16 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Delhi

Jul 22, 2021

One of the world's most populous cities, with over 20 million inhabitants, Delhi is the capital of India, and also the cultural, political, and financial center of the country.

Despite its rapid growth, the city still preserves much of its original charm. Colonial and religious relics dot its landscape, and the best-preserved old town is a great place to explore on foot.

With lots of great restaurants, traditional eateries, and museums, Delhi offers something for everyone.

A good tour of the city includes a walk in the lively Chandni Chowk (literally, "boudoir of the doll"), located in the old city, where you'll find colorful murals on the walls of its winding alleys.

Add to your list of the best places to visit in Delhi with this list of the top tourist attractions in Delhi.

Jantar Mantar

Photo of Jantar Mantar, New Delhi
Jantar Mantar, New Delhi: en.wikipedia.org

As the name suggests, this astronomical observatory is home to a vast array of sundials, precise astronomical instruments that have been meticulously designed to measure the earth's position and track celestial bodies like the moon. The series of instruments includes the early-20th-century Herschel telescope which was used to discover planets, as well as a replica of the world's oldest known astronomical tool, the Yashiv Stone. This huge, other-worldly monument also provides a kind of literary encyclopedia of the different readings and observations recorded through history. Formed around an open courtyard in 1991, the observatory is built around the central Karman pillar, a large, square monolith thought to be able to withstand earthquakes.

India Gate

Photo of India Gate
India Gate: en.wikipedia.org

India Gate is a colossal war memorial in New Delhi, a major symbol of the city. Built in 1931 by the British after they assumed control of the city, the building is 42.7 meters high (141 feet) and was inspired by the Hameau d'Amour in France. The huge arch is not only a tourist attraction but also houses one of the city's oldest structures, a museum dedicated to India's military history. Admission includes a tour and guided audio-visual presentations, which reveal the contributions of Indians to the British military as well as insights into their culture and traditions. One room, called "The Smoke of the Guns" explores the manner in which armed conflicts have changed India's history and how its tradition of chivalry influenced its involvement in the war efforts of the British. The museum also offers guided tours of the building. India Gate was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, and is a fine example of modern architecture.

Taj Mahal

Photo of Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal: en.wikipedia.org

Taj Mahal, meaning 'Crown of Palaces', is India's most famous tourist destination. The stunning white marble structure of Shah Jahan's tomb is at the center of a complex dedicated to the love of a woman, Mumtaz Mahal. The magnificent building was created by the Mughal ruler between 1631 and 1648 to commemorate his beloved wife's 1627 death. The monument is a masterpiece of classic Indian architecture, its profusion of stucco, marble, and gilded tiles truly incredible. Taj Mahal is very crowded and if you are not very fit, be aware that climbing the two steps to the main entrance can be exhausting. When you are tired, visit the nearby Agra Fort, one of the city's former imperial palaces.

Qutub Minar

Photo of Qutb Minar complex
Qutb Minar complex: en.wikipedia.org

The tallest brick minaret in the world, the Qutub Minar is an architectural wonder. Built in 1572, this slender minaret, carved from red sandstone, is the only existing example of the Indo-Islamic style called Taj Mahal (the jewel of palaces). The minaret, 1,000 feet high, is topped by a large dome decorated with the same intricate stonework as the rest of the structure. The site is in a park in the center of Delhi, and you can't actually go up the minaret, but you can enjoy spectacular views of the sun setting and the temple and minaret bathed in light.

Akshardham Temple

Photo of Swaminarayan Akshardham (New Delhi)
Swaminarayan Akshardham (New Delhi): en.wikipedia.org

Built in 1968, this Hindu temple in Delhi is one of the most popular religious sites in the city. It is also an unusual temple in that it is actually built above a series of subterranean chambers, which form the original location of the epic Ramayana. At the foot of Akshardham Temple are a number of shrines for Vishnu, Hanuman, Shiva, Kali, Durga, and other Hindu gods and goddesses. The temple is known for its main performance, which is a spectacular display of light and sound that plays on the ceilings and walls. In the courtyard outside, the Shri Krishna Janma Mela (International Krishna Janmashtami Celebrations) are held in December, which is the full moon day of the Krishna festival. These celebrations are actually held across the river, on the banks of the Yamuna river, near the Akshardham complex, but if you visit the temple on the full moon of December, you are virtually guaranteed to witness the festival's most spectacular display of color, light and sound.

Rajpath

Photo of Rajpath
Rajpath: en.wikipedia.org

Rajpath, or Red Fort, is the official residence of the Indian Prime Minister and was completed in 1748 after 100 years of construction by an enterprising Persian, Nawab Sawai Jai Singh II. It is named after King George III's youngest brother, who was appointed Raja of Jaipur in 1727. The elegant, sprawling red sandstone monument originally housed the royal court, as well as hosting ceremonies, and is still a majestic meeting point for the people of the capital. Traveling on the grounds to the west is the life-size marble equestrian statue of Maharaja Jai Singh, the first Prime Minister of independent India, and his consort, Rani Jindan, both of whom were originally in the British Museum. The fantastic museum of Mughal Art, or Shilp Granth, features several marvelous illustrations from Persian and Mughal art.

Jama Masjid

Photo of Jama Masjid, Delhi
Jama Masjid, Delhi: en.wikipedia.org

Built in the 15th century, the Jama Masjid was the largest mosque in India for nearly 200 years. Completed in 1573 and constructed of red sandstone with four magnificent minarets, the mosque was a mark of Muslim architectural dominance in north India at the time. It is even said that two hands of a clock lay buried under the foundation of one of the minarets. With its elaborate facade and multi-hued tile decoration, the Jama Masjid remains the largest mosque in India with three entrances and a capacity for 5,000 people. Aside from the impressive architecture, there are few features inside that warrant a visit. Visitors can simply take a look at the ornate gold-plated exterior and wander among the prayer halls.

Lakshmi Narayan Temple

Photo of Laxminarayan Temple
Laxminarayan Temple: en.wikipedia.org

This spectacular complex is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The architecture and design are unique and impressive. The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum), viman, lal-mandir, and janab-mandir combine to create a truly panoramic experience. Located near Chandni Chowk, this is one of the best known and most visited temples in New Delhi.

Jantar Mantar Observatory

Photo of Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar: en.wikipedia.org

Jantar Mantar is a vast astronomical observatory and planetarium in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was constructed in the 17th century to keep track of the movement of celestial bodies, particularly the planets. The facility still provides data to astronomers worldwide as it functions as an astronomical observatory, planetarium, and educational center for astronomy.

Gateway of India

Photo of Gateway of India
Gateway of India: en.wikipedia.org

Gateway of India, built in 1911 by Edwin Lutyens, is an emblematic and an intriguing monument in the heart of New Delhi. On the way to the Old Fort, the statue of Mother India welcomes travelers to the National Capital. At the end of Victoria Memorial Hall, the Gateway of India stands towering and colorful, with the distinct yellow silhouette of an elephant in the crown of its spire, symbolizing a bridge between India and a newly liberated Europe. You can either visit the monument itself, which provides a better picture of the original design, or the National Museum, which has a more extensive collection of India's past.

Gandhi Smriti

Photo of Gandhi Smriti
Gandhi Smriti: en.wikipedia.org

Established in 1772, Gandhi Smriti is a museum in Delhi dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest global heroes of the 20th century. Gandhi was a nationalist and human rights activist who championed non-violence. His memorial building, in the shape of an open book, is the only structure he ever lived in. This museum has a wealth of material on Gandhi's life and work and a number of special exhibitions on his life and work.

Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

Photo of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
Gurudwara Bangla Sahib: en.wikipedia.org

Bangla Sahib (the Sikhs' principal temple) is one of the largest gurdwaras, or Sikh temples, in the world. It's only a short walk to from the World Trade Center and the India Gate. The main temple has been in existence since the 8th century, and in its current form is said to have been built in the 17th century. The temple is the focal point of Sikhism in Delhi, and is probably the most visited gurdwara in the world. The temple is very accessible; and much of its interior is open to the public, especially during the day. The Sikhs have set up stalls in the courtyard, selling locally made wares and offering help with prayers. There is a museum inside the temple where visitors can learn about Sikhism.

Golden Temple

Photo of Golden Temple
Golden Temple: en.wikipedia.org

The Golden Temple in Delhi is an ancient religious monument built in 1639, the Hindu temple was dedicated to the god Vishnu. The temple complex is built at the site of the Takhtsang Monastery, a large Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Because the structure was built in 1639, the architecture is different from other temples in India. The architectural style of the temple is distinct from other Hindu temples in the country. Its architecture combines Gothic, Chola, Muslim and Mughal styles. The temple complex includes four large gopuras, eight prayer halls, including a golden Hall of Assembly and prayer hall, and eight Jain temples, including the Asht Prabhu and Gautama temples. The Gurudwara Shri Krishna Janam Asthan is the headquarters of a sect of Sikhism.

New Delhi

Photo of New Delhi
New Delhi: en.wikipedia.org

Delhi is India's capital, with its grand colonial buildings, ancient Islamic treasures, and sacred Hindu temples. All of this can be experienced on foot in a number of museums and memorials in the area of New Delhi, not to mention in many of the small villages in the countryside. Independence Day is celebrated on August 15th, Independence Day is celebrated on August 15th, 1991, just before the declaration of independence of India, on the grounds of the Presidential palace of the president of the republic of India. Odd-shaped Pushkar is the site of India's famous Pushkar Camel Festival. Overnight is an evening program that takes you from the rest area where all camels are tied up to the "Main Plaza" where the actual festival takes place. You can see men roasting corn on the cob over a large fire and sell fresh fruit and snacks at the market. Next morning, it is time to set out in the morning, and meet the camels for their long journey to the hill of Pushkar where the rituals and festivities are to begin.

Purana Quila

Photo of Purana Qila
Purana Qila: en.wikipedia.org

The fabulous Purana Quila was built by Emperor Humayun in the early 16th century and marks the city's northern boundary. The big hollow rectangle, popularly known as Humayun's Tomb (Humayun's Tomb), is now occupied by a park and contains several wonderful tomblike galleries built with pillars of local red sandstone. In the 17th century, the Purana Quila was burned in a war, but was later reconstructed. The Darwaza, which marks the entrance to the park, has beautifully carved Nฤgara or Tuscan columns. The gate's roof is of fine red brick, a style that was popular in the Mughal era. In the center is a fountain and a statue of the Peacock Throne, which is a wonderful specimen of miniature decorative art. The wall behind the throne is covered with a beautiful fresco. The stairways that lead from the Darwaza to the golden balconies of the galleries are adorned with exquisite hand-painted tiles. Nearby is the Shwe Elssar, a terracotta monastery that, from the 14th century, was an almshouse for Buddhist nuns. Inside are beautiful and unusual early gilded, painted Buddhist sculptures. Purana Quila is accessed through the Rambagh Gate of the old walled city. Its vicinity includes the Tughlaqabad Gardens (Tughlaqabad Gardens), a rare late Mughal garden that was never finished. If you are in Delhi, it is worth visiting both to get an idea of the Mughal architecture and for the gardens themselves. However, the gardens are often closed for renovation works.

ISKCON Temple

Photo of ISKCON Temple, Delhi
ISKCON Temple, Delhi: en.wikipedia.org

Indian spiritual leader Dr. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1976) founded ISKCON in 1966. The primary form of worship involves chanting and meditation. There are also programs, food, and special clothing. Some festivals include a class on sexuality, or an ashram adventure in which students get a chance to work with teachers, live and learn. Since ISKCON was founded, many world leaders have visited the temple, including the Dalai Lama.