Exploring the City of Djinns is as exciting as it can get. There are plenty of interesting places to visit in Delhi. Whatever be your interests, the capital city is literally bursting with a plethora of tourist attractions. We continue with our sojourn in the second part.
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Modelled on Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, this British-era archway is synonymous with Delhi. Anchoring a traffic circle near the far end of Rajpath from the Indian government, this massive sandstone arch was designed by Lutyens in 1931, in memory of the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who fell in World War I and the Third Afghan War of the late 19th century. In the 1970s the government of India added a memorial to India’s unknown soldier, the Amar Jawan Jyoti, beneath the arch.
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Situated at the western end of Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk road, Fatehpuri Masjid provides both an insight into modern day Islamic life in the city and a tranquil refuge from the busy streets. Built in 1650 by Fatehpuri Begum, the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the mosque is constructed from red sandstone and is beautifully decorated with small domes and minarets. There are three gates, one facing towards the royal residence, the Red Fort, which was being built at around the same time.
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Designed by Iranian-Canadian architect FariburzSahba in 1986, Delhi’s Bahai temple is a wonderful place to enjoy silence – a rare experience in Delhi. Styled after a lotus flower, with 27 immaculate white-marble petals, the temple was created to bring faiths together; visitors are invited to pray or meditate silently according to their own beliefs. The attached visitor centre tells the story of the Bahai faith.
Adherents of any faith can visit this temple and meditate here. Around the blooming petals, there are nine pools of water, which light up in natural light. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is flood lit.
A large Hindu temple and a spiritual cultural campus, the Akshardham Temple is one of the prominent places to visit in Delhi. Completed within just five years with 110000 artisans, the grandeur of the structure is a sight to behold. Akshardham attracts 70% of all tourists who visit Delhi (not surprising at all!). Once you enter, I bet you wouldn’t want to leave. It has jaw-dropping architecture, a fascinating fountain show, an informative boat ride, a huge garden, a food court that offers scrumptious dishes and much more.
The Parliament House
Originally called the House of Parliament, it was designed by the British architect Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in 1912-1913 and construction began in 1921. The opening ceremony of the Parliament House, then called the Central Legislative Assembly, was performed on 18 January 1927 by Lord Irwin, the then Viceroy of India. The third session of Central Legislative Assembly was held in this house on 19 January 1927. The Parliament Museum, opened in 2006, stands next to the Parliament House.
Raj Ghat and Associated Memorials
Serving as the final resting ground for many of India’s greatest heroes, Delhi is also home to Raj Ghat. The black marble platform marking the spot where Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, was cremated after his assassination in 1948 still shakes up feelings of patriotism and gratitude in every Indian’s heart. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. It is located on the banks of the river Yamuna. Several other samadhis or cremation spots of other famous leaders can be found in the vicinity of Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna. These include that of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and a few more.
This peaceful park is Delhi’s favourite escape, popular with everyone from power-walking politicians to amorous teens. The gardens are dotted with the crumbling tombs of Sayyid and Lodi rulers, including the impressive 15th-century Bara Gumbad tomb and mosque, and the strikingly different tombs of Mohammed Shah and Sikander Lodi . There’s a lake crossed by the Athpula (eight-piered) bridge, which dates from Emperor Akbar’s reign.
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Located in Connaught Place in the heart of Delhi, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the most significant places of worship for Sikhs living in the city. Sikhs from all across the globe visit this gurudwara in large numbers to offer their prayers to the eighth guru, known as Guru Har Krishan. The gurdwara stands on the site where Guru Hari Krishan, the eighth of 10 Sikh gurus who lived between 1469 and 1708, performed a small miracle. Before entering, remove your shoes and socks (check them at the counter on the left), get rid of cigarettes, and cover your head with a piece of cloth.
Hymns from the holy book are sung continuously; you are free to sit and listen to it. Do remember to have the Prasad/sooji halwa that is offered.
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