Old Delhi
Red Fort - Begun in 1639, the Red Fort, became the heart of the Mughul empire, a walled fortress of pavilions, gardens, private rooms, audience rooms. Here, Shah Jahan sat on his peacock throne decorated with sapphires, rubies and emeralds. The fort was ornately decorated with mosaics of semi precious stone, roofs of gold and silver, floors of polished marble. In the throne room, these words in the ceiling are written in gold, "If there is a paradise on earth, it is this."
Over the centuries, the Red Fort was attacked and plundered, but it remains a glorious example of Mughul architecture. In the Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-am) the peacock throne is gone, but it's not hard to imagine the color and pageantry when the emperor appeared. In the Rang Mahal, the emperor's wives lived in sumptuous apartments. Don't miss the hammam, the baths, and museum. Sound and Light shows, are held in the evenings.
Jama Masjid - Close to the Red Fort, Shah Jahan built a huge mosque, called the "Friday Mosque." (Friday is the Muslim day of worship.) The Jama Masjid was constructed on a big scale, and is one of the largest mosques in India. The central open courtyard is meant to hold thousands of people (you'll have to take off your shoes before you go in). Be sure to climb one of the minarets for an unforgettable view of Old Delhi.
Jain Bird Hospital - In the courtyard of the Digambara Jain temple is the Jain Bird Hospital, a sanctuary for wounded birds. The birds are cared for until they are well enough to be released. In the Jain religion, any living thing is sacred; when you enter the temple, you will have to leave any leather goods outside.
Walk the bazaars - Walking the narrow windy streets in the bazaar is in itself a novel experience. The bazaars are certainly not the mall. Put aside any notions of peace and quiet and jump into the thick of it. The Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi, has all kinds of shops, from gold and silver to hardware. (If you get lost in the Chandni Chowk, just hail an auto rickshaw; they'll take you where you want to go.)
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