A continuous political hot seat, Delhi has been ruled by several dynasties. Because of the same reason, Delhi and its nearby destinations like Agra, boast of housing a number of such magnificent structures, which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here are top World heritage sites in and around Delhi:
Taj Mahal: Teardrop on the cheeks of time
|An artist's rendition of Taj Mahal. It was one of the first monuments in India to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO|
Admired all around the world for its love tale, it boasts of an architecture that is a mix of Ottoman Turkish, Islamic, Indian and Persian architectural styles. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1983, its construction started in 1632 and got completed in 1653.
The mortal remains of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal are buried in the Taj Mahal that consists of detailed inlay of semi-precious stones. Taj Mahal tour is one of the most important highlights of all golden triangle tour packages in India.
Fatehpur Sikri: The Ghost Town
|The congregational hall of the Friday Mosque inside Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage Site in Uttar Pradesh. Photo Courtesy: Lonely Planet|
Founded in 1569, Akbar built this complex in the honour of Sufi Saint Salim Chishti.This impressive architecture is an excellent proof of the evolution of town planning in India like Old Delhi, then known as Shahjahanabad.
There are several structures within its walls including harem, a mosque, palaces, private quarters and other necessary buildings. Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Kas , Ranch Mahal, Buland Damaza, Jama Masjid, Daulat Khana are some of the prime structures. Earlier it was named as Fatehabad or the ‘City of Victory’.
Agra Fort: Legend of the Fall
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Agra Fort is placed around 2.5 km north westwards of the Taj Mahal. Known as a walled city, was originally a brick fort that was owned by Sikarwar Rajputs. It was captured by Sikandar Lodi, the Sultan of Delhi in 1080 who later shifted his capital to Agra and made this fort his home.
Later, his son Ibrahim Lodi built a mosque, a number of palaces and wells within the fort. After several years, Shah Jahan, the grandson of Akbar, also resided in the fort and it was during his reign that this structure flourished and added white-marble structures with semi-precious gems and gold inlays after destroying the earlier ones.
Humayun’s Tomb: India's First Charbagh Mausoleum
|Humayun's Tomb was the first Charbagh to be built in India, a design which was perfected during the construction of Taj Mahal. Photo Courtesy Nikhil Chandra|
It is believed that Humayun himself had planned the architecture of his tomb, though there is no proof of it. The main architect of the tomb was Mirak Mirza Ghiyath. Placed in the centre of a square-shaped garden, this red sandstone double-storey square tomb has the grave in an octagonal central chamber. This site is accessible through a passage towards the south.
More details about Humayun's Tomb
Qutb Minar Complex: The Might of Islam
|Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque inside Qutb Minar Complex (in picture) was the first mosque to be built in India. Photo courtesy Wikipedia|
Its foundation was laid by Qutbu’d-Din Aibak in 1199 and the construction was finished by Shamsu’d-Din Iltutmish, his son-in-law and successor. The walls of the Minar consist of inscriptions in Arabic and Nagari. Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the Iron Pillar, a mosque, The tomb of Iltutmish, Ala’i-Darwaza, Ala’i Minar are some of the other monuments in the Qutb Minar Complex.
India's Golden Triangle tour is one of the best option to explore these gems of India and get a peek into the rich heritage and culture of this incredible country.
Contributed by Geetika Handa