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Xmas in India

Xmas in India

Trip Plan Tags: 

Spending Xmas with my parents in India. Am trying to make the trip fun, interesting for those who have already been to India without missing any of the must-sees for those who haven't. Additionally, I want to include off somethings a little off the beaten path


See + Do

Red Fort (Lal Qal'Ah), India

Eastern end of Chandni Chowk
Delhi 110006, India
Tel: 91 11 2327 7705

The greatest of Delhi's Mughal palace-cities, the Red Fort was built by Shah Jahan in the 17th century and was home to about 3,000 people in its heyday. Pass through the Lahore gate and continue down the Chatta Chowk, once the royal harem's shopping district and now a bazaar. On the other side of a huge lawn sits the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience). Shah Jahan heard his subjects' pleas here from his royal throne in the center. Other highlights include the elaborate Diwan-i-Khas, the emperor's private suite with sitting room, bedroom, and prayer room.

See + Do

Qutub Minar, India

Aurobindo Marg, near Mehrauli
Delhi, India

The slender 239-foot column of Qutub Minar was erected in 1199 by Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Islamic sultan of Delhi. It is in a complex of buildings that mingles Islamic and Hindu decorative styles. The Tomb of Iltutmish, built in 1235, is an impressive square red stone chamber bearing a profusion of inscriptions, geometric patterns, and arabesques. The Quwwatu'l-Islam Masjid, decorated with both Koranic texts and Hindu motifs, was the first mosque in India; in its courtyard stands an iron pillar from the fourth century, decorated with Sanskrit inscriptions.

See + Do

Jama Masjid, India

Delhi 110006, India
Tel: 91 11 2326 8344

This exquisite red-sandstone and marble mosque, where thousands gather to pray daily, was built between 1644 and 1658 by 5,000 laborers. The mosque is one of the first important examples of Mughal architecture in India, and its design prefigures that of the Taj Mahal. The onion-shaped dome and tapering minarets are traditional Mughal elements, but the stripes on the domes and minarets were an innovation added by Shah Jahan. Climb the south minaret to see the domes up close (women may not do so without a man).

Open daily to non-Muslims from 8:30 a.m. in winter and 7 a.m. in summer until sunset; closed between 12:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. daily.

See + Do

Akshardham, India

On the Yamuna River, Near Noida Mar
Delhi 110092, India
Tel: 91 11 2201 6688

One might be tempted to call it Hinduism's answer to Disney World. But the Akshardham temple, which opened in 2005 as a showcase for the celebration of Hindu culture, is without question one of the largest places of worship ever built. A 100-acre complex, it contains exhibition halls, boat rides, gift shops, an Imax Theater, and a massive central monument, constructed of white marble and red sandstone, that rests on a plinth of 148 stone elephants. Admission to the complex is free, but a fee is charged to visit some of the exhibitions. No mobile phones or cameras.

Closed Mondays.

See + Do

Humayun's Tomb, India

East Nijamudin, 3 miles southeast of Connaught Place
Delhi, India

Akbar, Humayun's son and the greatest of India's Mughal emperors, built this awe-inspiring monument, probably between 1562 and 1571. His intention, righteously achieved, was to honor his father, India's second Mughal ruler, who had fallen down a flight of stairs to his death. Less flamboyant than the Taj Mahal (which it helped to inspire), Humayun's tomb, composed of earthy red sandstone and pure white marble, is nonetheless quietly impressive. The tomb is surrounded by a meticulously kept garden, divided into precise squares. The garden recently underwent extensive renovation, and water now flows through its hand-chiseled stone channels and fountains (previously dry for four centuries).

$199 or less
Editor's Pick


The Manor, India

77 Friends Colony (West)
Delhi 110065, India
Tel: 91 11 2692 5151

Cloistered within the privileged Friends colony compound and set among verdant, geometric greenery, the Manor offers that rare Delhi luxury: serenity. Inside, the lobby has an Italian mosaic floor and rich wood paneling. There are ten rooms (in four sizes, including one suite), decorated in soothing caramel and beige. All accommodations have en suite bathrooms finished in emerald granite, each with a separate bathtub and shower room. The Manor is a no-smoking zone, except in the Onyx Bar and on the patios, where a crowd gathers day and night. The excellent restaurant, Restaurant 77, makes exquisite Masala Dosas (thin and crispy rice pancakes rolled with spicy potato and served with lentils, curried vegetables and coconut sauce). A refurb of the interior is planned for this year (and a spa and restaurant for 2008), so be prepared for a possible departure from the usual sedate atmosphere.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.