NEW DELHI – Displacing Calcutta as the new capital of British India, and an alternative to the congested Shahjehanabad, New Delhi was conceived as an imperial city with palatial Viceregal residences, grand official buildings, residential spaces and tree-lined boulevards. Connaught Place, an expansive colonnaded shopping and business hub, was the buffer between the two worlds. With India’s Independence, it became the political-bureaucratic hub of the government. Key Raj-era structures: Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament house, India Gate, Lutyens Bungalow Zone and Connaught Place.
MEHRAULI – The spectacle of ancient empires here compels a further acquaintance with the history and heritage of 1,000 years of Imperial Delhi. Mehrauli reflects the presence of the Slave, Khalji and Tugh-luk dynasties all of whom ruled Delhi at various points. The Qutub Minar and the nearby mosque mark the year Islamic rule began in the country. Mehrauli’s other important sites are the Iron Pillar, Dargah of Sufi saint Bakhtiyar Kaki, the Mehrauli Archaeological Park with the ruins of Lai Kot (700 CE), Zafar Mahal, two baolis, Hauz-i-Shamsi, Jahaz Mahal, Adam Khan’s Tomb, Balban’s and Jamali-Kamali Tomb and Mosque.
BOTANICAL CITY – Delhi’s rulers loved gardens and scattered around the city are not just formal gardens, but also tree-lined avenues and flowering roundabouts. In February, the city is ablaze with its generous floral delights and even the Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan are opened to the public. Delhi Tourism’s Garden of Five Senses hosts a music festival in the winter as does Nehru Park. India Gate’s lawns are for an ice cream outing. At Emperor Humayun’s Tomb witness the perfection of a Mughal charbagh. Sunder Nursery is being renovated and don’t miss the mughal-era Qudsia Gardens.