Humayun's Tomb is one of the most important monuments of the city and a perfect example of wonderful Islamic architecture was made by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect. The initiative to make this monument was taken by Humayuns senior widow Bega Begum. The monument is considered as a precursor of the Taj Mahal in terms of beauty. It was built in 1565 AD and is located on the crossing of the Lodi Road and Mathura Road. The main features of this monument are the beautiful gardens, fountains and of course the double domed mausoleum. Apart from Humayuns tomb, there are many other Mughal rulers who have their mausoleums built in here.
This beautiful monument in the Mehrauli area of New Delhi was built in the 12th century by Emperor Qutub- Ud- Din- Aibak and was finally completed by his son-in-law, Iltutmish, who succeeded him. The monument is made up of 5 levels with projecting balconies on each level. The specialty of the monument is that each level is different from the others in terms of size and designs. This is what makes it even more spectacular. The verses from the Holy Koran of the Muslims are carved on the walls of the monument and the lattice work is remarkable too. The controversy surrounding this monument says that this was originally a Hindu monument, built much before the 12th century. It is also said that Aibak only renovated it by replacing the Hindu Stone designs with Islamic ones. Till now one side of the monument walls have Hindu designs on them and the outer part is adorned with ornamental Islamic designs. The monument has been damaged by natural forces and calamities many a times but has been repaired again and again. This is the reason why it stands strong even after so long.
This is the pride of Delhi that was earlier known as the All India War Memorial. This monument was built by the Lutyens in the memory of all the 90000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the welfare of their country during the World War I. The names of each of the soldiers are inscribed on the walls of the monument. The Amar Jawan Jyoti or the Eternal Flame burns here 24 hours as a symbol of remembrance of the brave warriors. On the opposite side of the monument is the very controversial canopy where was once placed the marble statue of Prince George which was later removed from here.
Holding the Guiness World Record to be the World's largest comprehensive Hindu temple, the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple was built-in just 5 years. The nearest metro station is the Akshardham Metro Station. Mobiles and other electronic gadgets are not allowed. These are to be deposited in the cloakrooms. It's an example of the grandeur and beauty of all the ancient and traditional architectural and religious styles which have ever been present in India. Usually the one who took such a noble initiative was Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha along side more than a thousand talented artisans. The temple is mainly specialized in Swaminarayan and also includes a separate shrine for Lord Shiva. There are a number of halls amongst which the initial one is where you will find films and robotic shows going to spread the message of honesty, peace and unity. In the second hall you is likely to be presented with the story of a classic yogi named Nilkanth in an exceedingly attractive manner. Last however, not the smallest amount of the next hall is where you are able to find out about the discoveries and works of the saints- scientists and the art of Ajanta- Ellora. The musical fountain is an amusement after sunset, the Lotus temple is another bit of beauty and the Garden of India is just a memorial for all the famous men and women of our country.
This is probably the largest and the oldest market that is there in Delhi for the past more than three centuries. This was the place where initially merchants from Turkey, Holland and other places used to visit during their business trips to India. The oldest merchants who have shops inside this market are known to have been carrying on the same business generations after generations. The true colors of Delhi can be enjoyed in this place. If you are a shopaholic then this is a must visit during your trip. The specialty of this place is that you feel like buying whatever you see out here. the main shops here are Dariba Kalan, known for pearl, gold and silver jewelry, Gulab Singh Johri Mal for attars or perfumes, Khari Baoli for spice shopping. The Kinari Bazaar is the zardosi den for all females and the Katra Neel for all kinds of fabrics. The Bhagirath Palace is Asias largest market of electronic goods and the Moti Bazar is famous for shawls and pearls.
Red Fort (Lal Quila)
One of the most important monuments in the cultural as well as political scenario of India, the Red Fort is the pride of the capital city of Delhi. It was once the capital of Shahjanabad named after Emperor Shah Jahan. It was during his reign that this awesome monument took its form between 1638 and 1648. The whole structure was named Red Fort or Lal Qila due to the basic material of architecture which is sandstone. It served as the residence of the Mughal Kings for almost 200 years. Later when India became independent, the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the National Flag here and the ritual is still carried on. Every year the Independence Day celebrations are organized here.
Rajasthan’s opulent capital is a magical land brimming with desert camps and lakeside palaces. Sitting on the edge of the Thar desert and surrounded by the Aravali hills, the Pink City boasts of hilltop forts, bustling bazaars and the best pyaaz kachoris you’ll ever taste. Among the places to visit in Jaipur, the grandiose pink sandstone Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, towering over the hustling streetscapes and the majestic City Palace are the ones attracting the most tourists. The 18th century old astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a UNESCO world heritage site and a major tourist attraction. Perched proudly on the top of a hill is Amber Fort, dating back to the 16th century. The red sandstone structure houses palaces, temples, gardens and a lake inside its premises. One of the most favoured things to do in Jaipur is to walk through the lively Bapu Bazaar, and come out with bags stocked with bandhani-printed sarees, lac bangles, meenakari trinkets and blue pottery. And while you’re at it, shop for some string puppets or kathputlis that make for some excellent souvenirs. Galtaji temple, also called the Monkey Temple, is another must visit. If your eyes just can't get enough, visit Amber Fort, which has its own 600-year-old story to narrate, through its spectacular light and sound shows, cultural performances and folk music. Rajasthani tailored clothes, jewellery and handicrafts are a huge hit as souvenirs, for their exquisite mirror work, embroidery, leather and splashes of colour. Some famous places this illustrious workmanship can be bought from are Rajasthali, Anokhi, Johari bazaar and Sireh Deori Bazaar, but remember to bargain. Central Museum and Albert Hall museum are great places to learn about Rajasthan's rich history and culture and also to buy handicrafts. The Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literature festival, is dear to almost every bibliophile around the globe. Here, enjoy literature and music, amidst the likes of William Dalrymple, Stephen Fry and many other renowned writers and personalities. The 5-day festival is hosted in Diggi Palace, which gives people around the world an insight into Rajasthan's captivating cultural heritage. For those interested in pampering their palates with the flavourful Rajasthani cuisine against the backdrop of a picturesque village should visit Chokhni Dani. For a regal experience, a stay at the Suvarna Mahal is a must visit.
Home to the grandiose Taj Mahal, Agra’s city echoes of its bygone Mughal era days. Located in Uttar Pradesh, tourists from across the world flock to Agra all year round. Boasting of three UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Agra Fort in the city,the white marble architectural wonder of the Taj Mahal and the nearby Fatehpur Sikri. Agra is also dotted with numerous tombs and buildings that have been left behind by the Mughal empire. Agra’s tourism can also be credited to its sweeping gardens of Soami Bagh, Ram Bagh and the most beautiful of them all, Mehtab Bagh. Agra city is also swarmed by a multitude of temples that add to Agra’s vibrant character. The Balkeshwar and Kailash temple on Yamuna’s banks worship Lord Shiva, while the Mankameshwar Temple is loved by the locals for it mellifluous aarti. And while you are in Agra, you should definitely incorporate Sikandra in your itinerary. Akbar’s tomb, or Sikandra lies north to the city, and takes about thirty minutes from Agra. Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, fondly referred to as the Baby Taj is another must visit.
Once known as Shyamala, synonymous with Goddess Kali, Shimla has been a summer retreat long before India even gained independence. This famous hill station similarly has a lot of places and things to see untouched by time. For instance, take a vintage joy ride from Kalka station to Shimla in a charming toy train that will take you through towering Deodars, hills and villages. Shimla truly comes alive during winters when a blanket of snow covers it all over making every nook and corner gleam and glisten. One such place is the ice skating rink (natural ice) near Lakkar Bazaar that opens from November to December. More winter sports include skiing, which can be enjoyed 21 km from Shimla in Kufri. Adventure activities such as rafting at Tattapani or a trek to Shali Tibba and Pabbar Valley are also worthwhile experiences. If you are fond of haunted stories and interested in having your own spooky adventure, you'll love Shimla. A lot of people including the renowned Rudyard Kippling (in 'My Own True Ghost Story) have written various eerie stories set around Shimla. A place known most for giving many people the jeepers-creepers is the Charleville Mansion. Another time travelling portal is the antique bookstore, Marina Brothers, located on Mall Road, which is truly a reader and collector's paradise. There are many luxury and budget hotels here, meaning you'll never fall short of options. Popular places to eat include Wake & Bake, Ashiana, Cecil and Minchy's that serve commendable Indian and multi-cuisine dishes and delicious gourmet food.
Chandigarh is India's first planned city, quite distinct from the rest of the country and considerably better organized. It is the capital of both Haryana and Punjab, but the city itself is not part of either state, being a union territory, i.e. administered directly by the central government. It was one of the early planned cities in post-independence India and is internationally known for its architecture and urban design. Chandigarh has various visitor attractions including theme gardens within the city. Some notable sites are Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Rose Garden, Parrot Bird Sanctuary Chandigarh, and Leisure Valley. Chandigarh as a perfect city with regards to its cultural growth, modernisation and architecture. Rose Garden is home to over 1,500 varieties of rose and the Garden of Fragrance is perfect for those mind-refreshing walks. Chandigarh has a bustling food scene, home to every cuisine you can think of right from Mediterranean (Kelong, Virgin Courtyard) to Thai (Tao- Bar & Lounge). Some popular places for Punjabi dishes are Punjab Grill and Sher-e-Punjab. Chandigarh is also close to many hill stations such as Solan, Kasauli, Shoghi and Naldehra.
Dehradun is easily one of the most popular hill stations in India. Though easily accessible by all modes of transportation, taking the road would be the best way to experience this heaven. The drive will take you through dense forests on the hilly road and if you're lucky, you might even see a wild elephant or leopard pass you by. The fresh and dewy hill air will infiltrate your lungs and put you in a great mood right away. In terms of things to see, there is Robber's Cave, a river cave formation and Sahashtradhara, which is also a stunning sight of nature consisting of sulphur springs. But more than its sights, Dehradun is the perfect place for a family getaway. After all it has everything that you could need for a relaxing holiday. The town has many vintage bookshops (Natraj Publishers, The English Book Depot), college campuses with hilly backdrops, architectural marvels (such as the Forest Research Institute), alleys filled with quaint restaurants, adventure sports gear shops and forest resorts and hotels to fit every budget. Vishranti, a resort tucked away discreetly in the Sal forests of the Doon valley, deserves a special mention for its beauty and luxury. The city is a haven for foodies as Dehradun offers a lot of variety and affordability in its cuisine. Restaurants and cafes such as Doon Darbar, renowned for devour-worthy Mughlai dishes and The Buffet for its mouthwatering burgers, cutlets and coffee, are popular options.
Located in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Nainital is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Northern India. The stunning Nainital lake is bang in the middle of the city and offers tourists stunning sunsets and enchanting sunrises. One legend says that Nainital derives its name from the Goddess Naina, whereas another legend claims that once when the Goddess Sati was being carried by Lord Shiva, her eye fell in the area. The lovely hill station promises a rejuvenating weekend break for those who are coming from the capital city and is definitely worth a visit. Like most hill stations, Nainital has a bustling mall road, warm cafes and a very busy Tibet market. The mall road houses shops selling candles with intricate designs, wooden knick knacks and colourful woollens. Do bring back some souvenirs as keepsakes! If you have time, do visit Sattal, Naukuchiatal (for paragliding and kayaking) as well as Ranikhet for its surreal beauty. If you are looking for a quiet, carefree holiday, visit between the months of January and April. It'll be cold, but there won't be any crowd.
Best Time to Visit New Delhi
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