Delhi has its own charm! A haven for foodies, Delhi also appealed to the history lover in me. If you are also a fan of ancient architecture and history, Delhi is a city which will never stop amusing you. Steeped in history, all the below mentioned monuments in Delhi and around would be worth visiting. These are certainly some of the best things to do in Delhi if you are a heritage aficionado.
- Red Fort
This huge red sandstone fort which stands a testimony to the Mughal Empire that flourished in the past in Delhi was built by Shah Jahan. The fort took a decade for the construction and was completed in 1638. The Red Fort is octagonal in shape and has delicate and attractive flower decorations on its walls. Calligraphy also adorns the walls of the fort. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is spread over an area of 254.67 acres. The fort comprises of other architectural structures Diwan-e-Aam, the Moti Masjid, the Hayat Baksh Bagh and the Diwan-e-Khas. The Red fort was constructed when the Emperor decided to shift the base of the empire from Agra and make Delhi as the capital. It was the residence of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years till 1857.
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – Red Fort)
2. Qutub Minar
The construction of this historical monument was started by Qutubuddin Aibak and stands 73 meters tall. it is the world’s highest minaret that is made from rubbles and masonry. The tower is built of red sandstone. Decorated with delicate carvings, this tower has verses of the Holy Quran inscribed on some portions.
3. Humayun’s Tomb
This tomb is dedicated to Mughal Emperor Humayun. It was built by Empress Bega Begum who was the first wife of the Mughal Emperor. The tomb was constructed in 1569-70 and was designed by the Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas. The tomb is the first garden-tomb in our country. It is situated in Nizamuddin East in Delhi. The tomb has been approved as UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 1993.
- Safdarjung’s Tomb
This tomb is the tomb of Safdarjung and is the last garden tomb in the city. It was constructed by Shuja-Ud-Daula who was the son of Safdarjung. It was built during 1753-54. The mausoleum consists of Madrasa and other small historical buildings like Jangli Mahal, Badshah Pasand, and Moti Mahal. The place also includes a library that is managed by the archeological survey of India. The tomb also includes fountains and ponds that adorn the monument. It has been constructed using the red sandstone and also has a dome which is made up of white marble. The tomb has been crafted on an elevated platform. The entrance to the tomb is from the east side and includes large walkways on the other 3 sides.
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – Safdarjunj Tomb)
- Parliament House
Also called as Sansad Bhavan, this building is situated at the end of the Sansad Marg. This iconic structure is located in New Delhi and was the layout was prepared by British architects Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens. The Parliament House was inaugurated by the then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin in the year 1972. This is the building where the Constitution of India was created. It was drafted in the Central Hall which is a vital part of the structure. The building includes Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, and a library hall. The Parliament House also accommodates important officers of both the houses, ministers, Chairmen and Parliamentary Committees. It also has a high-tech museum that is complete with audio and video effects, big interactive computer screens and virtual screens.
- Rashtrapati Bhavan
Earlier known as the Viceroy’s House, this is the official residence of the President of India. It is situated at the West end of Rajpath in New Delhi, India. It is the biggest residence of a head of the country in the world. The mansion is four-storeyed and has 340 rooms. It is spread across an area of 130 hectares of land. The building also has huge Mughal Gardens, enormous open spaces, residential places of the staff and bodyguards, different offices and utilities as well as stables. The Rashtrapati Bhavan includes several halls and has a Dome on its top.
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – Rashtrapati Bhavan)
- India Gate
India Gate is located in New Delhi and is one of the most renowned historical monuments of the city. It is actually a war memorial that is dedicated to around 82000 soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War in the period 1914-21. The monument also has other memorial Amar Jawan Jyoti which has been built as a mark of respect for the soldiers who gave their lives during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. The monument was opened for display in1933. The monument is surrounded by green lawns and fountains. The historical monument was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – India Gate)
- Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is also known by the name of Masjid-I Jahan-Numa and is among the biggest mosques in India. The Masjid is situated in Old Delhi and was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the period 1644-1656. The magnificent structure contains a big courtyard that has a capacity of 25000 worshippers. The place also has other artifacts which also include an old copy of the Holy Quran which has been carved on deer skin. The main hall where prayers are held is decorated with 3 round and flat domes. The entrance to the Jama Masjid is beautified using high arches that cover the mihrab. The mosque also has a pool at the center. The monument is surrounded minarets on its four sides which are of white and red color. The Masjid also has a small shrine dedicated to Prophet Muhammad and includes his artifacts such as sandals, footprints on a marble slab and red hairs from the beard.
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – Jama Masjid)
- Lodi Gardens
This famous ancient park is spread over an area of 90 acres and is a popular destination that is frequently visited by localities and tourists. The park was earlier known as Lady Willingdon Park but was later renamed to its current name owing to the architectural and historical significance. The park contains various monuments such as Tomb of Sikander Lodi, Mohammed Shah’s Tomb, Bara Gumbad, Shisha Gumbad and other architectural buildings of the 15th century. The Lodi Gardens is now a well-protected site and is maintained by the ASI (Archeological Survey of India).
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – Lodi gardens)
- Jantar Mantar
This equinoctial sundial was built by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1724.The monument is like an observatory that helps in predicting the movement and time of the celestial bodies like the moon, the sun, and other planets. The monument contains different instruments that help in predicting astronomical events such as Mishra Yantra, Jayaprakash Yantra, and Samrat Yatra. Similar monuments have been constructed by the king in other places namely Mathura, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Jaipur.
- Alai Darwaja
This is a magnificent gate in the historical monument, Qutub Minar.It was built by Allaudin Khilji who was the Sultan of Delhi in 1311 AD. The Alai Darwaja has a dome-shaped entrance which has been built using red sandstone and is decorated with the white marble. The carvings on the walls of the structure are engraved with Nashk script and the building was built by Turkish craftsmen. It is built according to Islamic architectural style. This was one of the most vital structures and it added to the beauty of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. This particular building was constructed to add more attractiveness to the Qutub Minar complex.
- Purana Qila
This is one of the ancient forts in our country. The Purana Qila was built by Sher Shah Suri who was an Afghan King. The fort was assumed to be the capital of the Pandavas kingdom, Indraprastha. The height of the walls is 18 meters and its width is 1.5 km. The old fort has three main doors that are used as an entrance. Out of the three, Bada Darwaja is on the west faced, the southern gate is called as Humayun gate while the third gate is known as Talaqi Gate or forbidden gate.
- Agrasen ki Baoli
This historical monument is known by the name Ugrasen ki Baoli is a renowned step well and is safeguarded by ASI – Archeological Survey of India. This place is situated near Connaught Place, Delhi. This historical monument is located in the Hailey Road and is 60 meters long whereas its width is 15-meter.The step well has 103 steps which are made from red stones. There is no record of the facts as to who built this place. It is said that the monument was construction was started by King Agrasen and was restored by the Agrawal community in the 14th century. The step well is now a dry reservoir and is said to be one of the most haunted places in India.
- Ajmeri Gate
This historical structure represents the site that marks India’s first war of independence in 1957. It is situated in Chandni Chowk and the place is said this particular name because the road from the gate leads to a city in Rajasthan named Ajmer. The gate has a madrasa which was constructed by Nawab Ghaziuddin Bahadur and a park in its neighborhood. Although most of the part of the gate has been demolished due to urbanization, the west side of the gate still stands tall. The gate usually remains in locked state.
- Tughlaqabad Fort
This ruined fort is another popular tourist spot and was constructed by Ghiyas-ud-din-Tughlaq who established the Tughlaq dynasty. The fort is stretched over an area of 6 km that is surrounded by huge stone defense walls and contains numerous monuments. This historic monument is now an abandoned place in 1327.
- Khirki Masjid
Built in the 15th century AD by Khan-I-Jahan Junan Shah, this is a distinct mosque in Delhi that was constructed at the time of Tughlaq Empire. The literal meaning of the word Khirki is The Masjid of Windows. The mosque is quadrangular-shaped and was initially constructed as a fortress. The uniqueness of its design is that it is the only mosque which is entirely covered on the roof side.
17. Tomb of Imam Zamin
Situated near the Alai Darwaja in the Qutub complex, this building was built by Imam Zamin. He was a saint who came from Turkestan who had shifted his base to India in 1500 AD. The saint is said to have built his own tomb in which he was later cremated when he died in 1538.The tomb is small in size, has a dome and is made up of sandstone. The monument is said to have an octagonal base. The interiors of the structure are made of white plaster that is highly polished and also has intricate jaali designs as a part of the decorations.
(Historical Monuments in Delhi – Tomb of Imran Zamin)
18. Isa Khan’s Tomb
This mausoleum is situated in the neighborhood of Humayun’s tomb and was constructed during the period 1562-1571. The architectural style of the tomb has a striking resemblance to the other tombs that were built at the time of the Sur Dynasty. It is a garden style tomb. The beautiful tomb has been constructed with polished tiles, lattice windows, many verandahs and canopies that are supported by pillars. It is said to be one of the best garden style tombs in the country.
19. Ashok Pillar
This 7-meter high pillar is a well-known tourist attraction in Delhi. The pillar is located in Qutab complex and has been built with metals that are resistant to rust and corrosion. The pillar is estimated to be of 6000 kg and is said to have been built by one of the monarchs belonging to the Gupta dynasty. It is said that the Ashoka pillar was constructed by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya and has 98 percent of iron as its main component. The pillar is evidence of the high skill levels achieved by ironsmiths of ancient India.
How many of these monuments have you visited? Let me know in the comments below!