Old Delhi is an overwhelming experience with narrow streets chock-a-bloc with people, cyclists and animals, residents peeping out from small filigreed windows overlooking the narrow alleys, shops selling everything from watches to clothes and bazaars like the Spice Market where the air is redolent with pungent fumes of various spices. All of these are “sights” in their own right, but there are many more that are landmarks of the area, evocative of the area’s rich past. See also Old Delhi Sightseeing Attractions.
The Red Fort or Lal Qila – The erstwhile residence of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan (grandson of the Akbar the Great) is built in opulent red sandstone. Its fascinating interiors include the Chatta Chowk or Covered Bazaar, marble palaces, the Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque and several other lavish areas.
Jama Masjid – This mosque has enough space to hold 25,000 people in its courtyard. Shahjahan’s extravagant masterpiece is an impressive structure replete with towers, minarets and is made of alternating red sandstone and white marble stripes.
Digambar Jain Temple – Amid the chaos of Chandni Chowk is this tranquil temple with intricate carvings and paintwork, a peaceful marble courtyard flanked by columns. There is also a Jain Bird Hospital here, tending to injured or captured birds.
Chandni Chowk – The main street is a vibrant and chaotic bazaar, which has shops selling everything from jewelry to books.
Raj Ghat – The site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, as well as the members of what many consider the “first family” of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter, Indira Gandhi and her son, Rajiv Gandhi – the latter three were all Prime Ministers of India.
Feroz Shah Kotla – Set between Old and New Delhi is the crumbling remnants of the fifth city, Ferozabad. The main attraction is the 14 meter high Ashoka Column, the edicts of peace-loving Emperor Ashoka (a follower of Buddha) etched into the gleaming sandstone pillar.
St. James Church – This church is the result of a vow made by Colonel James Skinner when he almost died in battle, a tribute to God if his life was spared. It is the oldest church in the city and is supposedly modeled on St Paul’s Cathedral in London, though some believe it to be an imitation of a church in Venice.