One of the most enjoyable and exhilarating ways to discover a city is on foot. Be it Cairo, Rome or the Indian city of Delhi, soaking in any city’s history can be best done on foot. Delhi has a myriad of historical monuments, poetic trails, art museums and the more modern pubs and cafes to offer. Just walk through the city and you will collide into history at every turn. With more than 174 national protected monuments and three world heritage sites, history lies in the life and breath of the city of Delhi. Delhi is one of the oldest living cities of the world. There are a plethora of things that you can explore and many new experiences that you can have while walking through the old corners of this monumental city. Here is a list of 10 things that you can explore in the city of Delhi. Pick your favorite!
10. Kashmere Gate
Kashmere gate was one of the 14 gates of the city of Shahjahanabad built around 1869. The remnants of the Kashmere Gate Monument and the broken city wall of Shahjahanabad are still present to take you back in time. The refurbished Ritz cinema which is one of the oldest single screen cinemas in Delhi can also be visited across the road from the Kashmere Gate monument. Kashmere Gate not only houses decaying, historical structures but also heritage buildings that have defied the ravages of time. St James Church is one such building which was built by Colonel James Skinner in 1835. The church continues to attract people from all corners of the city because of its neo-classical architecture.
9. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
Ever wondered how toilets would be like in ancient times? Well, the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets traces the evolution of toilets from 1145 AD to modern times. Seen a commode in the shape of a sofa or a commode-cum-throne? This museum has it all and is worth a visit.
8. The Kathputli Colony
Street art is often ignored and neglected in India but in reality, it reflects a goldmine of talent. True art lives in the streets. Enter the narrow gullies of a one-of-its kind artist colony in Delhi called the Kathputli colony. It is a basti of 1500 street musicians, performers, puppeteers, dancers, jugglers, etc who represent the true spirit of India all across the world.
7. Marwari Library
A distinct, 100 year old library that played an important role in India’s freedom struggle, the Marwari library in Chandni Chowk has books in all categories ranging from religious texts and novels to biographies and poems. Most books are very old and that is precisely the specialty of this library. It is said that Gandhi and other nationalist leaders had secret meetings here during the freedom struggle. The Marwari library has its name engraved in the golden pages of history.
6. Ghalib’s Tomb
Mirza Ghalib was one of the greatest ever Urdu poets. The memory of the poet perpetuates in our hearts and his works in Urdu do not cease to leave us mesmerized. Ghalib’s tomb lies in Nizamuddin Basti in a marble enclosure. All his letters and poems are stored in a glass enclosure. The tomb also houses “Ghalib’s Gourmet Delights” which include his favorite food items such as almonds, dal, mangoes and shammi kebabs.
5. Jama Masjid
Delhi is home to several monumental treasures, Jama Masjid being one of them. Jama Masjid is said to be the last architectural project of Emperor Shah Jahan and was built by more than 5,000 workers. This lavish mosque is one of the most famous mosques of the country. Built in the Mughal era, the western chamber is carved with Hindu and Jain design patterns. Not only this, two 130 feet high minarets frame the central arch of the mosque.
4. Lodhi Gardens
Your tryst with Delhi’s heritage will be incomplete without visiting Lodhi gardens. Lodhi Gardens have four monuments. These include Mohammad Shah’s tomb, Sikander Lodhi’s tomb, Sheesh Gumbad and Bara Gumbad. The garden also encloses the relics of 15th century Sayyed and Lodhi dynasties. Lodhi gardens are truly a historian’s paradise!
3. The Crafts Museum
The Crafts Museum in Pragati Maidan showcases living crafts from across the country. Indians love crafts and this museum depicts precisely that. In its green and serene environment, the museum contains the trajectory of the way our gods were perceived right from the 17th century till now. You will be delighted to know that the museum also has a gallery of artefacts and textiles and a library with more than 12,000 books and journals.
2. Khooni Darwaza
The Khooni Darwaza near ITO stands witness to many historical anecdotes. It was built by Sher Shah Suri and was earlier known as Kbuli Darwaza. Mughal emperor Jahangir had the two sons of Abdur Rahim Khan-e-Khanan killed here on charges of treason. It has stood testimony to blood many a times. Aurangzeb also hung the head of his brother Dara Shikoh at the Khooni Darwaza.
1. National Gandhi Museum
All Indians feel that they know Gandhi inside out considering the fact that they read about him right from school. However, when you venture inside the National Gandhi Museum, you will feel that you actually knew nothing about him. The Mahatma truly comes to life in this historical museum which takes you on his journey from life to death. With more than 300 rare pictures of the Mahatma and his recorded voice and his blood stained dhoti and shawl from the day he was shot, this museum is truly a treasure for all the Gandhi fans across the world.