The Taj Mahal is an obvious choice for most travellers to India, but what inspired such a beautiful mausoleum? Visit Humayun’s Tomb (above) in New Delhi and its design and construction immediately bring to mind the more famed structure. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it was the first garden tomb in India and the first structure that used red sandstone on such a grand scale.
Tip: There are many people selling their wares outside major tourist attractions. You will soon learn that you have to bargain, or you will pay exorbitant prices.
New Delhi is particularly famous for its beautiful landscaped gardens and is, in fact, one of the greenest cities in the world. Statistics say that over 20 per cent of the city is covered by forests. The Lodi Gardens (above) is a 90-acre park and contains several large and beautiful tombs, as well as a three-domed mosque. The Buddha Jayanti Park, established to mark the 2,500th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha, lies near the southern ridge forest of Delhi.
Exploring Connaught Place, the city’s main business hub, can easily take up a whole day with all the attractions on offer. It’s a good place to get all your shopping done, with all the major chain stores here, but it’s also a great area for vintage cinema. Catching a movie in cinemas like the Odeon or the Rivoli is a cinephile’s dream. The centre of Connaught Place is dedicated to a project called Art Today, which curates and exhibits works from contemporary Indian artists.
One of the most fascinating places here is the Jantar Mantar observatory (above) which was built in 1724. The Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur was tasked with keeping track of calendars and astronomical tables. There are various instruments, including a massive sundial which was used to track the movements of the sun, moon, and planets.
Finally, the quirkiest museum that you’ll visit while in New Delhi is probably the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets (above). Dr Bindeshwar Pathak’s passion for the history of toilets culminated with the opening of this museum. Here, you’ll learn about the complete history of toilets and sanitation systems dating back to 2,500 BC. It really is a fascinating visit where you’ll get information on social customs, toilet etiquette and legislative efforts of the past.
– TEXT BY JESSICA FARAH
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.