For our 2nd part we planned to cover the major part. So in order to cover the most at minimum time we opted for HOHO bus service http://hohodelhi.com/. We booked both the Red Route and Green Route for one weekend.
The best part of this tour was in the bus only the guide will give you the basic details about the places of interest and no need to worry about the conveyance, car parking etc.
On Saturday we took the Red Route. If you are interested to see the change of guard ceremony at President’s House, you should not miss this opportunity. Every Saturday for this ceremony the HOHO buses starts a bit early. From their office they take the passengers to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and then after the ceremony back to their office so that the passengers who have missed this can take the bus. From there though the 1st stop was National Bal Bhavan, we skipped it and made FIroz Shah Kotla our 1st stop. Though by FIroz Shah Kotla what comes to our mind is the stadium, originally FIroz Shah Kotla was a fortress built by Sultan Feroz Shah Tughlaq. At present only the ruins of the fortress exists. Here you will find one of the famous Ashokan Iron Pillars which was moved from Punjab to Delhi by the sultan.
From Kotla we skipped Red Fort and went to Rajghat. Rajghat is the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. Adjacent to this place is the Veer Bhumi (Rajiv Ghandhi’s memorial), Shakti Sthal (Indina Gandhi’s memorial), Shanti Vana (memorial of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru) and Vijay Ghat (Lal Bahadur Shastri’s memorial).
Apart from the memorials there is nothing much to see here. There is a beautified lake but the ill-mannered admin staffs misbehaved with us like anything when we went to take some pictures of it. With a sour mood from there we left for the India Gate.
The India Gate commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of the British and Indian soldiers who were killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.
During evening, India Gate is dramatically floodlit while the fountains nearby make a lovely display with coloured lights. There are several food joints and stalls. So it is one of the famous attractions for night outs. After spending an hour here we went to Purana Quila.
Purana Quila is one of the oldest forts in Delhi. It's located at the site of the legendary city of Indraprastha which was founded by Pandavas on the banks of the river Yamuna. Though its current form was built by the Afghan king Sher Shah Suri,the massive gateway and walls of Purana Quila were built by Humayun.
There is an Archeological Museum in Purana Quila which exhibits the findings and artefacts of the excavations carried out in this compound by the Archaeological Survey of India. The objects signifies continuous habitation from Mauryan to Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, Rajput, Delhi Sultanate and Mughal periods
There are many food joints outside the quila complex, serving average quality food at cheap rate. So if you are hungry and not a hygiene freak, you can go for lunch here. From here we took the bus and went to Safdarjung Tomb.
Next day we have the Green Rout to take. Last day we covered India Gate so, this time our 1st drop was Humayun’s Tomb. This beautiful mausoleum built by the senior widow of Humayun is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India. The tomb is too photogenic which makes it a favorite in the Bollywood Movies. We saw a video shooting there but were not able to identify the cast, may be it was of some local movie or music video.
The place is so beautiful that we decided to skip the next scheduled bus and stay here for an hour or two. From Humayun’s Tomb we went to Lotus Temple.
The Bahai House of Worship popularly known as the Lotus Temple is one of the magnificent structure of beauty and elegance. This architectural masterpiece is a Half Floating Lotus set amidst pools and garden, is compared to the Sydney Opera House. It is the only Bahai Temple of Worship in Asia.
Due to security reasons and cleanliness, no food, water is allowed to carry inside the temple. So guys don’t carry any food items, because if you carry either you have to finish it before crossing the security check or have to throw it away. Otherwise you will not be allowed to enter the premise (forget about entering the temple).
From Lotus Temple we went to Hauz Khas village. From the drop point you have to take an auto for the village.
The Hauz Khas Complex is part of the “Siri”, the second medieval city of India of the Delhi Sultanate of Allauddin Khilji Dynasty. There is a large lake which was built at that time to supply water to the inhabitants of Siri. There are several monuments and toms which overlooks this water body. There is a deer park as well in this complex.
Truly speaking it is more common to the localites than to the tourists. It is a place where you would like to spend time with your family and friends. There are some good restaurants also, so no worries if you are hungry.
In case you are planning to go to Park Baluchi, try Murg Potli. The experience of having the meat balls served to your plate from burning sword is really exquisite. From Hauz Khas we went to Dilli Haat.
It is an open aircraft bazaar cum food plaza situated in Delhi and run by Delhi tourism and transportation development corporation. The Dillihat is inspired by the village look and feel. Here you will find both food and crafts under one roof. Since we were already full, and I was not interested in shopping from here I didn’t find this place much alluring.
If someone is interested to get the real feel of Delhi, one can try something from Palika Market, Chadni Chowk, Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar etc and eat from the Paranthe wali gali, chats from Chadni Chowk, etc.
There are so many places to see in Delhi. If you can manage to get one more day, try to go to the Akshardham Temple. It is near Mayur Vihar. So if you are availing metro you have to get down at Mayur Vihar Metro Station.
The temple is built from intricately carved sandstone and marble. Due to security reasons apart from the regular not allowed items, mobiles, cameras are not allowed. So unfortunately I was not able to capture anything in my camera.
The Akshardham complex is huge so to me winter is the best time to explore. But if you plan to visit in any other time, considering the weather, the best time to visit for me is before 11 am or after 4 pm.
Delhi is our capital. It enriched with the Indian cultures. So do visit Delhi, enjoy every bit of it.
From Red Fort we went to Qutab Minar. The nearest metro station is Qutab Minar. But it’s not at a walking distance from the monument. Autos are available outside the station. Though it’s in Delhi, it’s unlikely that the autowalas will go on meter.
Qutab Minar, was built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. Though Qutab-ud-din Aibak stared its construction, it was finally completed by Firoz Shah Tughlak. It is no doubt the most magnificent master piece built by the Sultans.
The Quwwat Ui Islam mosque in the Qutab complex is the 1st mosque to be built in India. The famous Iron pillar is in this complex. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled. Few years back people were allowed to touch it but it seems many people’s wishes got fulfilled, that’s why now it’s well barricaded!
There is one more structure in this complex, the incomplete Alai Minar. Alauddin Khilji conceived this tower to be two times higher than Qutab Minar. He started building it but the construction was abandoned, just after the completion of the first-story core; soon after his death in 1316. The tomb of Iltutmish, the Slave Dynasty ruler and the second Sultan of Delhi, is also part of the Qutab Complex. Compared to the other tombs of the rulers of Delhi, it is not that well maintained.
To me the best time to me to visit this site is late afternoon. The soft rays of the sun cast an out of the world effect on all the structures of this complex.
Traveling Delhi by metro is a cheap option but if you want to cover most of the tourist attractions by availing metro, it will be a costly and time consuming affair.
Delhi, the Capital of India, has always gained focus as a political capital, for its architectural glory, spicy foods, energetic people and rich history. Here you will find everything…beautiful monuments, world heritage sites, yummy chats, spicy paranthas, bag full of shopping options.
As we are from Gurgaon, Delhi is not a place for which we have to plan a trip. We explored it as much as we were able to in weekends. So my experience might not be relevant for the Delhi/NCR people, but might be of some help to the tourists who have plans to cover some part of Delhi in 1 or 2 days. Since Delhi has a variety of things to offer to its tourists, if you have time crunch, it’s better to categorize the interest i.e. monuments, religious, shopping, food, entertainment etc first.
When we talk about monuments, tourist attractions, the top four which always comes to our mind are Red Fort, India Gate, Qutab Minar and Lotus Temple. But apart from these there are many more to see.
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The Safdarjung's Tomb is the last enclosed garden tomb in Delhi in the tradition of Humayun's Tomb. It was built in 1753- 54 as mausoleum of Safdarjung, the viceroy of Awadh under the Mughal Emperor, Mohammed Shah. There is a madrasa in this complex.
Compared to the other spots, there is nothing much to see here. So in this case we were well in time for our next bus. We were running short of time, we skipped the Indira Gandhi, Nehru and National Museums. Since we went to these museums few years back headed towards Jantar Mantar. But I would suggest if this is your first Delhi visit, just try to save some time in Purana Quila and Humayun’s Tomb or you can skip Safdarjung's Tomb for at least Indira Gandhi’s Museum.
Jantar Mantar is the observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. It consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments which used to compile astronomical tables, and predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. It is one of the five Jantar Mantars built by the maharaja.
The Delhi Jantar Mantar is not well maintained compared to the Jaipur’s one.After covering so many places, I got too tired to go for the next spots. So from Rajiv Chowk (nearest metro station) we directly took metro for Gurgaon. We have one more day to go and lots of places to visit, unwillingly we have to shortlist the must visits from both the day’s itinerates. May be we missed something good, but nevermind, Delhi has too much to offer.
Golden Triangle Tour Part III: Dilwalo ki Sahar Delhi
One can opt to see Delhi by car, metro and HOHO bus service. If you have less time and want to cover at least 50 % of the tourist spots you can opt for the HOHO(Hop on Hop Of) bus service; http://hohodelhi.com/.
HOHO bus service is a point to Point service which covers all the major tourist spots of Delhi. It starts from its office in Connaught Place(CP). There are two routes; Green and Red. So if you are planning to see Delhi on bus you have to go for both the routes; one on each day. The buses keep on visiting the spots at a particular interval (30 mins-45 mins, depending on the route *). The best part of it is if you plan to spend more time on a particular spot and want to skip some, you can skip the bus and avail the next bus as per your convenience.We covered majority of the places in 3 days. We took metro, car, HOHO bus as well as walked the places which are at close distance.
First day we took Metro (yellow line) from Gurgaon. We covered Red Fort and Qutab Minar on that day.
Red Fort (Lal Quila) is one of the world heritage site draws its importance from the Mughals to the Indian freedom movement. It was built by Saha Jahan when he moved his capital from Agra to Delhi. The Fort had fourteen gates but at present only Lahori gate is used as main entrance.
Like other Mughal forts, Lal Quila also has Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-e-Khass, Rang Mahal, Moti Masjid, Hammam, beautiful gardens etc. So as usual the architecture and its finesse are worth mentioning. But what makes Red Fort special from other forts is the museum. There are two museums; the War Museum and the Swatantrata Sangram Sanghralaya. The War Museum was set up as a tribute to the soldiers who had participated in the world war in India or abroad on behalf of the British. The Swatantrata Sangram Sanghralaya shows the glory of our freedom struggle.
Our Red Fort tour took us 2 hours, so I feel it’s better not to go for HOHO service in this case. The nearest metro station to Red Fort is Chandni Chowk. In the morning from the metro station we took a cycle rickshaw, but while returning we realized that it’s walking distance!In Red Fort visitors are not allowed to carry food items inside. So if you feel hungry don’t worry there are plenty of options outside. There you can treat yourself with some good chats, fast foods or Indian traditional foods.