Lesser-Known Monuments In Delhi, India

Lesser-Known Monuments In Delhi, India

Perhaps you’ve already visited India’s capital, once, twice or more, and seen all the major historic monuments and structures: the India Gate, Humayun Tomb, Qutub Minar, and the Red Fort. However, with a history that not only includes the rise and fall of several dynasties, but also the lives of people from different religions and nationalities, there are many more historical remnants in Delhi yet to be explored. So, if you’re looking for a crowd-free and intriguing alternative for delving into the city’s rich and diverse historical and architectural heritage, here’s our rundown of the lesser-known monuments in Delhi, India.

1. Tomb of Adham Khan

Adam Khan's Tomb
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Parth.rkt used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Adham Khan, the son of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s wet nurse, was a general in his army. In the 16th century, he was executed for killing Ataga Khan, who held an important position in the Mughal court. Both Adham Khan and his mother were buried in the tomb. It is said that Akbar had commissioned the construction of this tomb, the likes of which had never been seen in any Mughal building of that era. It has an octagonal design built in Lodhi-dynasty style with a verandah on each side. Inside the chamber, there are several passageways, hence it is also called Bul-bulaiyan (a maze or labyrinth). In the 19th century, a British officer had the graves removed to set up his residential apartment, but after his death, the grave of Adham Khan was restored, but that of his mother never found its way back here. Today, the tomb isn’t in the best state, but worth a visit for its unique architecture.

Tomb of Adham Khan

Address: Seth Sarai, Mehrauli, New Delhi, Delhi 110030

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free entry

2. Mini Qutub Minar

Hashtsal Minar 10
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Indrajit Das used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Taking much inspiration from the design of Qutub Minar, Mini Qutub Minar, otherwise known as Hastsal Minar, was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. This 55-feet (17 meters) tall tower is nestled in the Hastsal area, which also happened to be one of the hunting lodges of the emperor. After hunting in the surrounding wilderness, Shah Jahan rested in the tower top. The minaret is constructed using Lakhori bricks, and each of its five stories is enclosed by an octagonal ring with red sandstone overhanging eaves. Today, it is crumbling little by little due to lack of conservation and upcoming construction projects, which makes it an essential sight to see before it completely disappears.

Mini Qutub Minar

Address: Hastsal Minar - Deep Enclave, Hastsal Village, Uttam Nagar West, Delhi

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free entry

3. Qila Rai Pithora

Prithviraj Chauhan III statue at a distance at Qila Rai Pithora, Delhi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user आशीष भटनागर used under CC BY 3.0

This fortified monument is steeped in history. Constructed by Chahamana king Prithviraj Chauhan in the 12th century, the Qila Rai Pithora housed many rulers of different dynasties through the course of time. As you walk around the complex, you will see the ruins of the fort, along with a statue of Prithviraj Chauhan, who was the last Hindu emperor to sit upon the throne of Delhi.

Qila Rai Pithora

Address: Press Enclave Marg, Near Lado Sarai, New Delhi 110002, India

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free entry

4. Bade And Chote Khan's Tomb

Tombs of Bade Khan, and Chhote Khan, Kotla Mubarakpur, Delhi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Koshyk used under CC BY 2.0

The South Extension is a popular neighborhood in South Delhi, but there are a few treasures hidden in this part of the city that are unexplored. One such lesser-known gem is the ruins of Bade Khan and Chote Khan’s Tomb located in the crowded alleys of Kotla Mubarakpur area. Dating back to the 16th century, Bade Khan’s tomb reflects Lodhi-era architectural style, complete with octagonal turrets on all four corners and domed-shaped pavilion (chattris) at the top of the turrets. Adjacent to the Bade Khan’s Tomb is Chote Khan’s tomb, which is comparatively smaller in size. A primary feature of this tomb, however, is its well-maintained interior that displays beautiful tile work, while the outer side of the tomb has carved plasterwork.

Bade And Chote Khan's Tomb

Address: South Extension, Opp. Aptech Institute, New Delhi, Delhi 110003

Opening hours: 7:30am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free entry

5. Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb (Q4292384)- Mehrauli - Delhi -N-DL-95 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pawan.kamrani used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Dedicated to the memory of Jamali (aka Shaikh Jamali Kamboh), a well-known Sufi mystic in India, and Kamali, who was considered to be linked with Jamali, the Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb was established in the 16th century. Built completely in red sandstone, the prayer hall of the mosque features five arches, with the central arch being the largest and most beautifully ornamented. The walls and niches of the religious edifice are also inscribed with verses of the Quran, a religious text of Islam. Next to the mosque is the tomb, which has ornately decorated roofs as well as walls composed of inlaid colored tiles replete with Koranic inscriptions and verses from Jamali’s poems.

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb

Address: Mehrauli Archaeological Park, New Delhi, India

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: Free entry

6. Ghalib Ki Haveli

Mirza Ghalib House in Delhi-Interior 21
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Indrajit Das used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Once home to India’s well-known Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib, Ghalib Ki Haveli, in the Ballimaran road of Chandni Chowk, is now a heritage site. A tour of the haveli will give you a glimpse into the life and work of Ghalib. There are Ghalib’s hand-written books, translated couplets, letters, and personal belongings on display. Besides, the architecture of the haveli is also truly admirable. The construction is reminiscent of the Mughal era and includes the typical lakhori (kiln-fired) bricks and the overhanging eaves (chhajjas) of Mughal architecture.

Ghalib Ki Haveli

Address: 2469,Gali Captain, Baradari, Balli Maran, Delhi, 110006

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Price: Free entry

7. Azim Khan's Tomb

Azim Khan Tomb after Renovation by ASI
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ramesh lalwani used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Azim Khan may not be a well-known figure in Indian history today, but he held an important position in the Mughal Army during the time of Akbar’s rule. Mughal emperor Akbar even bestowed him with the title ‘Akbar’, which means 'magnificent’. His mausoleum was built in the 17th century, on a small hillock near Delhi-Gurugram road, and features a crowned dome and carvings reminiscent of the Mughal era.

Azim Khan's Tomb

Address: Sri Aurobindo Marg, Butterfly Park, Qila Rai Pithora, Sainik Farm, New Delhi, Delhi 110030

Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)

Price: Free entry

8. Khirki Mosque

Mosque exterior
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Varun Shiv Kapur used under CC BY 2.0

Khirki Mosque is in a dilapidated state today, but its architecture which is a blend of traditional Hindu and Islamic styles speak of a past when it was one of the most prominent religious sanctuaries in medieval Delhi. It was built during the Tughlaq dynasty rule over the Sultanate of Delhi and was also used as a fortress. Unlike other mosques in the country which are circular in design, this place of worship is square-shaped. It is easily accessible from Khirki village near Saket in South Delhi.

Khirki Mosque

Address: A 107, near Khirki Masjid, Malviya Nagar, Delhi 110017

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free entry

9. Khooni Darwaza

Khooni Darwaja Delhi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Bibek Raj Pandeya used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Literally meaning the ‘Gate of Blood’ or 'Bloodstained Door’, Khooni Darwaza is an arch built by the founder of the Suri dynasty, Sher Shah Suri. This arch has witnessed many historic events. During the Mughal era and the great revolt of 1857, the decapitated bodies of many people, including members of royal Mughal families were on display here. This was also the site where many refugees were murdered during the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. The gate is slowly giving in to dilapidation in the hot sun, but it sure has gory tales of a bygone era to tell.

Khooni Darwaza

Address: Opposite Feroz Shah Kotla, Bahadur Shah Zafar Road, New Delhi, Delhi, India

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free entry

10. Chor Minar

Tower of Thieves
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ramesh lalwani used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The forgotten tower of thieves or Chor Minar dates back to the 13th century. It was commissioned by one of the most powerful rulers of the Khilji dynasty, Alauddin Khilji. According to a local legend, the tower had 225 holes where heads of thieves were hanged to instill fear and stop the lawbreakers. The dark past of the structure has long been forgotten, and nowadays, the lawns surrounding the minaret are used by locals for picnicking and relaxing.

Chor Minar

Address: Kharera, 2, Chor Minar Rd, Kaushalya Park, Kausalya Park, Block L, Padmini Enclave, Hauz Khas, New Delhi, Delhi 110016

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free entry

11. Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq’s Tomb

Mausoleum of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Varun Shiv Kapur used under CC BY 2.0

Delhi consists of seven smaller cities that were developed by different rulers who reigned over the city at different periods of time. One of the seven historical cities was Tughlaqabad that was founded by Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq (the founder of Tughlaq dynasty). It is said that Ghiyath built a mausoleum for himself in the 14th century. Built of red sandstone and white marble, it is one of the best-preserved remains of that period. The noteworthy feature of this structure is its outer walls. Instead of vertical walls, the tomb has sloping walls laid down at a 75-degree angle.

Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq’s Tomb

Address: Fort Main Entrance, opposite Tughlakabad, Tughlakabad, New Delhi, Delhi 110062

Opening hours: 5:30am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free entry

Explore Delhi's hidden historic gems

Delhi has numerous lesser-known monuments that rarely are talked about. Some of these historic structures are right next to tourist hotspots but still oblivious. Check out our list of the lesser-known monuments in Delhi, India, that are worthy of a visit.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Poonam is a freelance travel writer currently based in the Silicon Valley of India (Bengaluru). She has resided in about 5 Indian cities. So while there was never a permanent address, she had lots...Read more

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