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Delhi - essence of India. What to expect? What to visit?

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Essence of India - Delhi

Delhi is a city of almost 20 million inhabitants, the second largest city after Mumbai. It is also the capital of India and certain quintessence of this country due to the cosmopolitan nature and the number of various cultures existing together in a very congested and densely populated area. The city is divided into a new part - New Delhi and the old part - Old Delhi, which is definitely worth visiting  during a minimum two-day trip. Delhi has a lot to offer in terms of both architecture and culture. There are monuments on the UNESCO World List such as the Tomb of the Mughal ruler Humayun, the Red Fort or the largest mosque in India for 25,000 people Jama Masjid. Delhi is full of various temples of countless beliefs and deities, which are definitely worth visiting in order to feel the multiculturalism of this city.

                                   Delhi slideshow

Fascinating Temples in Delhi

Some of the most important temples should be visited, such as the Sikh temple near the center of New Delhi (Shri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara) or in Old Delhi (Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib ji)   made of white marble, which not only impresses  its beauty, but is also extremely interesting. The temple has a separate place, where food is prepared daily by volunteers for several thousand pilgrims for the people in need as an opposition to the caste system in the name of the idea of equality. Everyone gathered in the room is allowed to eats meal together regardless of their origin, skin colour or caste. It is worth seeing this place because of the interesting atmosphere and multi-colored turbans, which are obligatory for the Sikhs. You can also ask for a booklet with necessary information on Sikhism (also available in many languages). Before entering the temple, remember to cover your head, remove your shoes, and leave prohibited items in the car (cigarettes, alcohol and leather clothes).

                                    Preparing food by volunteers in Gurudwara

Lotus temple

The next temple is the Lotus temple in the shape of a Lotus flower built in 1986. It is a Baha'i temple, which means all beliefs, it is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. This place has won many architectural awards, among others for interesting architectural solutions - ventilation system and natural air conditioning. It is a temple that next to the Taj Mahal is visited by thousands of tourists. Inside the temple you won't find any religious symbols of faith, however one can sit on the bench and contemplate in silence.

Akshardham temple

Another interesting place is Akshardham Temple - a modern Hindu temple founded in 2005, the construction of which took only 5 years. It is a huge temple complex with pavilions, gardens and exhibitions, where you can admire the multitude of sculptures and thus the enormity of human work done by both artists and volunteers. The building is built of pink Rajasthan sandstone and marble from Italy. The temple was founded in honor of the Swaminarayana - the guru, whose statue is located in the central part of the temple. The object should be walked around admiring the interesting carvings and the multitude of pillars and water reservoirs. You can also go to the fountain show organized in the afternoon. Note - you can not bring almost anything into the temple, it is best to leave things in the car and take only documents and money with you. It is also forbidden to take pictures inside the temple, however, you can buy on-site cards, guides and other souvenirs with the image of the temple. Next place will be the Birla Mandir temple dedicated to the goddess Lakshmi. Indians pray to the wife of Vishnu for prosperity and happiness. This temple was built in 1938 and Mahatma Gandhi himself participated in its inauguration.
Akshardham temple

New Delhi Centre

In addition to beautiful and interesting temples, certainly worth visiting while staying in Delhi,  you must visit both the centre of New and Old Delhi. The centre of the new Delhi Connaught place built in 1931 is a modern giant roundabout built during the reign of the British full of shops, restaurants, five-star hotels, corporate and bank headquarters. Being there it is recommended to go to the underground textile bazaar - Palika bazaar and to the park with the giant flag of India watching life going on in the streets.

Conaught place

Old Delhi, what to see in Old Delhi?

The center of Old Delhi is a completely different story ... crowded, polluted and surrounded by a sixteenth-century wall. The city is called Shajahabad from the Mughal ruler Shajahana, on whose initiative the most important monuments of Old Delhi were built when the capital of the Mughal state had been moved to Delhi. There are UNESCO sights  that are remnant of the Mughal Empire there, i.e. the Red Fort, Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India, and many other temples and bazaars with a thematic division. It is worth taking a bicycle rickshaw - called chandi chowk through the narrow streets of the city with a stop for a picture or even  visit the Red Fort (if you don't have plans to visit the Agra Fort, then visit the Red fort in Delhi).

Narrow streets of Old Delhi

Leaving Old Delhi, we should also stop at Raj ghat, i.e. the place of cremation of Gandhi and other important persons, in order to escape from the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi, go for a walk to pay the tribute to the  independence warrior of India, Mahatma Gandhi, who was cremated here in 1948.

While in Delhi, do not forget about such monuments as:

- the mausoleum of the emperor of Mughal Humayun,  on the UNESCO list which is the prototype of the famous Taj Mahal and the first garden tomb in India. The building is inspired by Persian architecture made of marble and sandstone. It is worth visiting the huge tomb at sunset or sunrise.

- Qutub minar in the south of Delhi, the largest brick minaret  on the UNESCO list whose height is 73 meters and dates from the 12th century during the reign of Muslims. It is an example of early Afghan architecture. Within the property you can admire the ruins of ancient mosques and tombs, as well a metal obelisk 2000 years old, whose origin is a mystery to scientists.

- The Gate of India is a place where many of us start exploring Delhi. It is  42-meter Delhi Memorial, originally called All-India War Memorial, monumental sandstone arch dedicated to the troops of British India  who died in wars fought between 1914 and 1919. India Gate, which is located at the eastern end of the Rajpath (formerly called the Kingsway). A place very popular among the local population.

For a walk, I recommend visiting the Lodi gardens park (near Humajun's tomb), where there are beautiful tombs of the Lodi dynasty, while for entertainment and a walk I recommend Hauz khaz Village (southern part of the city), where there is a deer park, a street full of clubs and restaurants of various cuisines of the world.

The museums worth recommending is the National Museum full of prehistoric exhibits from the Indus Valley, paintings, rare manuscripts and sculptures.

Art lovers can go to the Contemporary Art Gallery from 1954, which features works made by artists from around the world.

The tour can be divided into two days, the first day- sightseeing of New Delhi: (India Gate, Connaught place, Birla mandir, Humajun tomb) with sightseeing of the southern part of Qutub Minar and Lotos Temple.
On the second day: Old Delhi with a visit to the modern Akshardham Temple (Red fort, Jama Masjid, Raj ghat, Sikh Temple - Gurudwara, Akshardham).

Don't forget to shop on the famous street in the tourist district of Paharaganj, in Karol Bagh street, at the Old Delhi bazaar or at the Palika underground bazaar at Connaught place. There are also many shopping centers and local bazaars in Delhi, where everyone will surely find something for themselves.

There are also restaurants with delicious and inexpensive food on Paharaganj or Karol Bagh street, as well as stalls with Indian "fast food", where you can try delicious samosa, Aloo tiki or drink Indian tea - chai. The description of Indian street food in the link

  • You can move around the city by local tuk-tuk or subway, or rent a car with a driver who knows English, and knows the city and local attractions very well. Recommended Indian travel agency is


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