Delhi the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient (Old Delhi) and the modern (New Delhi). Situated along the Gangetic Plain, with an area of 1483 sq. km. and at an altitude of 239 m above sea level, Delhi is the third largest city of India.
Old Delhi is entwined among the labyrinth of streets that pass through formidable forts, monuments and mosques that are littered with colorful bazaars catering to all the possible whims of any class of people at throw away prices; all this amidst a chaotic atmosphere which is worth enjoying.
On the other side, New Delhi is highly imperial as it displays finely curved architecture of British Raj that leaves behind a charm that mesmerizes one and all sundry. New Delhi also boasts of performing art centres such as those around Bhagwan Das Road and Mandi house. The languages chiefly spoken here are Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English.
Climate: The best time to visit Delhi is from October to March. The temperature in Delhi varies in the range of 04 – 46 C in the course of the entire year. The nights of Delhi are very cold and the days sunny and sometimes accompanied by foggy conditions.
By Road: Being the national capital, Delhi is well connected to the whole of India through many national highways. The inter state buses regularly ply from Delhi to the neighboring towns and cities. The inter state bus terminals in Delhi are ISBT at Old Delhi, Sarai Kale Kha and Anand Vihar Bus Terminals.
By Rail: The city has main railway junctions In Old Delhi as well as New Delhi.
By Air: Delhi has two airports. The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI Airport) as well as the domestic Palam airport.
What to see in Delhi:
- Jama Masjid: It is one of the biggest mosques in India. Built by emperor Shah Jahan, this mosque is an architectural delight. It has 4 angle towers, 3 gateways and 2 minarets from where bird’s eye view of Delhi can be got as well.
- Red Fort: This is a sprawling fort made of red sand stones situated along the bank of River Yamuna. Surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 km this fort was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan when he transferred his capital to Delhi. Delhi Gate and Lahori Gate are the two entrances to this fort. Diwan-e-Aam, and Diwan-e-Khas situated in the fort were the places where the king would interact with the public and important people respectively. The fort also had Rang Mahal, a water cooled apartment for royal ladies.
- Qutab Minar: It is a 73 m-high tower of victory, built by Qutab-ud-din Aibak to commemorate his victory in war when he entered India. This tower has 5 distinct storeys, of which the first three storeys are of red sandstone and the fourth and fifth of sandstone and marble. There is also a mosque called Quwwat-ul-Islam at the base of this tower. In the compound of this mosque is a 7 m-high iron pillar whereby it is said that if you can encircle it with your hands as your back faces it fulfills all your dreams.
- India Gate: This is a 42 m high “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway built at Rajpath to commemorate the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died fighting for the British Army during the WW I. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti added later when India got independence has an eternal flame that burns day and night to remind the nation of soldiers who died fighting in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.
- Parliament House: It is a domed circular central hall which houses semi circular buildings where the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha regularly convene their meetings. This is the house to the ministerial offices and committee rooms of the largest democracy in the world.
- Nizam-ud-Din Shrine: This is the tomb of the Sufi saint Nizam-ud-Din Auliya and is a major tourist attraction. Inside the premises of this shrine are other tombs such as those of Amir Khusroo, princess Jahanara, (the daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan) etc which are centered around a tank. Sunsets on Thursdays is the most apt time for visit as then one can also hear Qawwali singers performing after evening prayers.
- Bahai Temple: Set amidst pools and gardens, the Bahai temple is lotus shaped in structure, due to which it is also known as the Lotus temple. This temple is open to people of any religion and sects who can pray and meditate here according to their own beliefs. Spectacular view can be seen at dusk when the temple is lit with flood lights.
- ISKCON Temple: This temple of Lord Krishna was built by the Hare Rama Hare Krishna cult followers. This complex is elegantly built on a hillock and is one of the largest temple complexes in India.
- Laxmi Narain Temple: Located in the west of Connaught Palace, this temple dedicated to Goddess Laxmi is one of Delhi’s major temples and is also a big crowd puller. Popularly known as the Birla Mandir this temple also has well crafted gardens which provide serenity to the eyes.
- Akshardham Temple: Built along the lines of the famed Akshardham temple of Ahmedabad, this temple spread over 30 acres is a marvel in pink sandstone and white marble. Dedicated to Lord Swami Narayan this temple has over 20,000 sculptures and statues of deities, The whole Akshardham monument rises on the shoulders of 148 huge elephant structures that has an 11-feet tall panchdhatu statue of Swaminarayan presiding over the structure. In the premises is an I-Max theatre that screens a movie based on the life of the Lord Swami Narayan. One more presentation worth visiting is the “Sanskruti Vihar” with a 12-minute boat ride that takes you through the heritage of India.
- Azad Hind Gram: Dedicated to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose this tourist complex within the 2 kms of the Delhi Haryana border on NH-10 has been inspired by North Indian architecture and craftsmanship.
- Delhi Haat: Providing the ambience of a village market also known as Haat, the Delhi Haat complete with flowering shrubs and trees has close to 200 craft stalls that sell ethnic stuff from all over the country. The Delhi Haat is a project set up by the Delhi tourism department. Located in South Delhi opposite the INA market and spread over an area of 6 acres of land, this haat is a treasure house of not just Indian culture and handicrafts but also of the inimitable flavours from all over the country which are stocked in the 25 food stalls located here. In short it is an exemplary place to hang out for an entire evening.
- Humayun Tomb: This garden tomb of Emperor Humayun was built in 1565 A.D. by his widow Bega Begum 9 years after his death. It is located at the crossing of Lodhi road and Mahura road, this tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India and its most notable feature is the garden squares and proportionate mausoleum with a double dome. It also houses domes of other Mughal rulers.
- Jantar Mantar: Constructed in 1724 by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur this observatory of ancient times was used for exactly performing many astronomical calculations.
- Garden of five senses: Developed by Delhi Tourism Transportation Development Corporation, this 20 acre site located at Said Ul Azaib is a public leisure space.
- Delhi Metro Rail: Another added attraction of Delhi.
- Lodi Tomb: It houses octagonal tombs of Siakndar Lodhi and Muhammad Shah. It also has Shish and Bara Gumbad which are square tombs with an imposing dome.