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Delhi



Delhi Quick Information

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Summarize the city :
An introduction to India

Best time to visit (High & peak months) :
October to March

Experiences :
Architecture; art and craft; shopping

City calling code :
011

Recommended no. of days for a tourist :
2-3 days

Best buys :
Handicrafts; textile; antiques; jewellery

Essentials to be carried along :
Light cotton clothes in summers (mid March-October) & woolens in winters (November-Febrauary)

All about the city :
Formed out of 7 successive cities with centuries of evolutionary history, Delhi, the capital of India is the most happening city of the country. Diverse cultural elements which the city has been absorbing since ages have enriched it. So, exploring Delhi is a rewarding experience.

Delhi is dotted with monuments all of which stand testimony to its illustrious past. It is an amalgam of ruins of medieval architecture and ever expanding concrete jungles. The architect of New Delhi, Sir Edwin Lutyens and his colleague Herbert Baker burnt midnight oil for 20 long years to build Delhi in a unique style. The old Delhi abounds in Islamic architecture while New Delhi in colonial one. Every crumbling wall of Delhi has a story to tell.

If India is a book, then Delhi is its index page.  A 2-days tour of Delhi practically offers a glimpse of each and every corner of India as Delhi is basically a city of migrants. Whether it is food (read  the taste of India) or things to shop, the city has no dearth of variety because here trends and traditions go hand in hand. It is also the best place to experience the range and richness of classical dance and music.

Delhi provides a fascinating cultural introduction to this multifaceted country. So, with easy accessibility from any part of the world and plethora of attractions and accommodation (read a different stay every day - the accommodation experience)  for both the well heeled and the budget travelers, Delhi is a perfect destination to begin your expedition to explore India.
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Delhi Tourist attractions

Name (suggested time required to see the place)Small write upEntrance charges (if any) for ForeignerClose Day (if any)Open / Close time
Red Fort, a world heritage site
(1-1.5 hrs.)
Pride of Delhi, the Red Fort (built in red sandstone) was constructed in a period of about 10 yrs. by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan under whom the art of architecture is said to have reached its zenith. It is said to have been built as an imitation of 'paradise'( as described in Koran )as is inscribed on one of its walls "if there is paradise on earth it is this ,it is this, it is this". This well preserved fort stands to this day as a mute witness to the numerous upheavals which the country suffered after its construction. The fort is equally significant today as it is venue for celebrations on Indian Independence Day.

Earlier, on its one side flowed river Yamuna while on other was a 10m deep moat. But now the Yamuna is more than 1km away and the moat has also dried up. The main entrance, from where our Prime Minister addresses the nation on Independence Day, leads to 'Chatta Chowk' or the Meena Bazaar, a shopping arcade for ladies of the period. Now it caters to the tourists.

Main buildings are Diwan-i-am, Diwan-i-Khas (once the house for priceless 'Peacock Throne'), Moti Masjid built by Aurangzeb, royal baths, rang mahal, Shahi burz etc. Between these buildings were laid the exquisite Mughal Gardens.

Every evening a one hour light and sound show unfurls the history related to the fort which helps the visitors visualize the former glory of this magnificent fort.
INR 250 (all inclusive) Monday Sunrise to sunset
Purana Quila (30-35 minutes) Another important monument which receives quite a few visitors is the Purana Quila at old Delhi. The excavations suggest that it is built on the site of Indraprastha, the capital of the famed warriors of Mahabharata, the Pandavas. The second Mughal Emperor Humanyu started its construction but when only the massive walls and gateways were built, Humanyun was driven out of Delhi by Sher shah who completed it during his reign. So the two storied red sandstone structure, the Sher Mandal and the 'Kila-i-Kuhna' mosque are credited to his account. Later when Humanyu managed to reoccupy the fort at the fag end of his carrier he converted Sher Mandal into his library. Unfortunately he slipped from its stairs and went into a deep slumber forever. Entrance INR 100 (Free for children upto the age of 15yrs.) Friday Sunrise to sunset
Humanyu's Tomb (45-50 minutes) Humanyu's tomb, the first imposing example of Mughal architecture in India was built by his widow, Haji Begum in 1565.It is again a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed by a Persian architect Mirza Ghiyas this structure is built in red sandstone amidst a large square garden. It is ornamented with colored tiles and is surmounted by a magnificent dome. Besides the grave of Humanyu, there are also graves of some other members of the royal family. This building is especially significant as it heralded the construction of garden tombs in India and is said to have inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal. INR 250 (Free for children upto the age of 15yrs.) No close days Sunrise to sunset
Qutub Minar (35-40 minutes) Reached by a flight of 399 steps, this 72.5m tall stone tower is Delhi's recognized landmark. In 1193 Qutub-ud-din Aibak commenced the construction. But he could build only the basement before his death. His successor Iltutmish erected 3 more stories, the last one was added by Firoz Shah Tughlaq.The development of architectural style is quite evident. It is mainly constructed in red sandstone but in top story marble is also used. Each successive story diminishes in size from base to top and is provided with a projecting balcony. Some say it was build to signify the might of Islam while others are of the opinion that it was to make a call for prayer. In this complex you can also see Quwwat-ul-islam mosque (India's 1st mosque) and a 4th century, 7m high enigmatic Iron pillar. To our surprise the pillar has not rusted as yet and speaks volumes about India's advancement in the field of metallurgy. The Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque is made out of the material of the 27 Hindu temples which Aibak destructed at this site. The carvings on the pillar depicting Hindu motifs also corroborate this fact. INR 250 No close days Sunrise to sunset
India Gate (15-20 minutes) On Rajpath stands the 'India Gate' a 42m high enormous arch built in the memory of martyrs of 1st World War. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect of New Delhi this memorial bears the name of thousands of soldiers. The Amar Jawan Jyoti (the eternal flame was added to it later to commemorate the Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the Indo-Pak war of 1971. At night the floodlights and colorful fountains around it make a worth watching scene attracting hoards of visitors. No entrance fee No close days Can be visited at any time.

Bahai Temple (20 -25 minutes)

 

 


>> Religions Of India

This is an ultimate place to meditate in a tranquil environment amidst the bustling city of Delhi. The temple is an all embracing one as it is based on the idea of one universal civilization. It is the brainchild of Fariborz Sahba, a Canadian architect who worked 10 long years on this project. This is one of the 7 Bahai temples of the world which though share some basic design features but still manage to secure a distinct identity.

Built in 1986 the architecture of this temple is especially noteworthy. It is in the shape of a half open lotus flower. Number 9 seems to be an auspicious one. You will find 3 ranks each of 9 petals (the lowest rank forming canopies of 9 entrances), and then there are 9 pools around the building which give a feel of green leaves of lotus flower. Just a glance at the building would be enough for you to recognize the complexity in design and also to sincerely appreciate the efforts required in raising such a marvel.

The huge crowd that it pulls everyday gives evidence of its popularity.

No entrance fee Monday 1 April - 30 September 9:30am - 7:00 pm 1 October- 31 March 9:30 am - 5:30pm
Rajghat (15-20 minutes) The mortal remains of our 'Father of nation', Mahatama Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the west bank of the river Yamuna. Amidst a verdant garden in a serene ambience lies a black granite platform inscribed with the words he uttered last i.e. 'Hey Ram'. All visiting 'Heads of States' positively visit this place to lay wreath in memory of the Mahatama.The leaders of the nation gather here for prayer meeting on every birth and death anniversary of Gandhiji. Prayer meetings are held here every Friday, the day Gandhiji was shot dead. No entrance fee No close days  
Birla Temple ( Laxmi Narayan temple) (25 -30 minutes) Built in 1938 by the industrialist BD Birla, this was one of the earliest Indian temples without caste restrictions. For this reason its first puja was attended by Mahatama Gandhi who was the biggest opponent of caste system in India. The sanctum Santorum of the temple houses the idols of Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Laxmi.It is basically built in Nagar style of architecture interspersed with modern influences. The temple abounds with frescos depicting scenes from Hindu mythology and figures of Indian heroes like Shivaji, King Ashok and Chandragupta Maurya etc. In its complex is planned an artificial landscape with mountains and cascading waterfall. No entrance fee No close days 4:30 am - 9 pm
Rashtrapati Bhawan & The Mughal gardens The residence of the President of the largest democracy, India, the Rashtrapati Bhawan is a perfect building to match the stature of its resident. It is rightly called 'an empire in stone.' This is a big mansion with 340 rooms and 4 floors built predominantly in Indian style of architecture but with shades of fusion clearly visible. The most striking feature is its dome which is said to resemble the great Sanchi stupa. Designed by Edwin Lutyens to be the residence of the Viceroy of India this complex was stipulated to be completed in 4yrs but it took 17yrs. and an enormous expenditure of Rs. 14 million.

Inside the Rashtrapati Bhawan complex are the magnificent Mughal Gardens. Made in 3 levels, the terraced garden is spread in an area of 100 hectares. They seem to be highly influenced by Persian and Timurid gardens. The 16 tier lotus leaves flower fountain and the island of green are eye catching. A visit to the beautiful butterfly garden would make you feel heaven. But , if you wish to have a sight of all this you need to plan your trip in Feb-March since this is the only period of the year when the garden opens for the general public to flaunt the wealth of its flowers. The entry and exit into the gardens is regulated from Gate No. 35 of the President's Estate, which is located near the North Avenue, at the western end of the Church Road.

The garden is only open to the public in February and early March

Entry is free but photography is prohibited.

 Mondays

The gardens may remain closed on other days also in case of a function in the Mughal gardens or during the visit of a VVIP during the said period.

 9:30 am till 2:30 pm
Jantar Mantar (30 -35 minutes) The Jantar Mantar at Delhi's Connaught place is one of the 5 astronomical observatories laid by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur.He raised this unique structure to keep a track of the celestial bodies so that he could perform the pujas and sacred rituals at the most auspicious moments so as to ward off the evils. The instruments are large and fixed making them resistant to vibrations and thus in turn to the errors also. The 'Samrat Yantra', a right angled triangle whose hypotenuse is parallel to earth's axis was used as sundial, the 'Ram yantra' to read the altitude of the sun and the 'Jai Prakash Yantra' (invented by Jai Singh himself) verifies time of spring equinox. Although the observatory is now obsolete but still hoards of visitors flock to this place. INR 100 No close days Sunrise to sunset Preferred Timings: Morning and Evening, when shadows can be seen on the astronomical instruments
Akshardham Temple (3 -3.5 hrs)

>> Religions Of India

The Akshardham Temple Complex in Delhi is the recent addition made to the tourist attraction list of Delhi. It is built on the lines of the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar (Gujarat).

It has been constructed under the patronage of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and was inaugurated on November 7, 2005. The temple complex 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 verdant lawns. The main monument is about 141-ft high and houses a striking statue of Lord Swaminarayan. The temple represents a wonderful fusion of pink stone and pure white marble. The pink stone symbolises Bhakti (Devotion) while the white marble stands for absolute purity and eternal peace. A whopping 2 billion was spent on the construction of this grand place of worship that took about 2 years to build.

An IMAX theatre, a Swaminarayan temple and an elaborate musical fountain accessorize the massive Akshardham temple. Sahajanad Pradarshan (Hall no.1) presents scenes from Swaminarayan's life. The Nilkanth Kalyan Yatra (Hall no. 2) has Delhi's first and large format screen. The Sanskruti Vihar (Hall no. 3) takes you long back in time- a journey through 10,000 years of Indian history in 10 minutes alone.The Yagnapurush kund(fountain and light show) is India's largest step well. The Yogi Harday Kamal is lotus shaped sunken garden. Huge stones engraved with quotes from personalities like Shakespeare can be seen here.

No entrance fee.

Tickets for the movie running there costs INR 125

Monday 9am-9pm

Museums (1-1.5 hrs.)

The Crafts Museum: Designed with a view to give you a feel of Indian Village, this museum offers you an opportunity to lay hands on India's multifarious crafts. The best part is that here the artisans sell directly to the buyers. 

No entrance fee(Guided tour for museum      on prior request at INR 100)


Monday (shops and exhibition) 1 July-30 September (Village complex)

10 am to 5 pm


(2-2.5 hrs.)

National Museum: With a collection of over 2, 00,000 chronologically placed artifacts both Indian and foreign, this museum exhibits a span of over 5000yrs. It is advisable to visit the museum according to one's personal taste else you may spend really long hours and yet not be able to explore it completely. The museum has a library and an auditorium also where film shows and lectures are regularly held. Audio tours are available in French, German, Japanese, and English & Hindi.

Entrance INR 300(inclusive of audio tour charge) Camera INR 300

 


Monday


10 am to 5 pm


(50-60 minutes)

The National Rail Museum: It is a must see for the rail buffs. It provides an insight into the development of Indian Railways which has many unique features to its credit. It is the pride owner of India's very first train which made its first journey from Mumbai to Thane (1853); the oldest locomotive of the world; the saloons of Prince of Wales, Maharaja of Mysore and Baroda.To enter them one has to buy a ticket. The toy train ride for children makes it a place of interest for children.

Entrance INR 10 (extra charges for train rides)

 


Monday


October-March 9:30 am to 5:30pm & April-September 9:30 am-7:30 pm


(50-60 minutes)

International Dolls Museum: Set up by the renowned political cartoonist, K. Shankar Pillai (1902-1989), Shankar's International Dolls Museum has one of the largest collections of costume dolls (about 6500) anywhere in the world. One third of the dolls are from India. Each doll is meticulously handcrafted after serious research. Dolls in different modes will give you a fine idea about the culture and tradition of the country to which they belong. The Museum's collection of costume dolls was inspired by a gift of a single doll, which Shankar received from the Hungarian Ambassador in the early fifties, to be given away as a prize in the Shankar's International Children's Competition. Shankar fell in love with the doll. With the permission of the Ambassador, he kept the doll for himself. This Hungarian doll drove Shankar so crazy that, thereafter, he began collecting costume dolls whenever he went abroad.

INR 10

 


Monday


10 am - 5:30 pm



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Delhi Shopping

Shopping in Delhi remains high on the priority list of any tourist visiting this historic city. As far as things to shop in Delhi are concerned -'you name it and Delhi has it'. You can practically find anything from any of the States of India. So shop till you drop. Also without going to these lanes and by lanes your experience of Delhi would remain incomplete.

Chandni Chowk, the mother of all markets in Delhi is best explored on cycle rickshaw. Wide variety of things at really low prices is available here. Added attractions are the old and famous eating joints selling Indian chats.

The circular shopping arcade of Connaught Place (CP) which was established so that the British could shop in style can be a good place to take a stroll. The underground Palika Bazaar nearby overflows with tourists. Smart casual wears can be bought from Janpath, Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar. But bargain is the order of the day here. On Baba Kharak Singh Marg there are Emporiums to offer you best of the Indian handicrafts.

Another not to be missed shopping hub is Delhi Haat food and crafts bazaar. The famous sweet shop of Ghantewala (specialty - sohan halwa) can water the mouth of anyone.

Sundernagar Market specializes in antiques and brassware.
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Getting there

AirRailRoad
All major international airlines of the world operate services to Delhi connecting it virtually to all parts of the world. On domestic network also it is one of the 2 major hubs of the country. The domestic terminal of Indira Gandhi airport is 12 km from city centre while international terminal is still 8 km further. It is conveniently connected to all metros and most of the important tourist destinations of the country. There are two main stations - one in Old Delhi and other in New Delhi at Paharganj. Then there is Nizamuddin train station also where some of the trains start or finish. It is well connected with road to many major cities. It is 200 km north west from Agra, 399 km north east from Ajmer, 261 km north east from Jaipur.
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Delhi Festivals

Name of festival Dates / MonthsFestival details with link for more information
Suraj Kund handicraft mela FebruaryAt a distance of just 8 km from South Delhi, the Suraj Kund district of Harayana hosts the biggest crafts fair of India. The idea is to give a wide platform to the talented lots of our country where they can display their best and come in direct contact of the buyers. It also aims at giving a feel of rustic India to the visitors. The amphitheatre comes alive with vivid performances by folk artists.

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Qutub FestivalNovember or DecemberAgainst the backdrop of the illuminated Qutub Minar, various cultural events are held, where the veterans of Indian classical and folk music give spectacular performances. This 3 days event is a sincere effort to revive the magnificence and splendor of the Qutub Minar. Watch the performances and savour the delectable cuisine from different Indian States that is available on the food stalls in the premises.
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Delhi Climate chart (mean temperature and rainfall)

Month Max. Temp (oC)Min Temp(oC)Rainfall in mm
January 21.17.320.3
February 24.210.115.0
March 30.015.415.8
April 36.221.56.7
May 39.625.917.5
June39.328.354.9
July35.126.6231.5
August 33.325.9258.7
September 33.924.4127.8
October 32.919.536.3
November 28.312.85.0
December23.08.27.8
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