India is a land with a lot of history pertaining to its territory and culture. Delhi is one such union territory in India that has always been the core of many historical battles and dynasties. According to the legendary Mahabharata, this ancient city has over 5000 years of history hidden inside. Even the Battles of Panipat were fought to get control of this very important city.
So, it’s clear that Delhi has played a major role in shaping our country. Let’s now roam around the top 7 historical monuments of Delhi to get to know their contribution and when, where, and how were they really built! Check out hourly hotels in Delhi here if you're thinking of going on an expedition after this!
While shifting his capital from the beautiful Agra to the powerful Delhi, Shah Jahan initiated the construction of this colossal fort. The commission began on 12th May 1638 and the fort was ready by April 6, 1648. It served as the main residence of the Mughal emperors after that.
The fort lies along the Yamuna river, so visiting it will be killing two birds with one stone! The architecture is obviously based on Indo-Islamic and Mughal culture and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2007. The best time to visit this historic fort will be in the evening past 6 when magnificent light and sound shows take place, both in English and Hindi.
Where to go: Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006
2. Qutub Minar
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qutub Minar is located in the Mehrauli area of New Delhi. It is a ‘victory tower’ which was jointly constructed by Qutb Al-Din Aibak, Iltutmish, Firuz Shah Tughlaq, and Sikander Lodi. It was initially constructed for the use of mu’azzin (crier) to give calls for prayers and subsequently further storeys were added.
A part of the Qutb complex, the Minar is based on Indo-Islamic style. The tower has 379 steps leading to the top with a magnificent view. Although it was closed in 1981 after a fatal stampede, it is still one of India’s most historical and loved monuments.
Where to go: Seth Sarai, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030
3. Humayun’s Tomb
You must have heard about the legend of the Taj Mahal and the eternal love of Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaj Mahal. But have you heard about the love story of Humayun and his first wife? Yes, you heard it right! The Humayun’s tomb was commissioned by his chief companion and love, Empress Bega Begum, in 1558 after his death.
Based on Mughal architectural style, the site was designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993 and further extension work was also undertaken recently in 2016. Along with Humayun, his love, Bega Begum also lies here only. You’ll also get to see tombs of other associated prominent Mughals. The tomb is octagonal from the outside and square from the inside. Now, that is something you have to go and see to really believe!
Where to go: Mathura Road Opposite, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, Mathura Rd, Nizamuddin, Nizamuddin East, New Delhi, Delhi 110013
4. India Gate
This very famous gate was established on 10th February 1921 and opened to the public on 12th February 1931. Designed by the talented architect Edwin Lutyens, this war memorial is located astride the Rajpath, formerly known as the Kingsway.
It was built to honour more than 80,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War I. That’s why it was initially known as the All India War Memorial. Although the gate is open 24x7, it is recommended to visit it in the evening between 7 pm to 9.30 pm to witness the spectacular light show and taste the mouthwatering street food.
Where to go: Rajpath, India Gate, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
5. Jama Masjid
One of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid’s original name is Masjid-i Jehan-Numa. This is one of the most precious creations of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Constructed between 1650 and 1656, it was finally inaugurated by its first Imam, Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah Bukhari in late 1656.
The grand mosque is capable of holding 25,000 devotees at a time. They don’t really allow cameras, so you’ll have to quench all your thirst with your eyes only. The place is especially crowded during Friday prayers. One of the best things about the place is that even though being run by a conservative clergy, women are free to offer prayers here anytime. Now, that is something other religious places need to learn from this great mosque.
Where to go: Jama Masjid Rd, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi, Delhi 110006
6. Jantar Mantar
Literally translating to ‘instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens”, Jantar Mantar consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments. There were in total five Jantar Mantars in India before the one in Mathura got torn down just prior to the Revolt of 1857. The Jantar Mantar of Delhi was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1724.
The place is a reflection of the 18th-century efforts to learn and understand planetary and other cosmic movements. Using the positions of the sun and directions of shadows, the place was used to tell time to the passers-by in ancient times. Along with marble and local stone, bronze, bricks, and mortar were also used here and there to help the instruments when the place was built.
Where to go: Connaught Place, Sansad Marg, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
7. Rashtrapati Bhawan
Situated at the western edge of Rajpath, Rashtrapati Bhawan is the official residence of the President of India. It was built on a Neoclassical architecture style by the amazing architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. Although the construction started in 1912 and got completed in 1929, it was inaugurated and opened later in 1931.
This huge mansion was constructed at a cost of Rs 14 million at that time. It is obvious that all the parts of the palace aren’t available for a public visit but you can still visit the Museum complex on all days except Mondays and the Gardens on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only during the months from August to March.
Where to go: Rashtrapati Bhawan, President's Estate, New Delhi, Delhi 110004
Delhi clearly is home to some amazingly superior and historical places. We hope you got to learn some interesting insights about some of them. If you are really interested and want to learn more about this in person, then a ticket to Delhi isn’t far away! You can check out some of the best hourly hotels available in Delhi according to your preferred location here.