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The Tailor-Made Guide to 17 Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi

Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi

**Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**

Author: Barry Pickard

Red Fort

Contents



Delhi is a city of contrasts. It is a bustling metropolis with a rich history and culture, but it can also be overwhelming and chaotic. When planning a trip to Delhi, be prepared for an experience that is both exhilarating and exhausting.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Bada Gumbad, Lodhi Gardens

Delhi is the capital of India and one of the most populous cities in the world. It is home to over 20 million people and is a melting pot of cultures and religions. The city is also a major centre for business, government, and education. It is the arrival point for many visitors, but most only spend a cursory amount of time in the city, before moving on to the likes of the Taj Mahal. However, this is such as shame, since Delhi is packed with interesting attractions and is full of history.




Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Safdarjung Tomb

Delhi’s long and rich history dates back to the 6th century BC. The city has been ruled by many different dynasties over the centuries, and this is reflected in the city's architecture and culture. Today, Delhi is a modern metropolis, but it still retains much of its old-world charm.



Delhi is one of the three most popular tourist destinations in India, along with Agra and Jaipur. These three cities form a triangle on a map, which is why they are called the Golden Triangle. Tourists typically start their trip in Delhi, then travel south to Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. After Agra, tourists travel west to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur is known for its beautiful palaces, forts, and deserts. The Golden Triangle is a well-traveled route because it offers a good variety of experiences. Tourists can see historical monuments, experience different cultures, and enjoy the natural beauty of India. Unfortunately, in their rush to get to the Taj Mahal, it seems to me that tourists only spend a cursory amount of time in Delhi. I hope that after you see what I think are the attractions you should visit in Delhi, that you will plan to stay longer.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Lodhi Arts District

Planning an independent trip to Delhi? 


All information in this post is based on my own experience travelling around Delhi, backed by extensive research to bring you everything you need to know to have your own amazing experience.


Golden Triangle Hints and Tips Guide


Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting any of these attractions appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the attractions you should visit in Delhi, or indeed, a general tour of India.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi

Delhi is a city with something to offer everyone. Whether you are interested in history, culture, food, or shopping, you will find something to your liking in Delhi. So, in no particular order, here are my….


17 Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi


17. Qutub Minar


The Qutub Minar is a 73-meter-tall minaret and victory tower that stands as a testament to the rich history and culture of Delhi. It is the tallest minaret in the world made of bricks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1199 and 1220 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, the minaret was originally intended to be a victory tower to commemorate his victory over the last Hindu ruler of Delhi.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, with its intricate carvings and inscriptions that tell the story of its construction and the rulers who commissioned it. The minaret is divided into five stories, each with a projecting balcony, and is surrounded by a fluted shaft. The first three stories are made of red sandstone, while the top two stories are made of marble. Access up the minaret is not allowed.




Tailor-Made Top Tip: Look out for the Iron Pillar of Delhi near the base of the minaret. This 7-meter-tall iron pillar dates back to the 4th century AD and is remarkable for its resistance to rust. The pillar is believed to have been made using a special technique that is now lost.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Iron Pillar of Delhi and Qutub Minar


16. Red Fort


The Red Fort, also known as Lal Qila, was built between 1638 and 1648 as the new imperial residence of Shah Jahan. The fort was constructed of red sandstone and marble, and it is decorated with intricate carvings and inscriptions. The fort is surrounded by a moat and has a high wall with 13 gates.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Red Fort Lahori Gate

The Red Fort was the centre of Mughal power for over 200 years, being used as a royal residence, a military base, and a government centre. The fort was also the site of many important events in Indian history, such as the coronation of Shah Jahan and the imprisonment of Aurangzeb.




The Red Fort is a huge complex that contains a number of palaces, halls, and mosques. Some of the most popular attractions at the fort include the Diwan-i-Aam (The Hall of Public Audience), where the emperor would meet with his subjects and foreign dignitaries; the Diwan-i-Khas (The Hall of Private Audience), where the emperor would meet with his ministers and advisors; the Mumtaz Mahal, a palace that was built by Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal; the Naqqar Khana (The Drum House), where musicians would play music to announce the emperor's arrival and departure; and the Moti Masjid, a white marble mosque that was built by Shah Jahan for the use of his wives and concubines.




Tailor-Made Top Tip: There are also interesting museums within the fort, such as the Museum On 1857- India's First War of Independence and the Archaeological Museum, so you can easily spend half a day exploring this historic site. There is plenty to see!


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Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Diwan-i-Aam, Red Fort

15. Shri Digambar Jain Atishay Kshetra Lal Mandir


Shri Digambar Jain Atishay Kshetra Lal Mandir is the oldest and best-known Jain temple in Delhi, and it is located opposite the Red Fort in the Chandni Chowk area. The temple was built in 1656 by the Agrawal Jain community, and it is dedicated to Lord Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism.



The Lal Mandir was originally a small temple, but it was expanded and renovated in the early 19th century. The temple is now a large complex that consists of a main temple, a courtyard, and a number of other buildings. The main temple is made of red sandstone and marble, and it is decorated with intricate carvings and inscriptions.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Shri Digambar Jain Atishay Kshetra Lal Mandir

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Visitors are required to cover one's shoulders and knees. You should also remove your shoes before entering the temple, and there are shoe racks located outside the temple. Photography is not allowed inside the temple.


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14. Jama Masjid


Jama Masjid, also known as the Friday Mosque, is one of the largest mosques in India and the largest in Delhi. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656, and it served as the imperial mosque of the Mughal emperors until the demise of the empire in 1857.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
East Gate, Jama Masjid

The mosque has three gates, the largest of which is the eastern gate, which was reserved for the emperor and his court. The mosque can accommodate up to 25,000 worshippers at a time.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Tourists are not allowed to visit the mosque during prayer hours. As noted earlier, religious sites in India require covered shoulders and knees, and for you to remove your shoes.






13. Chandni Chowk


Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi, and it is known for its narrow streets, crowded bazaars, and delicious food. Chandni Chowk was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648. The market was originally named "Jahangir Shah's Bazaar", but it was renamed "Chandni Chowk" (Moonlight Square) by Shah Jahan's wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It served as the commercial centre of the Mughal Empire. The market is still a popular destination for shoppers today, and a visit can be a memorable experience for visitors.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Chandni Chowk

Tailor-Made Top Tip: Chandni Chowk is spread over a huge area, so it is best to have an idea of what you would like to see and target those specific areas. Highlights I would recommend are the Paranthe Wali Gali, with this narrow street known for its delicious paranthas; the Khari Baoli, which is the largest spice market in Asia; and the Dariba Kalan, a glittering silver market.




12. Lotus Temple


The Lotus Temple is a Bahai House of Worship, and, as its name suggests, it is known for its unique lotus-shaped design. The temple was designed by Fariborz Sahba and built between 1978 and 1986. This stunning temple is made of white marble, and it is surrounded by a nine-pool complex.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Lotus Temple

The Lotus Temple is a non-denominational house of worship, and it is open to people of all faiths. The temple is a place where people can come to pray, meditate, or simply reflect on their spirituality. The temple is popular and busy, so admittance into the building is regulated and you may have to wait around 10-minutes to get in, but it is definitely worth it.


In addition to the temple, the Lotus Temple is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The gardens are a great place to relax and take in the beauty of the temple. There is also an information centre, which gives an interesting insight into the Bahai faith and the temple itself.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Lotus Temple

Tailor-Made Top Tip: On the walk towards the temple, you will find a shoe depository, where you place your shoes into a bag, give to the attendant and then you will get handed your receipt.


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11. Sunder Nursery


The Sunder Nursery is a 90-acre heritage park, separate, but adjacent to Humayun's Tomb. The nursery not only has truly beautiful gardens and a diverse plant life, but it also has several historic and impressive monuments scattered across the park.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Sunder Nursery

The Sunder Nursery was originally built by the Mughals in the 16th century. The nursery was used to grow plants and trees for the Mughal gardens and palaces, and subsequently the British Raj. The nursery was also used to test new plant species that were brought to India from other parts of the world.




In the 20th century, Sunder Nursery fell into disrepair. The nursery was neglected, and many of the monuments were damaged. Thankfully, in the early 2000s, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) began a restoration project and now the Sunder Nursery is an absolutely glorious peaceful haven from the hustle and bustle of Delhi. It seems that it is still very much under the tourist-radar since opening, but the Sunder Nursery is definitely one of the attractions you should visit in Delhi.



Tailor-Made Top Tip: The Mirza Muzaffar Hussain Tomb and the Batashewala Complex are tucked away on the eastern part of the park and are easy to miss. However, these buildings and the trees that surround them are a must see.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Mirza Muzaffar Hussain’s Tomb, Sunder Nursery
Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Batashewala Complex



10. Humayun’s Tomb


Humayun's Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic landmarks in Delhi. It was one of the first garden-tombs on the Indian subcontinent and is considered to be the precursor to the Taj Mahal.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun's Tomb was built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum. Construction began in 1565 and was completed in 1572. The tomb was designed by Persian architects chosen by her.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun's Tomb is made of red sandstone and white marble and is decorated with intricate carvings and inscriptions. The tomb is a four-story building with a central dome and is surrounded by a beautiful garden with four quadrants.




Tailor-Made Top Tip: Make sure to visit Isa Khan’s Tomb and Isa Khan's Mosque, which is on your right soon after you enter the complex and before you arrive at the main gateway to Humayun’s Tomb. Isa Khan’s Tomb is much smaller than Humayun’s, but I would argue that it is more appealing.




Golden Triangle Hints and Tips Guide


Read on to find out about Delhi’s striking artistic neighbourhood; the best place to discover India’s ancient art; and the tragic location where Gandhi was assassinated.


9. Lodhi Art District


The Lodhi Arts District (LAD) is an open-air art area located in the Lodhi Colony neighbourhood. The LAD was founded in 2014 by St+art India, a non-profit organization that promotes street art and public art. The goal of the LAD was to make art accessible to everyone and to transform the Lodhi Colony neighbourhood into a vibrant cultural centre.


Lodhi Art District Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Lodhi Art District Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi


The LAD is home to over 50 murals by artists from India and around the world. The murals cover a wide range of topics, from social and political issues to personal stories and reflections on the human condition.


Lodhi Art District Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
Lodhi Art District Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi

Tailor-Made Top Tip: I struggled to find a definitive guide or map to all the murals in the LAD, so I would suggest walking the area between Second and Fifth Avenues, and between Jor Bagh Road and Blocks 12, 13 & 14 to see most of the murals.


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8. National Museum, New Delhi


The National Museum is the largest museum in India housing a vast collection of artifacts that has grown steadily over the years, and now includes over 200,000 objects, dating back to the prehistoric era. The museum was founded in 1949, shortly after India gained independence from the British, with the aim of preserving and showcasing India's rich cultural heritage.


Attractions You Should Visit in Delhi
National Museum, New Delhi

The National Museum's collection is divided into several sections, including: Prehistory and Archaeology, which includes stone tools, pottery, and sculptures; Ancient History, which includes coins, seals, and inscriptions; Medieval History, which includes weapons, armour, and textiles; Modern History, which includes paintings, lithographs, and photographs; Decorative Arts, which includes metalwork, jewellery, and textiles; and Anthropology, which includes artifacts from India's diverse tribal cultures.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: If you are only going to visit one place in Delhi to see and learn about India’s rich history and culture, then I’d recommend that it was the National Museum.