If you ever find yourself in Delhi, on purpose or by mistake, what are you going to do?
Obviously you can jump on the bandwagon eat some deliciously dodgy food street food (a lot of the food is super delicious here like Paratha or any number of Thalis) and leave with the trademark Delhi belly. But everyone has done that, so why not check out some of thes sites instead. If you do want to try delicious food, make your way to Sonu Chat House (46 Main Bazaar) for some excellent street food that won’t make you leak from every orifice (as recommended by lonely planet) Once you’re done filling up on munch this is what to do in Delhi – make sure you try and get yourself to Humayun’s tomb (16th century) as well as Qutb Minar (13th century). Both are a little out the way, especially from where you will probably be staying, but both are up there with the best sites I have ever been to.
Humayun’s tomb is the first of the big Mughal tombs, of which the Taj Mahal is also one, and is a hugely welcome oasis of calm amongst the throb of Delhi. One part is a similar style building to The Taj Mahal, but made from red stone. It may not have the status of the Taj, but it still has the same breathtaking quality when you first see it. The fact that the number of people there could probably be counted in 10s rather than 1000s only boosts why you have to go. Unlike the Taj which only managed a measly brass finial on its top (the spiky thing on top of the dome) Humayun’s tomb is adorned with a blindingly huge and shiny gold one, which has recently been renovated so is extra shiny. The other part of the site is another older tomb, much smaller in size, but arguably more appealing. Set off to one side, within a walled courtyard is a stone tomb that looks like something straight out of Indiana Jones or tomb raider. Vines, palm trees and wall creepers give the feeling you are in the middle of the jungle, discovering something for the first time. The other tourists and the always present litter do ruin the illusion a little, but just squint and you’ll running back to the museum to announce your discovery.
The Qutb Minar, while not a tomb, is still a monstrous demonstration of wealth. A fairly large palace site revolves around a huge brick tower that rises up out of the ground like a giant swollen finger. The decorative brickwork that covers the sides is excellent, I had no idea you could do that with brick. However, the site around features even more decorative patterns and a sprawl of buildings, columns and archways in various stages of ruin. In the middle of the main square is also an iron pillar, that apparently massively predates the rest of the building, the sides of it are covered in Sanskrit, so it is a little unclear where this came from. Even more mysterious is how an iron column has not rusted over the last 1000 years.This has been baffling the science boffins for years.
So, if you want to get your tomb raider on while still in Delhi, get the metro to these sites, or pay a bit for a cab. They are in my opinion unmissable. If you come dressed as tomb raider they may let you in for free… probably won’t… definitely won’t, especially you are a boy.