Planning your India Trip and wondering which places to visit?For a lot of you,India Travel would be an Adventure Travel of sorts..You would be checking up on a lot of travel guides for help.Some of you would also be checking up on the packages India stores in terms of stories and offerings.
There are places and places in Delhi for a traveller to visit and it is hard for her to choose the best 5 places to visit in a tightly packed schedule.
Oh, by the way, this is the” Visit India” Year being celebrated in China!
Delhi has a vast size and is a state, much like New York in the United States.So, planning in advance about your travel itinerary in Delhi is desirable.
So, here goes my bucket list.I am assuming you are a young couple, with no kids and generally wanting to soak in the good times of Delhi.
This is the central avenue of the old section of the city and was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shahjehan, more than 400 years ago. The name , Chandni Chowk means , Moonlit Square.Why it was so named is a mystery.However, the place retains its old world charm, housing shops selling sarees, sweets, old gramophone players, perfumes and spices. If you are a fan of Indian spices, head over to Khari Baoli, a just a mile away from the Gouri Shankar Mandir. The Baoli has umpteen stalls selling various kinds of spices that India was known about nearly 100 years ago.
Some of the friendliest people in the world can be found here and you can make friends here.Till a few years back, horse drawn carriages used to ply here but, they have given way to battery powered rickshaws.
It is said that Jahanara, the elder daughter of the Mughal Emperor, Shahjehan designed the square.
Chandni Chowk is steeped in history. Almost every alley, nook and corner has some story to tell.For example, one of the holiest gurudwaras or temples of Sikhs, Gurudwara Sisganj is located here. The bloodthirsty dictator that Aurangzeb was, he had a Sikh Guru decapitated here.The site of the Guru’s martyrdom was converted into a temple.
Another interesting place is Ghantawaley ki Dukan or the shop with a bell. It is said that this shop was visited upon frequently by one of the Mughal emperors and as his elephant made way to the shop, the bell hung around the neck of the animal used to alert the shop owner who would quickly get on to preparing the choicest delicacies for the Emperor!
Then, you can also visit the Gaurishankar temple built by a captain of the Maratha army .the captain had vowed to himself that upon the destruction of the Mughal dynasty, he would build a grand temple devoted to Lord Shiva.
2. Red Fort
Once you are done with Chandni Chowk, head over to the imposing fort of Delhi called Red Fort.Built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjehan 400 years ago, it is considered an imposing piece of Indian architecture.Most of the Fort premises was taken over by the British army after the 1857 Struggle for Independence and a large number of Mughal palaces was demolished.There still remain a few Mughal palaces that will give you goose bumps when you read about the events associated with them in my other blog posts.
The Archaeological Survey of India has recently uncovered a buried garden that used to be the favourite place of the various princesses of the Mughal empire.
There is also an ancient stepwell or a baoli within the fort that housed the freedom fighters of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, after their imprisonment by the Britishers.
North of the Red Fort is an ancient castle of Salimgarh that was the royal prison for rebellious princes and princesses.It is said that the fort is haunted by a long dead Mughal princess!
The Prime Minister of India hosts the Indian Flag each year on the Independence Day which falls on August 15.
How to reach Red Fort– You can either walk to this place or of you are tired, hop on to any cycle rickshaw.It is quite close to Chandni Chowk.
You can get audio guides for detailed description of the Fort at the ticket counter.
3. India Gate
Built by the British government after the First World War, India Gate commemorates the British Indian soldiers who perished defending their Imperial masters.The names of all those soldiers are inscribed on the stones forming the majestic India Gate.
Today, it serves as a War Memorial of the Indian defence forces.A wide and huge lawn adds to its grandeur.
If you are lucky and visiting Delhi in September, you might see an Army band belting out some great battle tunes.
How to reach; India Gate is very near to Rajiv Chowk or Connaught Place. You can take an auto rickshaw or a cab.Ensure that the auto rickshaw driver agrees to charge you by the meter.
A better way is to take a Ho Ho bus ride.
Purana Qila is interesting for two reasons-one , it is the site of ancient Delhi.Legends say that this Old Fort or Purana Qila stands at the site of Indraprastha-the capital of the Pandavas.
Have you heard about the Mahabharata, Bhagwad Gita and Lord Krishna?Well, the Pandavas are from that period- more than 5000 years old.As time passed over the centuries, newer kingdoms and dynasties occupied the place and finally the Mughals made the site as their stronghold in Delhi.If you want to soak in the ancientness of Delhi, this is the place to be in.
Featured above is the image of the library of a Mughal Emperor, Humayun.
How to reach; You can get off at the Pragati Maidan Metro station and the place is just 200 metres away.If you have kids, you may also like to visit the Delhi Zoo which is located alongside the Purana Qila.
5. Humayun’s Tomb
A few miles away from the Old Fort or Purana Qila lies the Humayun’s Tomb- which is considered to be the precursor of Taj Mahal in design and layout.It is a beautiful monument and is a world heritage monument.Within this tomb lie the remains of the Mughal Emperor, Humayun and his descendants.
Who was Humayun? He was one of the earlier Mughal Emperors and a descendant of the infamous Ghenghis Khan of Mongolia.His grandson, Shahjehan is credited with the building of Taj Mahal in Agra and the old city of Delhi, also known as Shahjehanabad.
There is a sad story behind Humayun’s Tomb.During the 1857 Struggle for Independence, three sons of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar had taken refuge here. They were found out by the British Army Captain,captured them and later executed the princes in cold blood!
How to reach; Humayun’s Tomb is located a couple of miles from the Purana Qila. You may have to take a cab to reach here.Cycle rickshaws are not available in this part of Delhi.
Where to stay in Delhi?
While there are several lodges, hotels and resorts in Delhi, for the solitary traveller to Delhi, there is no other better option than the two sites of airbnb.com and couchsurfing.com where you can find friends who can offer bed and breakfast.
Then there are several government owned hotels like ITDC or the private hotels like Taj Hotels or Maurya Sheraton where you can simply plonk .
Best way to commute in Delhi;
Take the HOHO bus service of the Delhi government.It is available near Rajiv Chowk , earlier known as Connaught Place.
www.hohodelhi.com It is fun, safe and reliable.
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