The Government of India Tourist Office is located at 88 Janpath in Connaught Place and may be reached at +91 11 2332 0005, +91 11 2332 0008, +91 11 2332 0109, or +91 11 2332 0266. The Government of India Tourist Office conducts daily tours of all main Delhi attractions. If you opt to go on the government-sponsored day trip, be advised that owing to the heavy schedule, you will need to be fast on your feet, since only 20-40 minutes are allotted for each site, which is next to nothing. Consider this day excursion to be a taster. If you see a sight that piques your attention, save it and come back later.
The Red Fort (Lal Qila) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Delhi’s most popular tourist attractions. A magnificent red sandstone fort erected as the reigning palace of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (who also built Agra’s Taj Mahal). Ago the buildings were completed in 1648, the years have not been kind to them: the rooms have long since been stripped of all things, the marble inlays have long since vanished, and many of the structures are now off limits. Despite this, the size remains intimidating, and the grounds are maintained lush and green even in the dead of winter.
Humayun’s Tomb (in south Delhi, near Hazrat Nizamuddin station) is one of Delhi’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is open everyday from dawn to sunset. The monument is surrounded by enormous, impeccably kept gardens in the Persian Char Bagh (four corners) style, which were completely refurbished in 2003 with the Aga Khan’s assistance and are therefore perhaps the finest in Delhi. The first important building on your right as you approach the compound is the bulbous, octagonal tomb of Iza Khan, a court lord who erected it in his own lifetime, some 20 years before Humayun’s tomb. Passing through the first gate, you will see the tomb’s dome and enter a flowery walk leading to the second (West) gate, which currently serves as the entrance to the massive central garden.
Qutub Minar (Qutub Minar station on the Metro Yellow Line, bus to DTC Lado Sarai Terminal) is open everyday from dawn to dusk in Mehrauli. This complex, which contains buildings from the Slave Dynasty (1206-1290), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The grounds are well-kept, making this a popular area for leisure and picnics. Most evenings after sunset, there is a light-and-sound performance. This is India’s second highest minar, after Minar-E-Fateh at Chhapar Chiri in Anandpur Sahib, which rises 100 meters tall. It was erected to commemorate the tremendous victory of Sikh troops headed by Baba Banda Singh Bahadur against mughal forces. The most notable edifice on the grounds, this 72.5 m minaret was the highest “skyscraper” in the world when it was completed (1193-1368) – it was built under Qutb-ud-din Aybak’s instructions. Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once an old Islamic Monument engraved with Arabic inscriptions.
Purana Qila (Old Fort), Mathura Road, Purana Qila (Near Delhi Zoo). Purana Qila is Mughal Emperor Humayun’s fortified fortress. Significant improvements were made by Humayun himself to the structure, which is said to have been erected during the mythological Pandava dynasty. It was then transformed into an urban community before being designated as a monument.
There are various historic landmarks and museums in New Delhi. The National Museum, which started in the winter of 1947–48 with an exhibition of Indian art and relics at the Royal Academy in London, was subsequently presented in the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 1949. It was later decided to establish a permanent National Museum. The National Museum was initially launched on August 15, 1949, and it now has 200,000 pieces of art, both Indian and foreign in provenance, spanning over 5,000 years.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris influenced the design of India Gate, which was completed in 1931. It is India’s national monument honouring the 90,000 Indian Army troops who died while fighting for the British Raj in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, the National Gallery of Modern Art, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Rail Museum, the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, the National Philatelic Museum, the Nehru Planetarium, Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, and the Supreme Court of India Museum are all located in New Delhi.