Delhi is one of the most populous Indian cities and was once known as the “Pearl of the East”. All this heritage and culture is packed into just 1,484 square kilometers. And this list will help you understand what makes Delhi so fascinating and worth experiencing.
The list comprises places of historic, architectural, educational, and entertainment significance.
Here are the Top 11 Delhi attractions
1. Red Fort
The Red Fort was used as a residence by Mughal emperors between 1638 and 1857. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that you must visit at least once in your lifetime. The architecture is of Persian style and the interiors have been given an Arabic decor by Shahjahan in the 17th century. The ramparts of Red Fort have been painted with murals depicting scenes from Indian mythology and folklore – like Raja Harish Chandra, Meerabai, Krishna Lila, etc. There is a secret passage that was built by the Mughals. On entering the Red Fort, you are welcomed by the sound of bells and chimes. A fine art gallery houses a collection of paintings kept in locked glass cabinets and a genealogical archive records the construction of each building.
2. Jama Masjid
Located at Shahjahanabad, this mosque was constructed in 1656 AD by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his victory over Raja Man Singh Deo, founder of Amber Palace (Samalkha). It covers an area of 90725 square metres with beautiful roof designs and dome-shaped cupolas. It is one of the largest mosques in India. The mosque is also known as the “Friday Mosque”, because it is the biggest and most renowned mosque in Delhi. It has four gates – Bab-ul-Juman, Bab-ul-Bazan, Bab-ul-Hajan and Bab Darwaza. In addition to these main gates, there are three small gateways called “Chhota Ghantaghar” (small gate), built on three sides of the mosque. It also has four towers – two at each side, with a height of 78 feet and each tower has six floors. The mosque is known for its centrality and exclusivity – with only Muslims being allowed inside. It can attract you for the six doorways, four towers, and the three minarets that rise to a height of 107 feet.
3. Rashtrapati Bhavan
Rashtrapati Bhavan was built in 1930 during the British rule. It started as Viceregal Lodge, but it was later renamed Viceroy’s House (or House of the Viceroy). Presently it serves as the official residence and workplace of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee. It is a good example of Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is spread over 330 acres and houses 340 rooms, halls, offices, and an array of courtyards. The main Mughal Gardens are among the most beautiful sights in the city. The building has been constructed in an impressive style, with symmetrical wings arranged around a central dome-shaped structure. The architecture of Rashtrapati Bhavan strongly appeals to tourists and locals alike.
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4. Qutab Minar
Located in Mehrauli Archaeological Park, the Qutab Minar is the tallest minaret in India. It is built of red sandstone and was constructed between 1192-1206 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, a general in the service of Khalji dynasty. The top of the Minar stands at a height of 139 feet and it has eight storeys (128 steps). At night, with thousands of twinkling lights showing, this brilliant structure takes on an amazing appearance. It is also known as Arjuna’s Lanka or Lanka Tower.
5. Mehrauli Museum
The museum focuses on archaeology and minority art collections. A popular site is the unrivaled Ancient Indian Bronze Bronzes collection. It contains over 2,000 pieces from the 5th century BC to AD 1000, from all over India and South Asia. One of the oldest collections is that of an ancient Indus Valley Harappan gold bead pendant dated to circa 2600-2000 BC. You can also see a collection of Japanese-style lacquer furniture and arts from Nagaland (in the form of masks). There are many other artifacts like ivory carvings and miniature paintings on ivory, stone carvings of religious themes, glass bangles, etc. This museum also has a small theatre with an exhibition of art, sculpture, paintings, and traditional costumes.
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6. National Museum
It is located in the heart of New Delhi. This museum has a vast collection of Asian and European paintings. The Indo-Saracenic building facing the Ramakrishna Mutt on the south and north flanks has a beautiful facade, an impressive central dome, elaborate columns, and balconies. The Gallery containing prehistoric tools and Buddhist sculptures is one of its most fascinating attractions. There is also a gallery on Indian Art with paintings ranging from the 12th to 19th century AD. One can see mummies, weapons, coins, and Indian textiles that are all put under one roof in this museum.
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7. Humayun’s Tomb
This is the tomb of the famous Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The mausoleum has been a recurring theme in the Indian imagination since its inception, envied by many and dreaded by many more. The original mausoleum was built by his fourth wife Mumtaz. It was later enlarged and embellished by his son Humayun and also reached its current size with the addition of a dome, much like other monuments that were constructed during this period under Bahadur Shah I and Aurangzeb. It is designed in a Persian-Mughal style, with three arched domes that are topped by small bulbous cupolas. The tomb is set in the middle of a walled enclosure 173 by 208 meters.
8. Lotus Temple
The iconic Baha’i House of Worship was designed by an Indian architect, Fariborz Sahba, and was completed in 1986. Built entirely of marble, this building can be viewed from miles away due to its striking lotus-like shape. It houses a large auditorium that can seat 2,500 people at one time and it is a peaceful place where one can unwind from everyday stresses. The domes of the Lotus Temple are covered with thousands of representations of flowers and its vibrant white appearance makes it stand out amid the drab surroundings of Delhites.
9. India Gate
This colossal memorial was built in memory of the 90,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the World War I. It is also known as the Amar Jawan Jyoti and is a tribute to those Indian soldiers who died fighting for the British army and helping them win victories in far-flung lands. It was built with 6,500 soldiers from different regions of India. The gate has two arches with multiple layers of red sandstone. Besides being a war memorial, the structure is also considered an important national monument and a symbol of renewed confidence after independence from British rule.
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10. Akshardham Temple
Akshardham is located in Delhi and houses an astounding one lakh statues of Hindu deities, which are the world’s largest collection of Hindu idols. The temple was designed by Anish Kapoor and opened to the public on 28 October 2005 (the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda). The three storeys house a collection of art works that are larger than life, a beautiful lawn and gardens with numerous stone carvings. It is also associated with the Ram Lila that is performed every day as part of celebration for Lord Ram’s birthday.
11. Purana Qila
Purana Qila is a fort that overlooks the Red Fort and was built in 1648. It has a good collection of ancient artwork, including important items of Islamic history, a number of paintings and frescoes. It also has many security agencies like the Army’s Military Intelligence Department and Military Police, India Gate police station, the Delhi Police’s Special branch and the Delhi Cantonment police department. The main entrance is through Khooni Darwaza which was one of the six gates built by Shah Jahan (the same person who constructed the Taj Mahal) in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. These are some of the monument and site to visit in Delhi.
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‘Delhi is a city rich in history and culture and steeped in tradition’, said travellers who have visited this city. If you want to experience the maze-like bazaars, swimming on one of its rivers, wrestling matches, stunning monuments or even beautiful people, then Delhi is your destination! So get ready for a most memorable holiday trip to spend with friends and family members. You can also check other cities and destinations that could be equally touristy.