Visit the imposing Red Fort (one of Delhi's numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites). Like Jama Masjid, it was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and served as both his palace and seat of government. A vast structure of red sandstone, the Red Fort's planning and aesthetics represent one of the pinnacles of Mughal architecture. For architecture enthusiasts, Remote Lands can arrange a prominent published scholar to join as a specialist guide.
In the heart of Old Delhi near the Red Fort lies Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, colloquially called the Jama Masjid, or “Friday Mosque.” Built by Shah Jahan (who also built the Taj Mahal) in 1656, it’s one of the oldest and largest mosques in India, complete with four towers, two minarets and ample white marble and red sandstone.
See the imposing Qutb Minar, or victory tower, the world’s tallest freestanding minaret, which stands at a height of 237 feet (72 meters). The minaret stands within the Qutb Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which also includes the ruins of mosques, gates and tombs built by Delhi’s first dynasty of Muslim rulers.
Any visit to Delhi must include Humayun’s Tomb, the final resting place of the second Mughal emperor. Not only is it the earliest example of the Mughal garden-tomb style, but it's also a direct architectural predecessor of the more famous Taj Mahal. Built in the late 1500s, today the tomb has undergone extensive renovations under the auspices of UNESCO and is one of the best preserved ancient sites in New Delhi.
Explore the bustling Chandni Chowk market, one of Delhi’s oldest and busiest, located next to the famed Jama Masjid, or Friday mosque. Here, stalls sell every kind of Indian delicacy imaginable, and spice shops closely guard secret recipes (for example, a custom-ground masala) passed down over generations.
Visit the Baha’i Lotus Temple, an interfaith worship hall that is considered an architectural wonder of the modern world. Inspired by the form of a lotus blossom, the temple was designed with 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in groups of three to form nine sides. Nine doors open onto a central hall, which holds up to 2,500 people.
Visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib temple, an important Sikh shrine located near Connaught Place in the heart of Delhi. Dedicated to the eighth Sikh guru, Guru Harkrisha, the temple is open to people of all faiths, who can worship, hear kirtan (religious hymns) and partake of langar (community kitchen meals). You must cover your head and remove your shoes before entering the temple.
Delhi is one of the most religiously diverse cities in Asia. Spend an afternoon or a full day with a professor of Eastern religions, who will take you to various houses of worship and discuss comparative beliefs of Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, and more who all call Delhi their home.
For Indian textile aficionados, Asia Senses Travel can arrange a visit to the home of a Kashmiri family dynasty renowned for their knowledge and inventory of the finest shawls, scarves, carpets and other indigenous textiles. The family's regular customers include members of government, financiers and other magnates who seek the best quality wedding shawls, saris and other garments worn on special occasions.