book now

Maharajas' Express Train Delhi Tour

Image Gallery
History

Delhi is a city that bridges two different worlds. Old Delhi, once the capital of Islamic India, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with crumbling havelis and formidable mosques. In contrast, the imperial city of New Delhi created by the British Raj is composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings. Delhi has been the seat of power for several rulers and many empires for about a millennium. Many a times the city was built, destroyed and then rebuilt here. Interestingly, a number of Delhi's rulers played a dual role, first as destroyers and then as creators.

The history of the city is as old as the epic Mahabharata. The town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live. In due course eight more cities came alive adjacent to Indraprastha: Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad.

Delhi has been a witness to the political turmoil for over five centuries. It was ruled by the Mughals in succession to Khiljis and Tughlaqs. In 1192 the legions of the Afghan warrior Muhammad of Ghori captured the Rajput town, and the Delhi Sultanate was established (1206). The invasion of Delhi by Timur in 1398 put an end to the sultanate; the Lodis, last of the Delhi sultans, gave way to Babur, who, after the battle of Panipat in 1526, founded the Mughal Empire. The early Mughal emperors favoured Agra as their capital, and Delhi became their permanent seat only after Shah Jahan built (1638) the walls of Old Delhi.

From Hindu Kings to Muslim Sultans, the reins of the city kept shifting from one ruler to another. The soils of the city smell of blood, sacrifices and love for the nation. The old 'Havelis' and edifices from the past stand silent but their silence also speaks volumes for their owners and people who lived here centuries back.

In the year 1803 AD, the city came under the British rule. In 1911, British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi.

Modern Delhi, popularly known as Lutyens' Delhi, bears a striking contrast to Old Delhi with respect to architecture, building materials and layout. However, Modern Delhi itself dates back to over a century when the British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi. New Delhi, as it is known today, designed by Lutyens, has wide-open lanes, avenues and buildings that are worth traveling across the globe for.

After independence in 1947, New Delhi was officially declared as the Capital of India.

Places
Akshardham temple

Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India's ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India's glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind. The Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built in only five years through the blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and the colossal devotional efforts of 11,000 artisans and thousands of BAPS volunteers. Heralded by the Guinness World Record as the World's Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple, the complex was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005. .

Bahai temple

This temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower and is the last of seven Major Bahai's temples built around the world. Completed in1986 it is set among the lush green landscaped gardens. The structure is made up of pure white marble. The architect Furiburz Sabha chose the lotus as the symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate. Around the blooming petals there are nine pools of water, which light up, in natural light. It looks spectacular at dusk when it is flood lit. .

Dilli haat

The DILLI HAAT provides the ambience of a traditional Rural Haat or village market, but one suited for more contemporary needs. Here one sees a synthesis of crafts, food and cultural activity. This Food and Craft Bazar is a treasure house of Indian culture, handicrafts and ethnic cuisine, A unique bazaar, in the heart of the city, it displays the richness of Indian culture on a permanent basis. Step inside the complex for an altogether delightful experience by either buying inimitable ethnic wares, savouring the delicacies of different states or by simply relaxing in the evening with the entire family. DILLI HAAT transports you to the magical world of Indian art and heritage presented through a fascinating panorama of craft, cuisine and cultural activities. While the village haat is a mobile, flexible arrangement, here it is crafts persons who are mobile. The DILLI HAAT boasts of craft stalls selling native, utilitarian and ethnic products from all over the country. .

Humayun's tomb

This magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India. It was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome.The tomb was declared a UNESCO "World Heritage Site" in 1993. There are several graves of Mughal rulers located inside the walled enclosure and from here in 1857 A.D; Lieutenant Hudson had captured the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II. .

India gate

At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe" like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919. The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971. .

JAMA MASJID

This great mosque of Old Delhi is the largest in India, with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. It was begun in 1644 and ended up being the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. The highly decorative mosque has three great gates, four towers and two 40 m-high minarets constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble.

Purana quila

One does not have to go far to see the old fort or Purana Quila standing stoically amidst wild greenery.Built on the site of the most ancient of the numerous cities of Delhi, Indraprastha, Purana Quila is roughly rectangular in shape having a circuit of nearly two kilometers. The thick ramparts crowned by merlons have three gateways provided with bastions on either side. It was surrounded by a wide moat, connected to river Yamuna, which used to flow on the east of the fort. The northern gate way, called the Talaqui darwaza or the forbidden gateway, combines the typically Islamic pointed arch with Hindu Chhatris and brackets; whereas the southern gateway called the Humayun Darwaza also had a similar plan. The massive gateway and walls of Purana Quila were built by Humayun and the foundation laid for the new capital, Dinpanah. The work was carried forward by Sher Shah Suri,who displaced Humayun, Purana Quila is the venue for the spectacular sound and light show held every evening.

Qutab minar

Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. An inscription over its eastern gate provocatively informs that it was built with material obtained from demolishing '27 Hindu temples'. A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque. It is said that if you can encircle it with your hands while standing with your back to it your wish will be fulfilled. The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, commenced the construction of the Qutab Minar in 1200 AD, but could only finish the basement. His successor, Iltutmish, added three more storeys, and in 1368, Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed the fifth and the last storey. The development of architectural styles from Aibak to Tughlak is quite evident in the minar. The relief work and even the materials used for construction differ. The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets. Even though in ruins, the Quwwat Ui Islam (Light of Islam) Mosque in the Qutab complex is one of the most magnificent structures in the world. Qutab-ud-din Aibak started its construction in 1193 and the mosque was completed in 1197. Iltutmish in 1230 and Alla-ud-din Khilji in 1315 made additions to the building. The main mosque comprises of an inner and outer courtyard,decorated with shafts and surrounded by pillar. Most of these shafts are from the 27 Hindu temples, which were plundered to construct the mosque. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Muslim mosque has typical Hindu ornamentation. Close to the mosque is one of Delhi's most curious antiques, the Iron Pillar.

Red fort

The Red sandstone walls of the massive Red Fort (Lal Qila) rise 33-m above the clamour of Old Delhi as a reminder of the magnificent power and pomp of the Mughal emperors. The walls, built in 1638, were designed to keep out invaders, now they mainly keep out the noise and confusion of the city. The main gate, Lahore Gate, is one of the emotional and symbolic focal points of the modern Indian nation and attracts a major crowd on each Independence Day. An evening sound and light show re-creates events in India's history connected with the fort.

Safdarjung tomb

Safdarjung's Tomb is the last enclosed garden tomb in Delhi in the tradition of Humayun's Tomb, though it if far less grand in scale. It was built in 1753- 54 as mausoleum of Safdarjung, the viceroy of Awadh under the Mughal Emperor, Mohammed Shah. It has several smaller pavilions with evocative names like Jangli Mahal, (Palace in the woods), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) and Badshah Pasand (King's favourite). The complex also has a madarsa. The archaeological Survey of India maintains a library over the main gateway.

Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd

(A Govt. of India Enterprise)
B-148, 11th Floor, Statesman House, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
Companion-Pays-50

Check Your Booking Status

Contact