This magnificent fort is also known as the Lal Qila. The Red Fort has witnessed many historic battles for the nation’s independence. Inside the fort, the main structure includes the Diwan – E- Aam or the hall for public audience, Diwan – E – Khas or the hall of private audience, Mumtaz Mahal — the residence of Shah Jahan’s daughter, Khas Mahal — the private room of the Emperor and the Moti Mahal which was built by Aurangzeb. The fort was built by Shah Jahan when he shifted his capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad — now Old Delhi and it took nine years to build the enormous fort complex. The fort is almost octagonal in shape, like most of the Islamic buildings in India. Every year on the 15th of August, the national flag of India is hoisted at the Red Fort by the Prime Minister. The fort also has the Naubat or Naqqar Khana which is famous for its collection of musical instruments. People throng to catch The Light and Sound Show which is held every evening inside the complex the fort. A visit to the Fort gives the children a sense of the nation’s rich historical past.
An overwhelming tower made of bricks called the Qutab Minar has become synonymous with the history of Delhi. This majestic sandstone tower is nestled in the southern quarters of Delhi. It is 237.8 ft in height and is an exquisite example of the Indo-Islamic and Afghan architecture. This architectural site is surrounded by lush green manicured gardens, which are a favoured picnic and recreational spot for people. This tower has become a distinguished member of the World Heritage Site community and it mysteriously leans to almost 60 cm off the vertical. The Minar has a colossal entrance called the Alai Darwaza, the main entrance to the whole complex. There are richly-decorated facades of white marble that are engraved with geometric patterns and Arabic inscriptions. Just at the foot of the Qutab Minar stands India’s first mosque — the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid.
Humayun’s Tomb is regarded as the first garden tomb of the Indian subcontinent. It dates back to 1570. Humayun’s Tomb was built by Hamida Banu Begum, wife of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. This monument exemplifies the grandeur of the Mughal style of architecture. One of the main attractions of the tomb is the garden or the Char Bagh. The garden surrounding the tomb is divided into 36 squares by small water channels and stoned paths. The square garden is surrounded by a high wall made of rubble of stones that is further divided into four large squares separated by channels and each square is divided into smaller squares by pathways which create the Char Bagh. The tomb is octagonal in shape. A great central chamber has four offsets and is double-storied in height. The central room contains the cenotaph of Emperor Humayun and his Queen.
The Old Fort is also called the Purana Qila. It was built in the 16th century. The architecture pattern is basically a blended format of Mughal/Hindu/Afghan architecture. The fort was built in red sandstone and the fort walls are octagonal in shape. At some points, the fort extends to 33.5m in height. Many archaeologists believe that the fort is actually standing on the ancient site of Indraprasta — the capital of Pandavas. Inside the fort is Humayun’s Library. This octagonal building is called Sher Mandal as it was built by Sher Shah. The Talaqi Darwaza is known as the ‘Forbidden Gate’. Inside the fort is a mosque called Quila Kuhna Masjid. A bit beyond the fort is the Qila-i-Kuhna Masjid or the mosque of Sher Shah. This mosque is the epitome of Delhi’s heritage of the Lodi style of architecture. The prayer hall leads to staircases which further lead to the second storey from where a splendid panorama of the fort can be seen with the greenery of Delhi as its backdrop.
This monument was basically built as a scientific observatory by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1710 A.D. The structure encloses a sun dial or the Samrat Yantra that signifies the scientific heritage of the past centuries. The structure corroborates observable astronomical facts and can be used, even today, to determine the position of different astral bodies. A perfect amalgamation of religion and science, the observatory is looked upon as a historical site by the people. The Jantar Mantar has instruments that are used to calculate the longest and shortest days. These yantras or instruments are built of brick rubble and are plastered with lime. The site is thronged by tourists who stand awestruck by the scientific advancement India had made hundreds of years ago.