Delhi, the capital city of India, is located on the banks of river Yamuna. The city is well known for its monuments, art galleries, temples, forts, museums etc. Delhi was ruled by both Hindu kings and Mughal emperors and has been the capital of several dynasties. Old Delhi is known for its Mughal architecture, narrow bylanes and vibrant and colourful markets. New Delhi represents British Raj and is developed as a planned city with modern architecture, wide roads and imposing Government buildings.
Jama Masjid, Old Fort, Raj Ghat, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Lotus Temple, Jantar Mantar, Gallery of Modern Art, Parliament House, Rail Museum are some of the places of tourist attractions in Delhi. Raj Ghat marks the place where Gandhiji was cremated. The place also houses a 'Gandhi Memorial Museum' where memorials of Mahatma Gandhi are preserved. Another significant memorial site is the India Gate, situated in Rajpath, built in the memory of Indian soldiers who died in the First World War and Afghan War. The names of the soldiers are inscribed on the walls. It is designed by 'Edwin Lutyens' an English architect, who was also instrumental in designing the metropolis of New Delhi.
A place of Hindu worship, The Akshardham or Swaminarayan Temple epitomizes traditional Hindu culture. The Lotus Temple is a Bahá'í House of Worship. Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, is built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The courtyard of this mosque is known to accommodate about twenty five thousand people at any given time. Further down is the imposing Red Fort, popularly known as Lal Qila. Another interesting piece of Mughal architecture is the Qutub Minar, standing tall in all its glory surviving the ravages of time.
A paradise for shopaholics, the must visit shopping destinations are Karol Bagh, Connaught Place, Janpath market, Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Chandni Chowk and Dilli Haat. Take home curios, paintings, antique jewellery, brassware etc. The famous Dilli haat is a major crowd puller. Tradesman representing different states of India sells varieties of handicrafts, demonstrating cultural shows and offering exotic cuisine.
Delhi is known for its spicy and tangy street food. The state serves an incredible variety of food satisfying every palate. Parathewali Gali in Chandni Chowk is known for its exotic parathas prepared with different fillings. Also try out the famous Mughlai cuisine brought in by the Mughals. Relish the tandoor dishes, the kababs, the tikkas and more.
Agra is known for the world-renowned monument, the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This exquisite piece of Muslim architecture has never ceased to mesmerize people from all around the globe. Tal Mahal was built by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Craftsman from as far as Italy and Persia were invited to build this magnificent monument of love. The entire monument was built using white marble and is perfectly symmetrical. Semi-precious stones were incorporated and fine delicate carvings can be observed in the interiors. It took around 22 years of hard work to complete this captivating mausoleum. Directly below the dome lies the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz, beside which lies the tomb of Shah Jahan erected by his son Aurangzeb. The monument demonstrates the immortal love of the emperor for his beloved.
A few kilometers away from the Taj Mahal, is the Agra Fort. The foundation of the fort was laid by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The fortress was built using red sandstone and later additions were made by Shah Jahan using white marble with beautiful carvings. The intricacy involved highlights the exquisiteness of Indo-Muslim architecture.
Fatehpur Sikri is another example of Mughal architecture that reached its zenith during the reign of the Mughal emperor, Akbar. The city was constructed in 1571 by the emperor to honour the Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chishti. Various monuments like tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Khass Mahal, Buland-Darwazah, Shahi-Bazar, Mina-Bazar were constructed during his period.
Agra served as the seat of Mughal rulers for long, making way for the Mughlai cuisine. Savour the rich creamy kormas, koftas, tandoori chicken, seekh kabab and tender lamb dishes. Also, relish the famous “Agra ka Petha” made from ash gourd or white pumpkin mixed with sugar.