Jewels of Northern India Tour 2014
February 19th - March 3rd, 2014


Feb 20 Delhi

Delhi, capital city of the Federal Republic of India. It is one of India's fastest growing cities. It has sprawled over the West Bank of the river Yamuna, straddling the river. The city has two distinct parts, Old Delhi & New Delhi. Delhi is the second most widely used entry point into the country, being on the route of most major airlines. The remains of seven distinctive capital cities - among them Shahjahanabad and Qutub Minar - can be seen. Museums, art galleries and cultural centers attract the finest exhibitions.

Delhi blends an historic past and a vibrant present. Legend has it that the Pandavas, the august heroes of the epic Mahabharata, originally founded Delhi, then called Indraprastha, around 1200 B.C. Delhi has many tourist attractions to offer. Visit the vibrant shopping complex of Connaught Place, the Delhi Haat for handicraft goods and delicious food and excellent Mughal architecture.

Delhi, a canvas that reflects the complexities, contradictions, beauty and dynamism of a city where the past co-exist with the present. Many dynasties ruled from here and the city is rich in the architecture of its monuments. Diverse cultural elements absorbed into the daily life of the city have enriched its character. Exploring the city will be a fascinating and rewarding experience.

Red Fort -- The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, after ruling from Agra for eleven years, decided to shift to Delhi and laid the foundation stone of the Red Fort in 1618. It is called so because of the red stone with which it is built. The Red Fort is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. India's history is also closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bahadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of the three century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free from colonial rule. A huge complex and our walk with our guide will give you an idea of just how big it is and how powerful it was. The area north of the Moti-Masjid is occupied by a garden, called the Hayat-Bakhsh-Bagh. (life-bestowing garden), divided into squares on the pattern of Mughal gardens with causeways and channels between them. Usually these are just full during the rainy season as water is so scarce.

(I should also say that the term ‘fort’ here in India would really be to our understanding a fortified palace. These ‘forts’ are much more)

Raj Ghat -- The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the west bank of the river Yamuna on the evening of January 31, 1948. A simple open platform inscribed with the Mahatma's last words, 'Hey Ram' (Oh God) is set in a garden with fountains and a variety of exotic trees. As you approach the monument it becomes very quiet – it has always had lots of flowers placed on it too…especially marigolds. The Marigold flower holds great religious significance. The Marigold flower is offered to the God and Goddess in India. It is also used for making garlands.

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