Delhi is a historic city and the Capital of India. Delhi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world having flourished from as early as the 6th century BC. It is believed that the city and state of Delhi as we know today has been the site of at least seven major settlements across history between 3000 BCE and the 17th Century BCE. Delhi has been the seat of political power historically as well with the Mughals ruling the country. The influx of different cultures have left indelible marks on Indian soil and some of these are shining examples cast in marble and stone. Many of these monuments dot India and have been categorized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Delhi itself is home to 3 of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So when in India one must make a point to visit the three magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Delhi. Getting to Delhi from any part of India is easy. One can very easily book cheap Mumbai to Delhi flight tickets and reach Delhi or fly in from any city like Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata etc..
The magnificent three of Delhi are The Qutub Minar, The Red Fort, and Humayun’s Tomb.
The Qutub Minar
The Qutub Minar is a tower of five storeys which tapers of towards the top. The tower is part of what is known as the Qutub Complex and stands in the midst of lush green gardens and other ruins. The tower has a spiralling staircase inside, however entry inside the tower is banned after a horrific stampede too the lives of many innocent children in 1974. The construction of the Qutub Minar was commissioned by Qutub Ud-Din-Aibak in the year 1192. The height of the Qutub Minar is about 239 feet. The diameter of the tower at the base is about 47 feet which tapers to about 9 feet at the top.The tower is constructed using red sandstone and marble and has balconies on each of the storeys. The Qutub Minar is built in the Iranian style and also has traces of the influence of Hindu architecture. The exact purpose for which the Qutub Minar was built is not clear, however many believe that it was built as a commemoration of victories in war while others believe it was built as part of a mosque and used for calling the devout muslims to prayer. Whatever the reason for it being built, the Qutub Minar stands tall dominating the Delhi skyline with its iconic presence.
The Red Fort
The Red Fort is a historic monument that was the seat of the Mughal dynasty that ruled India for nearly two hundred years. The Red Fort housed the members of the the Royal family and also served as the centre of administration. The fort is characterized by massive walls of red sandstone because of which it came to be known as Red Fort. The Red Fort was built in the year 1639 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who is better know for the construction of the most famous mausoleum in the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra.
The Red Fort is known for its architectural excellence which is heavily influenced by the Persian style of architecture. The enchanting layout of the gardens within the Red Fort went on to become a benchmark of sorts and similar gardens came up in other parts of India including Rajasthan, Kashmir, and Punjab. The style of the gardens were dubbed as Mughal styled gardens. To this day the Red Fort remains an iconic symbol of power. The Prime Minister of India unfurls the Indian national flag from the ramparts of the Red fort every year on the occasion of India’s independence day and addresses the nation in a speech that is broadcast across the country. The Red Fort in its heyday was full of treasures including the famed bejewelled Peacock Throne that had been commissioned by emperor Shah Jehan. In the year 1739, the Red Fort was plundered by the marauding army of the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah and its treasures looted. The original Peacock Throne was also taken as a war trophy and has been lost to the world since then.
A woman’s love for her dead husband found expression in the exquisitely designed Humayun’s Tomb which stands in stately splendour by the side of the river Yamuna In Delhi. The Tomb was built for the Mughal Emperor Humayun by his grieving wife, the Empress Bega Begum after his death. She personally supervised the construction of the tomb and hired the services of a renowned Persian architect called Mirak Mirza Ghiyas to design the tomb. The Humayun’s Tomb was built between 1569-70 and today the complex includes the main tomb where lies the remains of Emperor Humayun as well as Empress Bega Begum herself.The complex also has the tombs of many subsequent Mughals and is in the midst of lovely gardens set in Persian style. The similar styles of architecture and landscaping of gardens is found in many other monuments of the Mughal era including the Taj Mahal.
A visit to Delhi and these amazing UNESCO World Heritage sites is sure an experience that one will cherish for a lifetime.