You Have to Come to Delhi If You Want to See UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

places to visit in delhi

“Well, I have no idea that Delhi is home to UNESCO world heritage sites!  Please tell me more about world heritage places to visit in Delhi!”

Delhi is definitely home to UNESCO world heritage sites.  Additionally, it is only a few hours drive away from Agra – home of the Taj Mahal. 

“That’s great to know!  I mean, I knew Delhi was a big metro and India’s capital, but I didn’t know much more than that.  Now that I know that there are interesting places to see in Delhi, please tell me more!”

This article will answer your questions by discussing the best places to visit in Delhi.

List of top 5 places to visit in Delhi:

Humayun’s Tomb

Come see the resting place of one of India’s greatest rulers!

“I knew India has a lot of rulers because its civilization is several thousand years old.  I imagine that India had many excellent rulers as well. Please tell me about the tomb built to honor one of India’s greatest rulers?” 

The tomb is Humayun’s Tomb.  Humayun was the first Mughal emperor, Akbar’s son.  His wife the esteemed Haji Begum commissioned the tomb to be built in 1570.  She hired the noted Persian architects (a father and son team) Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and Sayyid Muhammed to design her husband’s tomb.  Humayun’s Tomb is designed with a garden in front of it. This was a brand new and innovative design at the time and would become the standard design for future buildings, monuments, and landmarks which were built by Mughal emperors.

Because of its world heritage status, the tomb is considered to be one of the best places to visit in Delhi!  Humayun’s tomb is designed using the char bagh style – this uses four gardens, each with its own river.  It is symbolic of paradise as described in the Koran. Four channels join the gardens together. The tomb’s foundation consists of a terrace that has considerable dimensions in terms of depth, length, and height and is terraced.  Humayun’s Tomb reflects the prevailing beliefs of Muslim rulers at the time with its two domes which are made out of marble.  

It may interest you to know that Delhiites refer to this tomb as the ‘dormitory of the Mughals.’  Red sandstone and alternating layers of black and white marble were used to make this building which looks like a work of art in the greater Delhi landscape.

India Gate

If you want to see the essence of India, you must visit this place!

“I know that India is a diverse nation with a lot of monuments, landmarks, and buildings, but I never knew that a building existed in this populous nation that represented its core.  Please tell me more about this.”

The place is India Gate which is a must-visit place in Delhi because it symbolizes the essence of India:  a dynamic, culturally and religiously diverse, and constantly changing a nation with a piece of strong spiritual fabric and national identity.  It’s located in the heart of Delhi and is to India what the Arc de Triomphe is to France – a symbol of independence and freedom! Entering this great monument which was built after India’s independence in 1947 is like passing through a gateway which leads to an interesting and amazing country.  

India Gate is a memorial which commemorates the more than 70,000 soldiers who died fighting for the British Empire during World War I.  If you study the memorial carefully up close, you’ll see the names of more than 13,526 British and Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives  in 1919 fighting in what is now the Northwestern Province in Afghanistan.  The great and famous architect Edward Luytens was commissioned by the British government in the early part of the 20th century to design, plan, and build Delhi.  He was the one who laid India Gate’s foundation stone in 1921. The then Viceroy of India, Lord Irwin, dedicated the monument to India in 1931.

The new Indian government built another memorial the Amar Jawan Jyoti next to India Gate after 1947. Visit this iconic monument and you will see a constantly burning flame that commemorates the many soldiers who died in the Indo-Pakistan War in 1971.

Also Read: Goa – Your Perfect Holiday Destination

The monument’s foundation is made out of a medium-sized slab of red Bharatpur stone.  It is built to a huge molding which rises in stages. India Gate’s cornice has two Imperial Suns inscribed on it with both sides of the arch having the word INDIA etched into it.  The year 1914 is etched to the right of the word, and the year 1919 is etched to the left of the year. The top contains a bowl with a shallow dome that was designed for fires fueled by burning oil during India’s Independence and Republic Days, but it is almost never used.

India Gate comes to life at night when it is lit by floodlights.  The colored light illuminates its fountains making for a wonderful display.  The monument stands at the end of the great Rajpath. Locals refer to this entire area as ‘India Gate.’  Many locals and visitors enjoy picnics on the many green lawns surrounding the monument on sunny days.  

Qutub Minar

This place of worship was built when Muslims officially started to rule Delhi

“I had no idea Muslims built worship places in Delhi, and I had no idea that the area was once ruled by Muslims.  Please tell me more about this?”

Well, being one of the first Muslim inspired structures to be built in Delhi, the Qutub Minar’s architecture screams with historic significance.   It is amazing and popular largely because of its architecture and the role it played in Delhi’s history. It is easily the tallest and largest minaret in the world.  The Minar is built out of red sandstone bricks which were initially commissioned and designed by the first Sultanate of Delhi, Qutb-Ud-Din-Aibak.

Din-Aibak started building this grand structure in 1192 after he conquered Delhi.  He built its first story. The succeeding Sultanates Iltutmish and Firoz Shah Tuglaq built the upper stories.  The Qutub Minar was added onto by many Hindu kings in the succeeding centuries. Qutub Minar consists of four stories.  The first three were built out of red sandstone and the top out of marble and sandstone. If you look at the Minar closely, you will see inscriptions in Parsi, Arabic, and Nagari which tell stories about its construction.

Qutub Minar’s brilliant architecture and construction and long history make it one of the best tourist places in Delhi.  It has a gate that shows off the finest in Indo-Muslim artwork.  

Enter the Minar and you will see the Qwwat-ul-Islam mosque which is one of India’s original Muslim built and inspired mosques.  All of this inspired the UN to declare the Qutub Minar as a World Heritage Site in 1993.

Lal Quila:  Aka the Red Fort

Did you ever see a Red Fort? If not then just visit this place. It is among the top places to visit in Delhi.

“I know that many people have invaded India over the centuries, is that why Delhi has a Red Fort?  Please explain!”

Well, here is your answer:  The Red Fort was built in 1639 by the noted Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in 1639.  He was the fifth Mughal emperor and built this fort as protection from attacks from the British army and various Hindu princes.  He made the strategic decision to move the Mughal Empire’s capital there from Agra. Succeeding Mughal emperors would live in this fort until the Mughal Empire was dissolved by the British government in 1857.

A visit inside this fort will treat you to views of pavilions whose architecture is a combination of traditional Persian, Hindu, and Timur.  Lal Quila is made entirely out of red sandstone. It is an architectural work of art and represents the artistic intelligence of Mughal designers and architects and the wealth of the Mughal Empire at the time.  The pavilions are joined together by apartments where royalty used to live. The exterior is surrounded by beautiful gardens that are in front of lakes. Both the gardens and lakes surround the fort. You’ll notice that the Salimgarh Fort is outside of Lal Quila.  These two structures are collectively referred to as the Red Fort Complex.

Delhi Zoo – National Zoological Park

This is your go-to place if you want to see a brown bear in Delhi

“Wait!  I thought brown bears were only found in temperate areas like Alaska and Siberia.  Wouldn’t their thick coats make survival difficult in the heat of Delhi’s sweltering summers?” 

Well, actually the animals are put in environments that mimic the conditions and surroundings of their natural habitats.  Their survival rates are very high. The Delhi zoo was built in 1959. It has any and every kind of animal imaginable – from the largest tigers and elephants to the smallest lizards.  The zoo was officially called Delhi Zoo. Its name was modified to The National Zoological Park in 1982.  

The Delhi Zoo – National Zoological Park has many breeding programs that are designed to help endangered species survive but to ensure that their bloodlines continue with special Conservation Breeding Programs.  These programs exist for the Asian Lion, the Bengal Tiger, The Brow Antler Deer, and many other threatened species.

Enter the zoo and you will literally be greeted by a menagerie of different animals from around the world.  For example, you will be able to see hippopotamuses, different species of monkeys, and zebras. Zebras and hippopotamuses are naturally only found in Africa. This is also one f the best places to visit in Delhi.

Some other must visit places in Delhi include:

  • Hauz Khas Village

  • Lotus Temple

  • Chandini Chowk

  • Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

  • Jantar Mantar

All of these places have stories to tell, all of which contribute to the rich and vibrant history and culture which characterizes Delhi.

Delhi is full of life

Delhi is full of life and culture.  Some of the best places to visit in India happen to be in this ever young and dynamic metro.  This metro has a rich history stretching back thousands of years. Its history has been turbulent at times and this is reflected in landmarks, monuments, and buildings you see when you visit Delhi!


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Categorized as Travel

By Prita Kulkarni

Prita is a Natural Born Writer & consultant with 3 years of training in consulting, writing, and analytical work. Her strong points are in market research and analysis, social media and digital marketing, networking, and business development. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from UC Riverside and an MBA with an emphasis in business plan development from Baylor University.

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