The Moonlit Square

An arena of merchandise, Chandni Chowk besides being a major tourist attraction is one of the most famous market lanes in Delhi and India. The market place holds a charm of mystical in nature of an era of the royals Mughals. Built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor of India Shah Jahan, and designed by his daughter Jahan Ara. This market was once divided by canals which are now closed to reflect moonlight, and it remains one of India’s largest wholesale markets.
This grandest lane leads one directly to the Red Fort and often processions of Emperor Shah Jahan would pass through it. The Moonlight Square was designed and established by Princess Jahanara, Shah Jahan’s favourite daughter, in 1650 AD. The bazaar, which was shaped as a square, was given further elegance by the presence of a pool in the centre of the complex. In particular, the pool shimmered in the moonlight, a feature which was perhaps responsible for the nomenclature of the marketplace.
The shops of the complex were originally built in a half-moon shaped pattern, which, for some reason, is lost today. The bazaar was in the time of Shah Jahan, who was famous for its silver merchants. This could also have an important role to play in the nomenclature of the place as silver is referred to as Chandi in Hindi, a word which could have been slightly deformed to form Chandni Chowk.
Even today when you walk through this lane you will find it to be choked with congestion, vehicle, rickshaws and street vendors it’s totally a different world. The “City of Shah Jahan” and the” Bazaars of Old Delhi” are the 2 of the best walking tours you must attend the to explore the old city and its historic lanes.

Parliament House

Located in the northwestern side of the Vijay Chowk the Parliament House is in the vicinity of the secretariat buildings. The building marks the strength and governance of the world’s largest democracy.
Initially it was planned to be a part of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, but in 1919 according to the Montague-Chelmsford reforms it was announced to be designed as the Indian parliament. The Duke of Connaught laid its foundation in 1921 and the building was inaugurated in 1927 by Lord and Lady Irwin. The Parliament was designed by famous architect Herbert Baker and also previously it was known as Circular House.
The Parliament House of India has a central hall topped with a domed structure and three semi circular chambers. These chambers were initially assigned to house the council of state, legislative assembly and the chamber of princes. However, the Parliament House now accommodates the ‘ Lok Sabha’ or the Lower House of the Parliament and the ‘ Rajya Sabha’ or the Upper House of the Parliament and a library.
The three circular chambers are guarded by a string of 144 columns that adds to the extravaganza of the building’s beauty. The Parliament House is flanked by beautiful gardens and fountains which enhances the glory of the building.

Remembering the heroes

India Gate also known as “All India War Memorial” was constructed in honor of 90,000 soldiers who sacrificed their lives during World War I and also the Third Anglo Afghan War. ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’ or the flame of the immortal warrior is burning under it since 1971. This eternal flame reminds us of the heroes, those brave soldiers and their sacrifices who lost their lives in order to protect their country.
The 42 meter high gateway built in red stone and granite the India Gate was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyen the architect who laid out the plan for Delhi. The Duke of Connaught laid the foundation stone of India Gate and its construction was completed in 1921. India Gate Memorial has become one of the most popular destinations of Delhi as well as India.
Located in the heart of capital India Gate lies towards the east end of Janpath that leads to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The surrounding area of the memorial is also now a famous picnic spot and provides a variety of entertainment. One can spend a whole day watching monkey performances, viewing the soap bubbles that are blown all over the lawns of the India Gate, playing with balloons and more.
In the evening, Delhi’s India Gate is crowded with evening walkers as well as tourists and mobile vendors. You can taste the typical Indian fast foods, ‘fruit chaat’, ‘bhelpuri’, ‘chana jor garam’, ‘dal ka pakodas’, aerated drinks from the arcade of vendors stationed there.

Refuge of the faithful

Purana Quila, the fort was built between 1538 and 1545 by the Mughal emperor Humanyun. The fort originally lay on the bank of the river Yamuna before the river changed its course. The Purana Quila was built by Humayun in an attempt to build a city of his own. But characteristically, the Old Fort did not bear the name of its creator unlike the other emperors erecting such structure. When Sher Shah defeated Humayun most of the structures inside the old fort were demolished and was renamed as ‘Shergarh’ . But once again as Humayun recaptured his city from Sher Shah’s son he took the task of completing the city and rebuilding its old glory.
The walls of Purana Quila have three gates (the Humayun Darwaza, Talaqi Darwaza and Bara Darwaza) and are surrounded by a moat, which was fed by river Yamuna. The double-storied gates of the Purana Quila are quite massive and are built with red sandstone. The walls of the old fort are said to be built by Humayun while the buildings in the old fort are attributed to Sher Shar, the Sur ruler. Of all the surviving buildings in the old fort complex, the Sher Mandal and the Quila-i-kunha Mosque are notable.
The Sher Mandal was built by Humayun. It is a two storied octagonal tower, used by Humayun as his library. The Quila-I-kunha Mosque is an example of Indo Islamic architecture. The unique features of Indo-Islamic architecture like molding, bracketed openings, marble inlay, carving etc are very prominent in the structure. The prayer hall of the Quila-i-Kunha mosque measures 51.20m by 14.90m and has five doorways with the ‘true’ horseshoe-shaped arches. The mehrabs (prayer niches) inside the Quila-i-Kunha mosque are richly ornamented with concentric arches. The mosque has an inscription which says ‘As long as there are people on this earth, may this edifice be frequented, and people be happy in it.’
Excavations have revealed that the Purana Quila or the old fort stands at the site of Indraprasta, the capital of the Pandavas. Excavations near the eastern wall of the fort show that the site had been occupied since 1000 B.C. The PGW (Painted Gray Pottery) recovered from the site date back to the Mahabharata period.

North & South Block

Situated across each other on the Raisina hill the North and south Block actually represent the commanding attitude of the nation’s capital. They house the headquarters of the government offices and the Delhi assembly. Initially these two blocks were introduced as the secretariat buildings when the British relocated the government offices to north and south blocks in New Delhi. The buildings designed by the Edwin Lutiyen and Herbert Baker. The secretariat buildings were built in the designs of the imposition of superiority of the white masters over the natives.

Some of the major offices located in North block are:

  • Ministry of Finance

  • Ministry of home affairs

Some of major offices located in South Block are:

  • Ministry of Defense

  • Ministry of External Affairs

  • The Prime Minister’s office

These secretariat buildings are made of rose pink and pale yellow sandstone. The structure of the buildings gives a hint of the Mughal and Rajputana style. Both buildings are ornamented with stone screens which are known as ‘jali’. The buildings are provided with slants along the roof that shelters the artwork of the building from heat and monsoonal showers.

The government of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa donated the four Dominion columns that stand within the Great court. The centre of the court is adorned by the Jaipur Column of red sandstone with structures of a white egg, bronze lotus and six-pointed glass star of India.

Masjid-i-Jahan Numa

Jama Masjid is one of the most favorite and most visited tourist attractions in Delhi as well as whole of India. This architectural marvel was also built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The mosque which is one of the largest and oldest in India is open on all days for tourist except during the prayer intervals. Shah Jahan built the mosque in 1658 opposite to the Red Fort to be his primal worship site.

Ustad Khalil was the chief architect of Jama Masjid who took care of each and every wall, every inlay work and even smaller and minor details to make sure that the monument turns out to be the finest and eventually it did. The monument which means “the mosque that commands a view of the world” was eventually named Jama Masjid, ‘Jama’ means Friday – the holy day for the Muslims and hence the name ‘Jama Masjid’ was coined.

The mosque stands on a raised platform with three double storied gates opening in north, south and east directions. The masjid which uses black and white marbles along with red sandstone in tits decoration is about 80 meters long and 27 meters wide and 130 feet in height. The roof is entirely covered with black and white marbles and gold. In the 100 square meters of courtyard around 25000 people can pray at one time.

The main prayer hall is decorated with structures made out of marble and with the detailed history of the mosque inscribed on them. The northeastern parts seats the elaboration of Quran in Deer Skin along with the relics of Prophet Muhammad, this is why this area is also the holiest part of the mosque. One of best experiences other than the mosque itself is the view of Old Delhi and the areas around it from the southern minaret. The steps are steep and walls are narrow and very close to each other. With more than 90 steps the minaret gives one of the bets and awesome views of Old Delhi. You can also see the outer boundary of Red fort running along actually get an idea that how really big the fort is.

The “City of Shahjahan” is the perfect walk for everyone who is looking for an out of the world experience to explore the old city of Delhi. Delhi Walks’s this Old Delhi walk is one of the favorites and must attend walking tour.

Lashmi Narayan

Also known by the name of Birla Mandir of New Delhi, this temple has quite an interesting history attached to it. Built over a period of 6 years, the temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. But, he kept a condition that he will inaugurate the Delhi Laxmi Narain Temple only if the people from all castes, especially untouchables, would be able to gain entry inside it. The temple constitutes of one of the major draws of the city and is visited by numerous devotees and international tourists every year.

Lakshmi Narayan Mandir is built magnificently, although with a modern touch. Adorning the interiors of the temples are beautiful carvings depicting the scenes from mythology. Numerous Hindu symbols and quotes from the Gita and the Upanishads ornament the temple walls. The highest Shikara (tower) in the temple soars to an altitude of 165 ft, while the ancillary one is about 116 ft. Facing east and standing on an elevated platform, Birla Mandir of Delhi also enshrines the holy Vedas. The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi, while the smaller ones are of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman and Goddess Durga.

The three-storied temple is built in Nagara style of hindu temple architecture. Hundread of skilled craftsman from Benares headed by Acharya Vishvanath Shastri carved the idols of the temple. The idols of the temple were made by marble brought from Jaipur. Kota stone from Makarana, Agra, Kota and Jaisalmer were used in the construction of temple premises. The main temple houses idols of goddess Lakshmi and lord Narayan. Birla Temple attracts thousands of devotees on the hindu festivals of Janmasthtami and Diwali.


Humayun’s tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi, India. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife Bega Begum in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by Bega Begum. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, and is located in Nizamuddin East, Delhi, India, close to the Dina-panah citadel also known as Purana Qila (Old Fort), that Humayun founded in 1533.

The high rubble built enclosure is entered through two lofty double-storied gateways on the west and south, 16 metres high with rooms on either side of the passage and small courtyards on the upper floors. Six-sided stars that adorn the main gateway on the west are also seen on the high arc of the main tomb structure, though it has been used as ornamental cosmic symbol. Inspired by Persian architecture the double or ‘double-layered’ dome, has its the outer layer which supports the white marble exterior, while the inner part gives shape to the cavernous interior volume.

After his death on 20 January 1556, Humayun’s body was first buried in his palace in Purana Quila at Delhi. Thereafter it was taken to Sirhind, in Punjab by Khanjar Beg, because it was feared that Hindu king Hemu, who had defeated Mughal forces in Agra and Delhi in Oct. 1556 and captured Purana Quila, will damage the tomb. In 1558, it was seen by his son, the then Mughal Emperor, Akbar. Akbar subsequently visited the tomb when it was about to be completed in 1571.

Besides the main tomb enclosure of Humayun, several smaller monuments dot the pathway leading up to it, from the main entrance in the West, including one that even pre-dates the main tomb itself, by twenty years; it is the tomb complex of Isa Khan Niyazi, an Afghan noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court of the Suri dynasty, who fought against the Mughals, constructed in 1547 CE.

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