Delhi – The First of the Top 3 Golden Triangle Destinations
A Visit to India’s Golden Triangle is an adventure into a kaleidoscope of unique and colorful sights that showcases the country’s cultural, historical and architectural wonders. Delhi is among the trio of destinations which lie in the Golden Triangle, with Agra and Jaipur to follow. Delhi, the capital of India, is the starting point for the Golden Triangle adventure.
Delhi is a city that bridges two worlds. Once the capital of Islamic India, Old Delhi is a maze of narrow lanes lined with mosques and havelis. New Delhi, the political seat of the country, is home to spacious tree-lined boulevards and modern government buildings. Contemporary Delhi, the culmination of 7 cities, was built throughout its long history by various empires. The city’s spectacular architecture is manifested in its ancient monuments and ruins.
The Red Fort, a colossal octagonal-shaped citadel made of red stone, was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in 1648. Set in Old Delhi, its buildings are a testimonial to Mughal architecture, the most important of these being the Diwan-Am, the Hall of Public Audience, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Hall of Selective Audience, the Hamam – the Baths, the Moti Masjid, the Pearl Mosque and the airbrush makeup Music House. Another of the Palaces of the fort, the Muntz Mahal, is well worth a visit.
Built in 1565, Humayan’s Tomb, encasing the second Mughal Emperor of the region, was a trendsetter in its time. Erected by Humayan’s widow, it is set in a geometrically landscaped garden crisscrossed by numerous streams. It is one of the first examples of Mughal architecture, with its high arches and double dome, and one of the best preserved monuments of its time.
Janter Manter, the Delhi Observatory, was constructed in the early 1700’s by an astronomer. The structure is composed of 14 geometric devices used to measure time, to forecast weather, to predict the behavior of the planets and measure extra-terrestrial altitudes. It is a masterpiece of Indian architecture and a great site to explore.
The Purana Quila, the Old Fort, was first erected by Humayan and later modified by Sher Shah, emperor of the Sur Empire. It is a prime model of medieval military architecture, with its emphasis on utility rather than beauty. Surrounded by a moat, the walls of the fortress are near-impenetrable, with only 3 gates by which to enter. Unlike the adorned palatial forts of later Mughal rulers, this fort lacks the complex of palaces and administrative buildings.
The India Gate and the Lotus Temple, situated in New Delhi, are recent additions adorning the city with its myriad of monuments. One of the largest war memorials, the India Gate, an archway towering 43 m. is the site of the Indian Army’s home of the unknown soldier, and is surrounded by lush lawns, a children’s park and even a boat club. The Lotus or Bahai Temple, constructed in the shape of a lotus, opened to the public in 1986. It is a beautiful and serene place of worship and one of the most recent additions to Delhi’s magnificent sites.
Chandni Chowk, Asia’s largest wholesale market, is a must visit in Delhi. This incredible bazaar was planned by Shah Jahan to shine in the light of the moon so that his daughter could shop day and night! Delhi, the starting point of India’s Golden Triangle, is both an ancient and modern city with an ancient past where old complements new. It is a not to be missed adventure and a walk into India’s rich history and heritage.