“What are the best places to visit in Delhi?” This question never gets old, and the more people you ask, the more varying answers you get. The thing is that there is no right answer to this question because there is no wrong answer; there are so many places to visit in the city. So, to make it easier on everyone, I am going to mention as many places as I can, famous and lesser-known ones, segregating these into various categories. That being said, here they are, the best places to visit in Delhi:
These are the attractions that depict the long and storied history of the city through their architecture.
- Qutub Complex: Located in Mehrauli, the complex houses monuments dating from the time of Delhi Sultanate, including Iron Pillar, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Jamali Kamali Mosque, Alai Darwaza, Tomb of Iltutmish and the UNESCO-listed Qutub Minar itself.
- Red Fort: The grand palace built by Shah Jahan houses masterpieces like Delhi Gate, Lahori Gate, Chatta Chowk, Naubat Khana, Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Tasbih Khana, Nahr-i-Bihisht, Mumtaz Mahal, Rang Mahal, Khas Mahal and Moti Masjid.
- India Gate: This iconic Triumphant Arch and Amar Jawan Jyoti under it commemorate Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during WWI and other wars fought by the country.
- Purana Qila: Built by Humayun and expanded by Sher Shah Suri at the site believed to house Pandavas’ Indraprastha, it is one of the oldest fortresses in the city. Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque, Sher Mandal, Humayun Gate, Talaqi Darwaza, Bara Darwaza and Hammam are its major structures. The complex also has a lake where you can enjoy boating.
- Jantar Mantar: This giant, all-red astronomical clock was constructed by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1724. With the help of Samrat Yantra, Jai Prakash Yantra, Misra Yantra and Ram Yantra, astrologists could figure out the exact coordinates of heavenly bodies, and time in various parts of the world!
More such attractions: Agrasen Ki Baoli, Tughlaqabad Fort, Feroz Shah Kotla Fort, Khirki Masjid, Safdarjung Tomb, Humayun’s Tomb, Surajkund Mela, Mutiny Memorial, Malcha Mahal, Bhuli Bhatiyari Ka Mahal, Bara Gumbad, Chausath Khamba
Displaying the religious harmony of India, Delhi is home to numerous temples, mosques, gurudwaras and churches.
- Jama Masjid: One of the largest mosques in the world, it stands in the heart of Old Delhi. It features Persian elements like domes, high arches and minarets, as well as Rajput characteristics, such as Jharokhas.
- Akshardham: One of the largest temples on earth, it has an incredibly carved structure along with a theatre, lush gardens, sculptures, musical fountain and boating pond.
- Gurudwara Bangla Sahib: Easily recognised by its white structure and golden domes, it is one of the most significant Sikh places of worship in the metropolis. Kept inside the sanctum, the Guru Granth Sahib is surrounded by carved gold panels.
- Sacred Heart Cathedral: Right in front of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Sacred Heart Cathedral was built 1930 onwards. The altar of this Italian architecture marvel is made purely of marble. On Christmas, a huge feast is held at the church.
- Lotus Temple: Famous for its unique design resembling a lotus, the temple is associated with Baha’i faith. Around it are nine ponds that resemble flower petals, completing the look.
- Vishwa Shanti Stupa: As with other similar places in the country, this white stupa is adorned with Buddhist art, including paintings, image and symbols.
- Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah: Among the holiest Muslim shrines in Delhi, it houses the tomb of the 13th-century Sufi saint, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. You must come here in the evening to listen to amazing Qawwali sessions.
More such attractions: Birla Mandir, Chhatarpur Mandir, Kalkaji Mandir, Jhandewalan Mandir, ISKCON Temple, Cathedral Church of the Redemption, St James Church
Under this category, I will mention museums and some modern marvels that are popular with tourists.
- National Museum: The foremost among all museums in Delhi, it sheds light on the over 5000-year-old history of India. Among its exhibits is a giant wooden chariot, weighing over 2200 kg.
- Rail Museum: This museum exhibits actual as well as miniature models of historical steam locomotives. Toy train and various locomotive simulators draw the young and old in large numbers.
- National Science Centre: A great place for children, the museum has loads of displays that give a practical experience of various scientific principles. The galleries here are dedicated to water, human biology, emerging technologies, IT, nuclear technology and prehistoric life.
- Nehru Planetarium: Extremely popular with children and students, it hosts regular audio-video shows on various astronomical subjects. Also in the complex is Soyuz T-10, in which Rakesh Sharma, India’s first astronaut, flew into space.
- National Gallery of Modern Art: Situated near India Gate, it houses more than 140000 pieces of modern art by artists, such as Rabindranath Tagore and Raja Ravi Varma. Tourists can attend regular exhibitions apart from seeing the permanent galleries.
- Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum: Adjacent to Pragati Maidan, it depicts the everyday life in various parts of India via sculptures, paintings, ritual objects, jewellery, toys, puppets, textiles and village settings.
- Air Force Museum: Located within Delhi Airport, it displays historical fighter aircraft, missiles, bombs, personnel uniforms, radars, howitzers and photographs, taking visitors through IAF’s storied history.
More such attractions: International Doll’s Museum, Metro Museum, Archaeological Museum, Children’s Museum, Police Museum, Delhi Eye Ferris wheel, National Archives
Parks and Gardens
One of the greenest national capitals in the world, Delhi is home to hordes of parks, gardens and forested areas.
- Ridge: Located in the city centre, the Ridge is a vast area of untouched vegetation. It is divided into four zones: North (Delhi University North Campus), Central (Dhaula Kuan and behind Rashtrapati Bhavan), South Central (JNU and Aravalli Biodiversity Park) and South (Tughlaqabad and Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary).
- Zoo: Enveloped in greenery, the zoo is home to more than 1300 animals representing over 300 species. Blackbucks, chinkaras, jungle cats, gazelles, chausinghas, barasinghas, hoolock gibbons, Indian elephants, leopards, Asiatic lions, Indian rhinos, tigers, Indian wolves, gaurs, gharials, mugger crocodiles and king cobras can be seen here.
- Mughal Gardens: Only open in February and March, the Mughal Gardens within Rashtrapati Bhavan consist of lawns cut into quadrants by water channels, trees brought from round the world and flowers.
- Garden of Five Senses: Sprawling across 20 acres, the site features gardens, plants, trees, flowers, walking paths, benches, water ponds and cafes.
- Okhla Bird Sanctuary: Created by protecting the wetland along the Yamuna River, the sanctuary is home to more than 300 species of resident and migratory birds. Come here in winters with a camera to capture these amazing creatures.
More such attractions: Millennium Park, Hauz Khas Deer Park, Central Park, India Gate lawns, Children’s Park, Lodhi Gardens, Raj Ghat, Shanti Vana, Vijay Ghat, Veer Bhoomi, Shakti Sthal, Sanjay Lake Park
This is not all, as the city is also home to several theatres, auditoria, malls, markets, amusement parks like Adventure Island and Fun N Food Village, pubs, bars, discotheques and stadia that are no less than tourist attractions. Plus, there are several places to visit in Delhi’s satellite cities like Gurgaon and Noida as well.
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