Delhi – An Introduction
Delhi- Living testament to the glory of the Mughal days, patron of palaces and tombs and the capital of India, New Delhi is all of this and more. Situated about 160 kms south of the Himalayas and on the west bank of the Yamuna River, a tributary of the Ganges, this city has the distinction of being the historic hub of politics. This city is as modern or ancient, as you want it to be. Today’s Delhi is cosmopolitan, modern and fun loving. With feasts for art and theatre lovers, concerts for the musically inclined and food that can make a gourmet cry with delight. Delhi is a place with something for everyone. There are different cultural pockets with Punjabi’s being the most dominant section here. The most common languages spoken here besides English are Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.
Places of Interest:
Also called the Lal Qila, the Red Fort is laid out along the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon. It is surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 kms in circumference and is built of red sandstone. The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan transferred his capital from Agra and after nine years, the fort was completed in 1648. The fort has two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the Lahori Gate.
Formerly the Vice-Regal Palace, it is the official residence of the President of India. This 340 rooms palace and its gardens cover an area of 330 acres. Special permission has to be obtained in advance to visit the Rashtrapathi Bhavan.
Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India was built by Shah Jahan. The Masjid overlooks the old markets of the city that are massed around Chandni Chowk and stretches till the great Red Fort. Walking through this area can prove to be a trip down the times, where the flavor of old Mughal charm still lingers.
The emblem of Delhi, the 72.55 meter high Qutub Minar was erected in the 13th century by Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. Within the complex is an Iron pillar, which has never rusted. This five-storied tower is visible from a distance of several kilometers. Which means that you could be visiting a lot of places in this city and the Qutub Minar stays with you.
Rajpath is worth a visit. Every January 26, the grand Republic Day Parade is held there. At one end, is the India Gate where the eternal flame burns to commemorate India’s war heroes. At the other end is the Presidential Palace, the Rashtrapati Bhavan. On some days in early spring, visitors are allowed to wander around the building’s famed Mughal Gardens.
Jantar Mantar is an observatory. About 300 years old, it can measure the movement of the earth and the stars. It is also a very peaceful park in the centre of town.
This massive 42m tall structure was built as a memorial to the 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. The structure has the names of the soldiers engraved on it. An eternal flame burns here in commemoration of the brave soldiers.
These beautiful gardens have majestic domed tombs of many Sayyid and Lodi Sultans. The well-kept gardens with fountains, ponds, flowering trees, blossoming shrubs and bushes are ideal places for joggers and those who seek solitude.
Haji Begum, the senior wife of Emperor Humayun built this mausoleum in the mid 16th century. The tomb is situated amidst avenues of trees, watercourses and flowerbeds. A magnificent example of refined early Mughal architecture, the structure harmoniously blends with nature.
This is the sixth city. Located south-east of India Gate, it is one of the most prominent monuments. Humayun started the fort’s construction but Sher Shah, who drove him out from Delhi, completed the city during his own reign (1538-1545). The massive walls and huge gates were constructed by Humayun. The octagonal Shermandal and the Quila-i-Kuhran Masjid were built by Sher Shah.
Connaught Place is an upmarket shopping area designed by Edwin Lutyens who also designed the whole city.
Situated in the Faridabad district of Haryana, the panoramic Badhkal Lake is a natural pool surrounded by vast lawns and lush greenery. Just over 30 km far, the lake is a popular picnic spot. It also offers boating facilities to tourists.
A three-hour drive from Delhi, Kesroli in Rajasthan is the site of a seven-turreted fort built in the 16th century. Believed to have been built by the Yaduvanshi Rajputs, the fort commands splendid views of the surroundings from its ramparts.
Barely 80 km from the din and bustle stands the Mud Fort of Kuchesar, which was built in the mid-18th century by the Jat rulers. The fort has bravely withstood the onslaught of the Marathas, Sikhs, Rohillas, and Rajputs, as well as the French and East India Company. The fort was built with seven turrets so as to withstand the cannons of the British.
Situated 122 km, on a rocky outcrop just above an unspoilt village, lies Neemrana, the site of a majestic fort built in 1464 by Prithviraj Chauhan III. The Neemrana Fort, as it is known, has now been converted into a heritage resort.
Located 46 km far, just beyond Gurgaon, Sultanpur is a small bird sanctuary. The jheel (shallow lake) with reeds and other waterside plants growing around it becomes a hub of activity in November-December every year when northern migratory birds arrive here. The jheel is home to the only indigenous Indian crane, sarus.
Situated 11 km from the Qutab Minar on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road, Surajkund is the site of a perennial lake surrounded by rock-cut steps. The Sun temple stood here during AD 1000, the remains of which can still be seen here. The temple and the enchanting surroundings of this place won the heart of a Tomar chieftain Surajpal, who belonged to a clan of sun worshippers. Raja Surajpal had a sun pool and amphitheatre built in this area with the sun temple at its periphery. After the chieftain Surajpal, who built the complex, the place was named Surajkund . It was around this temple and pool that a tourist resort came up in Surajkund. What began as simple tourist centre in 1987 flowered into a celebration of the centuries old crafts traditions of our colourful country at the annual Surajkund Crafts Mela. As spring glides in, full of warmth and vibrancy leaving the grey winter behind, Surajkund adorns itself with colourful traditional crafts of India. Craftsmen from all over the country assemble at Surajkund during the first fortnight of February to participate in the annual celebration known as the Surajkund Crafts Mela. This mela is a meeting ground for talented artists, painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen as well as arts and crafts lovers who come from the world over to admire and acquire these creations. The Surajkund Mela is not just the biggest artisans/’ fair in the country; it is also unique in that every year there is a different theme to the fair.
Situated 70 km in Rohtak district, the Tilayar Lake is a favourite getaway for tourists. The lake offers facilities for boating, accommodation, restaurants, bar, children/’s park and a mini zoo.