The Qutb Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and the Red Fort, are Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage site. This post takes a quick look at the big three and suggests some others places around each cultural wonder where you might like to wander around
What is it? The second Mughal Emperor’s tomb. Some people prefer it to the Taj Mahal. It’s a bold statement, but it’s that impresssive.
Built in 1565, Humayun’s Tomb houses the graves of many prominent Mughals, including the last Emperor, Bahadur Shah II.
What else is around it? The village of Nizamuddin is directly opposite. Nizamuddin’s sarrow and winding lanes are there to get lost in. The Baoli (step well) and the Tomb complex to the Sufi saint are well worth a visit.
Nizamuddin is a conservative area; so cover up. Headscarves for women. No shorts for men or women. In the tomb complex heads to be covered.
A couple of kilometres west of Nizzamudin is Lodhi (or Lodi) Garden’s, the finest green space in Delhi. Great for bird watching and home to many more tombs as well as a small fort from the Lodhi period.
Where can I eat? There’s a branch of Karim’s, the one of Old Delhi fame, along with countless Biryani and Kebab sellers. If this is not for you, then Khan Market, a 50 rupee auto ride away, is home to Khan Chacha and a selection of other restaurants.
Qutb Minar, Mehrauli
What is it? No-one is really sure what the Minar is for, but we can all agree it’s pretty impressive.
Some say it’s a victory tower. Others that it’s simply a minaret used to call the faithful to prayer. Construction started in the 12th Century, but it’s just one of the structures in the Qutb complex that’s worth taking a closer look at.
The first of Delhi’s seven cities was built here, so a visit to the area is like being catapulted back to where it all began.
What else is around and about? Mehrauli Archaeological Park is next door. This two hundred acre site is home to ancient tombs as well as a couple of step wells. It’s winding lanes are from a bygone age. They’re a bustling fun place to be.
Red Fort (Lal Qila), Old Delhi
Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor, decided to move the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi, and started building this imposing fort in 1638.
Awarded World Hertitage status in 2007, the fort’s grounds are littered with building that show Mughal creativity at its peak.
This photograph on the right, taken from the top of the spice market, shows the greenery of Chandni Chowk leading to the Red Fort in the distance.
What else is around it? Chandni Chowk, the main street of the walled city of Shahjahanabad (also known as Old Delhi) is right in front of the imposing the main gate of the Red Fort.
Walk out and go and get lost. It’s only looks green photographs taken from above!
The Jain Mandir and the Bird Hospital, directly opposite the main gates of the Red Fort are worth a visit. No leather is allowed inside. So take a look at what bags, belts, wallets and watch straps are made from. There’s a place to store shoes outside, at a cost of 2 rupees a pair.
Jama Masjid, the mightily impressive Friday Mosque, a short walk away. It’s onion shaped domes are something else.
Where can I eat? Go to Old Delhi and you’re spoilt for choice. Street food is everywhere. For sensitive stomachs and those that are new to the city Haldirams (On Chandni Chowk, almost opposite the Sikh Guduwara) is probably the safest bet. I can also confirm that Karim’s is raved about for good reason. But there are so many good places to eat.
The big three are brilliant, but there’s loads more sites to see that literally litter Delhi. I’m trying to tick off the 174 protected monuments in the city, but more about this quest in another blog, another time.