“The white marble, pink sandstone, and myriad of intricately carved deities bring to life the grandeur and depth of Hindu mythology.”—Sue Mitra, author, Sacred India. Inaugurated 2005. Diverse architecture, including Orissan and Rajasthani. Massive complex. National Highway 24, Nizamuddin Bridge (Noida turn-off); tel. 91 11 2201 6688. www.akshardham.com
Baha’i House Of Worship (Lotus Temple) a.k.a. Indian Baha’i Temple
“The lotus flower, a powerful symbol engrained deep in the Indian psyche, combines with the Baha’i philosophy to signify universal harmony and purity.”—Sue Mitra. Stunning white lotus-shaped temple surrounded by well-tended garden; embraces all religions. Closed Mondays. Kalkaji; tel. 91 11 2644 4029. www.bahaindia.org/temple/
“Step back in time and take a cycle-rickshaw down Chandni Chowk to the Spice Market, where mounds of fragrant whole spices and flaming-red chilies fill the air with heady aromas.”—Sue Mitra. Old city’s major thoroughfare, flanked by frenetic bazaars. Old Delhi.
“Its architecture is said to have influenced Emperor Shah Jahan when he built the Taj Mahal.”—Sanjay Singh Badnor, journalist, Times of India. Classic 16th-century Mughal tomb built by Emperor Humayun’s chief wife. Graceful high arches and meringue-like dome. Fee. Off Mathura Road, Nizamuddin East.
“Climb the minaret for views that extend beyond the old city, right up to Parliament House.”—Sanjay Singh Badnor. Mid-17th-century mosque (India’s biggest), created by Emperor Shah Jahan. Main courtyard holds 25,000 worshippers. Off Netaji Subhash Marg, Old Delhi.
“On Thursday nights there’s live qawwali [Sufi devotional music] and the whole shrine comes alive with the intoxicating sound of devotional music, coupled with the smell of roses which devotees pour on the saint’s grave.”—William Dalrymple, writer and historian. Islamic shrine. Off Mathura Road, Nizamuddin West.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
“The tower, which now tilts some 60cm off the vertical, is one of Delhi’s best examples of early Afghan architecture.”—Sanjay Singh Badnor. Five-story victory tower started in 1193 by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, with subsequent additions. Mehrauli; tel. 91 11 2664 3856; fee.
Red Fort (Lal Qila)
“A massive rhubarb-red curtain wall pierced by a pair of mighty gates and fortified by a ripple of projecting bastions.”—William Dalrymple. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the mid-17th century. Sound-and-light show nightly except Monday. Fee. Netaji Subhash Marg, Old Delhi; 91 11 2464 7005.
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets
Quirky museum dedicated to toilets, with information dating back to 2500 B.C.; 19th-century Austrian chamber pots, replica of the throne-toilet of Louis XIII and XIV. Free guided tour. Sulabh Bhawan, Mahavir Enclave, Palam Dabri Marg; tel. 91 11 2503 1518. www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org