Updated: Sep 24, 2018
This is it! My final destination of the 9 Day long first solo trip! Looking back at all the beautiful places I visited I was already content at heart. On arriving at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Station I headed to my hotel in Paharganj. I chose staying in this area for all the hippie feels.
My hotel was in the lane next to Imperial Cinema, the vibe here was as expected and I was loving it already. Paharganj has endless hotels with walls kissing each other. After unloading my bag I freshened up and headed out for a quick bite. It was a busy street, fruit vendors, garment shops with very Indian prints perfect collectible for someone visiting form another country, and many hotels with tables put up outside. I was sure this street is going to be even more alive in the night. I headed to my first destination.
Infamously present on a lot of products and packaging representing Indian origins. Its a war memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War, in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere. The India Gate, even though a war memorial, evokes the architectural style of the triumphal arch like the Arch of Constantine, outside the Colosseum in Rome, and is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai. A quick rickshaw ride and I was at..
Literally meaning "Old Fort" in Hindi, it is believed to have been built under Humayun and Afghan Sher Shah Suri. The walls of the Fort rise to a height of 18 metres, traverse about 1.5 km, and have three arched gateways: the Bara Darwaza (Big Gate) facing west, which is still in use today; the south gate, also popularly known as the 'Humayun Gate' (probably so known because it was constructed by Humayun, or perhaps because Humayun's Tomb is visible from there); and lastly, the 'Talaqi Gate', often known as the "forbidden gate". All the gates are double-storeyed sandstone structures flanked by two huge semi-circular bastion towers, decorated with white and coloured-marble inlays and blue tiles. There are some structures inside this fort like the Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque, Sher Mandal, Hammam Khana (Bath House), Khairul Manzil. The Purana Qila as a whole displays various architectural styles such as Rajashthani, Lodhi and Mughal. A 10 minute walk away is...
It is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. It was the first garden tomb in the Indian subcontinent, commissioned by his wife Bega Begum and designed by persian architects handpicked by her. The site was chosen due to its close proximity to the River Yamuna and Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah. It represented a leap in Mughal architecture and later strated a tradition of being burried in a paradise garden. The concept reached its zenith with the Taj Mahal, Agra and the resemblance between the two monuments is clear.
The main tomb structure is placed between four gardens (Char Bagh) that eventually divide the garden into 36 squares. With in the same complex is the Tomb and mosque of Isa Khan which dates about 20 years before the Humayun's tomb. Afsarwala Tomb dedicated to a afsar (Officer) in Akbar's court stands adjacent to this tomb. Other notable sites here are Arab Sarai literally meaning the Sarai (resthouse) for the horses, the structure stands adjacent to the Afsarwala mosque and was built by Bega Begum. Nila Ghumbad, so called because it carries striking blue glazed tiles. Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia, believed to be the residence of patron saint of Delhi, Nizamuddin Auliya. Barber's Tomb, literally a tomb of the royal barber, talk about having ties with the royal family eh!
I spent a lot of time here laying on the grass admiring the beauty of these monuments. It was closing time and I left for the Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah.
This is the shrine of the sufi saint, Khwaja Nizamuddin Aulia. It is visited by thousands of pilgrims every week and I was lucky enough to experience the evening qawwali devotional music sessions. Remember Kun Faya Kun, from Rockstar featuring Ranbir Kapoor, that was shot here and also featured the Nizami Brother, the traditional qawwals of the Dargah.
After a while I headed out on the street next to the Dargah and feasted on some mouth watering chicken kebabs and rolls. I took a quick detour at Connaught Place and was back to Paharganj and boy it was bustling with tourists, people cheering on tables on the roads, madness was at its peak. I headed to My Bar a place suggested by a friend to end the night with a light drink. It was peppy with the crowd dancing and singing to most songs. The place shut soon after midnight and I walked back to my hotel.
The next morning I was out of my hotel by 9 AM and I was on my way to Jama Masjid.
This is one of the largest mosques in India, built by Shah Jahan the mosque was completed in 1656 AD with three great gates, four towers and two 40 metres high minarets constructed with strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard can accommodate more than 25,000 people. Visitors are allowed to enter one of the minarets and it gives you a panoramic view of Old Delhi with the Red Fort in sight at distance.
I took a cycle-rickshaw to my next destination - The Red Fort
One of top tourist sights in Delhi. It exudes strength with its red sandstone walls, major buildings within include, Chatta Chowk, (Covered Bazaar). True to the name, this is a covered bazaar between the gate and the fort itself, now filled with souvenir hawkers. Diwan-i-Am, (Hall of Public Audience). This building separates the outer court from the inner court, and has a marble platform for the emperor's throne. Diwan-i-Khas, (Hall of Private Audience). Built completely of marble, this is where the emperor received special visitors. Khas Mahal, (Private Palace), The Emperor's main residence. The octagonal Mussaman Burj tower looks out toward the Yamuna River, and is where the Emperor used to appear before the public for each morning. Hayat Baksh Bagh, (Life-Bestowing Gardens). Once a grand garden of full of fountains and streams, now sadly all dry — only dry channels and acres of green grass remain. Rang Mahal, (Colour Palace). The residence of the Sultan's main wife. Mumtaz Mahal, (Jewel Palace). Contained six apartments for the Sultan's harem. Now used as a museum of court textiles, carpets, weapons, etc. Daawat Khana, A minor palace at the northmost end of the Fort, this was originally the residence of a prince, but it was converted into a tea house by the British, a function it continues today. Basic meals go for around 60 rupees, drinks 10-20 rupees, and it also has the cleanest toilets around. The fort has a light and sound show (Rs 50) in the evenings from 1930 hours, depending on the season.
I then headed to Chandni Chowk (Moonlight Market) plenty of eateries and shops here, I tried the famous palm sized Jalebi, it was worth the wait at the shop as he prepared them fresh - fried in pure ghee (Clarified Butter). There are many religious sights here if one may wish to visit. The narrow lanes leading to the main street all sell books, clothing, electronic, consumer goods, shoes and leather goods and much more.
I hoped on to the metro and headed to Jantar Mantar. The Jantar Mantar is an equinoctial sundial, one of five astronomical observatories commissioned by Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur during the 18th century. The odd structures inside are actually enormous scientific instruments for measuring the movement of celestial bodies. Next I hoped onto another metro on the Yellow Line (Delhi is well connected by metro lines and they also operate hop-on-hop-off buses for tourists), about 50 minutes later I was at my last destination of the day.
This 72.5 m minaret was the tallest "skyscraper" in the world when built (1193-1368) It's often visible from air when flying into IGI airport! The delicately carved structure is well preserved and entry into the tower is no longer permitted.
The site served as the pit stop of the second leg of the second series of The Amazing race Australia. I remember watching this and wondering when will I be visiting here.
A picture of the minaret is featured on the travel cards and tokens issued by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
I skipped a few places like Lotus Temple, Lodhi Gardens, Tughlaqabad Fort I spent the rest of the evening at some places in Hauz Khas, eating, celebrating with strangers the journey that I just completed. I was happy that I finally did it, I was ready to be back to Mumbai the next day and tell my friends of what an amazing journey it was.
How to reach Delhi?
Best way to get in is by flight, if purchased at the right time you can get a good deal. If you are in neighboring cities you can get in by train or bus.
How many nights in Delhi?
A rushed visit would need 2 nights at the least. If I had more time I could visit even more places in and around the city.
Where to stay in Delhi?
If you are a solo traveler, look no further than Paharganj. Alternatively, you can book your stay at luxury and higher budget hotels any where in Delhi (It's all well connected by the Metro).
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