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The main monuments of New Delhi

main monuments of new delhi

It was and still is the capital of India. Located on the banks of the Yamuna River, it has long been an important stopover on the trade routes that were connecting the northwest to the Ganges plains. The historic capital of several Indian empires from 1210 onwards, it became part of the Mughal Empire in 1526 after Prince Babur defeated the last Sultan of Delhi. The Mughals established their capital in this part of the city which is now known as Old Delhi and it remained there until 1707 before being moved again.

It was not until the beginning of the 20th century, during British colonisation, that the government decided to return to the city: New Delhi was thus built south of the old city and became the capital again in 1911. In 1947, independent India confirmed New Delhi as the capital of the new country and it became home to the central government institutions of the Republic of India, including the Parliament. Both a city and a state, New Delhi today has a population of over 30 million, making it the second most populous city in the world after Tokyo.​

In addition to the buildings dating from the construction of the city by the British, Delhi has a rich heritage inherited from the former empires. They are so numerous that it is impossible for us to present them all here but some of the main monuments of Delhi are listed below. Among them is the Qutub Minar, dating from the 12th century (the tallest minaret in India and the 3rd tallest in the world), the mausoleum of Mughal Emperor Humayun (16th century), Jantar Mantar, the astronomical observatory built in 1725 by the Maharaja of Jaipur, Raj Ghat the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi erected at the place of his cremation in 1948.

Delhi Humayun's tomb


Tomb of the second Mughal emperor of India, this Delhi monument is of considerable importance in the evolution of Mughal architecture.

The elegant octagonal structure, in Persian style, is crowned with a double dome that reaches a height of 38 meters. It is said to have served as a model for the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Built from 1564, in red sandstone inlaid with white and black marble on a podium facing the Yamuna River, the tomb is one of the most beautiful historical sites in New Delhi. It is the first of a long series of dynastic tombs, innovative in different respects, notably because it introduces the garden tomb to the subcontinent.​ The site is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1993.

Delhi Qutub Minar


Built at the beginning of the 13th century in the south of Delhi, and considered in its time as one of the “Wonders of the Orient”, this red sandstone tower has impressive dimensions: 72.5 m. high, 14.32 m. in diameter at the base and 2.75 m. in diameter at the top.

It is part of the complex which includes the first monuments of Muslim India, including tombs, the magnificent portal of Alai-Darwaza, a masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art built in 1311, and two mosques, of which one is the oldest in northern India. The tower is covered in intricate carvings, and verses from the Quran are deeply carved into the stone. ​

Among Delhi’s most famous monuments, the site has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1993.

Delhi India Gate


Standing in the centre of the capital, the 42-meter high India Gate was designed by Lyutens, the British architect of New Delhi, and dedicated to the nation in 1931.

Modelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the large arch, under which rests the unknown soldier, commemorates the 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British army during the First World War as well as the 3000 British and Indian soldiers killed during the war in Afghanistan in 1919. Another memorial, placed under the arch, honours those who fell in 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani war.

Raj Path, renamed Kartavya Path in September 2022 after a massive renovation, is the main avenue leading to India Gate from the Presidential Palace. It is the boulevard of honour where the nation's biggest parades are held every year.

bazar old delhi.jpg


Shahjahanabad, built in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, is now known as Old Delhi.

In the past, the walls stretched for over 11 km and enclosed the massive Red Fort and the impressive Jama Masjid (or Friday Mosque).

The main thoroughfare, Chandni Chowk, once a sublime tree-lined canal and one of the most opulent bazaars in the East, has recently been redeveloped. What was, until 2021, a noisy mass of porters and motorbike horns, and teeming with tempos, tuk-tuk and other ox carts, is now a 1.4km long pedestrian street between the Red Fort and Fatehpuri masjid.

So, strolling through the narrow streets lined with shops where it is said that you can find everything, is a real change of scenery. Old Delhi is fascinating, but stamina and patience are essential for those who want to try to discover it a little bit.

Delhi Connaught Place


Connaught Place, the centre of New Delhi commonly referred to as 'C.P.', with its noble facades and classical columns, is radically different from the bazaars of Old Delhi which it replaced as the 'commercial hub'. Originally designed in a horseshoe shape, the place now forms a complete circle, divided into blocks by seven radial roads. The park, in the centre of Connaught Place, has been laid out above the station which serves as a hub for the entire Delhi Metro network.

Indian shops and western brands rub shoulders under the arcades, along with small vendors and shoeshine boys.

Open every day, beware of the frequent and not always honest solicitations of which the tourists are victims.

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