February 21, 2012

India : Delhi (part 2)

Continuation from here ...

Getting around Delhi is easy thanks to its Delhi Metro system. Get a Travel Card to save you time and hassle of queuing. Otherwise, they also offer Tourist Card for 1-day or 3–day but I think it’s not worth it unless you plan to go to a lot of places during that period. At every station, you and whatever bags you carry will be scanned. This security measure is their precaution due to the bombing blast in the city in September 2011.

After breakfast I headed to New Delhi Metro Station to start my sightseeing. From Paharganj, you need to cross the New Delhi Railway Station as the metro station is located near the back entrance of the railway station. Get into the station, and use the overbridge to walk over the platforms until the back exit. 

The metro was crowded, so I wasted no time by buying a Travel Card at the Customer Service counter. It cost Rs100, with Rs50 refundable deposit. The fares for the metro range from Rs8 to Rs30, depending on your destination. The card valid for a year from the date you bought it or last you reload it, so you can reuse it if you intend to visit New Delhi again soon.

They have ladies carriage which really is convenient. There's even police inside the carriage to prevent guys from entering it. Saves you from the deadly stares from all the local guys. Seriously.. the guys in India pandang orang macam nak makan!

My first stop of the day was Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Qutub Minar complex is about 2km from the metro station, so auto-rickshaws are your best mode of transportation to continue your journey.

They are quick and cheap, although you need to cope with the extremely dirty air. These auto-rickshaws have meter system but normally, the drivers don’t use it. Oh well.. biasa lah tu. So it’s best to agree to a fare before you ride it.

The auto-rickshaw can fit two or three passengers comfortably but to save the cost, take your whole group in it!   


I was charged Rs50 from the metro station to the complex. It should be cheaper but I guess I don't have the talent in haggling. -_- 

This is Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world.

Poor me, all my pictures aren't that nice cos it was foggy everywhere in New Delhi (and the northern India), from the cold winter or maybe from the exhaust fumes too. :(

Well.. I guess I have a reason to return here then - to capture the clearer New Delhi. Anyway, the 5 storey red minaret of Qutub Minar is definitely impressive. Each of the storey has unique design; the base of the first storey has alternate angular and circular flutings, the second one is round while the third storey has angular flutings. Around the wall, verses from the holy Quran are carved, signifying the might of Islam in India.

Once the tallest skyscraper in the world during its glorious time, the minaret has 379 steps to climb to reach the top. Sadly, entrance into the minaret is not permitted anymore. 

Well actually the site is not only about the minaret. The surrounding areas are home to equally interesting architecture and history, including Delhi's first and grandest mosque, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. Though what's left now are only ruins, you still can see the exquisite architecture.

Twenty seven Hindu and Jain temples were demolished to furnish building materials for the construction of this mosque. The columns from the destroyed temples were reused, thus giving the Hindu motifs besides the beautiful Islamic calligraphy.

 Qutub Minar and Alai Darwaza, the entrance to the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Alai Darwaza is the main gateway from southern side of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque

Also in the complex are the famous iron pillar in the courtyard of the mosque, tombs of former rulers of Delhi Sultanate and some important people, a madrasa and a number of treasured Islamic architectures.

The complex never stopped growing as subsequent rulers added their own bits to it.

Tomb of Iltutmish, the Slave Dynasty ruler

 mihrab inside Iltutmish tomb

the mihrab decorated with marble, and a blend of Hinduism into Islamic architecture 

Alauddin Khilji's (from Khilji Dynasty) Madrasa, which also has his tomb

the ruins of the madrasa

 Imam Zamin's tomb 

Then there's the Alai Minar, the incomplete tower aimed to overtop Qutub Minar. The construction was abandoned after the death of its creator, leaving just a giant rubble masonry core. But I forgot to take its picture.. duhhh...

 Qutub Minar complex is open everyday.
Visiting hours are from sunrise till sunset.
Entrance fee is Rs250 for foreigners and Rs20 for Indians.
Direction: Take Metro Yellow Line and stop at Qutub Minar station.

The complex was inscripted to be one of UNESCO's World Heritage Site in 1993 as an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates significant stages in human history.

I've read somewhere that this Qutub Minar complex drew more visitors than Taj Mahal. Impressive right? When all these while you thought Taj Mahal is the most famous monument in India...

to be continued... 

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