Delhi is the largest city and capital of India. It is located in the north of the country and is one of the four administrative territories of India known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The city of Delhi has a rich history of more than 2 thousand years.
For thousands of years Delhi became the capital more than once, but the rulers of the city spoke different languages and practiced different religions.
No matter how you prepare yourself for meeting this city, it still strikes and mesmerizes – every gesture, look, color expresses something.
Delhi is considered one of the oldest cities in the world – the history of its emergence dates back to 3000 B.C. and is described in the Indian epic Mahabharata. According to the legend, the city in honor of the god Indra on the banks of the river Yamuna, called Indraprastha, was founded by the legendary Pandava brothers who conquered this land from the indigenous tribes.
The city’s favorable geographical location on trade routes from Afghanistan, Persia, and Central Asia to southern India and the Ganges plains helped it flourish economically. The influence of many peoples, cultures and religions led to the emergence of the unique agglomeration of our day.
In the course of its history, Delhi has seen many ups and downs, become the center of different civilizations, and has been subjected to conquest and destruction. Modern Delhi stands on the ruins of several ancient capitals.
How the name Delhi came to be is still disputed. The main theory is that in the 4th century, the destroyed city of the Pandawas long ago was rebuilt by King Dhela, in whose honor the city received its new name. The Greek historian Claudius Ptolemy (c. 87-165), who lived in Alexandria and visited India, mentioned this city and depicted it on a map.
The first fortress on the territory of Delhi, Lal Kot, appeared in the 8th century and was built by Prince Anangpal II. In 1011. Delhi was captured and plundered by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi (971-1030) and became a provincial city in the Ghaznavid state.
In 1193, the sultan Qutb ad-Din Aybek seized Delhi and made it the capital of the Delhi Sultanate, which existed for over three hundred years. During this period, Delhi became one of the richest cities in Asia. Against the army of Tamerlane (1336-1405) in 1348, Delhi could not resist – the richest city was destroyed and devastated, but was rebuilt again.
In 1526, after the battle of Panipat, the ruler of Fergana, a descendant of Tamerlane Babur (1483-1530), seized Delhi and founded the Mughal Empire. The capital moved to Agra, but Delhi continued to play a significant role in the economy and politics of the state.
Emperor Shah Jahan (1592-1666) in 1648 moved the capital of the empire to Delhi. It was on his orders that the now famous Red Fort (Lal Kila) was built and the new city of Shahjahanabad, the nucleus of Old Delhi, grew. By the way, the Taj Mahal mausoleum also appeared by the will of Shah Jahan, who was grieving the loss of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
The collapse of the Mughal Empire was tragic and for Delhi in 1739 the city was seized and sacked by the troops of Iranian Nadir Shah. From the beginning of the XIX century Delhi comes under British control – the Mughal rule remained only formally.
In the early 1900-ies it was decided to move the capital of British India from Calcutta to Delhi. On December 12, 1911, the residence of the British Viceroy of India was moved to Delhi. New Delhi was soon founded; King George V (1865-1936) himself arrived at the laying of the foundation stone and named the central avenue of the new city after him Kingsway.
Construction of the new capital was entrusted to the eminent English architects Edwin Lachens (1869-1944) and Herbert Baker (1862-1946) and was completed by early 1931.
In 1947, with the proclamation of India’s independence, the city became its capital. The 1991 Constitution of India states that the official name of the Union Territory of Delhi is the “National Capital Territory of Delhi.
Delhi’s turbulent history has left its traces in all areas of the city. The capital of India today attracts many tourists – there is much to see.
The official government organs of India are located in the district of Delhi, called New Delhi, which covers an area of just over 40 km2. In the New Delhi metropolitan area there are 23 200 000 inhabitants, making it one of the most overpopulated cities in the world. The districts of Delhi differ significantly from each other.
New Delhi, or New Delhi, is the most livable district with its administrative buildings, wide avenues and blocks of colonial-style mansions, government offices and embassies, luxury hotels and huge stores, banks, and corporate offices. The commercial and commercial center of Delhi is Connaught Square.
Old Delhi, with monuments of the Mughal era of XVI-XVII centuries, and bustling bazaars are inhabited mainly by Muslims, there is the largest mosque of the Indian Jamia Masjid. And there are many narrow and dirty streets, where cows roam and rushing monkeys, crowded with beggars, struggling to get through rickshaws and used cars. Old Delhi is also home to beautiful temples and palaces that are at ease with dirt and poverty.
About 20 km from Old Delhi in South Delhi there is the famous Qutb Minar, the highest brick minaret in the world at 72,6 meters, built by several generations of the rulers of the Delhi Sultanate. There is also a seven-meter Iron Column, weighing six and a half tons, which is 1,600 years old.
The National Museum of India in Delhi, established in 1955, is one of the most interesting museums in the world. It exhibits unique pieces of Indian history and its collection includes more than 150,000 works of art and is constantly being expanded.
Delhi is a cosmopolitan and multifaceted city. Here live representatives of numerous nationalities and castes of India, there are temples of several religions and people of all different incomes and lifestyles live side by side. The slums of the city suburbs, where there are no basic amenities and millions of people live below the poverty line, and the luxurious homes of the richest people in India are all Delhi. Modern scientific and educational institutions and a multi-billion dollar economy, hundreds of thousands of students and crowds of beggars, and this is today’s Delhi.
Delhi is fully emblematic of an India that is multi-faceted, eager for the future, preserving and respecting its history, and trying to solve social problems. But the overpopulation and the low standard of living of a large part of India’s population is also clearly presented in its capital. Therefore, tourists visiting Delhi have contradictory impressions – on the one hand, a wealth of opportunities to explore historical and cultural monuments, on the other hand, constant concerns about compliance with sanitary standards, even in relatively affluent areas of the city.
At the same time, despite the many poor and low-income residents, Delhi has a relatively low crime rate, murders and robberies are a rare phenomenon. True, there are many pickpockets and crooks, as the guidebooks warn against. But these warnings don’t stop tourists from visiting the bazaars of Old Delhi, because nowhere else will you find such a variety of fabrics, carpets, spices, jewelry.
- Administrative & Territorial Division: Delhi has the status of a Union Territory, divided into 9 districts.
- Ethnicity: Hindustani, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannara, Punjabi and other nationalities.
- Languages: Hindi, English, and 21 other languages.
- Religion: Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, and other religions.
- Currency: Indian rupee.
- Important airports: Indira Gandhi International Airport and Sana’a Airport. Major airports: Indira Gandhi International Airport and Safdarajanga Airport.
- The largest river: the Jamna (Yamuna).
- Area: 1,483 sq km.
- Population: 13,782,976 (2010).
- Population density: 9,294 people/km2.
- Highest point: 300 m.
Climate and weather
- Monsoon climate, average temperature in January: +14°C, average temperature in July: +31°C.
- Average annual rainfall: 660 mm.
- The hottest period is March-June, while the rainy season is July-October.
- Large business center and transport junction.
- Chemical-pharmaceutical industry, metal working, machine building, electronic industry, glass and ceramic industry, textile, leather, clothing, food industries.
- Large educational center.
- Temples and mosques: Gurdwara Sis Genj Sahib (Sikh temple), Masjid Jamia Mosque, Kuvaat-ul-Islam, Fateh Puri, Yogmaya Temple, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Jainist temple Digambar Jain. Chandni Chowk Baptist Church, St. James Anglican Church, Vihara Buddhist Stupa, Baha’i Lotus Temple, Kali Goddess Temple in Kalkaji.
- Monuments and Museums: Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, Raj Ghat Memorial, People’s Puppet Museum, Rashtrapati Bhavan Presidential Palace, National Museum, Parliament of India, India Gate Monument, Crafts Museum, Delhi Exhibition Centre, National Gallery of Modern Art, Fort Purana Kila, Nehru Planetarium, Nehru Memorial Library, Mahatma Gandhi Museum, Tibet Museum.
- Tombs: Mausoleum of Adham Khan, dargah Kutbuddin Bahtiyar Kaki, the tomb of Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmysh, dargah Nizamuddin Chishti Auliya, architectural ensemble of the tomb of Sultan Guria, tomb Firuzshah Tuglak, tomb Safdarjunga, tomb of Sultan Rasi, tomb of Humayun.
- Similar to Hollywood’s “Walk of Stars,” the center of New Delhi is home to the “Walk of Stars” of Bollywood, India’s famous “movie factory.
- According to surveys and studies in 2010, it turned out that Delhi has the world’s cheapest cab service. However, the quality of the cars used for transportation corresponds to the cheapness of the service.
- Sacred animals – cows that roam the city – are a major hindrance to traffic in the streets of Delhi. So far, all the efforts of the Delhi authorities to call the animal owners to order have failed. Nor has it been possible to minimize the damage from another sacred animal, the rhesus macaque, which continues to live its own life in Delhi, causing much trouble for citizens and tourists. Indians do not want to catch the macaques, preferring to tolerate the inconvenience. But the movement of elephants in Delhi has been regulated. Now the elephants are allowed to move around the city only from 10 pm to 6:30 am, and in the afternoon from 12 noon to 3 pm.