In my last post “My Favourite Places to Visit in Delhi : Day 1” you must have seen the small argument regarding the name case. So is it Delhi, or Old Delhi or New Delhi.
Well to clarify, it’s an amalgamation of everything. Today I begin with our sojourn to Chandni Chowk, a very prominent old Delhi hub. It is also a place to get down to visit the iconic Red Fort. The best thing about Delhi since my last visit is that you can visit virtually every place of interest using the metro railways. There is a station right next to virtually every tourist attraction in the city. So let’s start with the Red fort.
The Red Fort
We got down at the Chandni Chowk metro station and as you would imagine (or perhaps not if you have never visited India), as we exited the station we were stuck by the sights and sounds and the smell of the quintessential Indian chaos. The pavements were chock a block with vendors selling virtually everything that humans ever created. One of the vendors was giving a deal that could even break Amazon or eBay. 9 fairly good quality socks for 100 Indian rupees or $1.5; now beat that!!
However we were here to see the Red Fort and went straight for the monument. It was like a 10 minutes’ walk and you would feel you have seen the whole world. Once again, the fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is an excellent example of exemplary Mughal Architecture. Built by the famous Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who is more renowned for commissioning the Taj Mahal, the fort in itself is quite imposing. The fort is made of red sandstone and this is the also the site from where the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on the Independence Day. While we did not enter the fort and visit the museum located within, you can do so by paying a small fee of Rs. 10 if you are an Indian or Rs 250 if you are a foreigner. While the day was hot, we took our time to enjoy this jewel of Delhi and took some great photographs.
Rashtrapati Bhawan and India Gate
For me this is the most beautiful spot in Delhi! The architectural grandeur all around is reminiscent of the Britain colonial era and the days of the Raj.
Rashtrapati Bhawan is the Hindi for the President’s House and it is just spectacular. The magnificent architecture that stands in the middle of a 330 acre estate is the work of the British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker and it has 340 rooms spread over four floors, 2.5 kilometers of corridors and 190 acres of garden area. You can enter the complex and take photographs but you are not allowed to steps of the actual architecture where the President resides. If you keen you can actually arrange a tour of a Rashtrapati Bhawan by making prior bookings. To do that you will have to visit this portal .
The day we visit the place was bright and sunny and photographs came out really nice. Our spirits were also lifted by the grandeur all around and as we looked towards the east we could see the India Gate located at a distance of around 3 kilometers. The road that connects the two structures is called Raj Path or the road of the Kings.
India gate is perhaps the grandest and most well known war memorial in India and was built in 1931 using red and yellow sandstone along with granite. India Gate pays tribute to all the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their life for the British Empire during World War I. The architecture was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens who also designed the Rashtrapati Bhawan and it also houses the Eternal Flame or “Amar Jawan Jyoti” that exemplifies the eternal sacrifices of Indian soldiers.
On both sides of the Raj Path you will find sprawling gardens and I would strongly recommend walking down this road as the sun goes down. We walked towards the India gate and as it got dark, the memorial was brilliantly illuminated. We decided to spend some time on the lawns surrounding the gate and it was quite a nice experience. Just a quick word of caution; vendors selling Indian snacks will bother you a bit around India gate and could get a bit pushy. But then again this is a hallmark of any popular tourist spot across the globe and I have faced similar situations near the Eiffel Tower.
Agrasen Ki Baoli
Now this is a place which is rather off-beat and even many local taxi drivers would not have heart about it. but that is not a worry at all as we have GPS and the place itself is very near to a couple of metro stations. Agrasen Ki Baoli is a monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is essentially a water reservoir consisting of 103 steps and made of red stone. The monument is thousands of years old and it underwent restoration in the 14th century.
The architecture is quite impressive and is adorned by a line of superimposed arches supported on piers and is more than 60 meters long. Until recently large parts of the reservoir were immersed in water. But when we visited the water dried up and we could see the reservoir bed. There is one more reason why we visited the place. the place is supposed to be haunted because lot of people have committed suicide in the reservoir and their disgruntled souls now haunt the architecture. Some claimed that the water in the reservoir had some power that attracted people and tricked them to give up their lives. We however did not feel any sort of negative energy there and rather had a nice photo-op. So if you are visiting Delhi do include Agrasen Ki Baoli in your itinerary.
Our trip to Delhi was simply amazing in so many ways. As our holiday came to an end we realized we had so much more to see and feel. So if you guys are planning Delhi, at least keep 7 days or more and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Also wanted to add that for our day trip to Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate and Agrasen Ki Baoli we rented a cab from Ola cabs and it was worth the money. We paid 1200 Indian rupees or around 18 USD for 6 hours/60 KMs and at the end we had both kilometers and hours to spare. Delhi was so near and we always knew that there is so much to see and do in the city. I do not know why it took us this long to properly cover the city.
Perhaps we became examples of the saying “grass is greener on the other side of the fence”.