This largest mosque in India, standing opposite the Red Fort, was built by Shah Jehan between 1650 and 1656 as the central place of worship in his newly established city of Shahjehanahad. Five thousand workmen are said to have labored for six years to construct it, at the cost of Rs. 10 lakhs. then. The pulpit here has been carved out of a single block of marble. The prayer hall with its three great domes of white marble with strips of in laid black marble and surmounted by golden spires is superb, Its tapering minarets made of red sand-stone with vertical white marble strips rise to the height of 130 feet. One hundred and thirty spiral lead to the top. In one corner of the hall is installed the foot prints of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad. The mosque can accommodate a congregation of 20,000 men. Its three gates are reached by flights of steps.
Feroz Shah Kotla
Now famous for the cricket stadium, this small fort is located near Delhi Gate. It was constructed by Feroz Shah Tughlak in 1354 when he shifted his capital to this new city called Ferozabad. The ruins of the city and the fort now have a mosque and an Ashokan Pillar of 3rd Century BC. bearing an inscription in Brahmi script.
Just west of Feroz Shah Kotla ruins, stands the Khooni Darwajaor the Bloody Gate. Originally it was an entrance Gate to Old Delhi. During Jahangir’s reign, the sons of Abdul Rahim Khan i-Khana were beheaded here. It was only here that the head of Prince Darashikoha was chopped off after his defeat against Aurangzeb in the war of succession. Again in 1857 the three Sons of Bahadurshah Zafar were shot dead here by Captain Hudson.
Raj Ghat, Shantivana and Shaktisthal
These are respectively the cremation spots of Mahatma Gandhi. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Mrs. Indira Gandhi. the three great leaders of the country. Lying on the left bank of the river Yamuna, these three places draw lots of devout Indians to pay their regards to the architects of Modern India. This whole area is a beautiful green stretch full of trees, flowering plants and shrubs.
This spectacular monument, standing on Mathura Road about 3 km. south of Feroz Shah Kotla, built on a small hill with massive stone walls and imposing gateways, by Shershah Sun, the Afghan ruler who defeated Humayun during l54l Traditionally it is supposed to be the site of ancient Khandavprastha and indraprastha. the original cities of the Delhi region
Not far from Purana Quila. on Mathura Road. near Nizamuddin Aulia’s Dargah. is a grand mausoleum. built in 1574 by Humayun’s widow Begum. This tomb marks the beginning of’ a new architectural era of Mugal masterpieces in Agra and Delhi; and a fine example of the synthesis of India and Persian architectural styles. Built in red sandstones and white and black marbles, with high arches it has been a burial ground for many nobles of the Mugal Dynasty. The lastMugal Emperor was captured here in 1857 by the British troops. Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect, was its builder.
Dargah Nizamuddin Aulia
It is a holy place of piligrimage for Muslims though people of every faith pay their tribute here to he fourth saint in line of the Chisti saints. The original shrine built by Alauddin Khilzi, has been added to by many royal personages and devotees since the death of the saint. in 1325 AD. Other royal personages buried here are Amir Khusro, Mirza Ghalib, Jahanara (daughter of Emperor Shahjahan). During the Urs festival, celebrated twice each year to mark the death anniversaries of Saint Nizamuddin and Amir Khusro, pilgrims from all over the Muslim world assemble here.
Near Purana Quila is the Pragati Maidan, a vast exhibition complex and the site for many fairs. Appu Ghar is additional attraction here for children. There are many auditoria, cinema halk etc. and is a very important tourist centre of modern Delhi.
Nearby Safdarjung Airport stands this famous tomb, built by Shuja-ud-daula, the Subedar of Oudh, in 1753-54 on the pattern of Humayun’s Tomb, as a tribute to his father Safdarjung. This “last flicker of the lamp of Mughal architecture in Delhi”, stands on a high structure in a sprawling garden. The marble and red stone for the mausoleum were removed from the tomb of Abdur Rahim-Khan-i-Khana - the famous Hindi poet and courtier of Akbar’s time.
The Qutab Minar
The tallest free-standing stone tower of victory in the world, the Qutab Minar is 234 feet high. Qutb-ud-din Aihak. the first Slave Sultan, laid its foundation in 1199. He died only when the first story was completed. It was completed by his successor Iltutmish. It is made of red stone and marble. Its five stories have projecting balconies. It was originally attached to Quwwat-ul-Islam (The Might of Islam) Mosque for the muezzin to call the faithful to the prayer. The muezzin had to climb 376 steps every lime. Aibak began building it in in 1192 and completed in 1198 by using the stones of the 27 Hindu and Jam Temples demolished there. The famous ALAI DARWAZA was added to in 1300 by Ala-ud-din. Now the entry is lest restricted.
In the Qutub complex stands this ancient monument. It is a wonderful solid iron shaft, 24 feet high and standing rust free for more than 15 centuries in rains, winds and the sun. The Pillar’s Brahmi inscription tells us that it was erected by the Hindu King Chandra to commemorate his victories over enemy hordes of Vahliks. Some people erroneously ascribe it to the Tomar King Anangpal. Perhaps it was brought by Anangpal here.
East of Qutub Minar, on Mehrauli Badarpur Road, lie the massive ruins of a fort built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlak in 1321-25. The ruins overshadow the entire landscape. On the opposite side stands the citadel of Adilabad. The ruins of the third city of Delhi are extant there, along with the tomb of Ghiyas ud-din Tughlak.
Laid by the Sayyids and Lodhis, these lush green gardens are the popular picnic spot for the Delhities. The Tombs of Muhammad Shah and SikanderLodhi lie here.
This great monument of modern time is 42 meter high with stone arch. It has the names of 90,000 Indian Soldiers inscribed, who died in the First World War. Below, in the centre of the arch way burns the Amar Jawan Jyoti, in the memory of unknown Indian soldiers, who died in various battles fighting for the British Raj.
Opposite India Gate. at the other end of the Raj Path, stands the magnificent Residence of the President of India on Raisina Hill. This Palatial building was designed by Edward Lutycns arid Herbert Baker in 1929.
Parliament House or the Sansad Bhawan stands near the President’s House. It is a Circular Colonnaded edifice which was completed in 1927. It has two Chambers: The Rajya Sahha or the Upper House and the Lok Sahha or the Lower House.
This elaborate abservatory was built in 1725 by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur, a noted scholar of mathematics and astronomy himself. The huge structures and various yantras ol the observatory are a sure sign of its builder’s great astronomical prowess.
Lakshmi Narain Temple
It is a modern Hindu Temple constructed by the Birlas in 1938. The temple houses the life size images of Narain (Lord Vishnu) and his consort Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. There are images of other gods and goddesses as well.
Baha’i House of Worship (The Lotus Temple)
Near Nehru Place is situated this architectural building with a distinctive design amidst sprawling lawns and large placid pools. This temple, shaped like a huge lotus flower has 27 petals made of white concrete and clad in white Greek marble panels. Here people of all faith are welcome to visit the temple and to pray and meditate there in total silence. The temple is closed on Mondays for visitors. Its construction began in 1980 and was completed in 1986. This magnificent structure is nine sided. Nine is the highest digit and symbolizes comprehensiveness, oneness and unity. Accordingly there are 9 pools and 27 petals (2÷7=9, by numerological consideration).
Other Places of Entertainment
Museums & Art Galleries
The National Museum on Janpath just south-west of India Gate presents a splendid collection of ancient and medieval art objects. Near India Gate is the National Gallery of Modern Arts, a permanent collection of rare paintings and sculptures. The Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri is of great interest, as it houses many vintage locomotive engines.
The other museums include the Nehru Memorial Museum and Planetarium at Teen Moorti Indira Smriti at 1, Safdarjung Road; the National Museum of Natural History near Mandi House; the Dolls Museum on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg near Feroze Shah Kotla; National Philaletic Museum of Dak Tar Bhawan on Parliament Street, near Pate! Chowk; and Ti bet House Museum on Lodi Road. The various Art Galleries in the city hold exhibitions all the year round.. The best season to visit these places being between Nov. to March.
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