A Guide to Exploring Delhi’s Historical Gems

India is known to have risen from one of the oldest civilizations that existed, as per the historical records available today. Indus Valley Civilization has been traced back to as early as 4300 BC. This is only second to Mesopotamia, which has its findings dating back to 6500 BC. It is from the Indus River that the name of this country has been inspired and it is a country rich in history and culture. Exploring Delhi, a city which was the capital of several empires over the years, is sure to fascinate history enthusiasts.

A lot of historical coverage is available about this city from the early 12th century and all the powerful empires that existed for centuries. One of the oldest political capitals and the oldest inhabited city in the world, Delhi has a plethora of historical relics that can be found in every corner, despite the urbanization today. Here's a guide to exploring Delhi and its Top 10 Historical Gems.

Note: Although many guided tours are available and are probably a good option because of the information imparted by the tour guides if you're looking for a budget option, the Hop-on Hop-off Tour is the best way to explore the city. Most of these monuments are covered in the tour and those which aren't can easily be reached by the extensive public transportation system available, including buses and trains. Delhi Metro has taken special care in building a good network and the trains are air conditioned, easy to navigate and helpful in getting to the lesser touristy areas too.

#1 Qutab Minar

This is perhaps one of the most visited monuments in India and dates back to the 12th century. The tower is named after the emperor who built it, Qutubuddin Aibak, the first ruler of the Delhi Sultanate and also the founder of the Slave dynasty. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Adorned with beautiful carvings, the minaret has a spiral staircase inside which was open to the public till about a few years back but after an accident (a stampede that led to many people dying), the entrance to the tower has been closed to the public. The Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture is well worth admiration. The tower has been destroyed and reconstructed a number of times, due to natural calamities such as earthquakes. Today, it is five stories tall. The area surrounding Qutab Minar has other smaller monuments of lesser significance yet equally fascinating - such as Smith's Cupola, Alai Darwaza, and Tomb of Imam Zamin. The most captivating part is the fact that the ruins have been preserved for over 900 years!

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 45 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: Yes

Price of ticket: Rs. 30 for Indians / Rs. 600 for Foreigners (with audio guide)

For more info, click here.

#2 Red Fort

If you're exploring Delhi and it's historical monuments, there is no way that you can miss Red Fort. The famous speech of Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India when it got its independence from the British Rule, was given from this monument, which instantly became of political significance. The independence day celebrations take place over here every year now. However, the monument was built way back in the 17th century, when the capital of the Mughal Empire was shifted from Agra to Delhi.

There are several areas to be explored inside the fort. Diwan-e-aam, Diwan-e-khaas, Rang Mahal, Mumtaz Mahal, Khas Mahal and the Hammam are interesting places inside the fort, each having its significance from when it was a part of the Mughal Empire. Like most other Mughal monuments, the Red Fort also has a large garden surrounding it. The corridor with red pillars is very typical of the Mughal architecture and Red Fort has previously been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the evenings, people crowd here to watch the Sound and Light show. The voiceover has been done by the famous Bollywood celebrity Amitabh Bachchan and it explains the history of this famous monument. The show takes place at 7.30 pm, 8.00 pm, 8.30 pm and 9.00 pm.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 2 hours

Hop on / Hop off Tour: Yes

Price of ticket: Rs. 35 for Indians / Rs. 500 for Foreigners

#3 Old Fort (aka Purana Qila)

This is one of the most important monuments you must visit while exploring Delhi. Built about 500 years ago, in the 16th century, the fort's main entrance or the 'Bada Darwaza' is quite grand. The walls surrounding the area separate a world of chaos and crowds from sprawling green gardens and the fort's ruins. A serene place to enjoy a quiet walk, right in the middle of the city, Purana Qila does not allow visitors inside the only hall that remains intact. You will often see couples hiding behind the trees and enjoying a romantic moment here! In the evenings, you can enjoy a sound and light show at the Fort. Until a few years back, there was a moat surrounding the fort, where people could enjoy boating. It is, however, now dried up.

Reminiscent of the architectural genius of the Mughal empire, Purana Qila was built by Emperor Humayun. There is also a museum built near the entrance which houses relics and stories from the Mughal period. All-in-all, it is a fascinating place to explore, especially as you observe the red sandstone buildings and their unique designs.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 30 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: Yes

Price of ticket: Rs. 15 for Indians / Rs. 200 for Foreigners (with audio guide)

For more info, click here.

#4 Humayun's Tomb

Built in the 16th century by the widow of the great Emperor Humayun, from the Mughal dynasty, this is a stunning tomb located in the middle of a large garden. The typical Mughal architecture (inspired by the Persians) has been well-preserved and the tomb's main hall is not open to the public. Several other emperors such as Barber also lie buried here. A lot of this mausoleum's architecture might remind you of Taj Mahal, except the red sandstone used to construct this piece.

In the vicinity of this structure lies another tomb, much smaller and built 2 decades before Humayun's, Isa Khan's. This interested me because of the brilliance in its architecture despite its small and insignificant appearance. There are several other tombs in the complex as well. If you're interested in exploring Delhi and its historical gems, this is a unique one you cannot miss.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 60 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: Yes

Price of ticket: Rs. 30 for Indians / Rs. 500 for Foreigners (with audio guide)

For more info, click here.

Wondering where to eat? Click here to read about The Top 5 Fine-dining Experiences in Delhi.

#5 India Gate

This is one of the newer monuments in Delhi, just about 100 years old. Very similar to Paris' 'Arc-de-Triomphe' in its shape and its purpose, it commemorates the Indian soldiers that died fighting for the British Army, during the First World War. The archway has the names of more than 13,000 soldiers inscribed on its walls and there is an eternal flame that burns under the arch called 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' which came up much later to commemorate the soldiers who died in the Indian-Pakistan war of 1971.

The area surrounding India Gate has massive gardens which are open to the public and you will often see families enjoying a picnic. Waterways with little boats and fountains run on both sides, street vendors selling ice cream, snacks, and toys for children are in plenty. The area tends to get extremely crowded during evenings and on the weekends, so if you're looking for some peace and quiet, visit it during the early morning hours.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 20 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: Yes

Price of ticket: None

For more info, click here.

#6 Jama Masjid

This mosque is located in the middle of one of the busiest streets of Old Delhi. Yet another monument built during the Mughal dynasty by the Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, it is one of the largest and most popular mosques in India. Built from red sandstone and white marble, this iconic mosque is a sight to watch especially on Eid every year, when thousands of worshippers flock the area. The two massive minarets of the mosque once again remind us of Taj Mahal's architecture, a very typical trait of the Mughals, especially Shah Jahan.

One of the minarets is open to the public and hundreds of steps lead to an observation area at the top, which offers panoramic views of the old city surrounding the mosque. Combine a trip to this mosque with a visit to the famous Chandi Chowk street which, although extremely crowded, is one of the few places that capture the true essence of the city. From hawkers selling delicious street food to markets selling colourful traditional clothes and accessories, and auto rickshaws struggling to make their way through the packed streets, this place is an assault on the senses. If you're exploring Delhi, this is one experience that you must keep at the top of the list.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 20 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: No

Price of ticket: None

For more info, click here.

#7 Mehrauli Archeological Park

Mehrauli Archaeological Park

While exploring Delhi on a rainy day, I chanced to find this lesser-known historical area which is surprisingly very close to Qutub Minar yet not as popular as the latter. The massive sprawling park, with ruins scattered across the expanse, is not commercialized at all and hence, quite tough to locate. There is no sign marking the entrance except a blue and yellow (almost invisible) board which says 'Dilli Vikas Pradhikaran' in Hindi. That is where the entrance to the park is.

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as there are no proper walking paths made, you will be walking through a lot of gravel and mud and climbing many steps. At the very beginning of the park, you will come across the popular Jamali Kamali mosque, next to the tomb of the Sufi poet Jamali. As you walk ahead, you will visit the most impressive monument in this area from the 16th century - Rajon ki Baoli, a step-well which was popular concept during the days.

Several other tombs and remains are strewn across and you might have a hard time in locating all. It is recommended to take a guided tour which will also help in terms of gaining more information and knowledge about these monuments. Delhi Heritage Walks organise walking tours of the park.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 1.5 hours

Hop on / Hop off Tour: No

Price of ticket: None

For more info, click here.

#8 Safdurjung Tomb

This is one of the few monuments where you can actually enter and also take pictures of the area with the beautiful off-white cenotaph. Built in the mid-18th century, this mausoleum is a lot less grand than Humayun's tomb and is the last garden tomb reminiscent of the Mughal architectural genius. Built with sandstone and marble, a combination that can be found in almost all monuments in this period, the elevated platform that houses the graves of Safdurjung and his wife has a large central dome carved with very intricate designs, on the facade as well as the interior walls.

I personally feel this is one of the most neglected historical sites in Delhi. The place is deserted most of the time and the water canals that are leading to the tomb are usually empty. Nevertheless, it qualifies as one of my favourite historical sites to visit in Delhi.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 20 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: No

Price of ticket: Rs. 15 for Indians / Rs. 200 for Foreigners

For more info, click here.

#9 Agrasen ki baoli

This is one of the least talked about historical sites in Delhi. Located in the middle of a residential complex, narrow streets with hardly any space for cars to enter, lead you to this little wonder which is best reached by foot or an autorickshaw. 'Baoli' means a step-well, and this one has about 108 steps that lead all the way down to (an unpleasant smelling) water tank. However, it is not the well that is the attractive part of this archaeological site. The exquisite stone walls that surround these single-flight steps and the inventive designs on these walls make for a very eerie yet impressive sight. The baoli is also rumoured to be haunted because of the natural darkness which engulfs you as you walk down the stairs towards the lower area.

Although it is not a very popular spot for tourists, many local young people ('lovebirds'), as well as pigeons, ensure to keep it populated during the opening hours. It is a myth that during older times (the baoli was built in the 14th century), the waters were hypnotic and attracted depressed, antisocial and criminals, enticing them to jump into the deep waters and drown. This is why the place is considered as one of the most haunted places in India.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 15 minutes

Hop on / Hop off Tour: No

Price of ticket: None

For more info, click here.

#10 Lodhi Gardens

A large garden strewn with historical monuments all over, Lodhi Garden is very popular with not just the tourists but also the locals. You will see a lot of people simply enjoying a picnic, relaxing in the garden or getting a breath of fresh air.  The garden is actually quite big and there's a map right at the beginning to explain what is where. The gardens are situated right in the middle of a very busy area, thus providing a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is where the Lodhi and Sayyad dynasty's members have been buried centuries ago (the 1500s).

Some of the key monuments of interest here are: Bara Gumbad's Tomb, Sikander Lodhi's Tomb and the Three-domed mosque. Do not forget to try the 'bhelpuri', a popular Indian snack, being sold by several hawkers inside the gardens. For a more classy dining experience near the Lodhi Gardens, pay a visit to Lodi - The Garden Restaurant. This is a cool place to include in your itinerary while exploring Delhi.

Location: Google map link here

Time required: 1.5 hours

Hop on / Hop off Tour: No

Price of ticket: None

For more info, click here.

142 thoughts on “A Guide to Exploring Delhi’s Historical Gems”

  1. Delhi is definitely known for these amazing historical landmarks. I have been to most except Mehrauli Archeological Park and Angrasen ki bauli, I had these as well on my list but unfortunately, I could not travel because of the pandemic last year. I would definitely want to visit again and see these two places too.

  2. Delhi is one of the most enigmatic and interesting cities to explore in India. Every time I visit Delhi I discover something new and unexplored. The fact that it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world helps. Also that Delhi is a composite city where 7 cities existed at different times adds to its charm and intrigue. The Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb are personal favourites.

  3. What s post about the jewels of Delhi. I have visited Delhi a few times and the history and culture just amazes me every time. So much to see. My favourite is the India gate a true reflection of the indian grandeaur and night. The Qutub Minar enclosures are another favourite. Great post and the photos are compliments to you. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I can’t believe I only began exploring it recently. My family has lived there for years!

  4. Delhi is so picturesque and an awesome travel destination.The architecture alone is breathtaking. I’m sure you can spend hours wandering around the india gate and taking photos.

  5. Great list. Delhi is a delight for history lovers although most people only know the Red Fort. I think one major complex you can include here is the Feroz Shah Kotla.

  6. An excellent guide to some of the important/popular historical sites in Delhi. We have visited some of these, albeit around two decades back. Agrasen ki Baoli is one that we missed (hadn’t heard about it then) and I would love to visit that someday.

    1. Agrasen ki baoli is actually a hidden gem. It’s in the most unexpected place, even I hadn’t heard of it until recently 🙂

  7. Wow! I love historical places, such an interesting history from beautiful places in India. I really like the pictures that you shared! I will add this in my bucket list to see the oldest cities in India and witness their beauty. Thank you for sharing this post.

  8. You just reminded me that I have not yet done the Baoli and Purana Qila. The other gems – I would love to revisit them again and again. They are truly spectacular and am glad you have covered them here. Beautifully that too. Thanks for sharing this

  9. I really want to see the Red Fort! That looks absolutely incredible. There’s so much history, as you say. Great guide and thanks for detailing all of these incredible places in Delhi, and so many stories for each landmark too.

  10. I didn’t realize how many historic sites there were in Delhi, but I guess it makes total sense considering how old the city is. I’m so impressed with how well many of these sites have been maintained over all these years! The architecture is just exquisite, especially Safdurjung Tomb.

  11. I’ve never read a post on Delhi. Love the Hunayun Tomb that inspired the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort must be so fabulous to see!

  12. I am really amaze with Delhi’s culture, such a good read. I am really fascinated with the culture they have, so colorful and rich. I am really in love with the infrastructures, very well maintained and so stunning. Thanks for sharing this very informative post.

  13. I think this is quite covers everything. You photos are quite impressive. I have spent majority of my formative years in Delhi and I am ashamed to say that I have not visited all the places on this list.

    1. That’s very common – for people to not have explored the town they spent a lot of years in 🙂 I also explored my home town only recently as a tourist 😉

  14. whenever I read posts like this I am totally blown away by India’s architecture! The Red Fort would definitely be highest on my list, it looks so beautiful. I can hardly believe that so many of these buildings date back so far. Another reason to add India to my list of places to visit 😉

    1. There’s a lot of history in India, you’ll love the architecture, especially in Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan 🙂

  15. When I visited Delhi the weather was awful so I did not get to see as much as I would have liked. I did enjoy the Red Fort. I wish that I had known that there was a Sound and Light Show. I was staying quite close to the fort but missed out. I guess that I will just have to come back again 🙂

  16. Such a long list of attractions and I want to see them all! I’d have to spend a good amount of time here to do the city justice. I just love ancient sites and these ones are magnificent! Thank you for providing such a great list.

    1. These are just the historical sites, if you really want to explore Delhi properly, there are so many other things to do, like visiting the colourful markets, enjoying the lovely street food, etc. You need at least a week to soak it all in!

  17. I think my Indian bucket list is getting longer and longer. Dehli is on my list but some of these historical gems I have never even heard of, so I really want to check them out now. Fantastic post and giving me a lot of food for thought.

    1. I know what you mean, there’s a lot to see and do in India, and Delhi is just the beginning.

  18. A nice good list, medha. Living in Gurgaon, I have been to all of them on different occassions. Delhi has so much history and architecture, lovely to explore these sites on foot.

    1. That’s nice. I was living in Delhi for 6 years but visited most of them only recently, when I went back to spend time with my parents 🙂

  19. I love hop on hop off tours! They are so convenient! It’s good to know that most of the attractions in Delhi are on the route. I think what I’d enjoy most during my visit is the architecture.

    1. The architecture, most of which dates back to the Mughal period, is my favourite part of exploring historical ruins in Delhi as well!

  20. Delhi has such beautiful historical sites, I have loved visiting most of these during my trips to stay with family there over last 5 decades. Your guide is a really great resource, not just giving an idea of the places but also some practical advice such as entrance fees as well. I’ve also found two sites I’ve not yet seen and must go and visit Mehrauli Archaeological Park and Safdurjung Tomb on my next trip to Delhi!

    1. Safdurjung Tomb is one of my favourites and I am surprised why it is not as popular as the rest of the historical sites in Delhi!

  21. We stay in Delhi and honestly until the day we have not visited all these listed monuments.My favorite from the list is Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar, and Red Fort. Hope will explore others soon.

    1. It’s very common that people don’t explore their own city as much in detail as they explore a city they visit. I belong to Delhi as well (don’t live there anymore though) but it was only recently that I explored all these lovely places!

  22. Lovely detailed post on one of my favourite cities to explore history in India…great see all my favourite places together 🙂

    These days I am fascinated by the Mehrauli Archaeological Park…so many gems there!

  23. I am a history teacher and find Indian history fascinating. The Agrasen ki baoli sounds interesting but I do not do the haunted places! Love all the great photos!

    1. I guess if you go during the day when there are quite a few other people around, it won’t be really haunted 🙂

  24. If I ever have the chance to visit – which will be hopefully soon – I’m happy to learn that I could see all these mesmerizing places on a hop on hop off tour or by public transportation, since I am not driving. I love particularly the red fort and the archeological park. It’s impressive how much work you put in this post!

  25. This blog post is right up my alley! I’m a huge fan of architecture. My motto is, “the older, the better.” I love learning about a culture’s history through the architecture and the ruins. It’s just a beautiful trip to the past. Great read!

  26. What a helpful post! I spent a couple of days in Delhi but did not get a chance to see all these sites. I think I am going back next year so this will come in handy.

  27. Delhi is not only a city, it is a continuous celebration! You have covered almost all the important places and architectural delights of Delhi with the information. There are other places that I absolutely love in Delhi are the Nizamuddin Dargah and Hauz Khas. Loved reading your article.

  28. You picked an amazing selection of places to explore in Delhi. I was there for my first time last year, and plan to go back at the end of this year. These sites are beautiful, many I did not see on my first visit. I’m definitely putting Lodhi Gardens and Agrasen ki baoli on my list. Thanks for the tips on location and pricing.

  29. I love the hop on hop off idea and the fact to read about something to do in India besides the Taj. India has never really been on my list, but after reading this, you definitely changed my mind.

  30. Having not been to India, this appears to be the first time I’ve seen a blog post about Delhi. What amazing architecture! Wow! I may have to add this part of the country to my travel plans. Loved it! Safdurjung Tomb would be my first pick and I’m shocked that it isn’t frequented as one of the more popular attractions. It is stunning.

  31. India is very different from the old buildings and churches that you can find in Europe. How many days do you recommend to see Delhi properly? With calm, without running around. I’ve haven’t been to India, but I’m planing to reach it soon. To be honest I’m not really a fan of architecture photography, but this look amazing and I think in India that could change.

    1. I’d say at least 5 days but if you have more time, then a week would be good!

  32. Love the architecture there. It looks very different and unusual for a European eye. I am not much into architecture photography, but there I would love to make some shots.

    1. It sure is very different from the old buildings, forts and churches you find in Europe 🙂

  33. I have been wanting to visit India for some time. I have a friend who lives in Delhi who I owe a visit. It is nice to see all the beautiful places. I have to make a list now. The tomb is gorgeous as is the fort. I also love all of the archways. Good to know the HoHo bus is the way to go. Affordable and gets you around.

    1. Uber is also an option to go from one place to another in Delhi, for someone who may not want to take the HoHo bus tour but a full day tour in $8 is super cheap!

  34. Darcee & I loved our time in Delhi. We had friends who live there and they were generous enough to drive us around to explore all the amazing historical gems of Delhi. I especially love walking around the ruins surrounding the Qutab Minar. What a beautiful sight that was. I do regret not making over to the Humayun’s Tomb though. We didnt know about it and everthing I read makes it sound amazing.

    1. It’s really nice to have friends living locally in a city 🙂 Qutub Minar is one of the more popular ones to visit, I’m glad you got to go there.

  35. Wow there are so many places to visit in Delhi. I only managed a few in my short stay and would love to visit the tower. It is such a shame that it is not open but I guess if someone was killed there then it clearly is not safe.

  36. I love how your focus is on all of the historical sites in Delhi. It all ties together very well. The pictures are really captivating! Yet another place to add to our list…

    1. Delhi is one of the oldest cities that exist and although some of these sites are quite popular, others aren’t. So I decided to bring to light all the lovely ones that deserve a visit.

  37. How many days do you need to see Delhi at your own pace? India has always fascinated me, but it’s so big that I always fail to plan it because I’d need at least one year to explore it. The Old Fort in Delhi looks fabulous, so I might think twice next time I plan a trip to India’s Capital.

    1. I’d say about a week! You’re right though, India is huge and there’s a lot to explore. If you have a year, nothing like it 😉

  38. Of the places mentioned here, the Qutb Minar complex with all the Sultanate period architecture fascinates me. I also like exploring the Juma Masjid area, though primarily for its food. I didn’t know Delhi had a Good on Hop off bus though, and will try it the next time I’m there.

    1. It does and the price is quite low as well, it costs only 500 INR for a 1-day tour! That’s less than USD 10!

  39. I am actually going to Delhi this December and I am so excited! I will definitely keep this post in mind until then. It’s good to know that the hop on hop off bus gets you many places. And I would like to see the archaeological park.

    1. That’s really cool, have fun! December is slightly cold so I hope you will carry your warm clothes.

  40. I wish I had read this guide before my trip to India! I feel I missed quite a few sights in Delhi but then I had only one day there. A good reason to go back soon 🙂

    1. I am sure you’ll want to go back for many other things, you can always connect through Delhi and spend some time in the city 🙂

  41. Delhi certainly has some amazing architecture to offer to tourists. I’m actually considering visiting India soon, so these ideas for itineraries and possible day trips are really useful. I’d love to check out most of these as they look very beautiful and gorgeous, especially the Red Fort.

    1. If you have to pick the top few – it’d be Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar & Safdurjung Tomb.

  42. This is a very impressive list! I don’t think Delhi gets nearly the same attention as other temple abundant cities but it should get more exposure because these places look incredible. The Red Fort already caught my particular interest!

    1. That’s true, Delhi doesn’t get much attention as a historical city surprisingly!

  43. It might sound strange, but despite being from Delhi, I haven’t visited a single one of the historical gems that you have mentioned. But looks like, I need to visit them and even learn more about these gems, and it seems, its pretty easy to do so as well, thanks to the hop on hop off thing.

    1. Wow, I am from Delhi as well and while I hadn’t been to all the places before, I had visited the more famous ones like India Gate and Qutub Minar 🙂 You can always choose to be a tourist in your own city and explore!

  44. Being from Delhi, I often take our historical gems for granted. They are indeed great historical gems. While I see them almost every day, perhaps I should become a tourist and explore them again.

    1. I am from Delhi as well and it was only recently that I decided to explore the historical monuments ‘like a tourist’ 🙂

  45. I had in my mind that Delhi is an extremely crowded and chaotic city that I’m not sure I would enjoy. But looking at all these beautiful historical sites you can visit, I think I am wrong. Most of these sites don’t look very crowded at all and I’m surprised to see so much green around them!

    1. Delhi is quite a crowded city, no doubt. But you can find areas which are far from the crowds! The roads are usually packed with traffic but if you visit the historical monuments, it’s not that crowded at all!

  46. I didn’t realise just how many different historical sites there were in Delhi! Really well written and really great tips. India has been high up on my bucket list for a while so will definitely save this for when we get round to getting there. Red Fort looks particularly amazing! Out of all of them which was your favourite?

  47. We’ve never been to India because we’re not fan of Indian food. haha… But the architecture in Delhi is truly gorgeous! Guess we’ll have to put it on our bucket list after all. And as an archaeologist I would definitely start my visit at the Mehrauli archaeological park, and explore the Safdurjung Tomb too! Awesome! Thanks a lot for inspiring us to go.

    1. Cheers x And yeah, if you don’t like Indian food, you have a lot of options in Delhi where you can have other cuisines 😉

  48. Delhi looks like a fascinating place to visit to learn more about ancient Indian culture. From the most visited Qutab Minar to hidden gems like Agrasen ki baoli there are so many beautiful historical sites to visit!

  49. These are some gorgeous monuments! It’s so interesting that you pointed out the similarity of India Gate to Arc de Triomphe because that was the first thing I thought of when I saw it. Safdurjung Tomb sounds most intriguing to me. I’d love to visit!

  50. Delhi indeed has many historical gems. If I could go here, I’d prefer probably on my own or the hop on and hop off not on the guided ones. I like to discoveries hidden gems and at the same time, soaked in while not having to hurry when on a tour. Lodhi Gardens is one of the best options here, enjoying the picnic with locals and tourists and the same time, I’d also like the vibe of locals when we could the chance to interact with them. Lodhi Gardens is the place!

    1. That’s a fair point – it’s a good way to interact with the locals 🙂

  51. The Red Fort looks spectacular with its intricate design. I bet the sound and light show in the evening is outstanding!

  52. 4300 BCE–that is a very impressive length of history! I would love to visit the Red Fort and the Mehrauli Archeological Park especially–those places look so beautiful and photogenic. I can’t imagine how gorgeous a sunset there would be!

    1. Indus Valley Civilisations is one of the oldest! However, most of the monuments and remains that you’ll see in Delhi today go back only to the 11-12th centuries AD.

  53. what a great guide. I haven’t been to India, but I always thought if I go, I will start from Delhi. I was not aware of all these attractions. will save your piece for when I go there

  54. A wonderful guide to the city of Djinns. There is something extremely charming about this city and the stories behind it’s architecture. Having visited it so many times, I never got myself to visit each monument with ample time in hand. Hadn’t heard of the HOHO bus and I am so glad it is one convenient way to visit all the major monuments.
    Loved Qutub Minar and its surrounding monuments, carved pillars and inscriptions. Haven’t been inside the Purana Qila, and I didnt know it does not allow visitors inside the only hall that remains intact. Humayuns tomb and the Red Fort are eternal favourites. Mehrauli tombs is another architectural delight! There is just so much history seeped in this city:)

    1. I belong to Delhi and until recently, there were a few of these places that even I hadn’t visited! Especially Mehrauli Archeological Park and Agrasen ki baoli, these are a little off-beat. You won’t see too many people here either.

  55. These are some truly beautiful gems to see in Delhi! India’s high on my list of places I’d like to see, so this is a useful guide for me. The Red Fort looks incredible, as do the buildings that house the tombs. It’s also fascinating to read about the history behind them, and I’m impressed they still look so good! Lovely photos as always too!

  56. Oh my word I have such intense wanderlust reading this! Despite several visits to India, I’m yet to go to Delhi! I normally fly into Cochin or Mumbai, and once travelled overland from Nepal, so it hasn’t much been “on my route”. It’s definitely one of the cities in India I most want to visit, though, but I’ll be honest and say I had no idea just how much there was to see until reading this! At first glance I thought the Safdurjung Tomb was Taj Mahal! And the Lodhi Gardens look like an absolute dream!

    1. The architecture of several of the monuments in Delhi and Agra is similar, mostly because a lot of them were made during the Mughal rule. I hope you visit Delhi on your next trip x

  57. Very concise and well made guide.
    How much time will it take to cover all the 10 places in a row? Is this a one day itinerary?

    1. Definitely not one day Indrani. If you take the 2-day Hop-on Hop-off tour, you can cover 70% of these places. However, if you plan to visit ALL, I’d suggest to keep 1-2 days more in hand 🙂

  58. Fascinating to read about all these places! When I was in Delhi I was so burned out from travel that I just hid in my hotel the whole time — I didn’t even go to the Red Fort. I’m starting to regret it now. I did take the metro around the city quite a bit though, and you’re right, it was super easy.

    1. Delhi can get crowded, polluted and dirty, no doubt but if you like old cities with a lot of history and culture, you’ll like Delhi 🙂

  59. When we were in India, we had a very short time in the actual city of New Delhi. We definitely missed most of the key sites you have included. We did however get to see the Red Fort for half a day. This was so much better than expected. I am glad we did not just visit the Taj Mahal. Humanyun’s Tomb looks equally as beautiful.

    1. You’ll see a lot of similarities in the architecture of most of these monuments, including the ones in Agra because they were mostly built during the Mughal period. It’s alright if you weren’t able to make it to all of them 🙂

  60. Love the way you have prepared this list. 🙂 Start with photo, a bit of history and then details. A perfect guide. What else one wants if he decides to go to a place.

    I have lived and grew up in Delhi but doubt I could have made this post. 🙂

  61. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about Delhi this past few days and I’m really looking forward to visiting it! Delhi’s historical structures are very interesting. I love how they are preserved and are open for everyone. The India Gate looks cool. Great tip on visiting it early morning. I’d rather visit it when it’s less crowded. 🙂
    So good to know that public transport is readily available for those wanting to check out all of those historical gems too. Personally, the hop on hop off bus tours sounds good to me as I have this tendency to want to see everything at once to get a feel of the place. 🙂

    1. The Hop-on Hop-off bus tour is always convenient. It’s inexpensive and you get flexibility on the amount of time you want to spend at a place.

  62. India has such fascinating architecture and history. While do it yourself tours are always fun, the value you can gain from a tour guide can be so much fun as well. I love all these stops on the hop on hop off tour. It looks like an amazing day of sightseeing.

    1. I’d suggest going for the 2-day pass, that’ll give you an opportunity to see a lot more places and not just historical ones. Museums, markets, etc as well.

  63. Mughal architecture is one of the best I’ve seen and I want to actually see it. I really want to go to India but it’s too big and too overwhelming. I think if there’s one place I can go to first, it would be Delhi. I love that there is a location, time required, price of ticket.

  64. Delhi does indeed have some historical gems. I have wanted to visit the Red Fort for some time but Agrasen ki baoli was just added today. Hypnotic waters the encourage the deranged to jump in… Pretty cool. It does look haunted and probably entirely out of place in an urban setting.

    1. Haha, it also doesn’t smell too nice because of the hundreds of pigeons flocking there, so be aware of that before you go! Let me know if you someone being hypnotised by the waters 😉

  65. Too bad the spiral stair case in the Qutab Minar is closed now, seems like an awesome tower to climb to the top. It’s interesting that they have sound and light shows at the forts. The Safdurjung Tomb seems great to visit because you can actually go inside. Lot’s of history and architecture in Delhi, I would love to visit every place mentioned in this article!

    1. It really is a pity about the spiral staircase, rumour is people tried to jump off from the deck above and that’s why they had to shut it! I can only imagine how lovely the view from up there would’ve been.

  66. Great roundup! I visited about half of these spots when I was in Delhi a few months ago- I also really enjoyed the presidential palace. However, I think my favourite stop of all is Humayun’s Tomb, especially because we timed our visit for sunset.

    1. Watching the sunset at Humayun’s Tomb would’ve been a great experience, I bet! I caught my sunset at Qutub Minar and that was quite incredible!

  67. I would include some of the ancient temples of Delhi like Jain Red Temple and Dadabari in this list. Delhi is also a shopper’s paradise and there are some historical markets in the old city. Nonetheless, your post was a nostalgic read as I have been to all these places in Delhi, and have explored them at length.

    1. I’ll be writing a post about the temples separately Anu, thanks for the suggestion! And yeah, you’re right about the markets as well.

  68. Oh wow, I so glad I read this. I have always got the impression that Delhi is an huge urban sprawl with tons of people and bugger all to do and that all the tourists leave the city to visit the Taj. But I would love to check out these historical monuments, they look amazing. How long would you recommend a tourist/visitor visiting Dehli? a few days or a week or even more. I know nothing about the city.

    1. I’d say 3-4 days should be enough but if you have more time, then why not 🙂

  69. LOL, it’s funny that Hop on Hop off is everywhere and what a brilliant suggestion to take a tour that way especially when it comes to seeing all the treasures of the city. I knew the city was historic and there are so many amazing monuments worth visiting in that city – what a great guide!

  70. Great list of attractions to visit in Delhi! Despite having spent a few days there, I didn’t get to see all of these, so happy to save this list for my next visit! 🙂

    1. They’re a lot to cover, I understand 🙂 And they’re quite far from each other too!

  71. India has such a fascinating culture, but I had no idea there was so much history to learn! The Red Fort looks like the one thing we’d love to explore. Not only it’s beautiful, but it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and we always make sure to visit them all when we’re on the road! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Delhi is one of the oldest cities, and there are historical sites strewn around everywhere, some you wouldn’t even know what they were once!

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