With the Commonwealth Games slated to be held in New Delhi in October 2010, the city is expecting many international enthusiasts to arrive here soon. The Games will be organized between the 3rd and the 14th of October, and those who are planning to come and watch can take this opportunity to see a little bit of Delhi. There are many historical as well as recreational places of interest in Delhi. Here are a few that would feature on a must-see list.
Qutub Minar: A World Heritage site, 72.5 meters high, this brick tower is said to be the tallest in the world. The construction was begun by Qutub-ud-din Aibak but completed two generations later by Firoz Shah Tughlaq. There are 399 steps that lead to the top, and this ‘minar’ or tower has become representative of Delhi in picture postcards.
Humayun’s Tomb: Constructed by Hamida Banu Begum for her dear husband in 1562, Humayun’s tomb showcases fine Mughal architecture in red sandstone, and white and black marble.
Safdarjung’s Tomb: Built in 1753-54 with red sandstone and marble, the Tomb was constructed by Safdarjung or Muqim Abul Mansur Khan’s son, Shuja-ud-daula. The architecture is similar to Humayun’s Tomb, and huge gardens spread around the tomb.
The Red Fort: Covering a massive two and a half kilometers, the Fort was constructed by the emperor Shah Jahan during the early 1640s all in red sandstone and some parts in marble. It is a citadel with the hall of public audience, special audience, bathroom sets, mosques, music hall, and a museum now. The flag of India is hoisted by the Prime Minister of the country every year at the Fort on the occasion of Independence Day on August 15.
Jantar Mantar: Built by the king Sawai Jai Singh from Jaipur, this scientific place has 14 geometric devices for predicting the time of the day, the movement of planets, weather changes, and extraterrestrial altitude. Also known as Delhi Observatory, this place was built in 1710.
India Gate: Built as a war memorial to the First World War British Indian soldiers during the 1920s, this structure now stands as a memorial to all soldiers of the nation, who are commemorated with the flame that always burns there, called the Amar Jawan Jyoti. More than 70,000 names have been inscribed on the arch of the structure. The place has sprawling lawns, a boat club, and a children’s park as well.
Jama Masjid: Built by Shah Jahan from 1644-58, the largest mosque in India stands next to the Red Fort. It is constructed with red sandstone and marble with verses of the holy Quran inscribed on the walls.
Lotus Temple: The Baha’i Temple as it is also known, this place was constructed in the shape of a huge lotus in 1986. You cannot talk inside the temple hall, and it is one of the best places to sit and meditate.
The Garden of Five Senses: To feel every sense in your body play out a different tune, you must visit this Garden. It invokes different senses at different places within the Garden, and stimulates them all to leave you feeling refreshed. There are light and music shows in the evening.
You will find tourist guides approved by the government who will take you around each of the places. Do not pay them more than the rate fixed by the government. You can also take day tours of the city, organized from the Tourism of Delhi Office in Connaught Place, the popular and famous central marketplace in Delhi. If you are looking for Indian handicraft gifts to take back home for friends and family, visit the State Emporia or the Cottage Industries in Connaught Place, or CP as it is popularly called.
This article was supplied by Nidhi Varma.