New Delhi (Lutyen’s Delhi)
There are plenty of sightseeing places in New Delhi. Popular for its art galleries, museums and archaeological sites, New Delhi offers a wide variety of sightseeing choices.
Interested in history? Check out the various museums like National Museum, Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, and crafts museum. You can also visit the famous Sulabh International Museum of Toilets.
Marvel at the ancient architectural delights like Humayun’s Tomb, Jantar Mantar, Qutub Minar, and Bahai House of worship or Lotus Temple as it is known popularly.
Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad)
The Lal Qila (Red Fort), the Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), Chandni Chowk, and the residential quarters are some of the interesting places to visit in Old Delhi. Standing on the banks of the River Yamuna, the huge red sandstone Lal Qila or Red Fort was built between 1639 and 1648 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Modelled on the Agra Fort, the opulent fort is said to have cost 10 million Rupees.
Delhi also has a cluster of museums with some of the most valuable displays in the country.
The National Museum on Janpath is the showpiece museum of the city. Begun from the collection of the Exhibition of Indian Art held in London in 1947, the museum has a wide collection of artefacts, sculptures, and paintings spanning more than five thousand years from the pre-historic till modern times. The Museum also sells books and postcards on Indian art.
Close by is the National Gallery of Modern Art, housed in the palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur. This art museum showcases contemporary Indian art, beginning from 1930. Some of the best works of the Bengal Renaissance artists and the Bombay School are displayed as permanent exhibits. In addition, there are temporary exhibitions of 20th century art from across the country.
The National Museum of Natural History is one of the interesting places to see in Delhi. It has displays of natural history and ecology, and is of special interest to children. There are creative modelling exercises, film shows and special lectures organised at the Museum from time to time. The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is at Teen Murti House, the official residence of India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The museum not only displays Nehru’s living quarters and special interests, but also has books and records documenting the independence movement.
The Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum at Safdarjung Road is a fascinating place to visit in Delhi as it showcases a collection of letters, photographs, and press clippings on the life of Indira Gandhi. It is housed in the apartments where she lived and was assassinated in 1984. A section of the Museum is devoted to her son Rajiv Gandhi, who was also killed brutally by a suicide bomber in 1991.
The National Philatelic Museum is housed in the main Post Office on Sansad Marg. There are special collections and first day covers, including the first stamp issued in India and the stamps issued by princely states before Independence. You can also buy special commemorative stamps from a counter at the post office. Rabindra Bhavan on Copernicus Marg has the three National Academies of Literature, Performing Arts, and Fine Arts. A meeting point for intellectuals, the complex has comprehensive libraries and display galleries.
The Crafts Museum next to Pragati Maidan is entirely devoted to folk arts and crafts from across the country. Set in the pattern of a village with mud houses and undulating grounds, the Museum has vivid displays of rural craftsmanship, including woodcraft, paintings, textiles, weaving, metal works, and pottery. Craftsmen from different parts of the sub-continent give live demonstrations that are fascinating to watch. You can buy their exquisite handicrafts directly from the artisans or from the museum shop close to the entrance.
Besides these major museums and expositions, Delhi has a whole lot of smaller museums. The Rail Transport Museum at Chanakyapuri, with its steam locomotives and historical carriages, recounts 144 years of rail history in India.
Among other interesting places to see in Delhi one is the Field Museum of the Archaeological Survey of India in Purana Qila displays coins, pottery, seals, and sculptures recovered from the site.
The Dolls Museum on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg has a unique collection of more than 6,000 dolls from all over the world.
Tibet House on Lodi Road offers Tibetan literature, besides a display of thangkas (scrolls), old currency, prayer wheels, and costumes.