Up To The Minute Travel Agency
Area: 1483 sq kms
Population: 10.1 mn
Altitude: 239 m above sea level.
Rainfall: 50 cm Language: Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi. Season: September to March
Summer-very warm - May-Jun hottest 45°C
Rain: July-high humidity Best time to visit winter: Oct-Feb, pleasant, low humidity, Jan-Dec (3°C)
The red sandstone walls of Lal Qila, the Red Fort, extend 2 km in length and vary in height from 18 metres on the riverside to 33 metres on the city side. Construction of the massive fort, started in 1638, was completed in 1648. Shah Jahan, the Emperor behind this creation, was deposed and imprisoned in Agra Fort by his son Aurangazeb before
he could move his capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad in Delhi.
Diwan-i-am or the Hall of Public Audiences
Here, in a marble-panelled alcove, set with precious stones, the Emperor would sit to hear complaints or disputes from his subjects. It was badly looted during the 1857 mutiny.
Lord Curzon, who was viceroy of India from 1898 to 1905, restored this elegant hall thanks to a directive.
The buildings in this complex, 15 km south of Delhi, date from the onset of Muslim rule in India. The Qutab Minar itself is a soaring tower of victory, whose construction was commenced in 1193, immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu Kingdom in Delhi. It is nearly 73 metres high and tapers from a 15-meter-diameter base to just 2.5 metres at the top. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone while the fourth and fifth storeys are made of marble.
Purana Qila is the supposed site of Indraprastha, the original city of Delhi. The Afghan ruler, Sher Shah, who briefly interrupted the Mughal Empire by defeating Humayun, completed the fort during his reign from 1538-45, before Humayun regained control of India. The fort, located southeast of the India Gate and north of Humayun's Tomb and the Nizamuddin railway station, has massive walls and three large gateways.
Sansad Bhavan, the Indian Parliament building, stands at the end of Sansad Marg, or Parliament Street, just north of the Raj Path. This is one of the key elements in the design of New Delhi. A straight line, drawn from the parliament building down Parliament Street, passes through the centre of Connaught Place and intersects the Jami Masjid beyond. The building is a circular colonnaded structure 171 metre in diameter.
The tomb is an early example of Mughal architecture. Humayun’s senior wife Haji Begum had it built in the middle of the 16th century. This tomb is of great interest in relation to the Taj Mahal. The squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by a bulbous dome and surrounded by formal gardens – were to be refined over the years to the magnificence of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Haji Begum too was buried in the tomb. The garden has other tombs including that of Humayun’s barber and the Tomb of Isa Khan. The
latter is a good example of Lodi architecture. The terraces of the tomb provide an excellent view of the surrounding city.
The 42-metre high stone arch of triumph stands at the eastern end of the Raj Path. It bears the name of 90,000 Indian Army soldiers who died in the campaigns of WW1, the North-West Frontier operations of the same time and the 1919 Afghan Fiasco.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Due west of Connaught Place, this garish modern temple was erected by the industrialist Birla in 1938. It’s dedicated to Vishnu and his consort Laxmi, the goddess of wealth.
The great mosque of old Delhi is both the largest in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan. Commended in 1644, the mosque was not completed until 1658. It has three great gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40 metres high and constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The Jami Masjid has a capacity of 25,000 people.