Capital of India
Over 1000 years
Delhi is the symbol of old
India and new, even the stones here whisper to our ears of the ages
of long ago and the air we breathe is full of the dust and fragrances
of the past, as also of the fresh and piercing winds of the present -
Delhi, the capital of India is the third largest city of the world,
exceeded in size by Calcutta and Mumbai. Delhi is situated in north
central India and stands on the west bank of Yamuna river. It is
bounded on the east by the state of Uttar Pardesh and on the north,
west and south by Haryana. The eternal Yamuna has witnessed the glory
and the tumultuous history of the 3000 year old Delhi. Delhi is spread
over an area of 1483 sq. kilometers, 216 meters above sea level and
has a population of around 14 million. The amalgamation of various
cultures, traditions, religions has painted Delhi in colour which are
brought from all over India. Delhi is a true cosmopolitan city always
on the move. Delhi remains the centre of power. Once it was a city of
royal power. Then it became the seat of colonial power. Later it was
the seat of bureaucratic power. The seat of political power it has
always been. Today it is emerging as an important centre for corporate
power too. It is a perfect introduction to the cultural wealth, the
complexities and dynamism of India. Delhi has always been the hub of
activity, art, culture and the history of the whole country and
continues to do so.
It is divided into two parts Old Delhi & New Delhi.
Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad)
'Old' Delhi, the capital of Muslim India between the mid-17th and late
19th centuries, is full of formidable mosques, monuments and forts.
The ancient Delhi of the Mughal emperors was surrounded by a wall and
was a congested city of narrow bylanes. Though better known as Old
Delhi, this area is also called Delhi. Old Delhi , Shah Jahan's
seventeenth-century capital ( Shahjahanabad ), lies 2km or so further
north.The Delhi Jn rly stn is in Old Delhi, the inter-state bus
terminus is slightly to the north, at the Kashmiri Gate. Buses go to
all over north and west India from the Kashmiri Gate. Near the Delhi
Gate lies the Yamuna on the left and the Aruna Asaf Ali Rd on the
right, ending at Ramlila Pavilion, the juncture of Old and New Delhi.
It's a lively area of colourful bazaars, narrow streets and barely
controlled chaos. Monuments in sandstone and marble, which stand in
assorted states of repair, make Delhi a veritable museum of
Indo-Islamic architecture, seen at its best in the frenetic streets of
Old Delhi. Old Delhi looks entirely different from the more modern New
Delhi and south Delhi areas.
The other Delhi, the imperial city created as the capital of India by
the British. In addition to its historic interest and role as the
government centre, Delhi is a major travel gateway. In 1911, the
British asked Lutyens to give new meaning to city development which is
reflected in the architectural designs and sophistication that
buildings in Delhi like Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India
Gate, Connaught Place and various administrative buildings like the
South and North blocks along the breathtaking view available from Raj
Path. The capital of the Indian republic is at New Delhi, the planned
city devised by the British. The smooth roads, modern houses and
buildings and offices and departments attract tourist. As you come out
of the New Delhi rly stn, in front is Paharganj and on the south
Chemsford Road which intersect at Connaught Place. New Delhi, the
imperial city created by the British Raj, is composed of spacious,
tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings, and has a sense
of order absent from other parts of the city.
Modern Delhi, or New Delhi as it is called, centres around the
Rashtrapati Bhawan. It is architecturally a very impressive building
standing at a height, flowing down as it were to India Gate. This
stretch called the Rajpath is where the Republic Day parade is held.
The imposing plan of this area conceived by Lutyens does not fade in
its charm with the numerous summers or winters that go past.
India Gate is a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers
martyred during the Afghan war. The green, velvety lawns at India
Gate, particularly, are a popular evening and holiday rendezvous for
young and old alike.
Also called the Birla Mandir, the Laxminarayan Temple was built by the
Birla family in 1938. It is a temple with a large garden and fountains
behind it. The temple attracts thousands of devotees on Janmashtami
day, the birthday of Lord Krishna. The Father of the Nation, Mahatma
Gandhi, was assassinated in this temple complex in 1948.
Humayun's Tomb was built nine years after Humayun's death by his wife
Haji Begum. Designed by a Persian architect named Mirak Mirza Ghiyas,
and completed in 1565, the edifice was a trendsetter of the time. It
is said that all later Mughal monuments, including the Taj Mahal,
followed its design.
The Qutab Minar is located at a small village called Mehrauli in South
Delhi. It was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty, who
took possession of Delhi in 1206. It is a fluted red sandstone tower,
which tapers up to a height of 72.5 metres and is covered with
intricate carvings and verses from the holy Qur'an. Qutub-ud-din Aibak
began constructing this victory tower as a sign of Muslim domination
of Delhi and as a minaret for the Muslim priest, the muezzin, to call
the faithful to prayer. However, only the first storey was completed
by Qutb-ud-din. The other storeys were built by his successor
Iltutmish. The two circular storeys in white marble were built by
Ferozshah Tughlaq in 1368, replacing the original fourth storey.
The projected balconies in the tower are supported by exquisite
stalactite designs. The tapering tower has pointed and circular
flutings on the first storey and star-shaped on the second and third
storeys. The bands of calligraphic inscriptions are amazing in
perfection with the exquisite stalactite designs seen on the exterior
of this tower.
The Qutab Minar, apart from being a marvel in itself, is also
significant for what it represents in the history of Indian culture.
In many ways, the Qutab Minar, the first monument of Muslim rule in
India, heralded the beginning of a new style of art and architecture
that came to be known as the Indo-Islamic style.
When one approaches old Delhi with a somewhat Westernised perception
the emotional response can range from wonderment to bewilderment, from
utter disgust to ecstasy. Undoubtedly, Old Delhi gives an insight into
the multi-layered identity that so aptly characterizes India. The
lanes are narrow, filled to bursting with people, throbbing with life.
In the midst of this sea of people, suddenly you come face to face
with the ramparts of the Red Fort. The decision for constructing the
fort was taken in 1639, when Shahjahan decided to shift his capital to
Delhi. Within eight years, Shahjahanabad was completed with the Red
Fort-Qila-i-Mubarak (fortunate citadel)-Delhi's seventh fort, ready in
all its magnificence to receive the Emperor. Though much has changed
now because of large-scale demolitions during the British occupation
of the fort, its important structures have survived, the glory faded
with age but still impressive.
The living legacy of Delhi is Shahjahanabad. Created by the builder of
Taj Mahal, this city, with the Red Fort as the focal point and Jama
Masjid as the praying centre, has a fascinating market planned to
shine under the light of the moon, called Chandni Chowk. Shahjahan
planned Chandni Chowk so that his daughter could shop for all that she
wanted. It was divided by canals filled with water, which glistened
like silver in moonlight. The canals are now closed, but Chandni Chowk
remains Asia's largest wholesale market. Crafts once patronized by the
Mughals continue to flourish in the small lanes of the city. Tradition
and modernity meet at unexpected places in Shahjahanabad. If you see a
man pulling a rickshaw or feeding pigeons, you will see just as many
talking over the cello or assembling a computer! An experience of
timelessness awaits you at Shahjahanabad.
On the bank of the legendary Yamuna, which flows past Delhi, there is
Raj Ghat-the last resting place of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the
nation. It has become an essential point of call for all visiting
dignitaries. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi are situated nearby.
Lying close to the Raj Ghat, the Shanti Vana (literally, the forest of
peace) is the place where India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru was cremated. The area is now a beautiful park adorned by trees
planted by visiting dignitaries and heads of state.
Baha'i Temple (Lotus Temple)
The Baha'i Temple, situated in South Delhi, is shaped like a lotus. It
is an eye-catching edifice worth exploring. Built by the Baha'i
community, it offers the visitor a serenity that pervades the temple
and its artistic design.
The Purana Quila is a good example of medieval military architecture.
Built by Humayun, with later-day modifications by Sher Shah Suri, the
Purana Quila is a monument of bold design, which is strong,
straightforward and every inch a fortress. It is different from the
well-planned, carefully decorated, and palatial forts of the later
Mughal rulers. Purana Quila is also different from the later forts of
the Mughals, as it does not have a complex of palaces, administrative
and recreational buildings, as is generally found in the forts built
later on. The main purpose of this now-dilapidated fort was its
utility, with less emphasis on decoration.
The Qal'a-I-Kunha Masjid and the Sher Mandal are two important
monuments inside the fort.
When Ghazi Malik founded the Tughlaq Dynasty in 1321, he built the
strongest fort in Delhi at Tughlaqabad, completed with great speed
within four years of his rule. It is said that Ghazi Malik, when only
a slave to Mubarak Khilji, had suggested this rocky prominence as an
ideal site for a fort. The Khilji Sultan laughed and suggested that
the slave build a fort there when he became a Sultan. Ghazi Malik as
Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq did just that-Tughlaqabad is Delhi's most colossal
and awesome fort, even in its ruined state. Within its sky-touching
walls, double-storied bastions, and gigantic towers were housed grand
palaces, splendid mosques, and audience halls.
Situated 122 km from New Delhi, on a rocky outcrop just above an
unspoilt village, lies Neemrana, the site of a majestic fort built in
1464 by Prithviraj Chauhan III. The Neemrana Fort, as it is known, has
now been converted into a heritage resort.
A three-hour drive from New Delhi, Kesroli in Rajasthan is the site of
a seven-turreted fort built in the 16th century. It is believed to
have been built by the Yaduvanshi Rajputs, the fort commands splendid
views of the surroundings from its ramparts.
Independence Day in India commemorates 15th August, the day on which
India attained independence. After remaining under British rule for
over 100 years, India finally regained freedom in the year 1947.
Declared a National holiday, the Independence Day is celebrated
throughout the country with much fanfare and gaiety.
Republic Day commemorates the adoption of the constitution of India.
On 26th January 1950 India adopted its new constitution and became a
Republic. From that year onwards, 26th January is celebrated as the
Republic day of India every year. The day has been declared a National
holiday since then and all the commercial as well as educational
establishments observe holiday.
from major cities
How to reach there
Indra Gandhi International Airport is
Delhi Railway Station is well
connected with all major states & cities of India.
NH-2 connects Delhi with Agra and
NH-8 connects Jaipur with Delhi.