Delhi, the seat of administrative power in India, is the country’s capital. Old ‘Dilli’ is not one, but seven cities, gifted by Hindu and Muslim rulers. Several dynasties rose and fell, leaving behind monumental legacies for posterity. The city has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through most of its history, it has served as the capital of various kingdoms and empires — captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times. The current avatar is supposedly the eighth one. Interestingly, a number of Delhi’s rulers played a dual role; first as destroyers, then as creators.
Delhi’s importance lies not just in its past glory as the seat of empires and magnificent monuments, but in its rich and diverse cultures. Discover the captivating ancient monuments, fascinating museums and art galleries, architectural wonders, a vivacious performing-arts scene, fabulous eating places and bustling markets. In essence, it is a city that bridges two different worlds. Old Delhi, once the capital of Islamic India, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with crumbling havelis and formidable mosques. In contrast, the imperial city of New Delhi, created by the British Raj, is composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings —– also known as Lutyen’s Delhi, after the city planner.
As befitting a national capital, every political activity in the country traces its roots here. By way of things to do, the choices are endless: soak in the hustle and bustle of Chandni Chowk market; revel in the majesty of the presidential residence, Rashtrapati Bhavan; stroll through the tranquility of the16th century Lodhi Gardens (earlier Lady Willingdon Park); spend an evening at the city’s most famous landmark, India Gate, raised in memory of soldiers killed; amble among the ruins of Mughal military architecture at Purana Qilla (‘old fort’); or just enjoy a leisurely evening at the city’s favourite hotspot, Connaught Place (CP for short). Perhaps, at the end of it all, one might understand why Mirza Ghalib, the renowned poet, described Delhi as “the soul in the body of the world.”
Places of interest: India Gate, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Qilla (old fort), Zoological Park, Jama Masjid, Jantar Mantar, Lotus Temple, Rajghat, National Museum, Parliament House, Rail Museum, Akshardham temple, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Qutub Complex, Teen Murti Bhavan, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Dilli Haat, Garden of Five senses, Guru Tegh Bahadur Memorial.
By air: Indira Gandhi International Airport
By rail: well connected
By road: well connected