If you find yourself in the streets of Delhi, satisfied with having seen everything this magnificent city has to offer, we have a list of some of the most overlooked tourist attractions that people often miss. So, once you have visited the best of what Delhi has to offer, here is a fresh batch of hidden gems to try.
1. Khooni Darwaza
Site of some of the most horrific killings is surprisingly one of the most overlooked tourist places in Delhi. Sher Shah Suri built it as Afghani Darwaza. Back then it was used as a trade gateway to Afghanistan and for displaying heads of criminals. This gate got the unflattering name during the Mughal Period. When Jahangir killed and displayed the heads of two sons of a minister in his father Akbar’s court.
Later on, Aurangzeb, Jahangir’s grandson, defeated his elder brother Dara Shikoh in a war of succession and had his head displayed at this gate. Then again, in 1857, a British officer murdered the sons and grandson of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar , after he surrendered. Even during the riots of 1947, the Khooni Darwaza saw much violence as refugees were murdered here while moving towards a camp in Purana Qila.
2. Majnu Ka Tilla
Majnu Ka Tilla was named after Abdulla ‘Majnu’, a kind Sufi saint in the Mughal sultanate, who met Guru Nanak in this place. It is a small Tibetian colony. It is famous for its cultural significance. This place has a small monastery as well as a Buddhist temple. There are several shops that sell original Tibetan handicrafts and food items like herbal tea and oil. Make sure you do not miss this shopper’s heaven and don’t forget to haggle!
Here is the shopping tour that you can take with us.
3. Jahaz Mahal
Jahaz Mahal was constructed sometime during the late 15th / early 16th. The resemblance to a sea vessel and its location is the reason behind this name. It is built on the banks of Hauz-i-Shamsi. The palace was reportedly used as resting place for the pilgrim’s visiting Delhi. The best part, however, is that it is the venue of the colorful festival of the Phool Walon Ki Sair or Sair-i-Gulfaroshan, which is held in October every year. The festival spans over three days. A procession of handmade bedecked fans, starting from the outlet of the Hauz-i-Shamsi tank, called Jharna in Mehrauli. Ends at the dargah of Hazrat Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. Definitely a very overlooked event!
4. Hijron ka Khanqah
The name translates to, “Sufi spiritual retreat for eunuchs.” This building is, above all, a testament to the respect commandeered by eunuchs before the British reign. It was constructed during the Lodi dynasty’s region i.e. from 1451 to 1526 AD. The tombs in this cemetery are the burial grounds of over 50 hijras. The larger, more distinguished tomb belongs to Miyan Saheb. The eunuchs of the Turkman Gate have taken care of it for over a century now. A communal kitchen is organized on festive occasions.
5. Khanqah- Home of Nizamuddin Auliya at Chilla, Nizamuddin aka Chilla Sharif
The house of one of the most iconic Sufi saints, Nizamuddin Auliya. His place of practicing Chilla- a Sufi spiritual practice where the saint goes without sleep, food, and water for over 40 days. One of the most serene places in the capital. Furthermore, it is close to Humayun’s tomb.
We are now half way through our list of most overlooked tourist attractions in Delhi.
6. Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli
The house, now a museum, of Mirza Ghalib- one of the best Urdu poets of all time. It was built near the end of Mughal reign. Consequently, this Haveli is more than three centuries old. The Archaeological Survey of India took it under its aegis in 1997. Several of Ghalib’s personal artifacts and handwritten manuscripts are on display here.
Take a walk of some other Havelis with us!
7. Bijay Mandal
Allauddin Khilji built Bijay Mandal in the 14th century. Muhammad bin Tughlaq made some additions late on. This building fins mention in the works of the famous traveler Ibn Battuta, who described the palace as, “having a thousand ornate wooden pillars.” The view from the top is amazing on a clear day!
A lot of monuments, including the Qutub Minar, Iron Pillar, Mehrauli Archaeological Park, Garden of five senses etc.are all within a 5 km radius of Bijay Mandal- the much-overlooked tourist place in Delhi.
8. Satpula Bridge
The literal translation of its meaning is “Seven openings of a bridge.” This overlooked place is the site of the oldest surviving dam in Delhi. Muhammad Bin Tughla, of the Tughluq dynasty, built this bridge to combat droughts and famines plaguing his reign. It was a seven-arched bridge which tapped the local stream feeding the Yamuna River. The locals believed that the waters had healing powers because they had been blessed by saint Nasiru’d-Din Mahmud, also known as Chiragh-e-Delhi (Lamp of Delhi.)
I can guarantee you that even local people haven’t seen this tourist attraction so tied to the history of Delhi.
9. Sheesh Mahal
This was the spot of the private first coronation ceremony of Aurangzeb. Besides being the last influential Mughal ruler, he was also the most hated. The name is a bit misleading because there are no mirrors here. The building is mostly in ruins. Whatever little is left houses the queen’s quarters and two cave openings. The caves have underground tunnels. One leads to Red Fort, Delhi and the other to the Red Fort in Agra.
10. Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal
Bhuli Bhatiyari ka Mahal is a former Hunting Lodge. Feroz Shah Tughlaq built it in the 14th century. After the decline of the Tughlaq Dynasty, this building housed a Sufi saint named ‘Bu Ali Bakhtiyari.’ The distorted form of his name led to it being called Bhuli Bhatiyari. This often overlooked, eerie place is believed that this is the most haunted place in Delhi. There are no gates enclosing it. There is however a note, at the entrance, which warns people to not to come near this place after sunset. Be sure not to miss this paranormal lover’s underrated delight.
That’s the end of our list of overlooked tourist attractions in Delhi. These tourist places are not crowded and great for photographs.