constructed to commemorate the visit of the eighth Sikh guru Har Krishna in 1664. The guru was built in 1783 by Sikh General Sardar Bhagel Singh and is located in Delhi near Connaught Place.
The shrine poses an example of the large-hearted nature of Sikhs as it operates for 24 hours, all days a week. The place is visited by more than a thousand people daily and is one of the places to visit in Delhi.
The Gurudwara complex comprises a main prayer hall, a holy Sarovar (lake), a school, a hospital, a museum, and a library. The small museum in the complex is dedicated to the history of the Sikh religion.
Visitors of the Gurudwara can get ‘Kada Prasad’ which is a vegetarian halwa made with whole wheat flour and free langar which is a community meal at a particular time. Just make sure to clean your plates and place after eating as this is not a restaurant but a place of worship. Also, while the meals are for free, you still can make a small donation to the shrine.
When visiting Bangla Sahib Gurudwara make sure to dress modestly, wear something that covers you from the shoulders up until down your knees. Head covers are also necessary. However, if you don’t want to bring your headscarf with you, there are free headscarves by the entrance available for visitors.
One last thing is that you will need to take off your shoes before entering the shrine. You can visit the Gurudwara any time, just make sure to avoid visiting in summer afternoons as the marble floors are usually hot at the time because of the sun.
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India. The mosque was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the same emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort, between 1650 and 1656.
The grand construction was completed by more than 5000 laborers and it ended up being Shah Jahan’s last architectural extravagance.
The mosque and its yards are so big they can accommodate up to 25,000 devotees. Jama Masjid is so popular and if you have most probably seen a picture of it showing Eid prayer in India. The place is so popular and it is one of the places to visit in Delhi.
The magnificent construction of the mosque has three domes. And to add to the mesmerizing decoration of the mosque, its two 4-meter-high minarets are created using vertically alternating red sandstones and white marble. It also comprises three great gates and four angled towers.
People of Delhi really adore this grandiose edifice and they stood against the British decision to destroy it and were able to save their beloved mosque by rigid opposition and protests.
When you visit the mosque, make sure to dress modestly. You can’t enter if you are wearing shorts or sleeveless attire. You can also look like a local by dressing in the robe you can rent at the northern gate.
You can visit the mosque any day between the times 7:00 am to 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm (note that entry is not allowed in the mosque during prayers). The entry is free but you can pay INR100 ($1.36) to climb the southern minaret that has an amazing view of Old Delhi.
ISKCON Temple in Delhi is one of the most popular temples visited by locals as well as tourists. Located at Hare Krishna Hill in New Delhi, the temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. It was designed and built by Achyut Kanvinde then inaugurated in 1998 by the former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The temple complex is built for the followers of Srila Prabhupada and is one of the largest temple complexes in India.
The temple’s outer complex is adorned with entangled carvings and stone work. It also includes various shops, a pretty fountain, a library and a study center where many devotional lectures and addresses are arranged.
The idols inside of the sanctum are dressed in rich clothes and jewelry. The shrine is divided into four broad sections and has many rooms for priests and service renders. There are also many halls used for administration purposes and seminars.
As one of the places to visit in Delhi, ISKCON Temple has many sights and activities for its visitors. Many festivals are celebrated in the temple like Ramanavami, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Gaura Purnima, Radhastami, Jagannath Rath Yatra and Nauka Vihar (Boat Festival).
Other activities held by the temple include Food for Life, Youth Training Programs, Program for Prison Inmates, Seminars for Corporates. The museum of Vedic Culture in the temple complex organizes multimedia, light and sound shows exhibiting different great epics.
The ISKCON Temple has no entry fees. You can visit throughout the week between 4.30 am to 9 pm. However, the major altar is closed from 1 pm to 4 pm. To have a good experience of the temple, you will need from 2 to 3 hours to see the major attractions it comprises.
One of the valuable, protected structures of India is Qutub Minar. It is a minaret that stands at 73 meter high. The construction of the minaret started around 1192 by Qutab Ud-Din-Aibak, the founder of Delhi Sultanate. However, he only built the basement and didn’t complete the building of the minaret. His successor, Iltumish completed the structure of this masterpiece in 1220. Then, a decade later, in 1369, lightning destroyed the top of the Minar and the damage was corrected by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.
The Minar is named after its original founder, Qutab Ud-Din-Aibak. It comprises 5 stories; the first 3 stories are embellished with red sandstones while the other two stories are constructed in marble and sandstone respectively. Decorative Quranic texts along with the history of Qutub are engraved all over the minaret. A spiral staircase of 379 steps is built within Qutub Minar and at its foot is Quwwat ul Islam Masjid, the first mosque built in India.
The 73-meter minaret is, without a dispute, one of the most important places to visit in Delhi. It is a part of Qutub complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The complex also includes other historical monuments such as the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, a mosque at the base of the tower; a gateway built in 1310; the tombs of Altamish, Alauddin Khalji, and Imam Zamin; and a 2,000-year-old Iron Pillar, the Alai Minar.
The Qutub Minar, located north Delhi, is the tallest in India and is visited by many tourists daily. You can climb the minaret to have a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. The visiting hours are restricted to the times from the sunrise to the sunset. There’s an entrance fee of INR 500 ($6.79). During your visit to Delhi, make sure to visit this major landmark. Missing it is like going to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower, or traveling to Egypt and not going to The Pyramids.
The Lotus Temple
The Lotus is a Baha’i temple that is shaped like a lotus flower. The structure has 27 free-standing marble flower petals in clusters of three to form nine sides. The petals have little ponds and gardens surrounding them to make the place inviting to visitors. This architectural beauty was designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba.
The brilliance of the design is recognized by many and the temple has received several architectural awards, including awards from the GLOBART Academy, Institution of Structural Engineers and others.
The land on which the temple is built was bought by a donation made by Ardishir Rustampur of Hyderabad. In 1953, he donated all his life savings in order for the temple to be constructed. However, architect Fariborz Sahba wasn’t approached to design this masterpiece until 1976. While the structural design project was given to Flint and Neil, a UK-based firm, the construction was undertaken by ECC Construction Group. The whole temple is made of white marble that comes from Greece.
The Bahai House of Worship in Delhi is one of seven Baha’i houses of worship around the world. An interesting fact about the 26-acre temple is that it is one of the first temples in India to use solar power for electricity. 120 KW of the 500 KW electric use of the temple is provided by solar power.
The Lotus Temple is one of the most visited places around the world. The shrine welcomes around 6 million visitors each year; that is around 10,000 visitors daily. When you visit the temple, make sure to dress modestly as it is a place of worship. The place is open everyday except for Monday. The official visiting hours are from 09:00 am to 07:00 pm during summer while in winter it is from 09:00 am to 05:30 pm. There are no entry fees.
Looking for a peaceful place away from the madness that’s our world? If so, Ahimsa Sthal should be on the top of your places to visit in Delhi. Ahimsa or Ahinsa means peace, the name of the temple means “Place of non-violence” or “Place of Peace”. It is one of the peaceful, uninterrupted spots in Delhi. Ahimsa Sthal is a Jain Temple that was established in 1980 and is located right across the road from the Qutub Complex. The temple is of great importance to Jain devotees.
Ahimsa Sthal is known to the locals by the name of the Metcalfe Battery House. This “unreal” name became popular as the temple existed during the British era and one of the British officials, Thomas Metcalfe, put up a small light house in the place. The temple is built on a little hill and has a magnificently massive statue of its main god, Lord Mahavira, in Padmasana (Lotus Position) on the top. The statue adds to the glory of the whole temple.
The statue of Lord Mahavira is engraved out of granite rock. It weighs about 30 tons. On each side of the statue, there’s a fierce looking lion placed right next to the statue, guarding it. The stone carving and architecture around the statue is excellent. It is enclosed by a huge green area with a stone pathway to walk on decorated with different boards that have a range of little poems preaching Lord Mahavira’s philosophy written on them.
The temple is open for visitors from 10 am up to 5 pm on all the seven days of a week. Ahimsa Sthal does not require any entry fee. When you visit this peaceful temple, make sure to keep quiet. While silence is not forced, it is highly appreciated at this place of worship. The place is suitable if you are visiting alone or in a very small group as it’s hard for larger groups to stay quiet. So if you’re going to Delhi on a group tour, skip Ahimsa Sthal.
The Hauz Khas Complex
Hauz Khas is the place at which medieval architecture meets modern consumerism. The complex is an urban village south of New Delhi. The village is named after its ancient water reservoir that was built by Allauddin Khilji and has the same name. The name Hauz means water tank in Urdu while Khas means royal, so it is considered the royal tank in the village. Due to its long name, Hauz Khas Complex, the village is often referred to as HKC.
The neighborhood of Hauz Khas holds a historical importance for having remnants of Mughal architecture. It has numerous ancient stone monuments and numerous domed tombs of minor Muslim royalties. These tombs date back to the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.
Among the monuments the Hauz Khas Complex comprises are the remnants of an ancient college, the tomb of Firoz Shah, who ruled Delhi in the 14th century, a Ki Masjid, a fine mosque built in Lodi style.
The place is also known for being artsy and aesthetic. So make sure to visit the various art galleries in the area and admire the fine art work. The location is surrounded by Green Park to the west and Gulmohar Park towards the north. You can also enjoy the delight offered by the greenery of Deer Park.
To make the most of your visit, turn right after entering and try to get lost in the back alleys to see the most interesting sights. With all its historical sights and importance, this is not what makes this village popular. The Hauz Khas Complex is famous nowadays as one of the places to visit in Delhi for its nightlife.
The place is popular for its swanky clubs, quirky cafes, and fine-dine restaurants. The village is the perfect place for couples to have a quiet time together. The Hauz Khas Complex is open everyday except for Sunday from 10:00 am to 07:00 pm, however, the restaurants and bars in the complex are usually open until midnight.
Akshardham is a newly built Hindu temple on the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi. Akshardham means the divine sanctuary of God. The temple is dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Even though the temple has only been recently built, the magnificent Hindu mandir looks like it was built centuries ago.
It is built on the principles of the traditional Hindu architectural system, Vastu Shastra. This system of architecture defines every tiny detail, such as layout, geometry, measurements, ground preparation and so on.
Akshardham is acknowledged as an eternal place of devotion, purity and peace. The highlights of the temple include the stunning 43-meter-high main monument. The monument has various carvings of animals, plants, gods, dancers, and musicians. All these are made of pink sandstone and marble.
The temple has 234 ornate pillars that support its nine domes. Of particular interest is a mesmerizing herd of life-sized carved elephants, surrounding the temple’s base. The centerpiece is a massive statue of a 3,000-tone elephant.
The temple was inaugurated only in 2005 by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It is the centerpiece of the Akshardham complex. The temple complex maintains a well styled courtyard and 60 acres of lush lawns featuring bronze statues of Indian heroes, including patriots and warriors.
Other attractions in the complex include a theater showing a movie tracing the building’s construction, a fun 15-minute boat ride depicting India’s rich history and diverse culture, and the spectacular Yagnapurush Kund, a large musical fountain that is a particular treat when lit up at night. The complex attracts thousands of visitors for its majestic beauty.
Akshardham is registered as the World’s largest comprehensive Hindu temple in the Guinness World Record. It is definitely one of the key places to visit in Delhi. If you decide to visit, the temple is open for visitors daily from 09:30 am to 06:30 pm. It’s worth mentioning that cameras and cell-phones are not allowed inside of Akshardham temple.
Experience the magical world of Indian art and heritage through a fascinating panorama of crafts, cuisine and cultural activity. Overwhelmed with all of the historical information and looking for a place to just unwind? Dilli Haat is the perfect destination for you.
Dilli Haat is an outdoor marketplace that is spread over 6 acres. It features 62 stalls presenting handicrafts and ethnic cuisine from various parts of India. The place offers a real life experience of the diversity of Indian culture. It organizes many cultural events, including dance and music performances.
Since its inauguration in 1993, the place has not been just a marketplace but also a forum where rural life and folk art are brought closer to urbanism. The complex has been designed in a traditional north Indian style. It has a grid-like brickwork and stone roofs.
It features a hall that specifically serves as an exhibition of the handlooms and handicrafts, another souvenir shop selling attractive ethnic products. A village atmosphere is achieved by the presence of small thatched roof cottages and kiosks without any concrete structures.
The shops at Dilli Haart are set up on platforms that act as a link in the Bazaar design. The courtyards between the shops are paved in stone and interspaced with grass. Colorful flowering shrubs and trees enrich the landscape of the area to ensure an environmental harmony. The complex is not only artistic, but also recreational, so everyone, regardless of their age, can enjoy their time there.
For only INR 100 ($1.36), you can visit Dilli Haart and enjoy your time. The marketplace is open daily for visitors from 10 am to 10 pm. You can enjoy the rich flavors of Indian cuisine from various regions, buy incredible handmade crafts at reasonable prices and participate in the cultural activities held at the place. Dilli Haart is one of the really interesting places to visit in Delhi. Try not to miss it!
The National Rail Museum
The National Rail Museum in Delhi showcases the legacy and history of the Indian railways. It is spread across 10 acres and houses more than 30 locomotives and several old carriages, most of them are quite rare. This interesting museum tells the story of more than 140 years of Indian rail, from the first passenger train in 1853 that traveled between Bori Bunder to Thane following all the developments done so the country could have the 4th biggest railways in the whole entire world.
The National Rail Museum was set up on 1st February 1977, more than a decade after the country ran its first train. This museum is the first of its kind in India and it features the largest collection of life-size railway exhibits. The indoor galleries preserve documents, drawings, books, maps and other items that take you on a journey through over 160 years of Indian Railway. The trains shown at the museum have played an important role in the country’s development.
The museum has many highlights that make it one of the magnificent places to visit in Delhi. These highlights include the Patiala State monorail, one of the last working steam monorails in India, the Fairy Queen which is the oldest working steam engine in the history of the railway, a collection of saloon cars belonging to the country’s once powerful Maharajas, including the teak carriage of the Maharaja of Mysore, covered with ivory, and the the carriage in which the ashes of Gandhi were carried after his assassination in 1948.
The museum is one of the places to visit in Delhi especially if you are visiting with kids. A very interesting thing about this museum is that you can take a ride on a toy train. The Rail Museum opens everyday from 09:30 am to 05:30 pm and is closed on Mondays and national holidays. The entry fee is INR 100 ($1.36) for adults and INR 20 ($0.27) for children, for the train ride, it’s another INR 20 ($0.27).
Purana Qila is an Urdu phrase that means the Old Fort. It is one of the oldest and most important forts in Delhi. The current form of the citadel was built by Sher Shah Suri who is believed to be the founder of the Sur Empire. He constructed the Old Fort in Mehrauli, in a spacious area of the city of Delhi. The citadel was still incomplete when the Shah died in 1545 and his son Islam Shah carried the construction on.
The complex that contains Purana Qila has three arched gateways; Bara Darwaza or the Big Gate facing west, the Humayun Gate facing south, and the Talaqqi Gate, which is often referred to as the forbidden gate. All of the gates are double-storied and consist of huge semi-circular bastions flanking either of their sides. Other monuments can also be found at the complex, such as the Sher Mandal and the Qila-i-Kuhna mosque.
Purana Qila has a roughly rectangular shape. The architectural design of the fort is inspired by the Islamic style of the Mughal era as well as the Rajasthani which makes Purana Qila a heritage site. The dazzling aesthetic of the citadel is complemented by the white and blue marble tiles that decorate its gates and bastions.
The grand structure spreads across a campus of 1.5 km. The eastern and western walls of the Qila are the tallest, which were specifically designed for safeguarding the Kings residing within the four-walls.
While in Delhi make sure to visit Purana Qila and enjoy its diverse architectural brilliance. This heritage site is surely in the list of the places to visit in Delhi. The Old Fort is open for visitors on all days of the week from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. The entry fee is INR 500 ($6.78).
Yet another brilliant work of the Mughal emperors is the splendid Humayun’s Tomb. It is a major historical site in India and one of the best places to visit in Delhi.
The amazing mausoleum was constructed in the memory of Humayun, the second emperor of the Mughal Empire, by his wife Bega Begam. The construction of the tomb began in 1565 A.D. and took 7 years to be completed. The edifice was the first example of Mughal architecture in India.
The tomb is inspired by Persian architecture. As a matter of fact, the architect of the building Mirak Mirza Ghiyas was of Persian descent. The Persian inspiration is prevalent in the arched alcoves of the corridors and its high double dome.
The tomb itself is constructed at the center of a Persian style garden. The garden, divided in four main parts by walkways or flowing water, is created to resemble the paradise garden described in the Quran. The garden of Humayan’s Tomb is known as the first garden tomb found on the Indian subcontinent.
Another influence the structure had was Indian traditions. Such inspiration is shown in the creation of the kiosks which give the structure a pyramid-like outline from a difference. The tomb also represents Mughal architecture in the best way possible. It displays total symmetry, in addition, the mausoleum has grand gardens and smaller structures surrounding it.
The brilliance of the structure and its historical significance is recognized by UNESCO as it declared Humanyun’s Tomb a World Heritage Site in 1993.
Many don’t know this but the architectural brilliance of Humanyun’s Tomb is what inspired the structure of the famous Taj Mahal. The mausoleum is open to the general public daily from sunrise to sunset. When you visit, try to go either early in the morning or a little before the sunset to avoid the hot weather. There is an entry fee of INR 500 ($6.78) per person.
The National Zoological Park
Located near Purana Qila (the Old Fort), the National Zoological Park is a 176-acre zoo that was established in November 1959. The zoo is reputed to be one of the best zoos in the whole of Asia. The Delhi zoo houses more than 130 different species of animals, birds, and reptiles from all over the world. This makes it a habitat for over 1,500 animals and birds. If you are interested in wildlife, this enormous zoo should be one of your places to visit in Delhi.
The Delhi zoo was established in 1959. The great variety of animals in the zoo include numerous chimpanzees, hippopotamuses, spider monkeys, zebras, hyenas, deer, jaguars, and tigers. The National Zoological Park also features an interesting underground Reptile Complex, which houses a variety of snakes, including the deadly king cobra.
And to go around the zoo and see the different attractions it comprises, there are small electric vehicles you can take to make your visit even more memorable.
The zoo’s construction is recognized as one of the best, and in 1982, it was given the name of the National Zoological Park with the aim to make it a model for other zoos in the country to develop. The zoo is a perfect hanging spot for both locals and tourists.
Strolling around the zoo and seeing the different animals is such a relaxing activity perfect for any day. The zoo allows you the experience of seeing animals coming from different continents; Asia, Africa, and Australia. One of the major animals not to miss is the Majestic White Bengal Tiger.
The Delhi zoo is open six days a week, it closes on Friday. The official visiting hours are from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm from the 1st of April to the 15th of October, and from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm from 16th October to 31st March. The entry fee is INR 200 ($2.71) for adults and INR 100 ($1.36) for children above 5 years old.
The zoo is one of the places to visit in Delhi that does not allow visitors to bring their own food. Instead you can get food at the canteen situated in the zoo.
These monuments and attractions are not all that Delhi offers to its visitors. However, they are the top places to visit in Delhi. These attractions represent the diversity of this cosmopolitan city. Make sure to pay a visit to the monuments and places during your stay to get the full Delhi experience.
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