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Information Qutub complex
Qutub Minar is world heritage site. At 73 m it is the highest single tower in India. It was built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. While some say it was constructed as a tower of victory marking the beginning of Muslim dominion in India, some others say it simply served as a minaret to call the faithful to prayer. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top.
At the foot of the tower is the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the first mosque to be built in India. Its name means "The Might of Islam Mosque" and an inscription over its eastern gate states that it was built with materials obtained from demolishing '27 Hindu temples'. Hindu motifs from these temples are still clearly visible on the pillars of the mosque.
In the courtyard of the mosque stands the mysterious Iron Pillar of Delhi. Dating from the 4th-century, this 7 m high pillar is one of the metallurgical interests of the world. An inscription around the pillar states that it was originally made as a flagstaff in honour of the Hindu god Vishnu. What the inscription does not tell us however is how it was made, for the most interesting thing about this pillar is that the iron has still not rusted after 1700 years.
The site is located in southern Delhi, a 2 km walk or a 40 rupee tuk-tuk ride from the Qutub Minar metro station.
Entrance 600INR (8USD in 2020)
Hauz Khas District
Information Hauz Khas District
Hauz Khas is an Urdu term meaning "Royal Tank" and was named after the ancient water reservoir which was built by Alauddin Khilji in 1296 to supply water to Siri Fort. The remains of the reservoir is now a lake that stands at the center of the Hauz Khas Complex, which also contains a 14th century Madrasa (Islamic school), mosque, tomb and pavilions. The complex is located within a series of forested parks scattered with the tombs of royal personalities that ruled in the area between the 14th and 16th centuries. If you are looking for a break from the hustle-bustle of the city then stroll for an hour or two along the peaceful paths and look out for the mysterious domed buildings appearing between the trees.
Hauz Khas is located in southern Delhi, a 2 km walk or a 50 rupee tuk-tuk ride from Hauz Khas metro station.
Entrance free (2020)
Red Fort New Delhi
Information Red Fort New Delhi
The Red Fort, also known as the Lal Qila, was built in 1639 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan when the capital of the Empire shifted from Agra to Delhi. It was named the Quila-i-Mubarak which means the 'Blessed Fort' and was the residence of the Mughal Royal Family. In 1857 Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British who then used the fort as a military camp until the Independence of India in 1947. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007.
The fort is octagonal in shape, the walls stretching over 2.5 km with a height of between 16 and 33 meters. Inside the fort are a collection of monuments and pavilions, some beautifully carved and decorated. The pavilions are all connected by a series of canals through which the Nahrr-i-Behisht or 'Stream of Paradise' once ran, fed by the Yaruma River.
The main entrance to the Fort is from Lahore Gate which lies at the eastern end of Chandni Chowk, less than 1 km from Chandni Chowk metro station. The ticket office is about 500 m to the right of the entrance at the southern end of the fort.
Entrance Fees (in 2020)
600INR (8USD) for the fort
950INR (13USD) for the fort plus the museums
Bhai Mati Dass Museum
Information Bhai Mati Dass Museum
This tiny museum tucked into a corner on Chandni Chowk is made up entirely of paintings of the Sikh gurus, telling stories from their life and that of their followers. The museum is named after one of the disciples of Guru Teg Bahadur who was killed at Chandni Chowk in 1675.
The story goes that the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb was forcing a group of Kashmiri Pandits to convert to Islam and approached the Guru for help. The Guru said that if the emperor could convert him, everyone else would convert; otherwise the emperor would have to give up his policy of coercion. Guru Teg Bahadur and three of his disciples (Bhai Mati Dass, Bhai Sati Dass and Bhai Dyala) were captured and imprisoned in Delhi. The three Sikhs were tortured in the presence of the guru to scare him into converting to Islam. It is said that Bhai Mati Dass was sawn in half, Bhai Sati Dass wrapped in cotton and set on fire and Bhai Dyala boiled alive. Even after witnessing the torture and death of his followers, Guru Teg Bahadur refused to convert to Islam. As a result, he was beheaded.
The museum is located just outside the Chandni Chowk metro station opposite the golden domed Gurdwara (place of assembly and worship for Sikhs). You must remove your shoes and cover your head before you enter.
Entrance free (2020)
Information India Gate
The India Gate (also called the Delhi Memorial) is a 42 m high sandstone arch commemorating the 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in wars fought between 1914 and 1919. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers. Surrounding the imposing structure is a large expanse of green lawns, a popular picnic spot for locals.
Located in the center of New Delhi, a 2 km walk from either Central Secretariat or Udyog Bhawan metro stations.
Entrance free (2020)