MY TRAVEL DIARY

Celebrating most cherished moments of my life – as a amateur traveler – in different parts of the world…..

THE CAPITAL, DELHI,INDIA

Delhi – the capital of our country is full of life- lively place, lot of tourist attractions, amazing food joints…the list is endless. Image of the city is dampened by some serious issues with respect to women safety. ..etc, but every city/country in this world has both negatives & positives and Delhi is no different. The city has its own charisma & culture.

Living in Delhi for such a long time, I would highlight good things about the city.

There are lots of things for a tourist to do from visiting key monuments to shopping markets to food joints. Here I have compiled few places which a tourist must visit from my own experience over a span of years.

Tourist Attractions

Have divided tourist attractions into 4 types: Monuments, Temples/Religious places, Museums/Galleries and Markets (Shopping & Eating). One can choose the place as per the liking and requirement.

Monuments

 India Gate

 This is among the most visited monuments and the popular picnic spot for Delhieties. This is a 42 metre high memorial in honor of indian and british soldiers who lost their lives during world war I and the third afgan war. The names of 13,516 martyrs are inscribed on this monument.

Going here anytime during the day/night is wonderful. It is enclosed with gardens from all sides. There is a boating area, children park to enjoy. It is situated in front of parliament house.

It is one of the favorite locations for shooting Bollywood movies.

Qutub Minar

 The world’s tallest brick minaret, is one of the most prominent example of indo –islamic architecture. It is made of red sandstone and is covered with carvings and verses of Quran.

Earlier it was allowed to go touch the monument, but now as a safety measure, one is allowed to see only from a distance, but is a must see attraction.

There is also an iron pillar which attracts lot of people – its a belief (don’t know how true is this), if a person is able to touch his hands by hugging the pillar (backwards),  all the wishes of that person will come true.

 Red Fort

Popularly known as” Lal Quila”, is situated in Old Delhi. The Mughal royal family used to live here. It was later used by British as their military camp until independence. Indian national flag is hoisted here every year on Independence day.

Raj Ghat

It is the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi , the father of the nation. Rajghat is the spot of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. The memorial has an epitaph “Hey Ram” which were his last words when he was assassinated. The site also has a museum dedicated to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.

Shanti Van

It is the cremation spot of India’s first prime minister – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The samadhi in the form of a large base covered with a lawn. It is visited by many visiting dignitaries and heads of state come here to pay their respects. Special prayer services are organized on the birth & death anniversaries of Nehru. Also, cultural programmes of children are held here, as he used to love children.

Purana Qila/Old Fort

It is one of the oldest monuments in Delhi and was built at the site of ancient city by Pandavas some 5,000 yrs ago. It is just a fort.

 Jantar Mantar

 Consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments,built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. The primary purpose was to compile astronomical tables and to predict the time and movements of the sun, moon and planets.

 Humayun’s Tomb

Popularly known as “Humayun ka maqbara” in Hindi, was built by Mugal emperor wife Haji Begum. It is the first garden tomb built in the indian subcontinent and was also declared as UNESCO’s world heritage site.

 Jama Masjid

Is the largest mosque in India and is an architecturally opulent example of Mughal era. It is very near from Red Fort and Chandani Chowk. One can either walk down or take a hand pulled rickshaw.

Temples/Religious

 Akshardham Temple

 Also known as Swaminarayan Mandir, it is situated in east Delhi across river Yamuna and covers an area of 100 acre (approx). It is a symbol of traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality and architecture. The complex includes 3 exhibitions which displays incidents of Swaminarayan’s life, portraying his message about the importance of peace, harmony, humility, service to others and devotion to god. All of them are just wonderful.

 The complex also includes amazing musical fountain and a sprawling garden.

Lotus Temple

 Also, known as Bahai mandir, is an remarkable architecture. The temple looks a lotus flower and is made of marble. It is among the most visited monuments in India. It is no like a typical temple. One finds peace when inside the temple. It is a beautiful picturesque place to visit.

 Birla Mandir

Also known as Lakshmi Narayan mandir, is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Vishnu. It is one of the major attractions of Delhi and attracts thousands of devotees on hindu festivals Janmashtami and Diwali. It is a beautiful temple.

Chattarpur Mandir

 It is the second largest temple complex in india, dedicated to goddess Katyani. Also called – Shree Adya Katyani Saktipeeth MMandir.

Banglasaheb Gurudwara

Is the most prominent sikh gurudwara/sikh house of worship.It is known for its association with the 8th sikh guru – Guru Har Krishan. The pool inside the complex is known as “Sarovar”, whose water is considered holy (known as Amrit).

It is instantly recognized by its stunning golden dome (made of real gold) and tall flagpole.

These temples are a must visit even if one doesn’t like to go to temples and religious places. One can visit these places as a tourist destination.

 Museums and Galleries

 National Museum

The largest museum in India, has over 200,000 work of art both indian and foreign origin. It covers more than 5,000yrs of indian culture heritage.

 Nehru Museum

 It was the colonial residence of first indian Prime Minister, which has been converted into museum after his death.

 Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum

 It was the residence of former prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi. After her assassination, the bunglow was converted into a museum.

 National Gallery of Modern Art

Located in Jaipur house, was a residence of former Maharaja of Jaipur. It has undeniably the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country.

 Should visit these Museums and Galleries, if one is really interested in knowing history, heritage culture etc.

 Markets – Sopping & Foodie Paradise

Dilli Hatt

Dilli Hatt is an upmarket version of a traditional indian village or rural market. It is a mecca of craftmen selling indian handicrafts and ethnic wear. There are number of shops selling indian souvenirs and interesting gift items. There are numerous food stalls offering local cuisines from different parts of the country.

I generally go here only to eat. It has the authentic taste of various food items representing a particular state.

There are two Dilli Hatts in Delhi – one in North Delhi and another in South Delhi. South Delhi one, is the oldest and is better than North Delhi Hatt. It has open sitting space and it feels really good spending time here (it is not the regular crowded markets or eating joints).

Garden of Five Senses

It is an attractive parl, located near Qutab Minar. The garden is a prominent cultural venue of the capital with a variety of programs organized all the year round.

The prime attractions of the park are the khas bagh –  a beauriful garden,food and shopping court; Neel Bagh –  Colour Garden, the court of specimen plants, amazing sculptures and the interesting solar energy park.

A tour of a picturesque gardens, the variety of uncommon plants and flowers, melodious wind chimes, the aroma and taste of different/variety of cuisines and the feel of relaxing in an open air amphitheatre are sure to rejuvenate ones spirit.

 Hauz Khas

Is a shoppers paradise with several designer outlets, restaurants and art galleries. One can enjoy – pavilions built around this urbanized village (Deer Park, Mosque/Tomb).

 Khan Market

Khan market is one of the most chic and classy shopping destination for shoppers. Many top line brands have exclusive outlets here. This market is also known for number of coffee shops, book shops, and multi cuisine and specialty restaurant.

 Chandani Chowk

It is a paradise for shopaholic’s dream come true. A maze of alleys, narrow streets and tiny shops are unique features of this market (hence it is always extremely crowded market).

The market is renowned for silver jewellary, indian ethenic wear specially bridal trousseaus, and authentic street food.

Best feature about the market are its lane. All the shops in that particular lane will be selling similar genre products. Example –  The famous “parathe walli gali” – shops in the entire lane only sells mouth watering parathas. If it is a “sarafa lane” then all the shops will sell gold/silver jewelry.

 It is Asia’s largest wholesale market and shopping here in an unforgettable experience.

 Lajpat Nagar

It’s a mix of roadside vendors and glitzy showrooms and one can find almost anything here – from clothes, footware, accessories, kitchenware, food items…etc

 Karol Bagh

 Reputed to be largest shopping area with 20,000 shops and traders; this market is famous for ethnic wear, saris and shawls.

 Connaught Place

Best known as CP, is located in the heart of Delhi and is a fine example of Victoria architecture in India. The popular market designed in circular fashion (known an inner circle, outer circle), is one of the grandest shopping destinations. Each block of the circle houses has innumerable international brands outlets and countless eateries. Apart from being an important shopping hub, CP is also a major business centre of Delhi.

It is the most attractive shopping destination. It is advisable to use metro to reach this place as parking space for one’s vehicle is a major problem here.

 Janpath

Is a bargain hunter’s dream. It’s like a vast flea market where one can get a variety of knick knacks, casuals clothes, trinkets, and souvenirs. The central cottage industries emporium is also located on Janpath.

 Sarojni Nagar

This market is the largest outdoor, pedestrian shopping area in New Delhi. The market is a popular place for youth. One can pick variety of Indian and western wear at very reasonable prices.

 Malls of Saket

 This is a hub of malls in South Delhi. The 4 mall hub provides the unique shopping and leisure environment.

 South Extension Market

South Ex, is another hot destination for shopping. One can find shops selling branded clothes, footware and jewellery.

 Travel Mode available in Delhi:

HoHo Buses – Hop on Hop off are government owned buses, specially designed for the tourism. As the name suggests, one can hop on any HoHo bus and get off anywhere one wants. There is no binding as to one has to get on any particular bus. One can take his/her own time for visiting a place and get on, on any bus to reach next destination. The frequency of Bus is good. Very convenient and comfortable.

Metro – Is just another option for travelers who want to travel on their own. Metro is very well connected to almost all tourist attraction. The frequency of metro is 5-10 mins. It’s a very safe transport especially for women.

Tourist Buses – Are private tourist service providers who have packages in terms of city tour/day trip. One can opt for the same. The only disadvantage is – one is binded to travel in that particular bus, as per time given by the guide. One does not have liberty to roam around/spend more time/skip a particular destination.

Cab – is always there as an alternate option. One is free to roam around at his/her own pace and liking. The only disadvantage is – it is an expensive medium to travel, otherwise is a very convenient and safe.

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