Often overlooked as only an entry and / or exit hub, Delhi has a lot to offer and is worth at least a few days to cover some of the major highlights of this city. Of course, with only a few days at hand, you will only be able to focus on the “Tourist Hotspots”…
- Humayun’s Tomb
The magnificent Tomb of this Mughal Emperor was built in the mid 16th Century by his widow. This Mausoleum brought Persian architecture to Delhi. Once inside I understood why the Farsi word for this place is heaven: majestically it rests on a platform, overlooking the huge walled-in garden. In the midst of Delhi’s traffic jam, this is an oasis of green and tranquility… Especially since I was there almost alone, each of the 3 times I was there.
- The Red Fort
Built in 1648 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan & named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, The Red Fort was the residence of the Mughal Emperors for nearly 200 years. Now a UNESCO World Heritage, the Red Fort represents the zenith of Mughal architecture’s refinement. The Audio Guide gives a very good insight of the Fort and its history. The only drawback is that you will not be alone there…
- Hazrat Nizam-ud-din-Dargah
A maze of little stalls, all selling devotional objects, ends at the tomb of Sufi Saint Nizam-ud-din Chishti. Once you shopped rosebuds (on strings or in little bowls), white kernel and small blankets, you are ready to enter the tomb. Wearing a borrowed Muslim head cover, I spread the rose petals over the tomb, and left the other offerings, plus some money. The sum was neatly noted down in a big book and I just hoped that it was spent on the free medication that was also handed out in this place by some Muslim charity.
The atmosphere was very relaxed, musicians with a weird looking accordion were entertaining the crowd, young students arrived for lectures (all girls without scarf) and there was a constant coming and going of large families. All I worried about was finding again the shop where I had left my shoes…
- Gandhi Smriti
Gandhi Smriti is the memorial where Mahatma Ghandi was assassinated in 1948. His last footsteps were meticulously reconstructed and a shrine erected on the very spot where he was killed in the garden. Inside the museum is almost an archive of anything regarding India’s colonial history and Ghandi’s life, the life of his family, every single known quote, photos… very interesting but a bit overwhelming. Most impressive was the interactive museum upstairs, the most sophisticated I have ever seen.
- Old Delhi’s Bazaar
This bazaar is as vibrant and colorful, as frantic and over-crowed as it gets in India, the perfect place to go on an aimless stroll in the frenzy of a bazaar the size of a town. Just get lost, let all your senses get completely overwhelmed, and soak up this unique atmosphere!