Old and New Delhi in 24 hours

Last modified 19.03.2022 | Published 10.04.20172015's, India, South and Southeast Asia, Travelogue

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How to do and what to see in Old and New Delhi in 24 hours? Delhi, the capital of India, is one of the world’s most populous urbanised areas as well as being very congested. The attractions are in addition located in different parts of the New and Old Delhi, forcing any visitor to spend a lot of time just to move from one place to another. 

Thus, spending only 24 hours in Delhi is too little and involves a lot of sacrifices. Instead of complaining about everything I missed, I will concentrate on the places I actually went. I had jumped on a rather spontaneous group tour of the Golden Triangle and Delhi was our starting point. This also meant that the choice of accommodation, transportation, restaurants and attractions were all quite nicely laid out, with a local guide in charge of the group. 


Jama Masjid Mosque

We had arrived with a morning flight and went straight (or as straight as traffic would permit) to the Jama Masjid Mosque. This is one of the largest mosques of India and was built between 1644 and 1656. There is a huge courtyard into which one enters through one of the three gates. The square shape of the complex has towers in all four corners and two 40 m high minarets flanking the prayer hall with three domes at one end of the courtyard. Red sandstone and white marble are the most prominent building materials.

There is a shallow pool in the middle of the courtyard used for performing the compulsory cleaning before entering the prayer halls. During the heat of the day most people would relax in the shade inside the exterior walls. 

The images provided in this article are to be clicked, expanded and then browsed. Here are the first few. 


Rickshaw ride through market streets

Our next stop was right outside the north gate of the mosque, the same we had entered through. Here at lot of rickshaws were awaiting us and all other tourist groups which had spent half an hour inside the mosque. You bet this is a tourist trap, but still it was quite an enjoyable ride through the narrow streets.

Unfortunately this was a Sunday and the streets were thus less crowded than they would have been during the week. We got out of the rickshaws at some point and made our way on foot into the Spice Market, basically a wide street with small shops and street vendors. Had I been alone, I would have spent much more time walking around in Old Delhi, aka Shahjahanabad


Humayun’s Tomb

Our next and last two stops are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This one is introduced by UNESCO as “the first of the grand dynastic mausoleums that were to become synonyms of Mughal architecture with the architectural style reaching its zenith 80 years later at the later Taj Mahal”. Humayun’s Tomb was built in the 1560’s but there are several other tombs within the huge complex. 

Read my article about this World Heritage Site

Compared to the narrow bazaar streets of Old Delhi, and the busy and congested streets we had been driving through earlier this morning, this complex felt very relaxing. Tall palm trees, perfectly cut lawns and well proportioned architectural masterpieces – and not least quite few people around. 


Qutub Minar

UNESCO describes this complex like this: “Built in the early 13th century a few kilometres south of Delhi, the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base, and alternating angular and rounded flutings.” There is actually a lot more here, like mosques, tombs, and towers all set within a park. This was apparently a favourite place for families. 

Read my article about this World Heritage Site.


What more?

That was Old and New Delhi in 24 hours. Never mind which hotel we stayed in. We even ate there. The special articles to the World Heritage Sites have been mentioned and linked to above. The introduction to this vacation in India’s Golden Triangle too. The next article is about the second stop in the triangle, Jaipur. The third was Agra

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