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Other Monuments

One of the striking features of Delhi is its monuments. The buildings in Delhi speak volumes about the cultural heritage of Delhi and its rich ancient past. Monuments like Old Fort, Tughlaqabad, innumerable tombs and old buildings and other old structures are still iconic trademarks of Old Delhi. New Delhi, on the other hand, is replete with buildings like Parliament House, India Gate, President’s House, etc. all of which are rich symbols of British architecture.

Irrespective of the fact whether the buildings belong to British or Mughal architecture styles, they have a unique charm and brilliance about them that is not evident anywhere else in India. Tourists have to visit each and every monument to understand the beauty and elegance of the same, as this superior craftsmanship cannot be explained in words.  Shah Jahan’s Red Fort and Edward Lutyen’s Parliament House are still symbols of pride for Delhi, as they both are iconic landmarks of the national capital.

Qutub Minar

One of the first symbols to announce to the world about the Muslim domination in Delhi, the Qutub Minar was constructed during the rule of Qutub-ud-din Aibak, during 1206, when his Slave Dynasty took control over the city. Located at South Delhi’s Qutub Complex at Mehrauli, the Qutub Minar stands tall at 72.5m and has holy inscriptions of the Quran carved on its walls and ceilings. This minaret also reminded the Muslims to perform their daily Namaz.  Qutub-ud-din Aibak passed away after constructing the first floor of the monument. The remaining work on the monument was taken over and completed by his successor, Iltutmish. During 1368, the fourth floor of the monument was demolished by Feroze Shah Tughlaq, who constructed two floors of pure white marble in its place.

Intricate designs made from stalactite provide the much-needed balance to the tower balconies. The flutings located on the first floor are pointed and in the shape of a circle, whereas the ones on the second floor are in the shape of a star.

The Qutub Minar, being the first monument in India to be constructed by a Muslim ruler, created a new style of architecture called Indo-Islam. It paved the way for a new culture in Indian architecture and inspired the style of construction of many other monuments in its vicinity like Rajon Ki Baoli (Mehrauli Archaeological Park), Tombs of Jahaz Mahal and Adham Khan, Jamali Kamali Mosque and the Tombs of Balban and Quli Khan.


The fort of Tughlaqabad was constructed during 1321 by Ghazi Malik, belonging to the Tughlaq Dynasty. Ghazi Malik was a slave to Mubarak Khilji, when he put forth the suggestion of building the fort in the premises in which it is today. The ruler or Sultan, however, insulted Ghazi Malik and asked the slave to build the fort when he became the ruler. Ghazi Malik did exactly that. When he became the ruler, he was known as Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and he took just 4 years to build this massive and remarkable fort. Today, even in its dilapidated state, the fort shows remnants of architectural brilliance. Bastions with double floors, sky-high towers, beautiful palaces and mosques, large darbars and highly protected walls are some of the features of this fort that is in ruins today.

Lotus Temple

This temple, which has got its name because of its appearance, is a place of Bahai worship. It is the seventh and most recently constructed place of Bahai worship in the world. Resembling the shape of a half-opened lotus, this temple, constructed during 1986, stands tall at 40m. The architectural style in this temple is simply beyond words, as it is truly out of the world. The temple can be found atop the Bahapur Hills, at about 12km towards the south east of the famous shopping complex of Connaught Place. Today, the temple is an iconic landmark of Delhi, built of pure white marble.

Bearing a striking resemblance to the majestic Sydney Opera House, the Lotus Temple is decorated by nine pools and walkways from where, twenty seven lotus petals made out of marble, spring out. These nine pools represent the spiritual faiths according to the Bahai mode of worship. The temple is made from marble, dolomite, cement and sand and is a magical splendor. Once inside the temple, devotees should maintain pin-drop silence and should remove their footwear outside itself.

The temple traces back its origin to the prophet of Baha’ullah, who originated in Persia during the 20th century. Apart from people of Bahai sect, people of all religions come here to offers prayer and meditate. The Bahai form of worship promotes the thought of oneness of religion. Every day, hundreds of people gather in the central hall of the temple. The temple, situated at a height of 34.27m is quite simple, but is huge and provides ultimate relaxation and peace of mind to people who come here to meditate. Lotus petals that spring out from the pool are depictions of sacred quotes mentioned in the Bahai scriptures.

Jantar Mantar

Mughal Emperor Mohammed Shah, during 1724, asked Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur to recalculate the dates and times mentioned in calendars and astronomical tables. In order to carry out this task, the Maharaja established five Jantar Mantar Observatories all over the country, one of which is located in Delhi. This monument, in the national capital, contains 13 instruments related to astronomy made of beautiful architectural patterns. One of the plaques in the observatory wrongly mentions that 1710 was year when Jantar Mantar was constructed. In reality, it was during 1724, that this monument was built by Maharaja Jai Sigh II of Jaipur.

In the earlier days, this place was used popularly to study and understand the movement of sun, moon, earth, planets etc. and to predict times based on the study of the astronomical tables. Most of the techniques are still widely followed in the field of astronomy today.

By 1867 onwards, the observatory started getting ruined by natural wear and tear.

Purpose of Individual Structures

Three main astronomical instruments are located inside Jantar Mantar of New Delhi. They are Samrat Yantra, Jayaprakash Yantra and Misra Yantra.

Samrat Yantra

This huge triangle is also known as the Supreme Instrument. It is of 70feet of height, 114ft of length and 10m of thickness. This instrument which is primarily a sundial of equal hours has a hypotenuse of 39m of length. This looks into the North Pole and is parallel to the axis of the Earth. A quadrant to depict hours, minutes and seconds, is located at each side of the triangle. Though sundials were already present at the time of making the Samrat Yantra, it was after the construction of this instrument, that sundials began to be considered as a superior tool to measure the coordination of celestial bodies and their declinations.

Jayaprakash Yantra

With concave surfaces, the Jayaprakash Yantra has hemispheres that are very hollow. The points on their rim are attached tightly by crosswires. Inside this rim, the yantra had the power to adjust the position of stars either through markings or through the edge of a window.

Misra Yantra

This was the astronomical tool that was constructed in order to measure the shortest and longest days of the year. The tool was so accurate, that it could measure the exact second of arrival of noon across all the cities in the country and in the world. This was a wonderfully accurate tool and indeed one of the most magical of all tools in the observatory. In Jantar Mantra, this tool was the only one not invented by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur.

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