Chandni Chowk

Preserving the antiquity of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk is a bustling neighbourhood that is one of the oldest in the national capital. A vibrant bazaar that is buzzing with activity, Chandni Chowk is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways that are crammed with small shops, either selling delicious servings of snacks, sweets and savouries or offering budgeted deals on a host of products, including clothes. This medieval shopping site is stocked with almost everything under the sun, and you can get a fine selection of perfumes, jewellery, electronics, candles, lifestyle goods and idols of gods and goddesses. Moreover, it also plays host to one of the largest wholesale markets in Delhi, in which visitors can get huge discounts on several items.

Chandni Chowk is perhaps most popular for its food, which was relished by personalities like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Behari Vajpayee, and others. As you explore the culinary riches of the market, start with the Old Famous Jalebi Wala, near the metro station. Sample piping hot soft and syrupy jalebis as you soak in Delhi winters. Food lovers can head to the Paranthe Wali Gali for an immersive experience. A noodle-thin lane lined with shops selling fresh and hot paranthas (stuffed flatbread), it is a must-visit. Next comes kachori-aloo (deep-fried pastry served with potato gravy) and dahi bhalla (deep-fried snack served with yoghurt). If you're visiting in summers, a tall glass of spiced lemonade never goes amiss. A highlight of the food scene of Chandni Chowk is rabri faluda (a sweet thick milk dish served with vermicelli). Many of the shops here are more than 100 years old and preserve a taste of medieval Delhi that makes one fall in love with the place.

Chandni Chowk

Jama Masjid

One of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid is situated in Old Delhi. Its construction was started in 1644 and completed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Made of red sandstone and marble, this gorgeous mosque is also called Masjid-I-Jahanuma, meaning the mosque commanding the view of the world. The courtyard of the mosque has been built with red sandstone and can be accessed from the north, the south and the east, via flights of stairs that were once venues for house markets, food stalls and entertainers. The courtyard is so huge that it can easily accommodate 25,000 devotees at one time. Jama Masjid has been built on an elevation of 10 m and has three gates, two 40-m-high minarets and four towers. From the tower, one can get a splendid view of bustling streets of Old Delhi.

The mosque houses many relics of Prophet Mohammad and draws devotees from far and wide. Some of these relics include a Quran written on deerskin, sandals and a footprint of the Prophet embedded in a marble slab, and a red hair, which is said to have been from his beard.

Jama Masjid

India Gate

A stunning archway standing as a tribute to the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country, India Gate is one of the landmarks of Delhi. Built with sandstone, this 42-m-high gate was the first of its kind in the national capital. The walls of the gateway have been inscribed with the names of 13,516 soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919, besides 90,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who were martyred in World War I. The base of the monument is made of red Bharatpur stones and the structure of India Gate is similar to France's Arc- de- Triomphe.

India Gate is fringed by lush well-maintained lawns that act as a popular picnic venue for families. The best time to visit this monument is at night when it is bathed in soft golden lights and glistens in the dark star-less sky.

India Gate

Red Fort

Lying at the heart of Delhi, the majestic Red Fort, made of fine red sandstone, stands as a testament to the architectural legacy of the Mughals. One of the most beautiful monuments in the world, this UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous as qila-e-mubaraq, is replete with palaces, pavilions and mosques.

Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the palace fort of his capital Shahjahanabad, Red Fort is famous for its massive enclosing walls. The architecture of the fort reflects a seamless fusion of Islamic, Persian, Timurid and Hindu styles. The major attractions are the Diwan-i-khas, also known as the Shah Mahal, the Diwan-i-aam or the Hall of Public Audience and the Rang Mahal (a part of the harem), also known as Imtiyaz Mahal. The other monuments here are the Naubat Khana (Drum House), where royal musicians played and announced the arrival of royal family members; the hammam (royal bath), and the Muthamman Burj, or Musaman Burj (a tower where the emperor would show himself to his subjects). Once the power of the Mughals weakend, the fort was plundered by the Persians, led by Nadir Shah, in 1739. The invaders took away much of the fort's treasures, including the opulent Peacock Throne, which Shah Jahan had crafted out of gold and gemstones (including the precious Kohinoor diamond).

Red Fort

Humayuns Tomb

Surrounded by neatly manicured lawns, the massive Humayun’s Tomb is a spectacular monument that was the first garden mausoleum built in the Indian subcontinent. The first of the grand tombs synonymous with Mughal architecture, this monument narrates a timeless saga of love and longing. Built by Mughal emperor Humayun's first wife, empress Haji Begum, in her husband's memory, the tomb houses the graves of both the emperor and his wife and stands as a testament to their eternal love. Designed by Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, the imposing building invites tourists from all corners of the world. As you enter the lush palm-lined lawns, you are welcomed by a beautiful fountain, which makes a great photography backdrop. The garden is further divided into four main sections by walkways and water channels; the design synonymous with the Paradise Garden mentioned in the holy book of Islam, the Quran. The four main sections are sub-divided into 36 parts. One needs to walk through majestic gates to reach the monument. Right before the last and final gate, a viewing gallery has been set up by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that displays old pictures of the monument that reflect its grandeur. The main building is made of red sandstone while the tomb is made of white and black marble. An attractive gate leads you to the central hall, which houses the tomb of Humayun. The hall is adorned with intricately carved windows and a beautifully designed ceiling. The large platform is dotted with several tombs, including those of empress Haji Begum and prince Darah Shikoh. An interesting fact about the monument is that it also houses the tomb of Humayun's favourite barber. The monument was used by the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar as a refuge before the British captured and exiled him in 1857. To the right of the complex is the tomb of Isa Khan, a noble at the court of Sher Shah Suri. It depicts Lodi-era architecture and was constructed in the 16th century. The Humayun's Tomb lies very close to another popular attraction of Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, a shrine built over the grave of the 14th century Sufi Saint Nizamuddin Auliya.

Humayuns Tomb