We are not really the sort of people to race around destinations, checking off the monuments as we go. We very much enjoy exploring on foot and getting lost, chatting to people and seeing where that takes us. We are firm believers that you learn more from just soaking in the environment around you by taking it steady and waiting for the adventure to creep up on you rather than looking for something that you may never find.
Saying that, we do like to visit the odd temple or two. Delhi is a great place to start as it is full of grand architecture and fabulous sights. Here we have compiled a few things to do which are definitely worth a visit if you have you the time and rupees!
They call it the mini Taj for a very good reason. During the Mughal reign, they built a lot of mind-blowing architecture and this was the first grand build, which paved way for many others. You only need to look at it from the front to see that the Taj Mahal was more of a later copy, albeit super-sized.
Not only was it reported to be the first example of their building skills, but was also the first monument of it’s scale to be constructed using red sandstone.
It was designed by a Persian architect and commissioned by Emperor Humayun’s senior widow Bega Begum (as one wife wouldn’t be enough for a player like Humayan) in 1565AD. Begum reportedly spent the rest of her life and the rest of her money in ensuring the completion of the tomb and saw it’s finished glory in 1572.
Surrounding the tomb are the quartered and rather well maintained Char Bagh gardens, which make for a peaceful stroll while the rest of the visitors fuss over the large buildings. The gardeners seemed a little confused to see anyone walking far away from the main attractions.
We honestly enjoyed this visit and was much easier to get through the crowds than our visit to the Taj Mahal itself. We recommend a visit.
Oh. It was also our very first experience of India’s two tier pricing system:
Indian people = Rs10
Westeners = Rs250
A huge city gate, which was completed in 1931 – 10 years after the first foundation stone was
laid. This monument is truly massive at 42m high and well protected from local traffic. We had to walk around the corner to reach it since vehicles are no longer allowed.
It was built as a commemoration to the tens of thousands of British Indian Army soldiers who gave their lives in WW1 and the 3rd Anglo-Afghan war. There are 13,300 names inscribed into the gate and the place is really quite moving, or it would be if we didn’t get hassle every 2 minutes from hawkers trying to sell us magic helicopters or photographs. Still, we can’t let this detract from our experience of the place.
The surrounding gardens are very well maintained and make for a peaceful walk. The site is free for everyone to enjoy and the gate is so huge that it can be seen from afar.
It was a grim day in Delhi and was threatening rain through the grey skies, but we were keen to head out to visit the Lotus Temple before we moved on from Delhi.
We are not in any sense, believers of any form of higher power but the Baha’i philosophy is
definitely something that we can identify with a little more than most other religions because at it’s core (in our interpretation maybe) it is about humanity and acceptance of others beliefs.
Their faith is more concerned with unity of people and religion. There is only one God and that all religions originate from the same source. We were all created equally by one God and so should embrace and respect one another’s differences like culture, background, colour etc. This Lotus Temple was the last of seven Baha’i temples world wide to be built.
The Baha’i Lotus Temple was designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba and the completed build was finished in 1986. It is situated in a beautiful garden surrounded by small ponds closer to the main house of worship.
Entry is free. We think it is open every day apart from mondays. It is nearly always busy so I guess there is no best time to visit. It is definitely worth a peek so get your elbows ready for a long queuing sesh Indian style!
Winter 9-5. Summer 9-7.
Located south of India Gate, and close to the Garden of Five Senses, this minar stands above the city at 100 meters tall. The red sandstone and marble create a colourful contrast against the grey sky that loomed over on the day that we visited.
Construction began in 1193 and was finally completed in 1368, having been originally commissioned by the first muslim sultan of Delhi.
It’s a pleasant walk around, although we were photographed like celebrities the entire time (sometimes without our permission). The crowds of people can make it a little tiring, but is worth a visit.
Yet again, we’re white millionaires, so the pricing goes like this:
Indian = Rs10
Foreigner = Rs250
That’s quite a mark up.
There are many other monuments, gardens and other places of interest in Delhi that we just didn’t get time to visit, but we will be going back soon.
Have you been? Do you have any suggestions for places to visit? More importantly, can you recommend a decent coffee shop for us? We are gasping for a cuppa.
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~The Vagabond Beans~