Thursday, September 20, 2012

Popular Monuments of Delhi


I don’t know since when, but I have always been fascinated towards monuments. The one obvious reason that I can think of is my love for History subject though most of the students hate this subject. I love to read about kings, queen, their reign and their era. When we (me and my family) were shifted to Delhi the only excitement was that I would be able to visit all the monuments about whom I have read in books. When I came here I realized that people generally prefer malls over monuments as visiting monuments are not considered very up market. Despite this some monuments have become a hangout place for collage goers, some have become couple spots, some are tourist’s spots and some are lying lost to be noticed by us. 

Literally meaning “A statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event” monument surely glorify about the past grandeur. The history of Delhi is dotted with the creation of several architectural masterpieces which are now an integral part of the heritage of this great metropolis. Delhi is a place, which serves, as a testament to India’s glorious past. I would like to quote the famous poet Mirza Ghalib who wrote, “The world is the body and Delhi is its soul”.  The richness of Delhi is well reflected in the grand historical monuments through its majestic architectures.

 Let’s start with the most visited monuments, the most visited places of Delhi-

Whenever we talk about monuments of Delhi, the first things that come to anyone’s mind is Red fort or Lal Qila– one of the most potent symbols of Delhi. It was the political center of the Mughal dynasty. Emperor Shahjahan built the Red Fort or Lal Qila in 1648. Ahmed Lahwari, the chief architect of the Taj Mahal, designed this massive Fort.

Republic Day parade on 26th January is the most colourful of the city's festivals events and also the biggest crowd-puller. Hundreds of thousands people line the route from Rajpath to the Red Fort to watch the pageant of solders, camel crops, armoured regiments, brass bands, folk dancers, school children, war veterans and elaborate floats representing the cultural diversity of India.

And if you enter this majestic fort through the Lahori Gate, it would take you to a vaulted arcade known as the Chatta Chowk which is now famous by the name of Meena Bazaar. A little inside, you can see the Indian War Memorial Museum. Red Fort comprises of some beautiful buildings inside its precincts such as the Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Rang Mahal and Moti Masjid, to name a few.

And just less than a mile to the west of Red Fort lies the largest mosque of India, The Jama Masjid. Completed in 1656 under the reign of Shahjahan, This magnificent mosque was designed by Ustad Khalil. It too is extremely popular with tourists. And I think the best time to visit it is during Eid and Ramadan when special prayers are held here.

Qutub Minar located in the southern part of the city is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic architecture. 234 feet high, it was completed during the reign of Iltutmish in 1200 AD. Today, it has emerged as a center for number of cultural activities organized in the capital city. Iconic to Delhi’s rich and diverse past this monument serve as a perfect backdrop for these events.

To further add up to the beauty of these monuments many sound and light programs are being organized regularly in evenings that tells the stories of royal prince and princess of the royal times.

Every year Qutb Festival is organized in the month of November. And it is quite an experience to enjoy the music symphony with the backdrop of this amazing monument.

The tomb of Humayun who was the second Mughal Emperor of India is the earliest existing specimen of the Mughal architecture and exemplifies the formative stage of its structural style. It was built by his widow, Biga Beghum, 14 years after his death; it was a tribute by a wife to a husband. And a very few people know that it is considered to be the precursor of the 'Taj Mahal' as far as the architectural structure is concerned.

It is built in the area of Nizamuddin Auliya’s dargah and that is why it was considered lucky to be buried in its vicinity. It was later used for the burial of various members of the ruling family and contains some 150 graves. It has aptly been described as the necropolis of the Mughal dynasty. The serenity and calmness of the place further exemplifies its beauty. Built over acres of lush green land and surrounded by fountains this complex is home to a well-manicured garden, a beautiful mosque and several other tombs.

This post will be incomplete if I won’t write about Old Fort, one of Delhi’s most visited monuments. Built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541, it has survived the ravages of time. Old Fort at Delhi is a perfect example of Lodi style of architecture in Delhi.

Centuries have past and modern developments have given a complete new look to the city. With the passage of time few monuments are lying lost to be noticed by us. Read my next post to know about the lost monuments of Delhi.