Delhi, the capital city of India, is the second most populated city in India and has a population of over 16 million people. Delhi is situated on the banks of Yamuna and extends over an area of 1484 sq km. The city is bordered by the Haryana in the north, west and south and Uttar Pradesh in the east. Delhi is the largest commercial center in the northern India and the culture of Delhi has been influenced by its important history as the capital of India.
The old city of Delhi was surrounded by a high stone wall, erected in 1638. It is approached through seven arched gateways, including the Delhi Gate in the south, the Ajmer Gate in the east, and the Kashmir Gate in the north. Within the walls is a maze of congested narrow streets, alleys, busy bazaars, and some of the nation's most spectacular Indo-Muslim architectural features. Delhi can be said to be the true portrayer of India culture. Delhi manages to seamlessly blend the traditional and the modern.
History of Delhi
The name Delhi, first recorded in the 1st century BC, was applied to a succession of cities built on this site before the present city was founded in 1638 by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. The first city was built in the 12th century AD by the Cahaman ruler Prithviraja. It was captured by Muslims in 1193 and became the capital of a Muslim empire in India under Qutubuddin Aybak, builder of the Qutb Minar tower. Muslim control ended with the capture and destruction of Delhi in the late 14th century by the Turkish conqueror Tamerlane. Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, restored Delhi to capital status in 1526, and his son Humayun built a new city here.
In 1540 it was seized and destroyed by the Afghan invader Sher Shah, and it was replaced by another new city. Akbar, the son of Humayun, recaptured Delhi but moved his capital to Agra and allowed Delhi to fall into ruins. It was rebuilt in its present form and restored as the Mughal capital by Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan in the 1600s. Delhi remained the Mughal capital until 1739, when it was conquered and looted of its treasures, including the famous Peacock Throne, by the Persian ruler Nadir Shah. About 1771, the Marathas gained control and remained in power until British forces seized the city in 1803. Delhi came under British rule after 1857 and in 1911 they decided to make it their capital.
After India gained independence in 1947, Delhi became the Capital of India. Subsequently Delhi was made a Union Territory on November 1, 1956. With the 69th Constitutional amendment, Delhi got a Legislative Assembly when the National Capital Territory Act was enacted in 1991. Following state assembly elections in Delhi, Mr. Madan Lal Khurana became the first Chief Minister of Delhi. More Details...
Climate and Geography
The region has a tropical steppe climate. It is characterized with extremely hot and dry summers and chilling winters. Monthly temperatures range from 14.3'C in January (minimum 3'C) to 34.5'C in June (maximum 47'C). The annual mean temperature is 25.3'C (WMO, 1971). The main seasonal climatic influence is the monsoon, typically from June to October. The mean annual rainfall total is 71.5 mm. Maximum rainfall occurs in July (211. mm). The heavy rains of the monsoon act as a "scrubber". North-westerly winds usually prevail; however, in June and July south-easterly predominate.
Delhi is situated in Northern India at 28.61°N 77.23°E and is bordered by Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The major river flowing through Delhi is the River Yamuna. The Delhi ridge encircles parts of West, North East and North West Delhi. It originates from the Aravalli Range in the south. Delhi also lies in India's seismic zone-IV, making it at risk to earthquakes. Delhi also has the third highest quantity of trees among other cities in the country. More Details...
Delhi is the largest metropolis as per its total area and holds the second position in the list of largest metropolises in India as per its population. As per the census of 2011, the population of Delhi is 16,314,838 and the sex ratio of Delhi is 867 per 1000 males. The population density is 11,297 persons per sq km. The literacy rate of Delhi is 86.43%.
Religion wise, Hinduism is the most widespread in Delhi and comprises of about 81% of the city's population. Other religious communities comprise of Muslims (11.7%), Sikhs (5%), Jains (1.1%) and Christians (0.94%). There are also other minority religions in the city. The main languages in Delhi are Hindi and English. Apart from these, there is also a large number of Punjabi and Urdu speaking population.
Crime is Delhi is amongst the highest when compared with other Indian cities. The city has the highest rate of kidnapping and abduction cases. Delhi records of 15.4% of crime against women when compared to other Indian cities.
Society and Culture
Delhi is not a place in seclusion; it is by nature a homogenous city, which is ready to assimilate all incoming influences-whether they are people, culture or languages. Delhi has attracted people from all parts of the country leading to the establishment of different cultural pockets. Punjabis are the most dominant section here. Languages commonly used are Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English.
Delhi's cultural life has been influenced considerably by the cosmopolitan character of its population, which comes from different parts of India and the world and possesses varied cultural backgrounds. Much has been borrowed and adapted from Western culture, a process accelerated since independence by the influence of the modern mass media. Television, however, has also facilitated a greater awareness of regional and national interests. Although the cultural activities of earlier days--such as dancing, music, and poetry forums (mushaira) have yielding place to the cinema, cabaret and clubs. There are also theatre groups and institutions that have fostered indigenous literature and fine arts. Many of India's major cultural institutions--including the national academies of music, dance, and drama; of art; and of letters--are located in Delhi, as are numerous libraries, archives, and museums.
Delhi is home to numerous fairs and festivals. In addition to a variety of trade and book fairs, the city hosts an annual film festival. The many religious groups in Delhi contribute to an ongoing succession of religious festivals and celebrations.
Delhi is a city of gardens and fountains, notable examples being the Roshan Ara Gardens and the meticulously planned and laid out Mughal Gardens. Many park and garden areas have grown up around historical monuments, such as the Lodi Gardens (around the Lodi Tombs) and the Firoz Shah Kotla Grounds (around Asoka's Pillar). Among the major recreation areas are the Delhi Ridge and the Yamuna riverfront Delhi's population has increased some 25-fold from the 240,000 inhabitants it had in 1911. The highest growth rate occurred between 1941 and 1951--mainly because of the influx of a large number of refugees into the city at the time of independence--and the population has since grown steadily. Much of the increase continues to be from immigration. The great majority of the population is Hindu; Muslims constitute the largest minority, followed by smaller numbers of Sikhs, Jains, Christians, and Buddhists.
Delhi is an international metropolis with excellent tourist spots, recreational facilities, and a history that goes back to antiquity. Delhi offers a multitude of interesting places and attractions to the visitor, so much so that it becomes difficult to decide from where to begin exploring the city. In Old Delhi, you'll come across many mosques, forts, and other monuments that depict India's Muslim history. The important places in Old Delhi include the majestic Red Fort, the historical Chandni Chowk, besides Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana, the last two being modern structures constructed after India's Independence in 1947. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. It is a spacious, open city that houses many government buildings and embassies, apart from places of historical interest. Notable attractions in New Delhi include the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys; the India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war the Laxminarayan Temple, built by the Birlas, one of India's leading industrial families the Humayun's Tomb, said to be the forerunner of the Taj at Agra; the Purana Quila, built by Humayun, with later-day modifications by Sher Shah Suri; Tughlaqabad, Delhi's most colossal and awesome fort Qutab Minar, built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty; and the lotus-shaped Baha'i Temple.
Tourist destinations in Delhi
Among the places of special interest to tourists in Delhi are the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Coronation Durbar Site, Raj Ghat, Jantar Mantar, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Qutab Minar, India Gate, Secretariat Building, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, Nehru Museum, Rail Transport Museum, International Dolls Museum, Crafts Museum, Dilli Haat, Gandhi Darshan, Purana Qila, the Zoo, Safdarjung's Tomb and Bahai House of Worship amongst others. More Details...
Hotels in Delhi
Delhi is one of the most important cites in India from the point of business and tourism. It is visited by many tourists throughout the year. New Delhi is home to numerous top end hotels, deluxe as well as budget hotels. The hotels in Delhi are suited for all tastes and pockets. From the luxury comfort point of view, Delhi has first-class Indian and international chains to accommodate tourists from all over the world. Some of the top end hotels in Delhi are; The Leela Palace, The Imperial, The Oberoi, Taj Mahal Hotel, ITC Maurya, Hilton Garden, Le Meridien and Shangri-La's Eros Hotel amongst others. Standard budget hotels and moderately priced guesthouses to economy youth hostels and lodges, Delhi has all kind of accommodation. The Paharganj locality near the New Delhi Railway Station is lined with budget hotels and lodges. Many foreigners prefer to stay here as these hotels are money savers. Just check the hotel and room thoroughly before checking in these hotels. Apart from these there are many hotels through out Delhi which cater to all travellers budget. More Details...
As India's capital city and the most prosperous state with a per capita income of 44,345 in 2009-10, Delhi has become a nucleus of trade, commerce and industry in the northern region. Government office complexes are a major source of employment and the city is also home to important medical, agricultural and educational institutions. Delhi is often categorized as a "service town"; however, industry is rapidly expanding.
The most important industrial sector in Delhi is however the Tertiary sector (i.e. service sector) which contributes almost 70 percent of Delhi's gross state domestic product. Engineering, IT, clothing and chemicals predominate; electronics and electrical goods are gaining in importance. Most industries are located in the west south and southeast of the city. North-westerly winds often drag pollution from western industrial areas across the city. It has been recommended that all future industrial development is limited to the south-east to avoid such problems and the Okhla industrial estate has recently been built in this area.
Increasing industrial productivity combined with rapid urbanization mean that there is a greater demand for energy in Delhi than can be supplied; therefore, industry cannot generate at full capacity. Delhi has two major thermal power plants (Badarpur and Indraprastha). Trade, banking and commerce are also assuming increasing importance, although not on the scale of Bombay. This change from 'service town' commercial centre will continue to have an important influence over land-use changes and population.
Administration and Government
Delhi is an important cultural, commercial as well as political hub of India. At present, Delhi has 9 districts. They are; Central Delhi, North Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi, North East Delhi, South West Delhi, New Delhi, North West Delhi and West Delhi. Delhi is divided into three legislative; New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB). The Supreme Court of India is located in Delhi, along with the regional Delhi High Court, the Magistrate Court, the Sessions Court for criminal cases and other Small Causes Courts for civil cases.
Delhi has its own Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, council of ministers and Chief Minister. The Government of India and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi together administer New Delhi. There are 7 Lok Sabha constituencies and 70 assembly constituencies in Delhi. The Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Parliament of India and the Supreme Court of India are all situated in Delhi. The current Chief Minister of Delhi is Sheila Dikshit. The Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are the main political parties in Delhi.
Over the past few years, Delhi has developed tremendously in the field of education. New colleges and institutes have emerged with top quality education. It is home to more than 160 colleges of all kinds, and some of India's leading universities like the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University, Jamia Milia University to name a few. Besides these there are also a large number of private, government, primary and higher secondary schools imparting education to more than 20 lakh students. More Details...
Transportation in Delhi
Delhi is well connected by air, road and railways to the rest of the country. The Indira Gandhi International Airport located in southwest of Delhi caters to domestic as well as international flights from all over the world. It is maintained by the GMR Group and is one of the busiest airports in South Asia
The city of Delhi is the headquarters of the Northern Railway. There are five major railway stations in Delhi; New Delhi railway station, Old Delhi railway station, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Anand Vihar Railway Terminal and Sarai Rohilla railway station. A suburban railway system also connects the city and neighbouring NCR regions.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has built a rapid transit system in Delhi. It serves the city of Delhi and its neighbouring NCR regions like Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad. The metro network consists of 6 lines and 142 stations. The total length of the lines is 189.63 km. Delhi Metro will soon expand as more phases and lines are currently under-construction. Around 2.3 million commuters travel daily in Delhi Metro.
IT in Delhi and NCR
Over the years Delhi has become a major Information Technology center of India. According to a survey conducted by a Software Company in India, Delhi and the entire NCR region is responsible for the largest software exports from India. Considering the kind of infrastructure that the city provides most of the top class IT and ITES have found their base in Delhi and NCR. There are numerous IT parks and SEZ areas in the city that are home to some of the biggest multinationals.
Major business centers and commercial areas in Delhi
- Pragati Maidan - The Pragati Maidan is one of the most popular business centers in Delhi. Spreading over 7 acres of land this is an exhibition complex that has 18 halls and 22 permanent pavilions. Pragati Maidan is used to host numerous high quality national and international trade fairs.
- India Expo Center - The India Expo Center in Delhi is part of the EXPO XXI International Expo centres chain. Counted among the popular business centers of the capital the India Expo Center is used to hold important exhibitions in India. Beautifully designed with state of the art facilities, technologies and services this business center in Delhi is used to conduct exhibitions, conferences, congresses, product launches, promotional events and other special events etc.
- Connaught Place (CP) - CP or Connaught Place has almost become synonymous with Delhi. CP can easily be counted among the busiest place in Delhi even after 60 years of its foundation. Be it shopping, business, eating out, cinema halls, galleries, emporiums or service related offices you can find it all at the Connaught Place.
- Nehru Place - The Nehru Place is an important commercial nucleus of Delhi. It is also said to be the IT Hub of the city. The area is also home to large hardware and software market. Some of the famous companies that find space in the Nehru Place are; CISCO, Intel, Microsoft, EDS, American President Lines, Xerox, Singer, Shell Petroleum, Daewoo, Mitsui etc.