Delhi, India, is a giant city that contains an overwhelming amount of history, culture, life, food, temples, and everything else you could possibly imagine. The city is dotted with spellbinding mosques, forts, and monuments left over from the Mughal rulers that once occupied the city.
Here’s a list of the top 10 Delhi attractions and places to visit.
1.The Lotus Temple (Bahá’í House of Worship)
Among the numerous recognizable landmarks which are scattered all around Delhi is the remarkable Lotus Temple. Designed in the shape of a sacred lotus flower, there are 27 flower petals which are constructed of marble and make up the structure.
Though it’s dedicated to the Bahá’í faith, it’s a religious worshipping grounds for people of all religions (as such is the philosophy of the Bahá’í faith). As you approach the temple, you’ll walk through some nicely manicured gardens and then have an opportunity to place your shoes in the free and secure shoe deposit room. You’ll then be given a 2 minute briefing by a volunteer, mainly about turning off your cell phone and keeping silent, and then you’ll be free to enter the sanctuary and sit in pure silence for as long as you’d like.
2. ISKCON Hare Krishna Temple
Located just a 15 minute walk from the Lotus Temple (though you have to walk around due to the fence), is one of the largest and most interesting temples dedicated to the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The religious movement was actually founded in the United States and is now represented throughout India. Visiting the temple, you’ll be able to freely walk around and sit in the sanctuary where you can listen to the ever present drum and chant of “Har-e-Krishna.”
3. Kalkaji Mandir Hindu Temple
The final temple making a trio of temples surrounding the Lotus Temple, is the Hindu Kalkaji Mandir. It’s not a big tourist attraction, and mostly (at least when I was there) it’s a temple where locals go. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kali and is the site of many rituals that include singing and chanting.
4. Jama Masjid
It was the during the Islamic Mughal empire when many of Delhi’s famous ancient sites were constructed. In the heart of Old Delhi, located right at Chawri Bazar and very close to Chandni Chowk is the largest Islamic mosque in the city, Jama Masjid. It’s a huge structure, built in the 17th century, and includes multiple entrances that all lead to the main worship deck. The mosque has two towering minarets and a few onion shaped domes. The giant expanse on the upper floor has a capacity to hold 25,000 people. There are some great restaurants like Karim’s and others within the vicinity.
5. Akshardham Temple
This modern Hindu temple complex, which was built in 2005, is one of the things to do in Delhi that you don’t want to leave out seeing. Akshardham, with its elaborate architecture, construction, and its ridiculous amount of perfect detail and decoration will blow your mind.
They don’t allow anything inside the temple complex, but they do have a very secure (and free) place to store all your belongings – you’ll have to deposit your camera, phone, and everything, but they’re safe and their system is very organized. You then walk into the gates, proceed through the visitor center, and you’ll be standing directly in front of the stunning temple. Keep approaching, deposit your shoes, and enter the temple.
The interior of the temple is unbelievable; What you’ll see will make your jaw drop. The amount of labor and craftsmanship that went into building Akshardham is unimaginable.
6. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (Sikh Temple)
Unlike the uneasy feeling of visiting Jama Masjid (where someone always seems to be asking for money and your shoes are likely to get stolen if you leave them somewhere), the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple is about the friendliest, most inviting, and comfortable temple you’ll ever visit.
There’s a huge pool of water outdoors on one side, a dining facility where many people share a meal together each day, and even a medical facility. Go inside the temple and you can sit and enjoy the Sikh band playing drums and singing as you sit there in peace. It’s a really great experience, and I’d label it as a must visit when you’re in Delhi.
7. Red Fort
The Red Fort in Delhi, known as Lal Qila, is a red sandstone Mughal fortress of walls that surrounds an entire ancient city. Once you get inside the gate, you’ll be able to freely walk around and view some of the main structures, halls, and mosques. Along with being a place to learn and see the history of Delhi, it’s also just a quiet place to get away from the crowds and noise outside the walls.
8. Hauz Khas Complex
The historical complex of Hauz Khas (originally known as Hauz-e-Alai) is an ancient community of ruins which includes a mosque, various tombs, and the previously important water tank.
Built in the early 1300’s, the water tank was designed to store rainwater to be used when needed in the dry season. Nowadays, the complex is a public Delhi park, a place where lots of students go to just hang out with friends, and chat while sitting on ancients stones and tombs. Delhi just has so many ancient Mughal buildings of history that there are many that are just public and not fully preserved, but are just part of the daily lives of residents – such is the case when it comes to Hauz Khas.
9. Qutub Minar
Among all the historical things to do in Delhi, the Qutub Minar is what I enjoyed most. Along with a bunch of crumblings structures is the incredible 72.5 meter minaret that sort of looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The minaret is the tallest in all of India, and it was originally built nearly 1,000 years ago.
Constructed from red sandstone, there are detailed carvings and inscriptions throughout the tower. Though you can’t go inside, it’s really awe-inspiring to see from a distance and up close. Qutub Minar is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a proud icon of Delhi, India.
10. India Gate
The well respected India Gate is a 42 meter tall monument that was built in 1931 to honor Indian soldiers as a war memorial. Under the gate you can see a flame that’s continually lit and honors soldiers that have given their lives for their country.
Thank you for following this mega-list of things to do in Delhi. I hope the information will help you to make the most of your time in Delhi, India!