Delhi is among the most ancient and historical places of India. This place dates back to period 300BC during the Maurya. This place has been mentioned in mythologies thus is believed to be very ancient place. As the city has a great historical significance in the Indian history, it’s important to know about Delhi. Moreover, it’s a fun indeed to have a look at the ancient historical buildings of Delhi, which narrate stories of history. Looking at them and reading about them is like going back to the past history and imagining everything live with wide open eyes. Historical buildings of Delhi are now famous tourist attractions and few have been listed in World Heritage Culture by UNESCO. So, let’s sit in the time machine with FoodRavel and explore the past of this city.
List of Top Ten Ancient Historical Buildings of Delhi
Though the list of ancient historical buildings of Delhi doesn’t limit to ten, but still there are some historical buildings which are categorised on the basis of fame and historical significance. So let’s have a look at the ancient historical buildings of Delhi.
- Red Fort: Red Fort is on the top of the list of ancient historical buildings of Delhi and is not a tourist attraction for Indians but also attracts visitors from all across the world. Red Fort or the Laal Qila was built by then Mughal Emperor in 1648. It was the residence of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who commissioned the construction of this building in 1638. An interesting fact is that its architect designed is done by Ustad Ahmad Lahauri, the man behind the construction of Taj Mahal. Its construction completed in 1648 which was started on 3rd May 1638 in the holy Muharram month. At present, every year, Indian PM hoists national flag and delivers his speech. This place is open for both national and international visitors.
- Qutub Minar: The 73 metres majestic brick minaret is the tallest in the world. Among the top rated ancient historical buildings in Delhi, this building is declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The then Mughal Emperor and founder of Delhi Sultanate, Qutb al – Din Aibak commissioned to build this minaret in 1192AD which is really long back. As per Wikipedia, there is confusion in its naming which is either based on name of Qutb Dil Aibak or on the famous Sufi Saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. The construction was started by Qutb al – Aibak and his successor Iltutmish who was his son – in – law continued the construction up to three more storeys. The top storey of the building was damaged by lightning. Later on, Firoz Shah Tughlaq started the restoration work of the building and replaced damaged part with new storeys.
- Humayun’s Tomb: Designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, Humanyu’s Tomb is among most remarkable ancient historical buildings of Delhi. The tomb was built by Akbar for his father Humayun. It was started in 1565 and finished by 1572 AD at around a cost of 1.5 million INR at the time. It is located in Nizamuddin East. This tomb was the first garden tomb of Indian subcontinent. UNSECO declared it World Heritage Site in 1993. Located away some hundred meters from the main road, this place is very huge and you need an entry ticket to buy from the gates. It is very spacious with gardens at the starting. The whole architectural design of the buildings seems like a fine mixture of Indian with Persian architecture. When the British ruled, they removed the garden which was there and made their own garden. The Archaeological Survey of India somehow has managed to restore its past.
- Jantar Mantar: Among the ancient historical buildings of Delhi, is the famous Jantar Mantar. It dates back to 1723. This building was built by the then Jaipur Maharaja Jai Singh II. This building is not only historical but also has scientific significance. There are 13 architectural instruments of astronomy. The meaning of this monument’s name is ‘instrument for calculation.’ There are five such buildings with same names built by Maharaja Jai Singh at Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain, Varanasi and Jaipur. The main aim to build this monument was the time prediction, observing the planetary movements and compiling the astronomical tables. The building has several observatory instruments. These are Samrat Yantra, Jayaprkash Yantra, Mishra Yantra, Niyati Chakra, and Ram Yantra. This place is open to visit from 9AM to 7PM. It is located near the famous Connaught Place.
- Purana Qila: Purana Qila which means Old Fort is among the oldest historical buildings of Delhi. Located near to Delhi Zoo on Mathura Road, this place is close to Pragati Maidan metro station and one can even walk to it. The founder of Sur Empire, Sher Shah Suri constructed it current form. He died in 1545 and his son is supposed to have constructed some other parts which are still uncertain. The fort has three huge arched gateways. The one still in use is Bada Darwaza, the Big Gate, faces the west. Second is Humanyu Gate in south (named so may be because it was built by Humanyu or may be because Humanyu’s Tomb is visible from here). The last gate is Talaqi Gate, also means the forbidden gate. There are two structures inside the qila Shermanda and Qila – i – Kuhna Mosque (still survived). The walls and gateways were constructed by Humanyu. Sher Shah Suri displaced Humanyu and continued the construction work.
- Agrasen ki Baoli: Among the ancient historical buildings of Delhi, Agrasen ki Baoli is quite an ancient place in Delhi. Among the most visited places in Delhi, this place has been a part of movies such as the famous PK movie. Located on Hailey Road, this place is around 15m wide and 60m long step well (baoli). So far, there is no proof of who built it. King Agrasen is supposed to have built it. It was rebuilt by the Agrawal community in 14th There are 103 steps in this step well and is divided into three levels, every level linked on both sides by arched niches. The place in centre contains water. The water is connected to a well which is dug in a covered platform. The purpose of this structure was for providing water to the people and also for the passengers, thus it is a water reservoir. This place is open to public. There is no entry charge. Nearest metro station is Barakhambha.
- Feroz Shah Kotla Fort: Does the name ring a bell? If you watch cricket then it does. This fort is situated in between of Old and New Delhi, near Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. The then Emperor Sultan Feroz Shah built this place in 1354. He also built the city Feroz Shah. Shamms Siraj Afif, the then historian who lived during emperor’s time, wrote that the city was very beautiful. The buildings were up to Northern Ridge in north which today is known as Pir GHaib. The South is stretched to Purana Qila. A grand and royal citadel, Feroz Shah Kotla is among ancient historical buildings of Delhi, with walls reaching to a height of almost 15m. The parapets have gone disappeared while arrow slits are still visible. Inside the fortress, there was a place for officers of the emperor, the Palace of Wooden Gallery while Palace of Public Court was meant for holding general public court.
- Safdarjung Tomb: Also Tomb of Safdarjung, this place is a beautiful tomb made of sandstones and marbles. This mausoleum was for the statesman Safdarjung in 1754, who was made prime minister in 1748, after the ascending of Ahmad Shah Bahadur. There are many small pavilion structures such as Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), Jangli Mahal (Palace in Woods) and Badshah Pasand (King’s Favourite). There are so many places in Delhi which was named after it such as Safdarjung Development Area, popularly called SDA, Safdarjung Enclave, Safdarjung Hospital, Safdarjung Road, Safdarjung Terminal etc. The nearest metro station is Jor Bagh. The tomb is open all the days from sunrise to sunset.
- Jama Masjid: Among the largest mosques in the India, this mosque was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. It was built between 1644 and 1656 and said to have been built in around one million rupees. The Imam of Bukhara (present day Uzbekistan) inaugurated this mosque. The mosque was built with sandstones and marbles. This building has four towers, two minarets of 40m height and three gates. The courtyard of the mosque can accommodate around 25,000 devotees. It is located west of Red Fort, off Netaji Subhash Marg and is at walking distance from Red Fort which can be seen from the mosque. Nearest metro station is Chawri Bazar. This mosque is open to everyone at no entry fee. Tourists aren’t allowed during the prayers hours.
- Lodi Tomb: Also known as Tomb of Sikandar Lodi, this tomb is dedicated to Sikandar Lodi, the second emperor of Lodi Dynasty. The tomb is located in Lodi Gardens. The tomb was built in 1517 – 1518. Ibrahim Lodi, the son of Sikandar Lodi built it. The tomb is octagonal designed and its architectural design is a mixture of Indo – Islamic architecture style. This tomb is among earliest garden tombs of India which are still in existence. The walls are inscribed with many foreign languages. The place earlier used to be known as Khairpur. India Gate is around 3KM away from here.
So, this was the list of top ten ancient historical buildings of Delhi. Though the list doesn’t end here, Delhi is full of historical buildings and ancient monuments which add the beauty to this city. If you think we missed out any place, or if you consider any place to be in here, do let us in the comments.