The Delhi Agra Jaipur Holiday Packages end with visit to the city of Agra, which houses one of the most beautiful architectural marvels in the world, Taj Mahal. You can witness this stunning white structure during different hours of the day and get mesmerised with every angle of beauty on offer. You can experience the grandeur of the Mughals lived in until the 17th century. The other popular tourist destination is the Agra fort complex. Both these structures are some of the finest examples of the Mughal architecture. You can explore various local markets like Chandni Chowk and Sadar Bazaar, take boat ride in Yamuna to get different views of the Taj Mahal and enjoy some of the local delicacies as well.
Delhi, the Capital City and Places to visit
Delhi, the capital city of India, has a lot to offer when it comes to tourists and travellers. Delhi is one of those cities in the world that has the perfect blend of history and the urban life. You can see centuries’ old monuments spread across the city with urban high rises around them. You can enjoy the incredible local food in innumerable cafes and restaurants or experiment with the excellent street foods. Delhi is the shopping hub of India for many reasons, as you have the option to buy from various local and flea markets or shop for top brands from around the world in some of the best malls in the country. In this article, we list you some of the best places to visit in Delhi.
India Gate : India Gate, originally called All India Memorial, is a war memorial site to pay homage to the fallen soldiers of the British Indian Army during World War II and the third Afghan-Anglo War. The design of the structure is an archway gate, something similar to Gateway of India in Mumbai. The walls of the structure has names of more than 13,000 soldiers inscribed on it. The structure sits exactly opposite the President’s House on the Rajpath. A plinth made of black marble was added at the centre of the structure with a standing rifle and military helmet, commemorating the brave soldiers who fought in the 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Red Fort : Red Fort is result of one of the most extravagant construction projects in the capital city ever. The big-spending Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the fort when he shifted his base from Agra to Delhi and created the city of Shahjahanabad. The fort built in 1639 has extensive pavilions, palaces and courtyards, following a mix of Timurid, Persian and Hindu architecture. It was the home of Mughals for more than 200 years till they fell from power in the Revolt of 1857. The British Army plundered the fort and destroyed many structures. They built their own government offices and even jails. Therefore, you can see a mix of both Mughal and British architecture in the complex.
Jama Masjid : Jama Masjid is another example of the opulence of the Mughals, especially Shah Jahan. Built during the Golden age of Mughals, Jama Masjid is one of the biggest mosques in the country. It was built as the part of the Shahjahanabad and could house more than 25,000 people at once. After the Revolt of 1857, British wanted to destroy the structure as a punishment to the locals who raised their voice against oppression. However, facing mass protests, they declined the thought. The minarets that flank the main structure offer stunning views of the full city, laced with streets and markets.
Humayun’s Tomb : Humayun’s Tomb is often considered as the masterpiece that inspired Shah Jahan to build the beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra. Empress Begum Baga commissioned the construction of this mausoleum for her late husband Emperor Humayun. It is one of the first examples of Mughal architecture on its own during their reign over India. It was the first structure in the world that used red sandstone in such a huge scale. The tomb is also the resting place of Begum Baga herself, Hamida Begum and Dara Sikho as well. The whole complex follows the usual Mughal architecture of being symmetrical from all sides and the ‘Charbagh’ system with proportioned gardens and fountains.
Qutub Minar : Qutub Minar is one of the rare buildings or monuments that stand in Delhi that are before the Mughal era. Delhi Sultan Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, in the later part of 12th century, commissioned the construction of this brick minaret. The 73-meter tall structure saw a number of restorations and modifications over hundreds of years to stand the way it is now. The successors of the Aibak and later on the invading rulers were responsible for the completion of this minaret. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex of Qutub Minar has numerous other monuments and tombs. The tomb of Alaudin Khilji and the Ashoka Pillar are some of the tourist attractions in the place.
Lotus Temple : Lotus Temple is a temple built by the followers of a relatively unknown religion called Baha’i. The religion accepts does not believe in Idol worship but instead believes in praying to a superior being irrespective of caste, creed, sex or race. They create houses of worship for people to gather and pray in peace. Lotus Temple in Delhi is one such place of worship. The architecture of the structure is resembles the shape of a lotus flower and hence the name. The whole structure is built using white marble and has small pools surrounding it, depicting a lotus flower in a pond.
Akshardham : Akshardham temple is one of the recent additions to the tourist attractions in Delhi. It is a religious and cultural centre with Swami Narayan Akshardham as the main deity. However, the place is open to people from all religions. The massive complex houses the main temple, expansive gardens, cultural centres showing different shows, an amphitheatre and much more. The stunning laser and sound show is something that you would not want to miss. Same goes for the boat ride that takes you back in time while explaining the life of Swami Narayan. With so many activities and so much to watch this is one place where you can spend your whole day without getting bored.
National Museum : National Museum in Delhi has to be one of the best museums in the country for the variety of things it has. One of the biggest museums in the country, it houses more than 2,00,000 artefacts and other things with some of them as old as 5000 years. It has a mix of pieces of art and history from both India and foreign countries. Visiting the museum can be an excellent experience for you, especially if you are interested in history and understand different cultures of world by looking at artefacts, clothes, weapons of that era.
Raj Ghat : Raj Ghat is a memorial dedicated to the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi. He was the first person to be cremated in this area with full state honour, the next day after his assassination in 1948. A raised platform with an eternal flame sits on top of his cremation spot. Later on, the area around Rajghat became a memorial ground to cremate important civilian leaders of the country like Prime Ministers or Presidents of the country. Jawahar Lal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee are some of the people who have had their resting place here.
Parliament and President’s House : The Parliament and the President’s House, both are two buildings that the British built when they made Delhi the capital of India. It falls under the zone of Lutyen’s Delhi in the central part of the Delhi. The Parliament is the supreme legislative body of the country and has the two houses of the government, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The circular structure has 144 columns in total in its open verandah. President’s House or the Rashtrapati Bhawan is the official house of the President of India. Spread across over an area of 321 acres, it is one of the biggest houses of the political head of a country in the world.
Gandhi Smriti : Gandhi Smriti, formerly known as Birla House, is a museum that houses artefacts related to Mahatma Gandhi’s life. Once the house of the business tycoons of India, the Birla family, Gandhi lived his last days here in this house before his assassination. Therefore, the Birla family gave this mansion to the government to convert the place into a museum to remember the deeds of the great man. In 2005, the museum established a multimedia section within it, showing the life of Gandhi in an immersive way. Gandhi Smriti is the column built at the spot in the gardens where Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead.
Agra, the City of Taj Mahal and Places to visit
Agra is one of the most important cities in the modern history of India, as it was the capital of various dynasties for centuries. First the Lodis and then the Mughals ruled the northern parts of the country from here. Therefore, the city of Agra has numerous monuments and tombs from this era spread on either side of the river Yamuna. Agra Fort, Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikhri are some of the most prominent places to visit in Agra but there are other equally interesting places to visit in the city. All these structures take you back in time and help you understand how the royals lived centuries ago. You also get to witness some of the best examples of Mughal architecture with some influences from Persian and Hindu architecture as well. Following are some of the top places to visit when you are touring the city of Agra.
Taj Mahal : When you think of Agra, the first thing that comes to mind is the majestic Taj Mahal. The wealthiest Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan built one of the most, if not the most, extravagant mausoleum in the world in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. The basic instruction he is said to have giver to his architects and designers was that the structure has to be the most beautiful man-made structure in the world. Use of raw materials from different parts of Asia, more than 22,000 people, 1000 elephants and 20 years later, the result was the grand structure of Taj Mahal. This determination of Shah Jahan to make the most beautiful resting place for her wife led to the structure getting the nickname of the ‘Symbol of Love’.
Agra Fort : Agra Fort was the ruling house of the Mughals for over a century. When Babur dethroned the Lodi dynasty and established the Mughal Empire, he used the Agra Fort as the place from where he would go on to expand the kingdom. Later on, his successors Humayun and Akbar made modifications to the fort. Akbar was the one who built the most structures inside the complex. Apart from the palaces and courtyards, he focussed on improving the fortifications and hence built impenetrable and non-scalable walls all around the fort. You can witness various palaces, mosques, courtyards built during the reign of different rulers of the empire.
Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb : Itmad-ud-Daulah Tomb is the resting place of the most important ministers of the Mughal Empire during the reign of Jahangir. He was the father of Empress Nur Jahan and she was the one who commissioned building of a beautiful resting place for his father. It was the first structure in the Mughal reign that used white marble instead of red sandstone. The lattice and inlay works were also a first in this building. Shah Jahan got the idea of using similar design for Taj Mahal by witnessing this beautiful tomb. The inlay works use semi-precious stones brought in from different parts of the world, enhancing the beauty of the structure.
Sikandra Fort : Sikandra Fort is the resting place of the greatest Mughal Emperor Akbar. The tomb reminds you of the personality of Akbar in every way. He himself designed his resting place and chose the location for it before his death. His son, Jahangir completed the construction. The tomb stands in between expansive lush green gardens, as Akbar was fascinated with gardens and nature in general. The garden is symmetrically divided in to 4 parts with raised platform in each of them, with a fountain at its centre. The main tomb is in the shape of a truncated tomb and the main building is a perfect square.
Mehtab Bagh : Mehtab Bagh is the last of the 11 gardens that the Mughals built on the opposite bank of Yamuna from that of the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Mehtab Bagh stands exactly opposite to the complex of Taj Mahal with same dimensions. Mehtab Bagh is one of the best places in Agra to view the beauty of Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan built the whole garden exactly for this purpose to view the beauty he had built in peace from the other side of the river. There is even a pond built near to the bank that gets flooded during the rainy season, providing the perfect platform to reflect the majestic white structure under moonlight.
Fatehpur Sikhri : Fatehpur Sikhri situated at a distance of 30 Kms from Agra, is the fort that Akbar built during his reign when he shifted his base from Agra to the nearby village of Sikhri. Apart from being a just and secular ruler, Akbar had interest in architecture and science, thus contributed heavily in the construction of this fort city. Just like Agra Fort, he made sure his new fort too was impenetrable. The fort has multiple gates with the most prominent one being that of Buland Darwaza. The 54-meter high gate is one of the tallest gates in the world. Diwan-i-khas, Diwan-i-am, Ibadat Khana, Jama Masjid and various other Jain and Hindu temples are some of the buildings present in the fort complex.
Jaipur, the Pink City
The Rajput King Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II founded Jaipur, the present day capital city of Rajasthan, in 1727. He decided to shift the base from his former palace, the Amber Fort, due to security reasons and the lack of resources. Hence, he came down to the plains and founded the new city of Jaipur. He built numerous structures around the city during his reign, which his successors renovated and modified over the next hundred years or so. Jaipur thus has a lot of forts, palaces, museums and temples to visit. Apart from the forts and palaces, you can also experience the local traditions and cultural differences by exploring the local markets of the ‘Pink City’. All the structures use the authentic North Indian architecture with most of them not having the shades of Mughal architecture, which is the case in other parts of India. In this article, we list some of the best places to visit while you travel in Jaipur.
Amber Fort : Amber Fort was the former house of the royal family of Jaipur before they moved their base to current city of Jaipur. Amber Fort lies just 11kms away from Jaipur on a hilltop. The Maota Lake lying adjacent to the lake is the only source of water for the fort. The fort has some of the best Rajasthani and Indo-Saracenic architecture. The fort is built using red sandstone and marble and has multiple levels each with a courtyard of its own. Diwan-i-am, Diwan-i-Khas and Sheesha Mahal are some of the best structures in the complex.
Jaigarh Fort : Jaigarh Fort sits on top of the Cheelka Teela, overlooking the Amber Fort. It was the safety haven of the royals during wars, sieges and invasions. A secret tunnel connects both the forts, which only the royals and the commanders of the army knew about at that time. The fort is 3kms long and 1km wide and is often called as the Victory Fort, as the enemy forces have never pummelled it. The fort worked as the cannon foundry for the royal fort of Amber Fort, with one of the biggest cannons in the world at its disposal. The Jaiwana cannon could fire a cannon ball and cover a distance of more than 35kms. The museum in the fort displays the artefacts, weapons and clothes of the royal family of that era.
Nahargarh Fort : Nahargarh Fort is the third of the triumvirate of forts that formed one of the best defence mechanisms in Rajasthan during that time. The fortifications extend to the adjacent hills as well, stretching kilometres, thus enhancing the security system. The view from the Nahargarh Fort of the full city you get is unparalleled and this alone is a good enough reason to visit this fort. Another tourist attraction of this place is the Wax Museum that opened couple of years ago. The stunning views from the fort has made it a popular location for different movies as well.
City palace : City Palace of Jaipur is the finest example of the grandeur and opulence of the Rajput Kings. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II started the work of this palace in 127, when he decided to shift his base from Amber Fort to the new city of Jaipur. His successors are the ones responsible for the current appearance of the palace. The palace is truly a masterpiece in every way, as there is no corner that has not been given attention while constructing it. The Clock Tower, Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Pritam Niwas Chowk and Sabha Niwas are some of the stunning structures present in the complex of Palace.
Jal Mahal : Jal Mahal is a five-storey palace built in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. When fully filled, the water in the lake covers majority of the floors of the house. It was a palace built for leisure of royals. The palace faced a lot of seepage issue and thus required the restoration, which Raja Jai Singh II did in the 18th century. In the recent history, the Indian Government also helped in the restoration works, making it feasible for the tourists. However, due to a recent accident, all boating services have been prohibited thereafter. The beautiful background of Man Sagar Dam and Aravalis, makes the scene to be a stunning picture.
The Observatory : The Observatory, Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur is a place built by the founder of the city Maharaja Jai Singh II. The King was passionate about astronomy and hence created such observatories in different parts of North India. The one in Jaipur is the most extravagant with 19 different structures built to help him understand the movement of celestial bodies, prediction of accurate time and other astronomical phenomenon. The instruments were regularly put to use until 1800 but later saw less use of it with other rulers ruling the kingdom. However, over the years it has seen multiple restorations, the latest being in 2006 by the Indian government.
Hawa Mahal : Hawa Mahal is one of the most fascinating palaces to visit in Jaipur because of its unique feature of having innumerable windows in the palace, 963 to be precise. The idea behind so many windows was to facilitate the royal women of the house witness the activities that took place in the streets, as they were not allowed to visit the common places in open. The other idea was to create an impressive cooling system within the palace to make it comfortable for the occupants in the searing heat of Jaipur. There are multiple levels of palace with the frontage on one of the walls, covering all the levels, is one of the biggest attractions of the palace.
Albert Hall Museum : Albert Hall Museum is the oldest museum in the state, which is more than a century old. The museum was open to public in 1887, inaugurated by the Prince of Wales, King Albert Edward and hence the name of the museum. It is also the official Government Museum of the city. It has some of the best artefacts, weapons, attires, utensils, paintings and artworks from different eras of Rajput rule, British rule, Mughal rule and as back as Guptas. The building in itself is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.
Birla Mandir : Birla Mandir in Jaipur is one of the many temples built by the Birla family of India across the country. The one in the Jaipur too follows similar design patterns, with the use of white marbles for its construction just like most of the other such temples. The speciality of Birla Mandir is that people from any religion can visit it. Even though the main deity of the temple is always Lord Vishnu, it has statues of Gods from other religions as well. It also has statues of some of the famous personalities like Socrates and Confucius. There is a museum in the lower floor of the building as well.
Galta Ji Mata Temple : Galta Ji Mata Temple is a pilgrimage just 10kms away from Jaipur, lying amidst the hills of Aravalis. Thousands of pilgrims trek through the hills to reach the temple premises to seek blessing. The complex has a natural spring water system with its water falling downwards on the hill. The water system fills the water of seven different tanks or ponds built in the complex. The main temple is in pink colour with multiple pavilions, rounded roofs, pillars with beautiful engravings and painted walls. The temple authority organises special functions and festivities during the festival of Makar Sankranti.
Govind Devi Ji Temple : Govind Devi Ji Temple is a temple located inside the premises of City Palace of Jaipur. The temple houses the deity of Lord Krishna. The legend says that the image of Lord Krishna is the closest to what he looked like in real life, as it is believed that his great grandson made the image himself. He listened to the descriptions given by his grandmother to create this image 5000 years ago. This makes the temple one of the most popular temples in the country. The temple witnesses special religious functions during the festival of Janmashtami, which leads to an increase in the footfall as well.
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