1. MONUMENTAL HERITAGE IN DELHI
Famous Monuments : Red Fort, Qutab Minar, India Gate
Sacred Temples : Kalkaji Temple, Birla Mandir, Akshardham Temple
Famous Forts : Old Fort, Tughlaqabad Fort
Mostly Visited Museums : Dolls Museum, Rail Museum, National Museum
The Buildings The Sing The Bygone Glory
So rich is the heritage - both secular and sacred - ranging from grand Mughal forts to the towering temples portraying exquisite architecture.
Somewhere it is the ornate Nagara style, somewhere it is the opulent Gothis architecture. But everywhere you can find fun.
Red Fort - A Poetry In Stone
After Mughal Emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital to the royal quarters of Delhi, this colossal fort sprouted from the heart of his new city,
Shahjahanabad. Construction of this stately fort began in 1639 and took 9 years and a huge sum of 10 million to create such magic in red sandstone.
The Impressive Minaret of Qutab
Nestling in the southern quarters of lush Delhi, the 237.8 ft stately tower is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afgan architecture. This ornate tower is
now an eminent member of the World Heritage Site community, and leans about 60 cm off the vertical, but otherwise has survived the ravages of time
The Amazing Akshardham
The beautiful monument built without steel, consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra
Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities.
The Enchanting National Museum
Nestling at the corner of Janpath and Maulana Azad Road, just south of rajpath, the National Museum has in its possession over 2,00,000 works of
exquisite art, both of Indian and foreign origin embracing more than 5,000 years of our rich cultural heritage.
Humayun's Tomb, Delhi
The Garden Tomb Humayun's tomb lies on the
Mathura road near its crossing with the Lodi Road.
High rubble-built walls enclose here a square garden
divided initially into four large squares separated by
causeways and channels, each square divided again
into smaller squares by pathways ('Chaharbagh') as in
a typical Mughal garden. The lofty mausoleum is
located in the centre of the enclosure and rises from a
podium faced with series of cells with arched openings.
The central octagonal chamber containing the
cenotaph is encompassed by octagonal chambers at
the diagonals and arched lobbies on the sides, their
openings closed with perforated screens. Three
emphatic arches dominate each side, the central one being the highest. This plan is repeated on the
second storey, and a 42.5m high double dome of marble surmounts the roof with pillared kiosks
('chhatris') placed around it. The structure is built with red sandstone, but white and black marble has
been used to relieve the monotony, the latter largely in the borders. Haveli Of Hakeem Ashanullah Khan
The haveli of Hakeem Ashanullah Khan, personal physician of the emperor Bahdur Shah Zafar, was a
fortress for those who were able to hide themselves here in the 'ghadar'- the Sepoy Mutiny time. The
mansion almost covers 2,000-square-yards and appears to be a mohalla itself. It was because of the
orders of the Hakeem that Ghalib was given the scholarship to write the history of the Mughal dynasty.
Immediately after the Mutiny, British confiscated the house of the Hakeem. It was soon returned too,
2. but not before it was stripped of the old chandeliers and lamps. True Mughal Architecture The tomb was
built by Humayun's senior widow Bega Begam, popularly known as Haji Begam, nine years after his
death in 1565 according to some, but fourteen years according to the manuscript of an 18th century
text. It is the first substantial example of the Mughal architecture, with high arches and double dome,
which occurs here for the first time in India. Although some tombs had already been sited within
gardens, it is also the first mature example of the idea of garden-tomb, which culminated in the Taj-
Mahal at Agra. The enclosure is entered through two lofty double-storeyed gateways, one on the west
and the other on the south, the latter now remaining closed. A 'baradari' (pavilion) occupies the centre
of the eastern wall of the enclosure and a bath-chamber that of the northern wall. A Homage To The
Royal Dynasty Several rulers of the Mughal dynasty lie buried in the mausoleum, although it is not
possible to identify their graves. Among those lying buried here are Bega Begam, Hamida Banu Begam -
Humayun's junior wife, Dara Shikoh - Shah Jahan's son, and the later Mughals, Jalandar Shah,
Farrukhsiyar, Rafi'u'd-Darajat, Rafi'u'd-Daula and 'Alamgir II, Bahadur Shah II, the last Mughal emperor
of Delhi had taken shelter in this tomb with the three princes during the mutiny and was captured here
in 1857 by Lieutenant Hodson.
AROUND THE TOMB Barber's Tomb Within the compound of Humayun's tomb to its southeast stands
an impressive square tomb with a double-dome. It is not quite known who is buried inside it, although it
is usually referred to as Barber's tomb. There are two graves inside it inscribed with verses from the
Quran. One of the graves is inside it inscribed with verses from the Quran. One of the graves is inscribed
with the figure 999, which may stand for the 'Hijra' year corresponding to 1590-91. Nila-Gumbad
Outside the Humayun's tomb enclosure on the southeastern side stands an impressive tomb of
plastered stone covered with a dome of blue tiles. Octagonal externally but square within, its ceiling is
profusely decorated with painted and incised plaster. With its high neck and absence of a double dome,
which would be usual for this period, it is a unique construction. Conforming to its general colourful
appearance around its drum are traces of tiles of other colours. Known as Nila-Gumbad (blue dome), it
is believed to have been built in 1625 by 'Abdu'r-Rahim Khan Khan-i-Khanan and is said to contain the
remains of Fahim Khan, one of his faithful attendants. There is some indication, however, that the tomb
may have existed even before the construction of Humayun's tomb and may, therefore, contain the
remains of some other person. Arab-Sarai The Arab-Sarai consists of a large enclosure adjoining the
southwestern corner of Humayun's tomb. It is divided into two quadrangles by series of cells provided
with a gateway in the centre.
The western enclosure has now been occupied by the Industrial Training Institute. Immediately outside
its lofty eastern entrance approached by a gateway from the east, with traces of paintings on its
underside, is the second quadrangle,originally bounded by arched cells, which is known as the 'mandi'
(market) and was added by Mihr Banu Agha, chief eunuch of Jahangir. The northern gate of the Arab-
Sarai lies immediately to the right of the eastern gate of Bu'- Halima's garden.
India Gate, Delhi
3. Location : New Delhi
Famous As : All India War Memorial
Designed By : Edwin Lutyens In 1921
Height : 42m
At the center of New Delhi stands the 42m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe" like Archway in the
middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart war memorial. It commemorates the
70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the First World War and
bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in
the Afghan war of 1919. The foundation stone was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of
Connaught in 1921 and was designed by Edwin Lutyens.
The monument was dedicated to the nation 10
years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin.
Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added
much later, after India got its independence. It is
in the form of a flame that burns day and night
under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers
who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War
of December 1971. The entire arch stands on a
low base of red Bharatpur stone and rises in
stages to a huge molding, beneath, which are
inscribed Imperial sons. Above on both sides is
inscribed INDIA, flanked by MCM and to the right,
The shallow domed bowl at the top was intended to be filled with burning oil on anniversaries but this
is rarely done. Surrounding the imposing structure is a large expanse of lush green lawns, which is a
popular picnic spot. One can see hoards of people moving about the brightly lit area and on the lawns
on summer evenings.
Jantar Mantar, Delhi
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A unique structure raised in 1724, now lies in the heart of Delhi's commercial
centre near Connaught place. This is the Jantar Mantar, one of several
astronomical observatories raised by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. The various
abstract structures within the Jantar Mantar are, in fact, instruments that were
used for keeping track of celestial bodies. Yet, Jantar Mantar is not only a
timekeeper of celestial bodies, it also tells a lot about the technological
achievements under the Rajput kings and their attempt to resolve the mysteries
regarding astronomy. The Jantar Mantar of Delhi is only one of the five
observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh II, the other four being located at Jaipur,
Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura.
All of these were built as far back as AD 1724-1730 during the period generally
known as the dark age of Indian history, when the last great Mughal emperor
Aurangzeb had died and the Mughal Empire was rapidly declining. During this period of turmoil, Muhammad Shah ascended
the throne of the Mughal Empire. As many enemies surrounded him, he sought the alliance of the Hindu rulers. Of these, the
most notable was Sawai Jai Singh II of Amber, who came into limelight since the days of Aurangzeb. When Jai Singh
ascended the throne of Amber in 1699, he was barely eleven, but sharp and shrewd far beyond his years. The then Mughal
emperor Aurangzeb was so impressed with the young ruler that he gave Jai Singh II the title of 'Sawai', meaning one and a
quarter of an average man in worth.
As Jai Singh repeatedly proved himself a worthy ally of the Mughals, Muhammad
Shah, who was seeking a dependable ally, zeroed in on Jai Singh and duly raised
him to the rank of governor of Agra and later, of Malwa. Legend Behind Jantar
Mantar Jai Singh was passionate about two things-arts and the sciences, chiefly
astronomy. Once, at the court of Muhammad Shah, he found the Hindu and
Muslim astrologers embroiled in a heated argument over certain planetary
positions. It was imperative that the positions be known accurately to determine
an auspicious hour for the emperor to set out on an expedition. Jai Singh offered
to rectify the then available astronomical tables, an offer that was readily accepted
by the Mughal emperor.
The result was an onsite Jantar Mantar in Delhi, an astronomical observatory
where the movements of sun, moon and planets could be observed.
4. Qutub Minar
Historical Construction Of A Landmark In 1199, Qutub-ud-Din raised the Qutub Minar
either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of
14.32m it tapers to 2.75m at a height of 72.5m and a valid reason why it took two
decades to complete this monument. Its a red sandstone tower covered with beautiful
and striking carvings and is inscribed with verses from the holy Quran.
Qutub Minar is still the highest stone tower in India as well as one of the finest Islamic
structures ever raised and Delhi's recognised landmark. The sultan's successor and
son-in-law, Iltutmish, completed it. In 1303, Ala-ud-Din established the second city of
Delhi, called Siri, of which nothing remains but the embattlements. He also had dug a
vast reservoir, Hauz Khas, to supply water to his city. Contemporary historians
describe the Delhi of that time as being the "envy of Baghdad, the rival of Cairo and
equal to Constantinople". For the sake of convenience, tourists visiting the Qutub
Complex could also see the Tomb of Adham Khan and Zafar Mahal in Mehrauli and
the Tomb of Jamali-Kamali behind the Qutub Minar. These however, belong to a later
date. The Damage & Restoration From the Nagari and Persian inscriptions on the
minar, it appears that it was damaged twice by lightning, in 1326 and 1368.
The first damage occurred during Muhammed Tughluq's reign (1325-51), and was
repaired by him apparently in 1332. The second damage was attended by Feroze
Tughluq (1351-88). Later in 1503, Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517) also carried out some
restoration in the upper storeys. Originally the minar had only four storeys, faced with
red and buff sandstone. The uppermost storey, which was damaged in 1368 during Feroze Tughluq's reign, was replaced by
him by two storeys, making free use of marble but leaving the lower portion of the fourth storey built with sandstone in its
original condition. The original three storeys are each laid on a different plan, the lowest with alternate angular and circular
flutings, the second with round ones and the third with angular ones only, with the same alignment of flutings, however, being
carried through them all. Its projecting balconies with stalactite pendentive type of brackets and inscriptional decorative bands
on different storeys heighten its decorative effect. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top. With
a height of 72.5 m and 379 steps, it is the highest stone tower in India and a perfect example of minar known to exist
Red Fort, Delhi
One of the most spectacular pieces of Mughal Architecture is the Lal Quila or the Red Fort. Built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and
1648, the Red Fort has walls extending up to 2 kms. in length with the height varying from 18 mts. on the river side to 33 mts. on the city side.
The entry to this splendid fort is from the Lahori Gate or the Chatta Chowk. Lal Quila is now a busy market place called the 'Meena Bazaar'. This bazaar
has an excellent collection of antiques, miniature paintings and skillfully crafted fake ivory jewellery. The bazaar also sells some fabulous carpets
beautifully woven. Just beyond the Chhata Chowk, is the heart of the fort called Naubat Khana, or the Drum House. Musicians used to play for the
emperor from the Naubat Khana, and the arrival of princes and royalty was heralded from here.
The Fort sports all the obvious trappings befitting a vital centre of Mughal governance: halls of public and private audiences, domed and arched marble
palaces, plush private apartments, a mosque, and elaborately designed gardens. Even today, the Fort remains an impressive testimony to Mughal
5. grandeur, despite being attacked by the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah in 1739, and by
the British soldiers, during the war of independence in 1857.
The Fort also houses the Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audiences, where the
Emperor would sit on a marbled paneled alcove, studded with gems, and hear
complaints of the common people. The Diwan-i-Khas is the hall of Private Audiences,
where the Emperor held private meetings. This hall is made of marble, and its centre-
piece used to be the Peacock Throne, which was studded with rubies and gems and
was carried away to Iran by Nadir Shah in 1739. Today, although the Diwan-i-Khas is
only a pale shadow of its original glory, yet the verse of Amir Khusro " If there is
Paradise on the face of earth, it is here, it is here, it is here" reminds us of its former
The Rang Mahal or the 'Palace of Colours' as it is known, holds a spectacular Lotus
shaped fountain, made out of a single piece of marble, and housed the Emperor's wives
and mistresses. The palace was decorated with excellent paintings, gold bordered
projections, mosaics of mirrors and the ceiling was made with gold and silver which
wonderfully reflected in a central pool in the marble floor. The other attractions enclosed within this monument are the hammams or the Royal Baths, the
Shahi Burj, which used to be Shahjahan's private working area, and the Moti Masjid or the Pearl Mosque, built by Aurangzeb for his personal use