Full day tour of Old and New Delhi including the Jama Masjid Mosque, Red Fort, & a rickshaw ride through the market in Old Delhi and India Gate, Raj Ghat/Gandhi Memorial Museum, Lakshmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir) and Qutab Minar in New Delhi.
Start the tour with a visit to the great Jama Masjid- the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Built in the year 1656 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the largest & best known mosque in India. The courtyard of the mosque can hold up to twenty-five thousand worshippers. The mosque also houses several relics in a closet in the north gate, including an antique copy of the Qur’an written on deer skin. It lies at the origin of a very busy central street of Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk.
Next take an exciting rickshaw ride through Chandi Chowk, the old marketplace of Shah Jahanabad now a picturesque bazaar to reach Red Fort, built in the year 1648 by Shah Jehan.
The Red Fort, which protects the palace, is the largest surviving fort of Shah Jahanabad and is now called Old Delhi. The fortified outer wall, from which the modern name derives, was made of red standstone and many of the palace buildings within the wall are of white marble. The chief designer, Amad Lahwri, also designed the Taj Mahal building and garden. Shah Jahanabad can be viewed as a Paradise Garden converted into a city plan. It has a series of great courts with colonnades, arcades, gateways and numerous buildings. The pavilions for the emperor and the zanana are on terraces along a canal by the former river bank. Though connected by a canal the riverfront gardens had individual names: the Bagh-e Hayar Bakhsh, the Imtiyaz, the Bagh-e Angur and the Jahanara. The Bagh-e Hayar Bakhsh (Life Bestowing Garden) was the largest of these gardens and much of it survives. It had a waterfront terrace and a very large char bagh with water channels. The palace buildings had cypress-like columns and were themselves conceived as symbolic gardens with water channels and floral decoration. We will stop for lunch at a traditional Rajasthani restaurant. (pay direct)
We continue our tour, now driving to New Delhi. Raj Ghat, memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January 1948. An eternal flame is lit. Opposite Raj Ghat is the Ghandi Memorial Museum. Afterwards drive past India Gate, memorial built in the year 1931 to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I & the Afghan Wars. President’s House built in the year 1931. Until 1950 it was known as Viceroy’s House & served as the residence of the Governor-General of British India.
The soaring spire of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple dominates the urbane skyline of Central Delhi. About 1.5 km west of Connaught Place, this garish, modern, Orissan styled temple was erected by industrialist B.D.Birla in 1938 and was inaugrated by Mahatma Gandhi on the condition that people of all castes especially untouchables would be allowed in. The temple enshrines almost all the deities of the Hindu Pantheon, the presiding deity being Narayan (Vishnu, the preserver in Hindu trinity) and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and good fortune. The revered shrine, nestling in the heart of the city, is as famous for its sanctity as for its architecture. Portraying an alluring blend of cream and red, the sacred shrine also affords a curious medley of Hindu mythology and ancient Indian architecture. The exterior is of white marble and red sandstone with tall curved towers. Visiting hours are from From 7 am to 12 noon and 2 to 9 pm. Visit Geeta Bhawan – Hall where paintings pepicting scenes from Indian mythology are displayed. Aartis (puja ceremony) are performed every evening. Other attractions are the gardens and fountains inside the premises. Friday is best day to visit this Temple; it is the special day of the Goddess Vaibhav Laxmi.
Culminate the day at Qutub Minar, built in the year 1206 by Qutub-ud-din Aibek. It is the tallest (72m) brick minaret in the world, an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture.