The “New” Delhi

The “New” Delhi
The “New” Delhi

Delhi’s fascination lies in its amalgamation of ancient monuments and bustle and clamour of Old Delhi with Lutyens imposing and magnificent New Delhi. The recent developments in the city due to the Commonwealth Games 2010 have given Delhi a new look. Some of the recently developed features of this capital city are:

  • T3 Terminal: Spread over a massive 5.4 million square feet the new New Delhi Terminal 3 (T3) is the sixth largest in the world after Dubai, Beijing, Singapore, Bangkok and Mexico City. T3 integrates the international and domestic terminals in one building. All international carriers and full-service domestic carriers will operate from this swank new terminal.

  • Delhi Metro: The existing lines of the Delhi Metro rail system have been extended and new ones have been constructed making the city well connected within and to the neighbouring satellite towns. Added to this, is the Metro Airport Express enabling fast transit to the airport, complete with baggage check-in and issue of boarding pass.

  • New Bus Fleet: The new and improved bus fleet running on compressed natural gas instead of diesel fuel. It is now the largest such natural gas bus fleet in the world, and the difference is pronounced in terms of reduced traffic and pollution and easy transportation around the city.

  • The Delhi Eye: Far above the crowds, with sweeping panoramic views of the city, the Delhi Eye is the perfect antidote to travel ennui. Built on the lines of the London Eye and Singapore Flyer, this 45-m high giant wheel will let you experience a bird’s eye view of the historic wonders of Delhi, all in a matter of 20 minutes

Above all, Delhi has turned from green to lush green! While the whole city pulsates with the rhythms of modernity, its innumerable trees, its gardens, its green spaces and increased forest cover have made the city one of the greenest capital cities of the world!

Attractions of Delhi:

  • Lal Qila (Red Fort): Built by Shah Jahan, the most prolific architect and builder of the Mughal empire, Lal Qila was the seat of Mughal power from 1639 to 1857. Named after the red sandstone used in its construction, Red Fort covers an area of almost 2km.

  • India Gate: An impressive example of colonial architecture, India Gate is the symbol of modern Delhi. The 138-ft-/42-m-high stone arch was built by the British in honor of Indian soldiers killed in World War I. A permanent flame honors Indian soldiers who died in wars since 1918.

  • Rashtrapati Bhawan: Now the residence of the president of India, the Rashtrapati Bhawan was built in 1929 by the British to be the centerpiece of New Delhi and home to their viceroys. Designed by Lutyens, New Delhi's most noted architect, it combines Mughal and Western styles in a striking fashion.

  • New Delhi's Imperial Architecture: Nehru wrote that "New Delhi is the visible symbol of British power, with all its ostentation and wasteful extravagance," but no one with any design interest fails to be impressed by the sheer scale and beauty of these buildings and the subtle blending of Indian influence on an otherwise stripped-down Western classicism. At first glance the Lutyens buildings of Central Delhi are symbols of Imperial power intended to utterly dwarf and humble the individual, yet the Indian influences, such as the neo-Buddhist dome, tiny helmet like chattris (cenotaphs), and filigree stonework, add a great deal to their stately beauty.

  • Qutab Complex: Originally built by Qutbuddin Aibak, first of the Delhi Sultanates who were to rule for some four centuries, the complex surrounds Qutab Minar, the sandstone Victory Tower built in 1193. The Minar was added to by his successor, Iltutmish and the topmost stories, reaching 70m (234 ft.), were built in 1368 by Feroze Shah Tughlak. It is remarkably well preserved. The iron pillar in the courtyard dates back to the 4th century.

  • Humayun's Tomb: This tomb, built for the second Mughal emperor, launched a great Mughal architectural legacy - even the Taj, which was built by Humayun's great-grandson, was inspired by it. Paid for by Humayun's wife, Haji Begum, and designed by the Persian (Iranian) architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, it's another grand testimony to love. Set in peaceful surrounds, the tomb features an artful combination of red sandstone and white marble, which plays with the wonderful symmetry and scale used by the makers of the Mughal Empire.

  • Jama Masjid: Commissioned by Shah Jahan in 1656, this mosque took 5,000 laborers 6 years to complete and is still the largest in Asia, accommodating up to 25,000 worshippers during holy festivals such as Id. The central pool is for washing hands, face, and feet and to the west (facing Mecca) is the main prayer hall with the traditional mihrab for the prayer leader. You can ascend to the top of the southern minaret to enjoy fantastic views of Old Delhi to the distinctly different rooftops and high-rises of New Delhi - the climb is pretty stiff, but worth it.

  • Raj Ghat: Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi (father of the Nation) is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January 1948. It is left open to the sky while an eternal flame burns perpetually at one end. A stone footpath flanked by lawns leads to the walled enclosure that houses the memorial. The memorial has the epitaph He Ram, (literally 'O' Ram', but also translated to 'O God'), believed to be the last words uttered by Gandhi.

  • Lotus Temple: A very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith. Named after its lotus shaped half opened Lotus flower, this temple is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. Its unique feature lies in its being a place open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility. The lotus flower signifies purity and peace, a representation of the Manifestation of God, to the people of India

  • Swaminarayan Akshardham: Situated on the banks of the River Yamuna, the sprawling pink sandstone cultural complex spread over 100 acres showcases the grandeur of Indian history, art, culture and values. It took over 7,000 master craftsmen and thousands of volunteers from all over the world almost five years to complete this modern day marvel. It also holds the Guinness world record for the biggest Temple in the world.

  • Lodhi Garden Complex: Spread over 90 acres, it contains architectural works of the 15th century Sayyid and Lodhis, a Pathan dynasty which ruled much of Northern India during the 16th century.

  • The Crafts Museum: The museum is constructed like a traditional Indian village.  Mud huts with painted walls and thatched roofs, courtyards, terracotta horses recreating village shrines, craftsmen at work are some of the elements that add to the rural ambience of the place. Originally established to act as a place where artisans from the entire country would gather and learn how to preserve their traditional art in the era of globalization, it culminated into a haven for traditional artisans from all over India to exhibit their art. More than 20,000 artifacts- wooden carvings and images, metal ware, clay and terracotta pots, toys and images, folk and tribal paintings, jewellery and textiles and lots more, are displayed in its various galleries showcasing India's rich tradition of handicrafts.

  • The National Museum: National Museum, today has in its possession over 2,00,000 works of exquisite art, both of Indian and Foreign origin covering more than 5,000 years of our cultural heritage. Its rich holdings of various creative traditions and disciplines which represent a unity amidst diversity, an unmatched blend of the past with the present and strong perspective for the future, brings history to life.

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