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Delhi Religious Places

Places of Worship

Central New Delhi

Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Delhi's principal Sikh temple.This was the royal palace of Raja Jai Singh. He dedicated this palace, to the sacred memory of Guru Harkishan, the eighth Guru of the Sikhs. This gurudwara also has very warm and welcoming atmosphere like all Sikh places of worship - efficient shoe deposit which is free of cost, genuinely devoted guides available at the entrance, devotional shabads sung constantly from sunrise to 9pm, free food served three times daily, and prasad.

Colonial churches
No British governmental centre could be complete without a church, and in 1927 work began on the Church of the Redemption, east of Parliament House. Designed by Russell's successor, Henry Medd, the robust structure owes more than a passing nod to Lutyens with its high curved vaults, and subtle yet dominant domed tower - it appealed so much to the then-viceroy, Lord Irwin, that it became known as "Viceroy's Church". The exterior is plain and boldly linear, while within, high rounded arches and shafts of strong light streaming through crescent windows impart an overwhelming sense of space. A company of angels looks down from the curved roof above the altar.

Birla Mandir

Lakshmi Narayan Temple, popularly known as Birla Mandir, is a large Hindu temple. This enchanting temple is located in the west of Connaught Place and was build by wealthy industrialist G. D. Birla in 1938. The temple is dedicated to the goddess of prosperity and good fortune. It has well crafted gardens. People of all faiths can enter and worship but one must walk barefoot into the courtyard and further on.

Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad)

Digambara Jain temple and Jain Bird Hospital

Delhi's oldest Digambara Jain temple, directly opposite the entrance to the Red Fort, at the east end of Chandni Chowk, was built in 1526, but has been modified and added to ever since, and remains a haven of tranquillity amid the noise and chaos of the main street. Though not as ornate as the fine temples in Gujarat and Rajasthan, it does boast detailed carvings, and gilded paintwork in the antechambers surrounding the main shrine to Parshvanath, the twenty-third tirthankara. You'll have to remove your shoes, and hand them over with your bags and all leather articles to a kiosk before entering.

Gauri Shankar temple
Tucked behind fragrant mounds of marigolds, roses and jasmine blossoms sold on Chandni Chowk just west of the Jain temple, the large marble Gauri Shankar temple, dominated by its eight-hundred-year-old lingam, is Delhi's holiest Shiva temple. Devotees enter up a narrow flight of marble steps, flanked by pillars carved with chains and bells, that opens onto a spacious courtyard, always a scene of animated devotional activity. Inside, offerings for sale include bilva (wood apple) leaves, chandan (sandalwood paste), marigolds, red powder, rice, and cotton threads. The main sanctuary holds bejewelled statues of Gauri (Parvati) and Shankar (Shiva) standing beneath a silver canopy, and the ancient brown stone lingam resting on a marble yoni encased in silver and draped with silver serpents. Shrines to other deities line the south wall.

Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in India, and stands across the road from the Red Fort. Started in 1644 and completed in 1656, it is the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan. More than 5000 workers were employed to complete it.. Built of red sandstone, the structure is 200 ft. in length and 120 feet in width and the center portion of the dome that measures 201 feet high, is flanked by two minars measuring 130 feet each. These minars are built in alternate strips of red sandstone and white marble, each containing 130 steps..Its spacious courtyard holds thousands of the faithful who offer prayers. This Mosque has three gateways, Four angle towers and two 40 m. high minarets. You can enter the mosque but take precaution to take off your shoes and make sure that you are properly dressed before entering. One can also go to the top of minarets and can have a birds eye view of Delhi.

In the biggest Jama Masjid in India, it has a great treasure kept in the N-East corner of the white shrine a hair of the beard of Hazrat Mahmmad, his used chappal, a chapter of Quran (original), the canopy of his tombstone and the foot print of Mahmmad on the stone.

South Delhi

The Baha'i Temple

Situated atop the Kalkaji hill, this distinctive lotus shaped marvel in marble, surrounded by a landscaped garden, has been dubbed the 'Taj Mahal of the 21st century. Completed in 1986, this temple dedicated to the Lord Krishna is built by the Hare-Rama Hare- Krishna cult followers This elegantly built complex of temples is one of the largest temple complexes in India.Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate silently according to their own religion. The structure is in lotus shape so it often called the lotus temple. The view of the temple is very spectacular just before dusk when the temple is flood lit.

The graveyard of Mahmood
The oldest graveyard of India lies at 4.08 km to the west of Kutub on way to Palam. It is built in 1229 in Hindu-Muslim sculptural combination. Mahmood the son of Iltutmis is laid here at rest. Very few tourists come here to visit due to no publicity.

Firoz Shah's Khirki-ki-Masjid, "The Mosque of Windows", famous for its heavy stone lattice windows, lies in the middle of one of South Delhi's villages close to the site of Jahanpanah, Delhi's fourth city, 4km east of Qutab Minar and 13km south of Connaught Place.

The Moth-ki-Masjid, built during the reign of Sikandar Lodi (1488-1517), is now all but abandoned, isolated in a rural setting within the rapidly spreading suburbs of south Delhi, 2km from Hauz Khas off the Delhi-Mehrauli Road.

Quwwat Ul Islam Mosque
The contruction of the mosque was begun in 1193 AD by Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak of the Mamluk(or the slave) dynasty and completed in 1197 AD. A massive stone screen of lofty five arches was put up in front of its prayer hall, which imparted an Islamic character to the building. The screen is beautifully carved with borders of inscriptions and geometrical and arabesque designs. Subsequently, the mosque was enlarged by two later rulers, Shansuddin Iltutmish (1211 - 1236 AD) and Alauddin Khalji (1296 - 1316 AD). The screens of these two sultans are carved with purely islamic motifs abounding in geometric patterns. This mosque is also known as the Quwwat Ul Islam (Might of Islam), as this is the earliest mosque in the country that has survived the blow of time. It consists of a rectangular courtyard, 43.2 sq metres by 32.9 sq metres, enclosed by cloisters which were erected by Qutb-Ud-Din Aibak, with carved columns and other architectural members of twenty similar Hindu and Jain temples.

Iron Pillar
The seven-metre-high pillar stands in the courtyard of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and has been there since long before the mosque's construction. This temple displays a number of relics that has enabled historians to determine its origin. For instance, an inscription in sanskrit of six lines clearly indicates that it was initially erected outside a Vishnu temple, possibly in Bihar and was raised in memory of the Gupta King Chandragupta Vikramaditya, who ruled from 375 to 413. It is supposedly built in the same era. There's even a hole on the top where there might have been a sculpture of Garuda, Vishnu's celestial vehicle. The inscription does not tell us that how it was made. The quality of the iron used for constructing the pillar is exceptionally pure and has not rusted even partially after 2000 years. It is said that if you can encircle the pillar with your hands whilst standing with your back towards it, your wish will be fulfilled. But the pillar can't be encircled any longer, since the ASI has protected it with a railing. Chattarpur Mandir this entire complex of temples is called Chattarpur Mandir and is located beyond the Qutab Minar in Mehrauli. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, built in South Indian style the temple complex is spread over a large area with beautiful lawns and gardens. Though devotees visit these temples through the year, during the navratras, devotees come from near and far.

Nizam-ud-din Shrine
The tomb of the famous sufi saint Nizam-ud-din Auliya built on the way from Humayun's tomb. Inside the premises of the shrine is a tank which is surrounded by many other tombs. It is said that there was a controversy between the rulers of Tughlakabad and the saint over building this tank. The saint had said that the city of Tughlakabad will never flourish and so did it happen. The shrine also has the tomb of Amir Khusru and the grave of Jahanara , the daughter of Shah Jahan. It is worth visiting the shrine at around sunset on Thursdays , as it is a popular time for worship , and qawwali singers start performing after the evening prayers.

Gurudwara Sisganj
Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib embraced martyrdom in Delhi on November 11th, 1675. Bhai Jaita and his associates brought his head to Chakk Nanaki. The cremation of the head (sis) of Guru Sahib was held at the site of the present gurudwara on November 17th, 1675. The trunk of the tree under which the Guru was martyred and the well where he took his daily bath while in prison are preserved here to this day.

Hazrut Nizamuddin Aulin
Originally built in 1325, but added to during the following 2 centuries, the tomb of the saint Sheikh Nizamuddin Aulia (along with a few prominent others, including the favorite daughter of Shah Jahan) is one of the holiest Muslim pilgrimages in India. It is certainly one of Delhi's most fascinating attractions, not least because the only way to get here is to traverse the narrow medieval lanes of old Nizamuddin on foot. The entire experience will transport you back even further than a foray into Shahjahanabad. This is not for the faint-hearted (or perhaps the recently arrived), however -- the lanes are claustrophobic, you will be hassled by hawkers (perhaps best to purchase some flowers as sign of your good intentions upfront), and the smells are almost as assaulting as the hawkers who bar your way. Once there, you will almost certainly be pressured by a sheikh into making a heftier donation (some Rs 100/$2.10) than is strictly necessary -- a far cry from the sacred Dargah in Ajmer. This would in fact be a three-star attraction if it weren't for the sense that outsiders are not really welcome (though many have reported otherwise) -- note that the main structure is a mosque, Jam-at Khana Masjid, and is closed to women. Best to dress decorously (women should even consider covering their heads), pick up some flowers along the way, get here on a Thursday evening when qawwals gather to sing the most spiritually evocative devotional songs, and just sit and soak up the medieval atmosphere.