Delhi the capital city of India, a fine blend of old and new, ancient and modern, a city of more than 15 million people located on the banks of the river Yamuna one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. This city has been the seat of power for several rulers and many empires for about a millennium. Many a times the city was built, destroyed and then rebuilt. City’s importance lies not just in its past glory as the seat of empires and magnificent heritage monuments, but also in the rich and diverse cultures.
Delhi’s culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. This is exemplified by many significant monuments in the city. Old Delhi has been the capital of numerous empires that ruled India, making it rich in history. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. New Delhi is famous for its British colonial architecture, wide roads, and tree-lined boulevards. New Delhi houses several British Monuments reminiscent of British colonial architecture, including the War Memorial India Gate, President House, Rajpath, Parliament of India etc.
Home to three UNESCO Sites, Red Fort of Delhi is a brilliant example of Mughal Architecture. It was built during the zenith of the Mughal Empire under Shah Jahan. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007. It served as the official residence of the emperor for nearly 200 years. The Humayun’s tomb (Maqbaera e Humayun) is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Delhi. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun’s first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum (also known as Haji Begum) in 1569-70, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, a Persian architect chosen by her. It was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It was also the first structure to use red sandstone at such a scale. The complex encompasses the main tomb of the Emperor Humayun, which houses the graves of Bega Begum herself, Hamida Begum, and also Dara Shikoh great-great-grandson of Humayun and son of the Emperor Shah Jahan, as well as numerous other subsequent Mughals, including Emperor Jahandar Shah, Farrukhsiyar, Rafi Ul-Darjat, Rafi Ud-Daulat, Muhammad Kam Bakhsh and Alamgir II. The site was chosen on the banks of Yamuna river, due to its proximity to Nizamuddin Dargah, the mausoleum of the Sufi saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, who was much revered by the rulers of Delhi, and whose residence, Chilla Nizamuddin Auliya lies just north-east of the tomb. Humayun’s tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.
Another Example of unique architecture is Delhi’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Qutab Minar, established along with Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque around 1192 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak, first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. The mosque complex is one of the earliest that survives in the Indian subcontinent. The minaret is named after Qutab-ud-din Aibak, or Qutabuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, a Sufi saint. Its ground storey was built over the ruins of the Lal Kot, the citadel of Dhillika. Aibak’s successor Iltutmish added three more storeys. The minar’s topmost storey was damaged by lightning in 1369 and was rebuilt by Firoz Shah Tughlaq, who added another storey. There are many other renowned historic monuments and landmarks such as the Masjid-i Jahān-Numā (Jama Mosque of Delhi), Purana Quila (Old Fort), Lodhi Gardens, and Safdarjung’s Tomb are few of many attractions.
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