If you like your history with some shopping and hogging on the side, then head to the Mehrauli area this weekend. With one of the city's most famous historical landmarks -- Qutub Minar -- as its star attraction, the nearby area has a lot more to offer visitors. From high-end restaurants, to a flower market with good deals, and an archeological park, here's a look at what all to expect.
Minar and more
As you enter the Qutub complex, check out the Quwwat-ul-Islam, considered by many as India's first big mosque. The Iron Pillar at the central courtyard draws the maximum attention of the visitors. Surrounded by an open courtyard, this is where most tourists like to get themselves clicked. A sunny winter afternoon is the best time to visit the complex, followed by a picnic in the parks nearby. The monument also opens for visitors a couple of hours in the evening.
Lessons in archeology
Just adjacent to the Qutub Minar Complex is the Mehrauli Archeological Park. Spread over 100 acres, the park is a delight for nature and history lovers. From the 70 monuments here, the Jamali Kamali tomb and mosque are the principal attractions. The Lal Kot walls of pre-islamic times, Rajaon ki Baoli (Delhi's oldest step-well) and Metcalfe's Folly (a hilltop canopy), which offers an bird's eye view of the park, are a must visit. Dada Bari, a modern marble Jain temple with beautiful carvings next door, is also worth a visit.
A small lane next to the Mehrauli bus terminal houses a long lane of flower vendors, who used to sit at a big flower mandi in the area until it was shut down. Now, the vendors set up shop early morning along the lane with a variety of flowers like marigolds, Dutch roses, orchids, lilies and chrysanthemums.
The roads nearby have a few dhabas that offer a quick meal of dal-roti or rajma chawal. If you're brave enough for street food, give them a shot. You can also head to Kalkadass Marg next to Qutub Minar, which has a number of restaurants, such as, Circa 1193 (a rooftop restaurant known for its Sunday brunches), Olive Bar and Kitchen (a European-styled eatery), and, Thai High (an eatery famous for Thai curries).
As you get down on the Qutub Minar Metro Station, an auto-rickshaw will take you to the Qutub Complex for R10 (sharing) and R30 (personal) occupancy.
What: Qutub Complex
When: Sunrise to sunset
Timing: 10pm onwards
Entry: Rs 10 per person for Indians; Rs 250 for foreign nationals