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Delhi Sightseeing

One Day Tour
If you wish to see the capital in a day's time, then start the day by a visit to the Red Fort buitl by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648. Next visit the biggest mosque in India, the Jama Masjid, which was also built by Shah Jahan in 1650.
After your fill of "Old Delhi", back to New Delhi. On the way back visit Raj Ghat, the memorial built for Mahatma Gandhi who was assassinated by a fanatic on 30th January 1948. Drive around India Gate, the All India War Memorial built after the 1st World War in memory of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the war. Take photo stops at the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the Presidential house), the two blocks of the Secreatariat, and a drive through Parliament House and Connaught Place, the circular market designed by the British to connecr Old Delhi with New Delhi. Visit Gandhi Smriti, the old Birla House, where Gandhiji was shot dead as he was coming out for his usual evening prayer on 30th January 1948. It has been turned into a museum where Gandhiji's meager belongings are kept on display.

Post lunch visit the World Heritage site Humayun's Tomb, which was built by Humayun's widow Hamida Banu, in the memory of her husband and after nine years of his death. it is also believed that this site was an inspiration for the famous Taj Mahal.
From here drive on to the highest Minar (tower) in Delhi known as Qutub Minar. This Minar was built to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over the Rajputs in 1192 A.D., by his viceroy Qutub-ud-din Aibak

Two Day Tour
Options for a second day in Delhi : Start the day from India Gate and the various museums around it. Visit the national Gallery of Modern Art, with its fine collections of paintings and artifacts. Teen Murti Bhawan which was the official residence of the first Prime Minister of Independent India Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. This too has been turned into a museum. You have the option of visiting the Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum or National Museum in the vicinity, which has vast series of collections. The Crafts Museum with its fantastic collection of arts and crafts from all over the country, is worth a visit at Pragati Maidan.
One has a choice of visiting various temples around Delhi, the Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, latest addition to the architectural marvels of India, and the famous Laxminarayan Temple also known as Birla Mandir which is one of the oldest temples of Delhi.
For those interested in shopping, a walk around Janpath could get you a good bargain, or a visit the Delhi Haat, where the craftsmen bring their goods directly to be sold to the consumer, from different states of India.

Visitors Guide

Climate
Temperatures in the summer months can touch 45 degrees Celsius with May and June being the hottest months. Rains are spread over a month from early July and humidity levels at this time can cause uneasiness. The winter months October - end to February - end are cold and dry and the minimum temperatures can go as low as 3 degrees Celsius in late December and January. Heavy woolens are ideal during this time. Languages spoken English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu are most commonly spoken.

Dressing
Wear loose, modest and smart clothes.

Smoking
Smoking is banned in public places, public transport and government offices, inside cinema halls and theatres located in the state of Delhi, Most hotels and restaurants have separated smoking zones.

Photography
Photography is not permitted at the airport, military installations, places of worship and other places where such notices are put up.

Buying Liquor
Delhi observes dry days on national and even some local holidays and there are a large number of liquor outlets run by the Delhi Government agencies and also private owners. All big hotels serve liquor and so do several restaurants and pubs. Dry days are not applicable to hotels and restaurants.

Food
Delhi is a foodies paradise. Aside from Indian, major international cuisines are available in hotels and restaurants. Most of the Hotels also serve Continental food. bars close at 2300 hrs. Though most restaurants stay open till midnight, most of the five star hotels have 24 hrs. coffee shop.

Water and Electricity
Water is a problem in summer, though it is not the case in winter. It is advisable to purchase mineral water available. Electricity is on the 220 volts supply and power shutdowns in the peak of summer are very common.

Banking Hours
Most banks are open from 10 to 2 pm. Monday to Friday and up to 12 noon on Saturdays. Some banks are open from 8 am. to 8 Pm. Some branches of banks are also open on Sundays and many others have the ATM facilities around the city. There are several foreign banks located mostly in and around Connaught Place like American Express, Bank of America. Hong Kong Bank, Bank of Tokyo.

Taxis
Taxis are on call 24 hrs. over the telephone and the local ones are usually black and yellow with electronic meters. Those which do not have such meters carry a fare chart. (Luggage and Night Charges 25% extra from 11 p.m. - 5 a.m.). Radio taxis are also available on a fixed kilometer rate basis. To name a few: Easy Cabs - 43434343, Delhi Cabs - 44333222

Autorickshaws
Autorickshaws are cheaper and more convenient than taxis. They have electronic meters which show tariff as well as distance. Rs.10 is charged for the first km and Rs. 4.50 for every subsequent km. Night charges 20% extra 11 pm - 5 a.m. In case of excessive charging or misbehaviour by auto/ taxi drivers dial the 24 hour helpline number 2337888 or sms 2222 or write to Transport Department GNCTD, 5/9, Underhill Road, Delhi.

Public Transport
Delhi Transport Corporation runs a large fleet of buses operating in the entire city. Peak time hours are from 7 am to 10 pm One can find night service buses from railway station. Delhi metro Rail is functional from three points: Dilshad Garden - Tis Hazari - Rithala line, Vishwa Vidalaya - Kashmere Gate - Central Secreatariat line - Yamuna Line and Indraprastha - Barakhamba Road - Dwarka route.

Rent A Car
Several Private operators in the city offer this facility. (For details of the operators refer to the travel section in classified listings.) Tourist Office/Guides English speaking guides approved by the Tourism Department are available at all important tourist spots. The Tourist Office of the government located at 88, Janpath, Connaught Place (Ph: 23412336) also helps in arranging guides.

History of Delhi
Edwin Lutyens, the world famous architect, would have never set his mind on designing New Delhi and the famed Connaught Place shopping centre in the heart of India's capital, had it not been for the glorious past that it could boast of Lutyen called his creation as the “Room of Hindoostan”. Lutyen perhaps could have drawn inspiration from the Persian inscription on the ceiling of the Diwan-E-Khas (Hall of Nobles) at the glorious Red Fort which says ‘If there be a paradise on Earth; it is this, oh it is this’.- Firdaus
As much as it can boast of its chequered present, Delhi has an equally if not better past. The ancient history of Delhi manifested in the landmarks and memorials still stands testimony to the present history. The times when the epic Mahabarata was written refers to Delhi as Indraprastha and was supposed to have been founded by the Pandavas in as early as 1450 B.C. whose remains of the Old Fort (Purana Qila).
The first city, Lal Kot was supposed to have been built by a Hindu king, Anangpal in the 11 century A.D. The other six cities each having its own characteristics were Siri, Tughlakabad, Jahapanah, Ferozshah Kotla, Lodi Tombs and Purana Qila. Modern Delhi has something for everyone, that is reflected in the cosmopolitan culture that nurtures festivals of all faiths, religions and places of worship. You can take a stroll at your own pace, or a jog or a run. This also reflected in the market palces, the dhabas and restaurants or the gorgeous five star hotels. Theatre, drama and entertainment of all sorts including the best of discotheques are all there.

Tourist Spots

India Gate
The 42 metre high, free standing arch, popularly known as India Gate, was designed by Lutyens and built in 1931. It was originally called all India War memorial in memory of the 90,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died in World War I. The names of the soldiers are inscribed all along the walls of the arch. In 1071, an eternal flame was Lit
 

Purana Qila (Old Fort)
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset. Tickets : Indian Rs. 5/- Foreigner Rs. 110/-, Children Below 15 free. Camera : Still – Free, Videos – 25 Rs.
The ruins of this fort are located on a small hill which once stood on the banks of the river Yamuna. Legend has it that the fort marked the site of Indraprastha, the magnificent capital of the Pandavas, though the construction was carried out by Sher Shah Suri some time between 1538 to 1545 A.D.
The structure houses a mosque which has a double storeyed octagonal tower. It is said that the Mughal king Humayun fell from the tower and died. At the foot of the hill is a lake where the Delhi Tourism has arrangements for boating and also organizes a sound and light show.

Jantar Mantar
Timing : Sunrise to Sunset Tickets : Indian Rs. 5/- Foreigner Rs. 100/-, Camera: - Free, Video – Rs. 25.
Within Connaught Place is the Jantar Mantar observatory built by the Rajput King of Jaipur, Sawai Jai Singh in 1724. It wasbelieved to have been built with massonary instruments for observing the movements of the stars and the Planets.

Humayuns’s Tomb
Timings : Sunrise to Sunset. Tickets : Indian Rs. 10/- Foreigner Rs. 250/-, Children Below 15 Free. Camera : Still – Free, Videos – Rs. 25/-.
Taj Mahal is known to have been inspiried by Humayun’s Tomb, and in many ways this magnificent red and white building is as spectacular as the famous ‘monuments to love’ at Agra. Humayun’s Tomb is a memorial by a grieving wife-it was built by his widow Haji Begum in 1565-66, nine years after his death. She is said to have spent one and half million rupees on the building. The splendour of this grand monument becomes overpowering on entering through the lofty doubles storeyed gateway. It is set in the centre of a large square garden enclosed by high walls on three sides, while the river would have been the forth boundary. The chahar bagh is divided into four parts by wide causeways and water channels, and each square divided into smaller squares by pathways as in a typical Mughal garden. The fountains were worked with simple yet highly developed engineering skills quite common in India during that period.

Parliament House
(Special Permission is required for entry).
A Marvellous piece of architecture which can be admired only from outside on account of security restriction. Close to Rashtrapati Bhawan, it is a domed about circlualr structure almost a kilometer in circumference, and was designed by the famed architect Lutyens. It is the seat of the Indian Parliament.

Safdarjang’s Tomb
Timings : Sunrise to Sunset. Tickets : Indian Rs. 5/-, Foreigner Rs. 100/-, Children Below 15 free, Camera: Still – Free, Video – Rs. 25.
It is the last enclosed garden tomb in Delhi in the tradition of Humayun’s Tomb, though it is far less grand in scale. It was built in 1753-54 as the mausoleum of Safdarjung, the viceroy of Awadh under the Mughal Emperor, Mohammed Shah. It has several smaller pavilions with evocative names like Jangli Mahal (Palace in the woods), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) and Badshah Pasand (King’s Favourite).

Rashtrapti Bhavan
Close to public. A stone’s throw away from Parliament House is the Rashtrapati Bhavan which is the official residence of the President of the country. Designed by Lutyens, it was the official residence of the Viceroy when the British Ruled India. With 340 rooms and an area of about 330 acres. The pillars and the porticos are an architect’s marvel. Special permission has to be obtained to visit the complex. The Mughal Gardens within the complex are a treat for the eyes and are open to public during certain periods of the year.

Chandni Chowk
It was the eyes and ears of the Mughal’s commercial instincts and is today one of the country’s best known wholesale markets for textiles, electronic goods and watches. The entire area was designed by Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan’s favourite daughter and was then inhabited by the well to do families of the time. Around the area is the famed paranthawale gali, known for its delicious parathas, Dariba Kalan, the gold market and well known chaat and sweetmeats shops.

Birla Mandir
Close to Connaught Place it was built by the industrialist Raja Baldev Birla in 1938. The temple is an important prayer site and contains idols of several deities. Interestingly, Mahatama Gandhi, who inaugurated the temple, was also a regular visitor to it and would often pray there.

 

Jama Masjid
Is the country’s largest mosque where thousands of Muslims offer prayers even today. It was built in 1656. it lies opposite the Red Fort. The flight of stairs and its large courtyard are marvels of architecture. Besides this, there is a variety of the choicest non-vegetarian around the complex.

National Zoological Park
The Delhi Zoo, close to Purana Qila, Near ITO, was established in 1959 and is spread over an area of 214 acres. It is regarded as one of the finest zoos in Asia and efforts have been made to provide an almost natural habitat to the animals and birds. There are more than 2000 animals and birds species from places like Africa, America, Australia and even Asia. There is a lot of greenery in the zoo and it is an ideal picnic spot especially in winter.

Dilli Haat
The Dilli Haat, located opposite the INA Market, is a project jointly set up by the New Delhi Municipal Council and delhi Tourism. One of the primary objectives of setting this complex was to provide marketing facilities to rural artisans. All kinds of goods made by such artisans are displayed at regular intervals during the year. Aside from this, there are permanent shops reflecting different king of goods made in various states of the country. It is also a place to spend some time while admiring the great array of handicrafts, jewellery, garments and artifacts representing the workmanship of almost all parts of the country. Those interested in folk arts could find this spot a real entertainer. Timing: 10.30 a.m. to 11 p.m. entry fees: Rs. 15/- Per person.

Red Fort
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset. Monday Closed. Tickets: Indian Rs. 5/- Foreigner Rs. 100/- Camera: Still – Free, Video – Rs. 25.
Another marvel of architecture is the Red Fort of Lal Qila (Lal Means red and Qila Means fort). It is laid out along the river Yamuna as an irregular octagon, surrounded by a wall of about 2.4 kilometres in circumference and is built of red sandstone.
The Mughal king Shah Jahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and the fort was completed in 1648. The fort has two main entrances, the Delhi Gate and the Lalhori Gate which faces the famed Chandni Chowk market. Shah Jahan, incidentally was also the king who built the Taj Mahal of Agra. The fort has the Diwan-e-am, where the king would grant audience to the public and the Diwan-e-Khas (Khas means Special) where the king would grant audience to important people. Besides this, is the Rang mahal, the water colled apartment for the royal ladies. In the basement of the fort is a market where several traditional Indian goods can be purchased at nominal rates. Another attraction is the Light and Sound Show held in the evenings.

Bahai’s Temples (Lotus Temple)
Is a very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith and is visible from several spots in south Delhi. Located in Kalkaji in the south of Delhi, it is lotus shaped and has rightly been given the name. It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand.

 

Qutub Minar
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset. Tickets Indian Rs. 10 (Foreigner Rs. 250. Children below 15 free. After Sunset 7.15 to 8.30 p.m. Ticket 20. Camera: Still – Free, Video – Rs. 25 This magnificent structure in the southern part of the capital was built by the Muslim King, Qutab-ud-din Aibak in 1199 A.D. A part of it which he could not finish was completed by another Muslim king, Iltutmish. Minar (Tower) is 72.5 metres high and has as its base a mosque. In front of the imposing structure is an iron pillar believed to have been built in the 5th century A.D. which has not caught rust ever since it was built. Tourists are not permited to climb the tower. According to belief if one can get ones fingers to touch, with ones back to the pillar, any wish will be granted.

National Rail Museum
Set amidst a sprawling park, this museum is necessary not just for train buffs but informative indoor museum displays a range of interesting objects, but the main attractions are the old stream engines parked outside.
The line-up of old coaches includes the handsome Prince of Wales Saloon built in 1975 for the visit to India of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII for the Royal Durbar of 1876. Outside is the Maharaja of Mysore’s saloon built in 1899 with its brocade covered chairs and an elegant rosewood bed. Another royal coach is the Maharaja of Baroda’s saloon built in 1886. a star attraction is the Fairy Queen, born in 1855, the best preserved steam locomotive engines of her age. Children can take a ride on the toy train. It goes around the museum yard at a surprisingly high speed and does not allow close inspection of the various engines and carriages. On your way out don not miss the handsome Fire Engine displayed on left built in 1914 by John Morris and Sons, UK, for the Nizam of Hyderbad.

Sri Sri Radha Parthasarthi Mandir
It stands at Hari Krishna Hill, sant Nagar Main road, east of Kailash. The magnificent temple has sikharas at a height of 90 feet above the ground level. The hall of the temple is centrally air-cooled with a capacity to accommodate about 1500 people. There are beautiful paintings of Russian artists on the different past times of Radha Krishan, Sita, Ram, Laxman, Hanuman and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The temple remains open from 4.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then in the evening from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. special programmes like kirtan, aarti, pravachan.

Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum
The Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum at Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti on 5, Tees January Marg, showcases the life of Gandhiji, his emphasis on truth and non-violence and other values and his capacity for tolerance through digital multimedia.
Located at the site where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, the multimedia show gives glimpses of his life right from his birth to his death and the various historical events that came by in his life as also his contribution to the country attaining Independence.
The museum, through the help of multimedia shows various newspaper clipping, the Dandi March and salt satyagraha and even a courtroom hearing from Richard Attemborough’s film, Gandhi. There is a religious pot which shows how Gandhi believed in tolerance and respect of every religion. A salt corridor, satya ahimsa ashram whose floor and walls are made of gobar.

Akshardham Temple
The imposing Akshardham Temple and cultural complex, is a magnificent work of architecture which used 12000 tonnes of sandstone and white marble. Spread over 100 acres on the eastern banks of the Yamuna river, no steel has been used in the structure which cost a whopping Rs. 200 crores and was built in five years. It was the effort of over 11000 craftsmen and 300 million man hours, the main monument 141 feet high, 316 feet broad and 370 feet long, has 239 ornately carved pillare and nine domes. It has an 11-foot high gold plated idol of Swaminarayan. There are also idols of Lakshmi-Narayan. Shiv-Varvati, Radha-Krishna and Sita-Ram. There are also over 20000 idols of disciples carved on the inside and outside walls. The campus also has Disneyland kind of 12 minute boat ride to make visitors sail through the vast magnitude of Indian culture, models of Ajanta and Ellora caves and thematic setting of Inda’s glorious have been brought to life through dummy depiction. No briefcase, carry bags or any electronic items like cameras and even cellphones and allwed and have to be eposited in cloak rooms.

 

  

 

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