Old Delhi, situated in the central part of Delhi Union Territory, showcases the true essence of the city with its chaotic yet captivating atmosphere. Its famous attractions like Chandni Chowk, Khari Baoli, Kinari Bazaar, and Fatehpuri Masjid embody Delhi’s identity and character. The convenience of accessible metro stations makes traveling to Old Delhi easy for both tourists and locals. Delhi, the capital of India, boasts a rich history with stunning mosques, forts, and monuments from the Mughal era.
The stark contrast between the sprawling Old Delhi and well-planned New Delhi offers an intriguing exploration experience. Additionally, the city offers tranquil landscaped gardens for those seeking relaxation. What’s more, many of the attractions in Old Delhi are free to visit, making it an affordable option. Visitors can also opt for the Hop On Hop Off bus or popular Delhi Tours to conveniently explore these places.
List of Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Old Delhi
1. Red Fort
Address: Netaji Subhash Marg, Lal Qila, Opposite Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, Delhi 110006, India
Phone: +91 11 2327 7705
- The Red Fort in Delhi is a significant monument that embodies the grandeur of the Mughal era and represents India’s fight for independence. Constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1638, it served as the new capital after the shift from Agra.
- The fort’s captivating architecture, including its red sandstone walls and intricate detailing, showcases the craftsmanship of the Mughal Empire. Over time, it endured captures by the Sikhs and the British, leaving a diverse historical legacy.
- Visitors can attend the mesmerizing sound and light show that takes them on a journey through the fort’s rich history. Exploring the fort’s expansive courtyards and splendid structures like the Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Rang Mahal, and Moti Masjid provides a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Mughal rulers.
- Entry Cost: Foreigners, 500 rupees. Indians, 35 rupees.
- Opening Hours: 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., with light shows in the evenings. Closed on Monday.
The Red Fort stands as a testament to India’s cultural heritage and resilience, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking to delve into Delhi’s vibrant history.
2. Jama Masjid
Address: Jama Masjid, Opposite Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, Delhi, 110006, India.
Phone: +91 11 2336 5358
- Jama Masjid in Delhi’s Old City is one of India’s largest mosques, known for its architectural splendor and cultural significance. Its expansive courtyard can accommodate 25,000 devotees, and the mosque took 12 years to complete in 1656.
- limbing the southern tower offers a stunning view of Delhi’s rooftops, providing a glimpse into the city’s sprawling landscape. Visitors are advised to dress appropriately, covering their heads, legs, and shoulders.
- Jama Masjid stands as a symbol of Mughal architectural brilliance and serves as a prominent religious center. Stepping into its serene ambiance evokes a sense of spirituality and tranquility.
With its rich history and cultural heritage, Jama Masjid is a must-visit destination for those exploring Delhi’s Old City.
3. Chandni Chowk
Address: 16, Gali Kababian, Jama Masjid, Old Delhi, near the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Delhi, 110006, India.
Phone: +91 11 2326 9880
- Chandni Chowk, the bustling heart of Old Delhi, is a vibrant and chaotic street that offers a sensory overload. It is one of India’s oldest and busiest markets, with narrow lanes filled with a diverse range of affordable jewelry, exquisite fabrics, and traditional Indian attire.
- The market also boasts a legendary street food scene, featuring savory chaats and tempting sweets. Amidst the bustling lanes, the iconic Karim’s Hotel has been serving delectable Mughlai cuisine since 1913.
- Chandni Chowk beautifully combines history, commerce, and gastronomy, showcasing the vibrant spirit of Old Delhi.
Exploring its crowded lanes and immersing oneself in its ambiance creates an unforgettable experience that leaves a lasting impression.
4. Purana Qila
Address: Lajpat Nagar in South Delhi, Old Delhi, India.
- Purana Qila, or the Old Fort, is a renowned tourist attraction in Delhi that showcases Mughal-era architecture. Commissioned by Humayun, the fort protected the ancient city ruins of Indraprastha. Construction lasted from the 11th to the 17th centuries.
- Situated by the Yamuna River, Purana Qila is one of Delhi’s oldest forts, with excavations revealing artifacts dating back to 300 BC. Renovated by Humayun in 1533, it took five years to complete. The fort features a blend of Mughal, Afghan, and Hindu architectural styles.
- Visitors can enjoy boat rides on the adjacent lake and admire the grand gates, such as Humayun Darwaza and Bara Darwaza.
Purana Qila is steeped in history and offers a glimpse into Delhi’s cultural heritage. Exploring the fort and its surroundings provides a memorable experience.
5. Tughlaqabad Fort
Address: Seth Sarai, Mehrauli, Old and New Delhi, Delhi 110030, India.
Phone: +91 11 2469 8431
- Qutub Minar, the highest minaret in Delhi, was constructed in the late 12th century by Sultan Qutb-ud-din to commemorate the Muslim community’s dominance after defeating the last Hindu ruler.
- Located in Mehrauli, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is surrounded by other attractions such as Alai Minar, Alai Darwaza, Iron Pillar, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, and more.
- The minaret’s architecture combines Afghan and Indian styles, with intricate carvings, looped bells, and lotus borders. Standing at 73 meters, it consists of five stories and 379 steps.
- The structure bears Parso-Arabic and Nagari inscriptions, reflecting its reconstruction over the years. While slightly tilted, the minaret remains safe but requires constant monitoring.
- Visitors can enjoy the picturesque sunset and explore the monument’s historical significance.
Nearby attractions include Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Firoz Shah Tughlaq Tomb, Red Fort, Alai Minar, and Jama Masjid, providing a comprehensive journey into Delhi’s history.
6. Humayun's Tomb
Address: Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah, Mathura Rd, Nizamuddin, Nizamuddin East, Old and New Delhi, Delhi 110013, India.
Phone: +91 11 2435 5275
- Humayun’s Tomb, located in Delhi, India, serves as the final resting place of the Mughal emperor Humayun. Constructed in 1570 under the patronage of Empress Bega Begum, Humayun’s first wife, the tomb was designed by Persian architects Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad.
- The striking resemblance between Humayun’s Tomb and the Taj Mahal in Agra is not a coincidence—the former served as the inspiration for the latter’s creation.
- This architectural masterpiece marked the introduction of Mughal-style tombs in India, paving the way for a period of extensive construction across the country. Surrounded by splendid gardens, the tomb forms part of a larger complex.
- Visitors can enter the site for a nominal fee, with different rates for foreigners and Indians.
The tomb is open from sunrise to sunset, and many prefer to visit during the enchanting golden light of the late afternoon.
7. Gandhi Smriti and Raj Ghat
Address: In front of National Defence College, 5, Tees January Marg, Tees January Road Area, Raj Ghat, Old and New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India
Phone: +91 11 2301 2843
- Gandhi Smriti is a significant historical site in Delhi that commemorates the life and legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, revered as the Father of the Nation. It holds great importance as it was at this very location that Gandhi was tragically assassinated on January 30, 1948.
- The house, where he resided for 144 days leading up to his untimely demise, has been preserved as a memorial. Visitors can explore the room where he slept, meticulously maintained in the exact manner he left it.
- Additionally, the prayer ground where Gandhi conducted a mass congregation every evening is open to the public, allowing visitors to experience the ambiance and significance of this sacred space.
- The memorial also houses a diverse collection of photographs, sculptures, paintings, and inscriptions that offer insights into Gandhi’s life and teachings.
For those wishing to pay further respects, a visit to Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s memorial, is highly recommended. The Entry to Gandhi Smriti is free, and it operates from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Mondays when it remains closed
8. Fatehpuri Masjid
Address: The western end of Chandni Chowk in Delhi,
- Fatehpuri Masjid, located at the western end of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, is a magnificent mosque that dates back to the 17th century. It derives its name from Fatehpuri Begum, the wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.
- Constructed in 1650, this architectural gem is entirely made of red stone and features an impressive fluted dome and towering minarets. The mosque showcases the remarkable craftsmanship of Mughal architecture, with a spacious central prayer hall adorned with seven grand arches.
- Notably, Fatehpuri Masjid holds historical significance as it served as a station for Indian troops during the War of 1857. Subsequently, it was auctioned by the British to a local merchant. The mosque’s heritage and historical value draw a multitude of devotees and tourists who come to admire its splendor.
- The complex is characterized by three imposing entrance gates, with one opening towards the Red Fort and the other two situated in the north and south directions.
Fatehpuri Masjid is particularly vibrant during the celebrations of Id-ul-Fitr and Id-ul-Azha, two popular festivals observed by the Muslim community. During these festive occasions, the mosque is adorned with beautiful decorations, adding to its allure and providing a captivating sight for visitors.
9. Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir
Address: Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, located in the Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi
- Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is the oldest and most renowned Jain temple in the city. Built-in 1658 and made entirely of red sandstone, the temple is commonly known as Lal Mandir or the ‘Red Temple’.
- It is dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parshvanath. Inside the temple, you can find a large statue of Parshvanath, as well as idols of Rishabhdev, Lord Mahavir, and other deities. The main prayer area is situated on the first floor.
- One of the temple’s distinctive features is the Jain Birds Hospital, located behind the main temple complex. This avian veterinary hospital provides care to birds and avian patients, aligning with the Jain principle of compassion and coexistence.
- The temple is famous for its impressive architecture, intricate carvings, gold artwork, and beautiful frescoes. Major festivals celebrated at the temple include Paryushan, Samvatsari, Jnaan Panchami, and Deepawali.
It is recommended to visit during these festive times to witness the elaborate celebrations and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.
10. Nicholson Cemetery
Address: Nicholson Cemetery or Military Cemetery or Kashmere Gate Cemetery M69F+FVV, Club Road, Ludlow Castle, Civil Lines, Old and New Delhi, Delhi 110054 India.
- Nicholson Cemetery, formerly known as Old Delhi Military Cemetery or Kashmere Gate Cemetery, is a historic Christian burial ground in New Delhi. Named after Brigadier-General John Nicholson, a prominent Victorian-era military officer, the cemetery is the resting place for English and Indian Christians from the British Raj.
- It is known as the “most peaceful place in Delhi” and has rows of gravestones, including infants. The cemetery is occasionally visited by children and for heritage walks.
It is also associated with ghostly encounters, including the rumored haunting of John Nicholson’s headless apparition.
Old Delhi offers a multitude of fascinating destinations that showcase the city’s rich heritage and cultural vibrancy. From grand historical monuments and magnificent mosques to bustling markets and serene burial grounds, there is something for everyone to explore and discover.
Whether you’re intrigued by Mughal architecture, interested in the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, or seeking the hustle and bustle of traditional marketplaces, Old Delhi has it all. Each place holds its charm and significance, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant history and culture of this captivating city.