Peeling back the layers of Delhi, a place inhabited since the
6th Century BC, is a fascinating exercise in understanding the
sub-continent's history in microcosm, and we believe visitors to
India ignore Delhi at their peril.
In many ways this is a city every bit as manic (in a good way)
as Mumbai and as cool as Kolkata, and home to some of the finest
architecture - both Mughal and Raj era - restaurants and hotels
anywhere in the country.
The city's first must-see is the magnificent monument to the
Mughal Empire that is the Red Fort, built as the impregnable
residence of the emperors after Delhi had, over the centuries, been
sacked more times than a Premier League manager. As the Mughals
declined the fortress eventually became a barracks for British
troops, but today still stands testament to the impressive Mughal
gift for architecture. The perfectly proportioned (and recently
restored) Humayun's Tomb, built to house the 16th century Emperor's
mortal remains, is another superb example of the elegance of
Across in New Delhi, British architect Edwin Lutyens's vision of
a colonial cityscape remains his masterpiece, with supreme symmetry
aligning the India Gate memorial to the country's war dead with the
Rashtrapati Bhavan or President's Residence.
All of these attractions can be visited using Delhi's spanking
new metro system, but in a way that would be to miss out on some of
the essence of the Delhi experience - to hail a tuk-tuk and find
yourself deep in the winding lanes of the old city, to watch the
traffic buzzing along the elegant Rajpath in New Delhi, or to
wander along the Yamuna River. This is how to experience the
capital of a country that's going to have an ever bigger say in the
world in the century to come.