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It has seen the rise and fall of many empires which have left behind a plethora of monuments that the grandeur and glory of bygone ages . A city which traces its history to Mahabharata, the great epic tale of wars fought between estranged cousins , the Kauravas and the Pandavas for the city of Indraprastha.
Mughals ruled Delhi in succession starting from Qutab-ub-din to Khiljis, Tughlaqs . The city of Delhi passed on to the hands of the British in 1803 AD. It was only in 1911, when the capital of British empire was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi, that Delhi got its present prestige. After independence also, a kind of autonomy was conferred on the capital but it largely remained a chief commissioners regime. In 1956 Delhi was converted into a Union territory and gradually the chief commissioner was replaced by a Lt. Governor. In 1991, the national capital territory Act was passed by the parliament and a system of diarchy was introduced under which, the elected Government was given wide powers; except law and order which remained with the central Government. The actual enforcement of the legislation came in 1993.
New Delhi , the capital city of India
New Delhi, the capital of India, sprawled over the west bank of the river Yamuna is one of the fastest growing cities in India. It is surrounded on three sides by Haryana and to the east, across the river Yamuna by Uttar Pradesh. Historically, the city has long since been the foremost in political importance with successive dynasties choosing it as their seat of power, between the 13th and the 17th centuries. Remnants of the glorious past survive as important monuments in different parts of the city.
The myriad faces of the city are simply fascinating. In some places it remains a garden city, tree lined and with beautiful parks, but in some places it can also be crowded with heavy traffic. Turbaned Sikhs, colourfully dressed Rajasthani and Gujarati women working in offices, Muslim shopkeepers along Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, Tibetans and Ladakhis in the street stalls along Janpath and Kashmiris in the handicraft emporia around Connaught Place, all add to the cosmopolitan feel of the city. Soaring skyscrapers, posh residential colonies and bustling commercial complexes can be seen along with the ancient historical monuments. Its boutiques and shopping arcades offer access to a wealth of traditional and contemporary crafts, from all over the country. Old Delhi which looks entirely different from New Delhi area, is about 6 Km north of the city center.
Tourist attractions of New Delhi
India Gate :- the 42 metre high, free standing arch, popularly known as India Gate, was designed by Luytens and built in 19111. 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. In1971, an eternal flame was lit here to honour the Amar Jawan (immortal soldiers).
(President's House) :- The official
residence of the President of the country, the building was also designed by
Luytens. It was the official residence of the Viceroy when the British ruled
India. With 340 rooms and an area of about 330 acres. The Mughal Gardens
within the complex are a treat for the eyes and are open to public during
certain periods of the year.
Parliament House :- A marvelous piece of architecture which can be admired only from outside on account of security restrictions. Close to President's House, it is circular structure almost a kilometer in circumference, and was designed by the famed architect Luytens. It is the seat of Indian Parliament.
Jantar Mantar :- Within Connaught Place is the Jantar Mantar Observatory built by the Rajput King of Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh in 1724. It was believed to have been built with masonry instruments for observing the movements of the stars and planets.
Birla Mandir (Laxmi Narayan Temple), :- It was built by the industrialist Raja Baldev Birla in 1938. The temple is an important prayer centre and contains idols of several deities. Interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi, who inaugurated the temple, was also a regular visitor to it.
Humayun's Tomb :- Humayun's Tomb was built nine years after Humayun's death by his wife Haji Begum. Designed by a Persian architect named Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, and completed in 1565, the edifice was a trendsetter of the time. It is said that all later Mughal monuments, including the Taj Mahal, followed its design
Raj Ghat :-
On the bank of the legendary Yamuna, which flows
past Delhi, there is Raj Ghat-the last resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the
father of the nation. It has become an essential point of call for all
visiting dignitaries. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi are situated nearby.
Shanti Vana :- Lying close to the Raj Ghat, the Shanti Vana (literally, the forest of peace) is the place where India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was cremated. The area is now a beautiful park adorned by trees planted by visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
Red Fort : Built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648, the masterpiece of Red Fort has the distinction of being chosen as a site from where the prime minister of India addresses the nation on the Independence Day. Popular as Lal Quila, the grand and imposing fort is today a regular haunt of tourists from all parts of the world. The unparalleled architecture is testimony to the grandness of supremacy of Mughal empire in India. The complex houses Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, the Moti Masjid, the Shahi Burj etc.
Jama Masjid : The country's largest mosque where thousands of Muslims offer prayers every day. It took over 14 to complete and was built in 1656. It lies opposed the Red Fort. The flight of stairs and its large courtyard are marvels of architecture. It has three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40 metres high and constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. Broad flights of steps lead up to the imposing gateways. The eastern gateway was originally only opened for the emperor, and is now only open on Fridays and Muslim festival days.
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 many other items. The entire area was designed by Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan'' favorite daughter and was then inhabited by the well-to-do families of the time. In today's time, this area is highly congested,
Akshardham Temple : Representing the Hindu mythology and the Indian culture, the Akshardham Temple stands on the banks of river Yamuna, covering an area of 100 acres. This modern-day wonder boasts 234 embellished pillars, 20,000 statues and a number of arches. The temple complex houses an IMAX theatre, exhibition halls and musical fountains. Surrounded by beautifully laid out garden, the temple attracts lakhs of tourists from far and wide. The temple is built in marble and red sandstone, symbolising devotion and eternal peace.
Bahai Temple (Lotus Temple) :- Lying to the east of Siri is this building shaped like a lotus flower. Built between 1980 and 1986, it is set amongst pools and gardens, and adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate, according to own religion and faith.
Qutab Minar :- This magnificent structure in the southern part of the capital was built by the Muslim King, Kutab-ud-din Aibak in 1199 AD. A part of it which could not be finished by completed by another Muslim King, Iltutmish. In 1368, Feroz Shah Tughlaq rebuilt the top storeys and added a cupola. An earthquake brought the cupola down in 1803 and an Englishman replaced it with another in 1829 but was removed some years later. Minar(tower)is 72.5 metres high and tapers from 15 meter-diameter base to just 2.5 meter at the top. The tower has given distinct stories, each marked by a projecting balcony.
Iron Pillar : This seven meter high pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque and has been there since long before the mosque. A six line Sanskrit inscription indicates that it was initially erected outside a Vishnu temple, possibly in Bihar and was raised in memory of the Gupta King Chandragupta Vikramaditya, who ruled from 375 to 413. The pillar is made of a very exceptional pure iron. Scientists have never discovered how this iron has not rusted even after 2000 years.
PURANA QUILA ( OLD FORT )
It is believed that the Pandavas had built their capital, Indraprastha at the place where the old fort stands today. This fort, now in ruins, was the seat for administration for many emperors. The legendary Prithviraj Chauhan ruled from here till he was defeated by Abdali in the battle of Panipat. A new light & sound show is held by the Department of Delhi Tourism every evening. Timings and Tickets are available from the tourist office.
The Crafts Museum complex is a charming oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Delhi ,situated in Pragati maidan just 5 kms. from Connaught Place , the heart of Delhi.. Mud huts with painted walls and thatched roofs, courtyards, terracotta horses recreating village shrines, craftsmen at work are some of the elements that add to the rural ambience to this most modern city of INDIA. .Its boost of traditional Indian crafts, wooden carvings and images, metalware, especially ewe Perdue objects from Bastar, West Bengal and Bihar, clay and terracotta pots, toys and images, folk and tribal paintings, jewellery and textiles.
Situated opposite to Raj Ghat is the Gandhi Museum. Dedicated to the Father of the Nation, the museum contains some of his personal belongings. There are five pavilions one can go through that comprise of sculpture, photographs and paintings of Gandhiji and the history of the Satyagraha movement as well as the philosophy of 'ahinsa' (non-violence).
SHANKAR’S INTERNATIONAL DOLL MUSEUM
One can find just about every kind of a doll one needs to see in Shankar's International Dolls Museum. There are about 6,000 dolls collected from over 85 countries and a third of the collection has been gathered from different parts of India. Each doll is resplendently dressed in costumes that represent the country or the region they come from.
NEHRU MUSEUM AND PLANETORIUM
The residence of Late Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India was converted into a museum after his death. The museum is a fascinating place to learn about the history of the Independence Movement.
There are several photographs of the erstwhile Prime Minister, giving an account of his life. Besides this, the colonial building is also equally interesting, with its teak paneled rooms with high ceilings, spacious verandas and well kept gardens.
NATIONAL RAIL MUSEUM
The Rail Transport Museum is a must for rail buffs. There are models of train engines and coaches and it is a train-lovers delight. Its pride is a model of India's very first train, a steam engine that made its journey from Mumbai to Thane in 1853. The locomotives here are all displayed in the open although there is a museum as well, which is a storehouse of information on the history of railways in India. Its vintage displays include the oldest locomotive in the world-still working; the Viceregal Dining Car (1889) and the Prince of Wales Saloon (1875), Maharaja of Mysore's Saloon (1899), Maharaja of Baroda's Saloon (1886). The royal saloons are definitely worth a look for the elaborate interior design. To enter the royal saloons one has to buy a ticket.
The star attraction is the Fairy Queen, built in 1855, and considered to be the best preserved steam locomotive engines of her age. Children can enjoy a ride on the miniature rail track.
It’s located in one of the most important commercial centers of South Delhi, opposite INA market. The 6 acres of land on which this sprawling complex is situated was salvaged as part of a reclamation project and transformed into a magnificent dream plaza. Extensive foundation work, small thatched roof cottages and kiosks with a village atmosphere have made the place into an attractive multiple centers The word Haat refers to a weekly market in rural, semi-urban and sometimes even urban India.
It’s not just a market place; it has been visualized as a showpiece of traditional Indian culture- a forum where rural life and folk art are brought closer to an urban clientele.
It is here that the crafts persons find an opportunity to demonstrate their artistic skills to thousands of visitors everyday.
FAIRS / FESTIVALS IN DELHI
Lori: Lori is a winter festival celebrated in January. The festival marks the peak of winter and celebrated with burning bonfires, singing and dancing.
Republic Day Parade: A national festival that no tourist should miss. Celebrated on the 26th of January when India became a Republic. It is the most spectacular pageant of Delhi. The march past includes military displays, elephant pageantry, floats representing different states etc.
Garden Tourism Festival: Delhi Tourism holds the Garden Tourism Festival at the end of February that is generally spread over three days and generates much enthusiasm amongst the gardening fraternity. Delhi is ablaze with flowers at this time. It is also a useful meeting ground for gardening enthusiasts, as well as fun and frolic for children of all ages.
Holi: This festival of color is celebrated in March. Men and women stain each other by throwing colors at. Singing and dancing accompany the joyous occasion.
Phoolwalon-ki-Sair: It means the festival of flower sellers. A Festival representative of communal harmony where large fans decorated with flowers are taken out in a procession. On this occasion the flower sellers present flowers to the gods and pray for a better flower season next year.
Mango Festival: The mango festival is held in Delhi during the month of July. Many verities of mangos from the 1100 plus verities those India grow are displayed.
Independent Day Celebrations: Independent Day is celebrated on August 15. Processions and flag hoisting on the Red Fort mark the celebration.
Dussehra: It is a ten days festival, celebrated in Sept./Oct., of which nine days are spent in worship. The tenth day is a celebration of victory of good over evil. Huge effigies of Ravana, the demon king, are burned on the last day of festival. The heroic deeds of Lord Rama who destroyed Ravana are enacted in songs and dance.
Qutab Festival of Classical Music and Dance: The festival is staged around Sharad Pournima in the month of October at the Qutab Minar complex. Evocative melodies and graceful dances are presented by various prominent artistes of the country.
Diwali: Diwali, the festival of lights and fireworks is celebrated throughout the country during Oct-Nov. People illuminate their houses with rows of earthen lamps to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. At night crackers are burst to celebrate the return of Lord Rama from exile.
Flower Shows: Delhi also conducts various flower shows in the winter months. Rose Show, Chrysanthemum Show and Delhi Flower Show are among them.
Urs Of Hazarat Nizamuddin Aulia: a Muslim saint of the 14th century, is celebrated in November or December at his tomb at Nizamuddin. This is celebrated with a lot of pomp along with the accompaniment of quawalis and a wide array of sweet meat and kababs.
Christmas: like elsewhere in the world is celebrated in Delhi with a lot of gaiety and festivity. Special services are held at the churches.
International Trade Fair: Quiet apart from religious events that take up the Delhi calendar, there are also other regular events that are hosted in Delhi like the International Trade Fair that is held annually at the Pragati Maidan. The Pragati Maidan also hosts a variety of events at regular intervals. This is also one of the largest Trade Fair Complexes in Asia.
Delhi Horse Show: In winter Delhi plays host to a number of events like the DELHI HORSE SHOW that is held in November or in December outside the walls of the Red Fort. The vintage car rally is also held in the same period and this is a show one should not miss. It displays a good number of cars left from the period of the British Raj.
Surajkund Crafts Mela: Then there is also the SURAJKUND CRAFTS MELA where the villagers from the adjoining villages bring out their handicrafts and also to display their skills. A variety of rural entertainment’s add colour to the impressive fair.
¤ BALUCHI Asian Games Village, Siri Fort Road Ph:26492348 Weekends. Seafood specialities, live dimsums and live desserts Lunch timings 12.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. and Dinner 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. (last drink served at 11.45 p.m.)
¤ CHORE BIZZARE , Hotel Broadway, Darya Ganj, Delhi.
¤ DARBAR Asian Games Village, Siri Fort Road 110049 Ph:26492348 Weekends. Seafood specialities, live dimsums and live desserts Lunch timings 12.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. and Dinner 7.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. (last drink served at 11.45 p.m.)
¤ DUM - PUKTH ( 5 Star Deluxe Hotel) ITC, Maurya Sheraton Ph: 26112233
¤ MACHAN, Taj Mahal ( 5 Star Deluxe Hotel ) l, Akbar Road,
¤ PUNJABI BY NATURE . Basant Lok Complex 51516666
¤ PINDI RESTAURANT, Bapa Nagar Market, India Gate
¤ GULATI RESTAURANT, Bapa Nagar Market, India Gate
¤ KARIM HOTEL, Jama Masjid / Nizamuddin 23264981 (Mughlai and Tandoori) Lunch timing 12 noon to 3.30 pm and Dinner 6.30 pm to 11.30 pm
¤ AANGAN, (PURE VEGETARIAN) , Arya Samaj Road, karol Bagh.
¤ ALFA GARDEN, Opposite Pusa Road Telephone Exchange, Karol bagh
¤ Orient Express Taj Palace , Sardar Patel Road, Dhaula Kuan, Ph : 26110202
¤ La Rochelle The Oberoi, Dr. Zakir Hussain Road, Kaka Nagar Ph.24363030
¤ 28 th Grill The Lalit, Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place. Ph : -23411001
¤ Basil & Thyme Shantushti Shopping Complex 011-24673322/4933 Open 11 am
to 11 pm. Authentic Restaurant and Pizzeria run by Italian Owner.
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