Places to visit
India Gate is a majestic high arch, 42 meters high, built as a memorial to the Indian soldiers killed in the World War I. Beneath it burns an eternal flame. From the base of the arch one can get a good view of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Located on Rajpath, the road that leads to the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan, the gate is 160 feet high with an arch of 138 feet.
Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers killed in World War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931. Built from sandstone, the arch also houses the Eternal Flame, a gesture in memory of the Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
At one time, 2,000 people were required to look after the building and serve the Viceroy's household.The lodge also has impressive garden called the Mughal Garden, which is open to public twice in a year, usually in February and March. Formely the Viceregal Lodge, the building is the highlight of Lutyen's New Delhi and was completed in 1929 at a cost of 12,53,000 pound sterling.Located in an area of 130 hectares, the palace has 340 rooms.
Red Fort is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. India's history is also closely linked with this fort. It was frorth here ht the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bhadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of the three century long Mughal rule. It was also fromits ramparts that the first prime. Minister of India, pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free form colonial rule.The mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, after ruling from Agra for eleven years, decided to shift to Delhi and laid the foundation stone of the Red Fort in 1618. For its inauguration in 1647, the main halls of the palace were draped in rich tapestry and covered with silk from china and velvet from Turkey. With a circumference of almost one and a half miles, the fort is an irregular octagon and has two entrances, the Lahore and Delhi Gates.
Form the Lahore Gate, a visitor has access to the Chatta Chowk (vaulted arcade ) which as once a royal market and housed court jewelers, miniature painters carpet manufacturers, workers in enamel, silk weavers and families of specialized craftsmen. The road from the royal market leads to the Nawabarkhana (band house) where the royal band played five times a day. The band house also marks the entry into the main palace and all visitors, except royalty had to dismount here.
Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmush, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak are quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the materials used for construction differ.Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world.
The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets.
Covering a circuit of about a mile, the walls of the fort have three gates and are surrounded by a mat fed by the river Yamuna.The wall was built by Humayun while the buildings in the fort are attributed to Sher Shar. The notable buildings that have survived in the fort are the Sher Mandal and the Quila-I-kholina Mosque.
Sher Mandal is a two storeyed octagonal tower which was used by Humayun as his library. The mosque, built around 1541-42, is a landmark in Indo Islamic architecture.The architect has shown skill by enriching each part with moulding, bracketed openings, marble inlay, carving and other establishments.A variety of materials have also been used to construct the small mosque (168 x 44 feet). The entrance arch is of marble, the spandrels of red sandstone studded with marble bossed, the columns and pilasters of black and white marble.
Jantar Mantar is very popular among tourists and the people of Delhi. The structure is another great masterpiece of Indian architecture which shows the scientific acumen of ancient India. Jantar Manter is situated at Parliament Street, very close to Connaught Place. Jantar Mantar is also called Delhi Observatory. It is maintained by the Jaipur government because it was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1710 A.D.
It is a remarkable structure which consists of fourteen geometric devices used for measuring time, forecasting weather changes, predicting behaviour of planets and finding extraterrestrial altitude. All these devices are fixed structures and point to a specific direction. The largest device or instrument is the Samrat Jantar which is 90 feet high and its shadow is plotted in such a manner so that is shows the exact time of the day. Any weather change or the onset of monsoons can be ascertained by the Hindu Chhatri, which is a small domed structure.
The whole structure is made of stone and marble with each of then having an engraved astronomical scale. Jantar Mantar finally got the status of a national monument in 1948. It has always attracted architects, historians and scientists from all over the world.
The first mature example of Mughal architecture in India, Humayun's Tomb was built by the emperor's grieving widow, Haji Begum, in 1565 AD.The mughals brought with them a love for gardens, fountains and water.Constructed with red sandstone and ornamented marks the beginning of a new tradition of ornate style which culminated in the Taj Mahal of Agra.
Designed by the Persian architect, Mirza Ghyas, Humayun's Tomb shows a marked shift from the Persian tradition of using coloured tiles for ornamentation.Located in the midst of a large square garden, screened by high walls, with gateways to the south and west, the tomb is a square tower surmounted by a magnificent marble dome. The dome stands 140 feet from the base of the terrace and is topped with a copper pinnacle.In addition to the remains of Humayun, the complex also houses the grave of many other distinguished members of the Mughal dynasty.
Work on the Jama Masjid mosque was begun in 1650 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to complement his palace at the Red Fort. More than 5,000 workers toiled for six years to complete the largest mosque in India. Every Friday, the emperor and his retinue would travel in state from the fort to the mosque to attend the congressional prayers.A fine example of Mughal architecture, the Jama Masjid has three gateways. The largest and highest on the east was reserve exclusively for the emperor. The main courtyard of the emperor. The main courtyard of the mosque is 408 square feet and paved with red stone. In the centre is a large marble tank in which the devout wash before attending prayers.
The main mosque is crowned by three onion shaped domes made of white marble and inlaid with stripes of black slate. On the north and south of the complex are two 130 feet high minarets which offer a spectacular bird's eye-view of the city. Jama Masjid is not only architecturally beautiful, but also a place of great religious significance as it houses a hair from the beard of the Prophet and also a chapter of the Holy Quran written by him.
Built in 1753 by Nawab Shauja-ud-Daula to house the remains of his father, who was a minister in the Mughal court, the tomb is referred to as the "last flicker in the lamp of Mughal architecture. "It shows how the grace and simplicity of he Mughals had been overtaken by decadence. The tomb also has a mosque.
Representing the last phase of the Mughal style of architecture, Safdarjang's Tomb stands in the centre of an extensive garden. This marble domed mousoleum was the last famous Mughal monument built in Delhi in 1753-54, by the son of the second Nawab of Oudh. It is a son's tribute to his father, the Wazir of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah.
A simple open platform inscribed with the Mahatma's last words, 'Hey Ram' (Oh God) is set in a garden with fountains and a variety of exotic trees. The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the west bank of the river Yamuna on the evening of January 31, 1948.
Lakshmi Narayan Mandir
Popularly known as Birla Mandir, it is a large Hindu temple built in 1938. People of all faiths can enter and worship but one must walk barefoot into the courtyard and further on. The temple is an ideal introduction to some of the gods of the India pantheon. The temple contains a large number of idols and visitors can also watch priests performing ritualistic prayers.
This temple was build by G. D. Birla in 1938. This beautiful temple is located in the west of Connaught Place. The temple is dedicated to the goddess of prosperity and good fortune. The temple has well grafted gardens. It is also known as the Birla Mandir.
Lakshmi Narayan Mandir
The beautiful monument built without steel, consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Pith and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities.
The temple complex in the national capital, promises a unique glimpse of the Hindu religion and Indian culture. The Akshardham temple complex has been built on the banks of the serene River Yamuna and lies over a sprawling 100 acres of lush manicured lawns adorned with water fountains and carved pavilions. A whopping 2 billion was spent on the construction of this grand place of worship that took about 2 years to build.
The imposing 10 story high monument is made entirely of intricately carved, 6000 tons of pink sand-stone from Rajasthan, with no steel or cement used at all, ensuring that the monument will last for a thousand years. More than 12 million man hours of 900 skilled craftsmen have created this magnificent monument of 93 sculpted pillars, 40 windows carved from both sides, and a feast of forms and filigrees. Built inch to inch according to the ancient Sthaapatya shastras of India, no steel has been used. Support beams are 22 ft. single piece stone blocks. The pillars are poetry in stone, with beautiful expression from foot to crown.