India’s sprawling capital city is colorful, confounding and completely captivating, an exhilarating mixture of ancient and modern, sacred and secular. Your perfectly paced, expertly-led city tour provides a soft landing, an ideal first foray into this fascinating land.
The capital of modern India, New Delhi is not one city but many. Sprawling, home to 17 million people, inhabited for at least 2,500 years, New Delhi has been built and destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and all of its conquerors have left traces. Your panoramic tour today will show you some of its most remarkable landmarks.
India’s capital city
Travel down the broad boulevards of New Delhi, laid out early in the 20th century after the British moved the capital of the Raj from Kolkata to New Delhi and created a new administrative city just south of the old city. Sir Edwin Lutyens, a noted British architect, was given the task of designing this new city, which is still known as Lutyens Delhi; though the British are long gone, this area continues to house India’s government. The British were by no means the only conquerors to make New Delhi their capital. It was also the capital of the Mughal Empire for centuries, so it hosts spectacular examples of Mughal architecture, Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your panoramic tour includes a look at the enormous fort where the emperors lived and a visit to Humayun’s Tomb, erected in 1570, the first Mughal garden tomb in India (and a model for the Taj Mahal and Birla House). The old phrase says that “Delhi belongs to the large-hearted,” and no one was larger hearted than Mahatma Gandhi, the founder of modern India, whose memorial, Raj Ghat, is also on the itinerary this morning. You have some free time after your tour to explore this exciting city on your own—you’ll find goods from all over India in bustling Connaught Place, in case you want to indulge in some shopping, and the National Museum displays 5,000 years of India’s arts and artifacts. You may opt for the optional tour to Qutab Minar and the Jagannath Hindu Temple. After a day spent taking in the sights of scenic New Delhi, relax this evening over a delicious buffet dinner at the Oberoi.