to be assigned as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, this tomb was
believed to be designed by Haji Begum, Humayun's Persian widow in the
mid 16th century, shortly after his death in 1556. The tomb was an
important predecessor of Mughal mausoleums. The 'Garden Tomb' as it is
popularly called, is set amidst a geometrically planned garden with a
number of water channels crisscrossing it. Typically, a Persian garden
that would later be seen in the Red Fort of Delhi and Taj Mahal of Agra,
its architectural form and especially its main chamber bears familiarity
with the tomb of the Mongol Ilkhanid ruler of Persia, Oljeytu, at
Sultaniyya, which in turn was influenced by Timurid architecture of the
tomb of Timur (Tamerlane) in Samarkand, the lineage of Babur.
The first Indian building to use the Persian double dome, Humayun's
tomb is harmonious in its proportions and has some impressions of Indian
architecture that are clearly visible in the small kiosks or chhatris on
the roof. The building has beautiful inlaid tile work and intricately
carved stone screens.
Every Indian heart swells with pride and patriotism as it beholds this
beloved gateway, which witnesses the Republic Day parade every year on
26th January, where the latest advancements in military artillery is
shown to the public as soldiers and school children march in groups with
beaming and bright faces illumined by the love for their motherland. The
parade also has decorated vehilcles that glimpses from all the states
and union territories of the country, called 'Jhankis'. Straight down
the road from Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate is a famous war memorial at
the east end of Rajpath. Edward Lutyens designed this 42 m high gate
structure in memory of the thousands of Indians who sacrificed their
lives in World War I. Today, an eternal flame is lit under the gate
known as Amar Jawan Jyoti, to honor the unknown soldiers and the martyrs
who lost their lives in the Pakistan war of 1971.
To the south of Delhi, the tallest structure of its time, Qutub Minar
is 72.5 m in height and has a mosque at the base. It is a magnificent
structure whose construction started in 1199 by a Muslim King
Qutab-ud-din Aibak (after whom it was named) and was finished by his
heir IItutmish. There is an iron pillar standing proudly in front of it
since 5th century and has not rusted till yet! It is said that if one
hugs this Iron Pillar of Mehrauli and wish for something, it is granted.
Unfortunately, the authorities had to disallow tourists from climbing to
its top because of several suicide attempts that came into light here.
However, there are so many ruins of the ancient times surrounding the
area complete with the myths and legends to them that it is quite
enjoyable to take a walk around in its premises.
the large masonry structures in Jantar Mantar appear abstract and do not
appeal to the first sight of the fine art lovers, be not deceived.
Jantar Mantar is far way from being a modern art gallery. It is an
observatory built on the blueprints of Raja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur
(1699-1743) who was an honored noble in the Mughal court during the
times of Aurungzeb. It was said that the erroreneous brass and metal
astronomical instruments of those times dissatisfied Sawai Jai Singh who
was a keen astronomer. After ensuring the safety of his kingdom by
shaking hands with the mighty Mughals, he turned his attention to
correcting the existing astronomical tables and contemporarize the
almanac with more reliable instruments.
Delhi's Jantar Mantar is the first of the five observatories, the
others being in Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura. The Samrat Yantra
is actually a simple equal hour sun dial, the Ram Yantra was used for
reading altitudinal angles, Jai Prakash Yantra ascertained the position
of the sun and other celestial bodies in the skies, while the Misra
Yantra was a combination of four scientific gadgets.
Situated near the circular building of the Parliament House,
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the place where the first man of the Nation lives.
The official residence of the President of India was once used as the
official residence of the Viceroys stationed in India during the British
Raj. Edward Lutyens designed this palatial complex. Cream and
red-colored sandstones and diverse varieties of marble have been used in
its construction. This extensive mansion has 340 rooms, 35 lobbies, vast
expanses of well-maintained gardens and 37 fountains to boast of, and is
certainly, the pride of India. Though the entry to this massive
structure is naturally restricted, the famous Mughal Gardens (which is
perhaps the best botanical garden of India and houses thousands of rare
varieties of trees, shrubs yielding some of the most captivating flowers
and fruits) are opened for public viewing for sometime from the end of
February to the middle of March.
must visit for all the visitors to Delhi, Red Fort or Lal Qila is a
massive red sandstone structure built on the shores of River Yamuna.
Shah Jahan built it with a vision of shifting his capital from Agra to
Delhi. It was completed in 1648 and has two main entrances - Delhi Gate
and Lahori Gate. Lahori Gate of the Red Fort opens up to the so-famous
Chandni Chowk market. Besides its rich archeology museum, the places
worth seeing in this vast fort are Diwan-e-Am, the court where the king
heard public grievances and Diwan-e-Khas ('khas' means 'special'), which
was meant for important visitors of the king. There is not-worth-a-miss
'Sound and Light Show' held here every evening in both Hindi and English
languages, which retells the history of Delhi and mesmerize the guests
with the beautiful performances.
A pilgrimage to all the patriotic Indians, this place was where the
Father of The nation, Mahatama Gandhi, was cremated after his
assassination in 1948. It consists of a simple square platform with the
words 'Hey Ram' written on it. People come here and offer flowers at the
place as a tribute to the great apostle of peace buried here. There is a
Gandhi Memorial Museum nearby, where once can see and buy books and
tapes containing the writings, speeches and memories of Gandhiji. A
short distance to the north of Raj Ghat is Shanti Vana where Jawaharlal
Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, his daugher Indira Gandhi, who
herself was a prominent figure in Indian politics and is till now the
first and only women Prime Minister of India and her two sons, Rajiv
(also the beloved Prime Minister) and Sanjay, were cremated.
Purana Qila or Old Fort:
From the recent excavations near this fort, archaeological evidences
such as pottery have been found which throws a new light on the
existence of the city of Indraprastha at this place, as mentioned in the
great epic of Mahabharata. Sher Shah Suri built the fort and completed
it in 1545. However, he soon lost it to the Mughal emperor Humayun, who
made good use of the octagonal red sandstone tower known as 'Sher
Mandal' as his library and observatory. It is rumored that Humayun
slipped from the second storey steps and met his death here. There is a
dainty small lake in its premises, where one can enjoy boat rides during