Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Commonwealth Games Delhi, Visitor Guide

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Well, The last edition of 2010 Commonwealth Games visitor guide was about how to stay safe and healthy, well this week it’s all about what to see, where to go and what to do! Besides the terrifying traffic jams, over crowded streets filled with all kinds of farm animals (cows, buffalo, dogs, donkeys and occasional monkeys too), Delhi is a city flooded with historic as well as modern attractions. No matter what, I can assure that you will just love this exotic and spicy city, yeah I love to call Delhi ‘The Spicy City’. You wanna know why, well, you have to come here and experience that for yourself.

Talking about what to see, there are myriads of attractions to visit and you can literally visit specific attractions according to your mood. I know, it sounds a bit exaggerating but seriously there is an attraction for every mood. Before we jump to the attraction part, I would strongly recommend travelers to visit all these attractions only and only during weekdays because weekends are a nightmare.

Here is a list of some of my favorite attractions:

(I have included the entrance fees in Indian Rupees; you can convert to your currency here: Click Here)

Red Fort: A 17th century fort complex built by Emperor Shah Jahan, no visit to Delhi is complete without a visit to the red ford. The fort is open daily from around 9 am to around 5:00 pm. The entrance fee for foreigners is Rs 250 rupees. Photography is free but for video cameras you have to pay 25 rupees extra. The queue at the ticket counter is hell; fortunately there is a separate ticket counter only for foreigners.

Read more about the Red Fort Here

Jama Masjid: A must see for all, you will amaze at the sheer beauty of this enchanting religious site. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the same dude who built the Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid is the largest Mosque in India. The mosque is open from 7 AM to sunset, but visitors are not allowed inside between 12:15 and 1:45 PM. Please do not take any pictures during the prayer hours.

Read More about Jama Masjid Here

Jantar Mantar: Truly an ancient marvel, Jantar Mantar is located just a stone throw away from Connaught place or simply CP, the heart of Delhi. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, Jantar Mantar consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments which were used to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets. Jantar Mantar is open all day (Monday to Sunday) from sunrise to sunset; there is a small fee of Rupees 100 for foreigners.

(P.s: On my last visit, this place was full of hookers and couples making out; let’s hope that the Delhi Government will do something to clean up)

Read More about Jantar Mantar Here:

Akshardham: Akshardham is the largest Hindu temple in the world and the best part is Akshardham is just a moment away from the 2010 Commonwealth Games village. Whether you visit all the temples or just mediated in the garden, you will just love it. There is also a small gift shop that is worth checking out. Akshardham is free for all and the site opens everyday except Mondays from 9 AM to 6 pm.

Read more about Akshardham here

Lotus Temple: Truly a treat to the eyes, Bahá'í House of Worship or just Lotus Temple serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent. An amazing place to just sit back, relax and mediate, Lotus Temple is one of the few places in Delhi where you can enjoy serine peace yet without escaping the crowd. The temple is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Read more about The Lotus Temple here

India Gate: Undeniably the most iconic and the most popular attraction in Delhi, India Gate is a historic landmark plus a popular picnic spot. Built to commemorate the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the British Indian Empire during the World War I, today the site is known as the site of the Indian Army's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The site is free to all and it’s open from sunrise to late night. The best time to visit India Gate is after sunset when the entire surrounding area transform to a mega picnic spot where families enjoy chill out, relax, couples making out. That is not all, the site is also filled with people selling everything from light snacks, ice creams and soda to neon toys and much more, which actually is quite a sight.

Read more about the India Gate Here
Qutub Minar: This is one of my favorite attractions and am pretty sure, you too will love it. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qutab Minar is the world's tallest brick minaret, standing 72.5 meters. Qutab Minar was built during the 1190's by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler in India. In this site, you will find the Iron Pillar, considered as one of the world's foremost metallurgical curiosities and according to legend if you can encircle the entire column with you arms, with you back towards the pillar, any wish of yours will come true. Unfortunately you can’t do that today as the government has built a fence around it. Qutub Minar is open daily from sunrise to sunset and the entrance fee is Rupees 250 for foreigners.

Read More about Qutub Minar here

Well these are some of my favorite attractions in Delhi. Besides there are also tons of other attractions such as the Humayun's Tomb, Raj Ghat, the National Museum, St. James' Church and Purana Quila. Check out this site for more information on Delhi attractions: