February is a beautiful time to visit Delhi. Spring is in the air, the biting cold is waning, the sun shines warmly as the city gets ready for the spring blossoms. Delhi has a mysteriously romantic aura, as it holds some of the most important historical and contemporary events of our country. If you are interested mostly in the historical monuments, a two day trip may do. But Delhi has a lot more to offer. In order to feel the pulse of this vibrating city, spend some more time! It offers an enchanting combination of the old and the new. Modern Five Star Hotels and Flyovers share space with the Mughal Era tombs and the majestic British era buildings.
The main attractions of Delhi are-
o Red Fort- The Red Fort or Lal Quila was built during the reign of Shah Jahan, in the 17th century. An eye-catching massive fort of Delhi, the simple exterior of the fort does not reveal the amazing craftsmanship it beholds inside. The interior of the fort is like a city in itself, showcasing the splendour of Royal Mughal lifestyle. The tiles on the walls and ceilings, the architecture, all have beautiful inscribed ornamental patterns of the Iran and Portuguese style. The Mughal Emperors’ love and eye for creative architectural beauty is strewn everywhere inside the Red Fort. It’s an unique experience. The Sound and Light show at Red fort is a big tourist attraction.
RED FORT HUMAYUN’S TOMB
o Humayun’s Tomb- The Humayun’s Tomb is a magnificient structure made of red sandstone. The architecture is simply breathtaking. This tomb was built by the grief stricken wife of Humayun, Hamida Begum, in 1565, in memory of Humayun. The Tomb is surrounded by Mughal style garden.The beautiful monument is a feast for the eyes.
o Purana Quila or Old Fort- The ruins of this fort holds a romantically mystical appeal. It was built by the Mughal emperor, Humayun. Perched on a small hill, it is surrounded by a rustic green belt of the Delhi Zoo. The lake around Purana Quila with boating facilities adds to the ancient charm of this place.
o Qutub Minar- The construction of this towering structure was started in 1192 by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak. Whether it was built as a monument/tower of victory or, as a part of the near by Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque, is still uncertain. Whatever the history, this monument is one of its kind in India.
o Khooni Darwaza- Also known as Lal Darwaza, this is one of the 13 surviving gates in Delhi constructed by Sher-Shah-Suri. It is 50.9 feet high, built in Delhi Quarzite stone. This site has witnessed many bloodsheds since the Mughal reign. The most famous is the brutal shooting of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s two sons and one grandson by the British, during the 1857 revolt.
o Safdarjung fort- Buit in 1753-54 in red sand stone, this fort is located near the Safdarjung airport.
o Tughlakabad Fort- This fort was built by the founder of Tughlak dynasty, Ghiyas-ud-din-Tughlak. Almost in ruins now, it still remains an important part of history.
o Jantar Mantar- Jantar Mantar showcases the unique ancient Indian Astronomical instruments. This was built in 1710 by Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur.
Apart from the above historical sites, Delhi is strewn all over with several mughal ere relics like Alai darwaza, Alai Minar, Lal Gumbad, Jamali Kamali Tomb, Lodi tomb etc.
Some other places worth visiting in Delhi are-
o Lotus Temple- The Lotus temple,resembling the lotus flower, of the Bahai Faith, is an architectural beauty.
o Akshardham Temple- This temple of the Swaminarayan sect is a great showpiece of the grandeur of ancient Indian Temple architecture. Inaugrated in 2005, it is spread in a huge area of 23 acres.
AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE LOTUS TEMPLE
o ISCKON Temple- Just behind the Lotus temple, the ISCKON Temple too offers an divinely serene experience.
o Jama Masjid- Built in 1650 by Shah Jahan, Jama Masjid is the biggest Mosque in India. It is an elegant structure of sandstone & white marble.
o Birla Mandir- Also known as Lakshmi Narayan Temple, this temple is the first of the temples across the country, built by the Birla family.
o India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Teen Murti Bhawan, Parliament House, Rajghat, Shanti Van, Shaktisthal, Delhi Zoo, Doll Museum, Rail Museum, Planetorium, Dilli Haat etc. too are worth visiting.
o Gardens- There are several beautifully landscaped and maintained gardens in Delhi, the greenery of which will instantly take you away from the humdrum of metro life. The best gardens are Lodhi Garden, Mugal garden,Deer Park, Rose garden, Buddha Jayanti Park, Garden of five senses and Indraprastha garden.
Karol Bagh, Cannaught place, Dilli Haat, Janpath and Palika Bazaar are a great attraction for shopaholics.
Fairs and festivals-
The month of February also witnesses several fairs and festivals in Delhi. The most famous is the handloom & handicraft fair at Surajkund, the annual Surajkund Mela. The Delhi festival which witnesses classical music & dance recitals by famous artistes, against the backdrop of ancient monuments, is also an annual event held in February.
Besides the above, Delhi holds Book Fairs, trade fairs, food festivals, garden festivals, flower shows, theatre festivals, the list seems to be endless. Even some of the Foreign Embassy buildings are worth seeing for their architectural design.
Do certainly visit this enchanting capital of India, Delhi, to get the feel of the nation’s history and the pace of a lively modern Indian city.