Delhi, the capital city and one of the oldest cities of India is teeming with rich history and cultural heritage. The rich heritage of the city is evident from the marvelous architectures of the historical buildings and monuments. Delhi had a tumultuous past, it has witnessed destructions and has been rebuilt several times. Nevertheless, it still remains intact with a treasure trove of historical gems to discover left behind by the ruling dynasties.
Delhi is jam-packed with monuments, museums, and architectural wonders which makes it one of the best places to visit in India. Here are the best places to visit in Delhi for a memorable trip to the Indian capital city.
Start with the Red Fort, the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site early morning to beat the crowd and humid temperature.The Red Fort built of red sandstone (which gives it the name) is an eclectic mix of architecture styles dotted with turrets and bastions.
The historic fort was constructed in the early 17th-century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (known for building the Taj Mahal in Agra). The fort has served as the residence of the Mughal emperors for nearly 200 years.
The Red Fort complex houses within its enclosed walls numerous historic structures including Moti Masjid, Khas Mahal (emperor’s apartment) and the Rang Mahal and Mumtaz Mahal (quarters for emperor’s wives) amongst others. Very less remains of the marble, precious stones, mosaics and elaborate carvings adorning these imperial structures mostly due to the frequent loots. Not to miss is an interesting sound and light show narrating the story of Mughal history held in the evenings.
Metro – Chandni Chowk Metro Station
Chandni Chowk located in the heart of old Delhi is one of the oldest markets in Delhi and one of the top tourist places in Delhi. The market dates back to 17th-century and was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his daughter Jahanara.
The crammed narrow alleys of this neighborhood are packed with shops selling everything from spices, books, shoes, jewelry, handicrafts, clothing, electronic to leather goods. Chandni Chowk is also popular for the small local eateries tucked into these crowded alleys some of which are more than 100 years old selling freshly prepared and delicious variety of sweets and snacks.
Metro – Chandni Chowk Metro Station
Jama Masjid is one of the largest and oldest mosques in India. Completed in 1656 Jama Masjid was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The mosque has three great gates providing access to the large courtyard that can accommodate more than 25,000 people.
The mosque features three domes flanked by two minarets. The facade design features strips of red sandstone and white marble. The top of the minaret can be reached by climbing the 130 steps. Spend some time in the tranquil ambiance of courtyard watching people feeding the pigeons.
Metro – Chawri Bazaar Metro Station
Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham is one of the largest temple complexes in India. Temple built with pink sandstone and marble is decorated with thousands of beautiful sculptures, 234 pillars, domes and 148 life-size elephant statues. Temple enshrines an 11-foot high statue of Swaminarayan seated in abhayamudra. A popular attraction of the temple complex is the musical fountain show that takes place in the evening.
Metro – Akshardham Metro Station
Agrasen ki Baoli
Agrasen Ki Baoli is a historical stepwell and a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. The ancient monument has three stories and 108 steps leading down to the well. On either side of the stairs are walls carved with arched niches.
India Gate is a war memorial to 70,000 soldiers of Indian Army who died fighting for the British army in the WWI and the third Anglo-Afghan war. More than 13,000 Indian soldiers and UK officials names are inscribed on the gate. Amar Jawan Jyoti or the flame of the immortal soldier which represents India’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorates Indian soldiers killed in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.
The architectural style of the India Gate resembles a triumphal similar to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France or the Gateway of India in Mumbai, India.
Metro – Pragati Maidan Metro Station
Purana Qila or Old Fort is one of the oldest forts in Delhi. The fort features three double-storied magnificent gates and ramparts. The fort complex houses several historical monuments including a 16th-century Qila-i-Kuna Mosque and a double-storeyed octagonal tower of red sandstone called Sher Mandal and a stepwell. Every evening a spectacular light and sound show takes place at the Purana Quila.
Metro – Pragati Maidan Metro Station
The UNESCO World Heritage Site Humayun’s tomb or Maqbara-e-Humayun is the resting tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun set in the large Persian-style garden Char Bagh.
The tomb was commissioned by his wife Empress Bega Begum in the 16th-century. The complex along with the Humayun’s tomb houses several other monuments, tombs, and historical structures.
Metro – JLN Stadium Metro Station
Lotus Temple is an architectural marvel of the Bahai Faith constructed in the form of a lotus flower with 27 marble petals surrounded by nine water pools. The Bahai Faith teaches and welcomes people of all religion irrespective of their language, caste or creed. The interior of the temple is large enough to accommodate 2,500 people at a time.
The volunteers of the temple distribute prayer leaflets in preferred language and guide everyone towards the prayer hall. Spend some time in the serene ambiance before you take a tour of the wonderful landscaped garden. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is floodlit with lights. Prayer services and films are also hosted in the center at different times.
Metro – Kalkaji Metro Station
Mehrauli Archaeological Park and Qutub Minar
The Archaeological Park contains ruins of around 100 historically significant monuments, tombs, and palaces and is one of the most visited historical Places in Delhi. Qutub Minar is a five-story minaret part of the Qutab complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first 3 floors of the minaret are made of red sandstone, the fourth of marble and the fifth uses both red sandstone and marble. The minaret is decorated with beautiful carvings, inscriptions, and motifs. Inside the tower, a spiral staircase with 379 steps leads to the top, which is now closed to the public. Next to the Qutub Minar is the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque, one of the oldest mosques in India.
Metro – Qutub Minar Metro Station
Shopping in Delhi
Delhi has a plenitude of shopping options. The 17th-century Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest markets. The market sells everything from jewelry, handicrafts, and artworks to the most delicious street food like Chaat, Chholey Bhature, Parantha in the Paranthewali Gali and the mouth-watering sweets like Jalebis. While Dilli Haat (INA Metro Station) is well known for Indian handicrafts and traditional items and Cannought Place or Khan Market for branded showrooms and Boutiques, Paharganj is best known wholesale market and if you looking to shop some ethnic wears Hauz Khas is the place to go.
How to Reach Delhi
Delhi City Airport is well-connected with the international and domestic destinations. Delhi is also connected with all major cities of the Indian states via railways and roadways. The best way to explore the Delhi attractions is by hiring a taxi or by Metro the latter being the cheaper option.
Best Time to Visit Delhi
The best time to visit the Delhi City are the winter months from November to March and Summer is the time to avoid when the temperatures are its extreme. Some of the attractions like Red Fort and India Gate might be inaccessible or overcrowded during the national holidays like Independence Day and Republic Day when it is recommended to avoid.
The city definitely has no dearth of hidden gems be it historical, architectural or even for a shopping spree or a foodies treat. Make sure to spend at least 3 to 4 days in the Indian capital city. What are some of your favorite places to visit in Delhi? Do share with us in comments.