Delhi, India is a fascinating destination with a rich culture and long-standing history, unfortunately, there is not a lot of written history that references the area until the 12th century. Considered to be one of the most ancient cities in the world inhabited, Delhi has been the epicenter of large and powerful empires and has undergone many destructions throughout its history.
Before it became an independent nation and separated from the British Empire in 1947, it was ruled by the Mughal Empire for 300 years. During this time, many historical buildings were erected including The Qutub Minar (victory tower), Tughlaq Tombs (where nobles were buried), Jahaz Mahal (retreat for the emperors), the famous Red Fort, Jama Masjid (one of the largest mosques in India) and Safdarjung’s Tomb—most of these sites can still be visited today. During British rule, the Empire created a city within a city to house the British people, essentially closing themselves off from the Old City. Thus, ‘New Delhi’ was born. Today, New Delhi is a fascinating destination to explore, and if you’re bound for India’s capital in the future, here are some sites and places to check off your to-do list.
Agrasen ki Baoli
Agrasen Ki Baoli is an ancient structure dating back to ancient times to India’s famed king, Maharaj Agrasen, but the current structure you can visit today is said to be from the 14th century. Agrasen Ki Baoli is a 3-level stepwell with arched niches on both ends, developed to store water during the dry seasons. Agrasen Ki Baoli is located on Hailey Road and free to visit between 7am to 6pm.
Khan Market is known for its high-end shops and restaurants, but one gem here to check out is Anand Stationers. This small shop sells handmade stationery and other paper products that can also be customized. From notebooks, business cards, gift boxes, thank you cards and stationery paper to fabric gift bags, gift tags and so much more, Anand Stationers is a perfect one-stop-shop for unique gifts to take back home.
Kingdom of Dreams
Kingdom of Dreams is the place to go for live Bollywood performances inside an extensive theatre with soaring walls, “state-of-the-future technological wizardry”, revolving stage and fly bars. Kingdom of Dreams is a great escape from the outdoors where you can not only watch a dazzling show but a place where you can taste cuisines from different Indian territories at the Culture Gully. It’s best to see a performance on a weekday as prices tend to be the cheapest.
The Gole Market neighborhood in New Delhi, established in the 1920s, is one of the City’s oldest colonial markets that still operates today. Here, you can eat and shop all day, but one spot in particular to check out is Kaleva, a shop selling some of India’s best traditionally made sweets from recipes passed down to generations over 500 years. Some of the best sweets to try at Kaleva are laddoo (ball-shaped sweet made primarily with sugar and flour), gujiya (sweet deep-fried dumpling stuffed with dried fruits and khoa, dried Indian milk) and kaju burfi (cashew fudge slice).
The Qutb Minar complex dates back to the 12th century and home to a variety of buildings and monuments constructed by different Indian rulers. Although the complex is well-known, one structure in particular is very unique—the Iron Pillar. It stands at almost 24 feet tall and weighs over 13,200 pounds. The Iron Pillar was built more than 1,600 years ago in front of a Vishnu Temple complex and moved to the Qutb Minar complex in the 10th century. The Iron Pillar has many inscriptions, some of which have not yet been studied with a methodological approach, but that’s not what makes it so unique. The fact that the Iron Pillar is made of iron, which should corrode over time, hasn’t, despite the weather changes throughout the centuries. It’s proof of “the high level of skill achieved by the ancient Indian iron smiths in the extraction and processing of iron”.
If you’ve yet to visit New Delhi or are going back for a second or third trip, we hope this guide can help you discover some wonderful spots to make your getaway even more memorable.
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