Delhi is one of the longest serving capital cities in the world. In all these years Delhi saw the rise and fall several rulers. Most of them left their own landmarks and monuments in the heart of the city of which few still stands testing the time. The Delhi Sultanate would the first to consider this city as the capital and build grand buildings and monuments. Qutab Minar, Tughlaqabad Fort are their contributions. Then came the Mughals who built the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Humayun Tomb and Safdarjung Tomb.
British took over the control of Delhi from the Mughals and after the independence it became the capital of Republic of India. Since it been a city of high importance serving as the capital of different rules, there are a number of buildings and monuments to visit.
In this post I be describing five must visit monuments in Delhi build by the Mughals. If you are in Delhi dont miss this. All the five monuments are near metro stations and can be easily accessed. If you are visiting Delhi for the first time, read this post and visit the sites. The usual timings of all these monuments are from sunrise to sunset and is open on all days, except Red Fort which is closed on Mondays.
Posts about other monuments and places of interests in Delhi will be up soon. Stay tuned for that.
Nearest Metro Station : Qutab Minar, Timings : 7am to 5pm, Entry fee : Rs.30 for Indians, Rs. 500 for foreigners.
Qutab Minar standing at a height of 73 meters is the tallest brick tower in the world. The construction was started by Qutb ud Din Aibek in the year 1199 who founded the Delhi sultanate. After his death the tower was completed by Iltutmish. Several small structures were added to the tower and the complex, also it was renovated and restored several times by different people.
Qutab minar was an inspiration to build many other minarets around the globe, it being the first massive structure built. The tower is accessible through a spiral staircase inside, which is not open to the public. There are five different levels, of which the first two levels are made of sand stones, fourth level made from white marble, fifth level made with marble and sandstone.
There are numerous inscriptions in the structure. Arabic calligraphy can be seen on the side of the tower. Along with the Qutab minar, there are few other buildings in the complex. A rust proof iron pillar with the inscription by Chandragupta II can be found in the complex.
Nearest Metro Station : Jor Bagh, Timings : 7am to 5pm, Entry fee : Rs.15 for Indians, Rs. 200 for foreigners.
A beautifully crafted building built in 1754 as a mausoleum for the Prime minister of Mughal Empire, Safdarjung. He was also the Nawab of Oudh which was one of the richest province in the Mughal empire.
It is built in the Humayun tomb model with an elaborate garden seperated by water channels and fountains with the main mausoleum at the centre. The whole compound is inside a huge rectangular wall with four gates at the middle of each side.
The fountains and water channels are not working as of now, since it was not maintained or checked for quite a long time, in the hands of Archeological Survey of India. The building is much smaller compared to Humayun tomb, but I find the carvings and external works on Safdarjung tomb more complicated and beautiful.
Nearest Metro Station : JLN Stadium / Jor Bagh, Timings : 7am to 5pm, Entry fee : Rs.30 for Indians, Rs. 500 for foreigners.
Humayun tomb constructed in the year 1572 by the orders of Bega Begum, wife of Humayun the Mughal Emperor after his death. Bega Begum wanted this to be the largest and most magnificent building in the entire empire and something which will show her love for her husband.
It was the first building to use red sand stones in such a vast scale. Designed in the Persian style, with arched gates and walls it is a true example of architectural excellence. This mausoleum became an inspiration for the construction of Taj Mahal, which was built in white marble but follows similar construction.
It was something extraordinary with huge gardens and water channels which flows in all four directions interconnected, and with fountains. The placement of the mausoleum, the final resting place at the centre of a garden with water flowing through it, is similar to the description of paradise. The same model is taken for the construction of several other structures later.
It also marked the beginning of a new era of Indo-Persian architecture. The double domed structure was the first in India. Also the symmetry of the building, gardens, gates and the whole compound is notable.
The Humayun Tomb complex also contains few other monuments like the Isa Khan Tomb, Arab Serai etc.
Nearest Metro Station : Chandini Chowk, Timings : 7am to 5pm, Entry fee : Rs.35 for Indians, Rs. 500 for foreigners. (Monday holiday)
The massive fort built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 is better known as Lal Quila because of the red sand stone used for the walls. The design of this fort was by Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also designed the Taj Mahal.
Red fort witnessed many important events of Indian history, from the trial of last Mughal emperor after the revolt of 1857, the hosting of first Indian flag during at the time of Independence by the first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, even today the prime minister of India hosts the Indian flag every year on independence day.
The Red Fort compound is octagonal in shape and enclosed by a 2.41 kilometres long defensive wall. Lahori gate which faces the city of Lahore is the main gate through which we enter the compound now. This is the place where prime minister hosts the Indian flag. When we enter through the Lahori gate, Mosti Masjid, Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-I-Aam are what we see.
Most of the beautiful structures inside the complex was destroyed and artefacts looted by the British. What remains is the outer defensive wall. The famous peacock throne, and the kohinoor diamond were looted from Red Fort.
Nearest Metro Station : Jama MAsjid, Timings : 7am to 12pm and 1:30pm to 6:30pm, Entry free
The Jama Masjid is an important landmark in Delhi, built in 1644 by Shah Jahan. It is one of the largest masjids in India which can accommodate 25,000 worshipers at a time. It sands opposite to the Red Fort. One can walk from the Red Fort to the Jama Masjid and explore the Old Delhi area.
There are three entrance gates, of which two are open for public entrance. The entry is free. You cannot enter the main praye rarea if visiting while prayers. There are two minarets of 40 meter high. Access to one of the minaret is provided. The structure is built with red sand stone and white marble.
The food stalls and restaurants near the Jama Masjid are something you should never miss. Also if possible witness the Friday prayers at Jama Masjid. It will be very crowded and the usually not so crowded Masjid, will be filled with worshipers on Fridays.