Delhi is a lot more than just the capital of India. It is a major tourist place and has tons of historical places worth visiting. Today, these historical places in Delhi not only serve as tourist spots but also are a popular film shooting locations.
Delhi has witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties over the period of time. With a history of over a millennium, the capital city has a long list of forts and palaces that span from the times of the Pandavas of the Hindu epic Mahabharata to the British rulers. For your ease, Neo Travellers has summarized the seven top historical places worth visiting in Delhi. These famous places speak tons about the history and culture of the great capital city.
Here’s Neo Travellers’ List Of Historical Places in Delhi with Pictures and Information
The iconic Qutub Minar is a popular historical monument that adds culture to Delhi’s skyline. It is a 73-meter minaret in Mehrauli area of New Delhi. This five-storey monument with a 14.3-meter base diameter contains a spiral staircase of 379 steps (although climbing these stairs is prohibited). It is believed that Qutub Minar’s structure was inspired by the Minaret of Jam, in western Afghanistan. Qutub complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Qutub Minar was built by several Mughal rulers. Qutb Ud-Din-Aibak, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, began the construction of its first storey around 1192. Aibak’s son-in-law Iltutmish further completed three storeys in 1220. The minar was damaged in 1369, when a lightning strike decimated the top storey. Firoz Shah Tughlaq replaced the damaged storey and built the final, fifth story.
Qutub Minar has several significant monuments in its vicinity, including Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque and the much popular Iron Pillar of Delhi.
Visit Timing: Sunrise to Sunset
Entry Fee: Indian citizens: INR 30/foreign nationals: INR 500.
Free entry for children up to 15 years of age.
Nearest metro station: Qutb Minar station.
India Gate is another one of the famous historical places in Delhi, which was built to commemorate the 70,000 Indian soldiers who were killed fighting for the British Army during World War I. This “Arc-de-Triomphe” is 42-meter-high and similar to its French counterpart.
The Duke of Connaught laid the foundation stone of India Gate in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The nearby memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, following India’s independence. The eternal flame burns at the memorial in remembrance of soldiers who were martyred during the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971. It is best to visit this place literally anytime, and during night time, the place is dramatically floodlit.
India Gate is surrounded by lush green lawns and a small lake. The nearby fountains with colored lights make for a soothing surrounding. At one end of India Gate is Rajpath and one can see a deluge of people moving about the area during evenings.
Visit Timing: 24 hours a day, all days of the week
Entry Fee: None
Nearest metro station: Central Secretariat
While you are in Connaught Place, make sure you visit Jantar Mantar (which translates to Yantra – Instruments and Mantra – formulae). Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1724 for the pursuit of scientific knowledge.
Image source: Tourism of India
The lush green complex comprises 13 architectural astronomy instruments. These instruments are fascinating for their ingenuity and are a testament to the interest in science and astronomy in India. However, today this observatory has been reduced to a fascinating historical monument as accurate observations can no longer be made due to high rise buildings nearby.
Visit Timing: Daily, between 9AM-5PM
Entry Fee: INR 200 for Foreign Tourists and INR 50 for Indians
Nearest metro station: Patel Chowk
Jama Masjid, or the Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (World-reflecting Mosque), is one of the most historical places in Delhi, which has religious significance. Located in the heart of Old Delhi, it is a point of interest for all the history buffs and is situated just opposite to the Red Fort. Shah Jahan completed the construction of the mosque in 1656. Till date, it is one of the largest mosques in India, with a capacity of around 25,000 people!
The Jama Masjid is a classic example of great Mughal architecture. It blends both Hindu and Mughal style of architecture in a unique way. The mosque has three entry gates and four towers in its complex. It is built of red stone, which helps it stand all the seasons of the year. The Jama Masjid was constructed on a higher ground and could be seen from any region within 5 kilometres of its radius. Even though the mosque still stands tall among the crowded street of Chandani Chowk, it has been overshadowed by the commercialization of the place.
Visit Timing: 7 am to 12 pm, 1:30 pm to 6:30 pm, all days of the week
Entry Fee: Free entry
Nearest metro station: Chawri Bazaar (Just 500m away!)
Red Fort in Delhi
The Red Fort is one of the few historical monuments in Delhi that served the residence of Mughal emperors for as long as 200 years. This dramatic and fascinating structure was taken over by the British in 1857. The Red Fort in Delhi is surrounded by tall red-stone walls and has marble and sandstone monuments that were constructed using precious stones during the peak of the Mughal Empire’s power.
The Red Fort lies on the banks of the Yamuna River. It is home to several museums that house various precious artifacts on display. Today, this historical fortification is where the Indian Prime Minister unfurls the national flag and gives his speech on the Independence Day.
Visitors should not miss the flamboyant light and sound show that happens every evening (except on Monday. The light and sound show dramatizes key events associated with the history of the fort. It is one of the most popular historical places in Delhi amongst tourists. Visitors generally combine their trip to the Red Fort with the nearby Chandni Chowk market and the Jama Masjid.
Hours: Tues-Sun 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Entry Fee: INR 500 for Foreign Tourists and INR 30 for Indians
Nearest metro station: Chowri Bazaar
Agrasen Ki Baoli
The ancient stepwell, Agrasen ki Baoli, is a great historical monument in Delhi that you simply cannot miss. Located far away from the bustle of city life, it has its share of references in popular culture like in the very controversial Raj Kumar Hirani movie, PK.
Image source: TripAdvisor
Agrasen Ki Baoli is a protected monument and its beguiling architecture can easily grab your attention. It is a 60-meter long and 15-meter wide historical step well located on Hailey Road, near Jantar Mantar. It has a unique structure which consists of three levels. The step well of Agrasen ki Baoli has 103 steps with several carved chambers and passages.
Hours: Everyday, 9AM–5:30PM
Entry Fee: Free
Nearest metro station: Barakhamba Road
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Humayun’s Tomb Delhi
Humayun’s Tomb was built by the senior wife of Humayun Bega Begam in 1565 A.D., nine years after Humayun’s death. The tomb is located near the crossing of Mathura road and Lodhi road. This beautiful garden tomb is the first significant example of Mughal architecture in India and a must visit historical places in Delhi.
Image source: India hotels
Once you are at this historical site, you cannot help but notice the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels and well proportional mausoleum topped by a double dome. There are various other graves of Mughal rulers in the walled enclosure.
Entry Fee: INR 30 for Indians, SAARC and BIMSTEC nationals; INR 500 for foreigners. Free entry for children up to 15 years
Visit Timing: Everyday, between 8:00AM to 6:00PM
Nearest Metro stations: Jorbagh, Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium, and Race Course stations
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