New Delhi

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This article is about the city which is the capital of India. For the metropolis see Delhi.

New Delhi ( नई दिल्ली ) is the capital of India, and is part of the National capital territory of Delhi. It is the seat of governance of the world's largest liberal democracy. New Delhi is the third largest metropolis in India.

The city is one of the most diverse in the world. In some places it remains a garden city, tree lined and with beautiful parks, but in others it hosts some of the worst traffic jams in the world. Turbaned Sikhs, colourfully dressed Rajasthani and Gujarati women working in offices, Muslim shopkeepers along Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, Tibetans and Ladakhis in the street stalls along Janpath and Kashmiris in the handicraft emporia around Connaught Place, all add to the cosmopolitan feel of the city. Soaring skyscrapers, posh residential colonies and bustling commercial complexes can be seen along with the ancient historical monuments. Its boutiques and shopping arcades offer access to a wealth of traditional and contemporary crafts, from all over the country.

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History of the Delhi Area

Delhi, has seen the rise and fall of many empires which have left behind a plethora of monuments that attest to the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. A city which traces its history to the Mahabharata, the great epic tale of wars fought between estranged cousins, the Kauravas and the Pandavas for the city of Indraprastha.

Sequentially a component of Harsha's and then Prithviraj Chauhan's empires, Delhi became the seat of the Slave Dynasty after falling to Qutb-u-din Aibak in the eleventh century. Qutb-ud-din built the Qutb Minar to commemorate his victory, still instantly recognisable as a symbol of Delhi.

The several Turkic and Central Asian dynasties that held power in the late medieval period built a sequence of forts and townships, popularly remembered today as the Nine Cities. The Tughlaqs gave way to the Khiljis who in turn were replaced by the Lodhis.

In 1526, following the First Battle of Panipat Babur founded the Mughal dynasty, which ruled from Delhi, Agra and Lahore till its decline in the eighteenth century.

The British began to be a power even in the Imperial capital of the Mughals at the turn of the eighteenth century; following the last Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar's support of the 1857 Revolt, the administration formally devolved to the East India Company, and Delhi ceased to be India's capital, the British preferring their city of Calcutta.

Capital of the Raj

While Calcutta was historically associated with the British presence in India, Delhi retained in the minds of the native princes an association with Imperial grandeur that the bureaucrats of the Raj tried to reinforce by holding several durbars for the Viceroy and visiting Royalty. It was only in 1911, at one of the Durbars, that the announcement was made that the capital of the Raj was to be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.

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India Gate monument

Much of New Delhi was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who laid out a grandiose central administrative area as a testament to British imperial pretensions. Rajpath - then Kingsway- stretched from the War Memorial - now India Gate to the Viceregal Palace- Rashtrapati Bhavan atop Raisina Hill. In its scale, extravagance and magnificence, it was not unlike Washington, or Haussmann and his patron Napoleon III's Paris, both cities designed to awe the newcomer with the power of the central State. Tucked away are other clues to the worldview of the designers; Herbert Baker's Parliament House is barely visible from Rajpath, as deliberative democracy was not a central part of Britain's plans for India; in fact, the main entrance to the Central Secretariat North Block declares "Liberty does not descend to a people; they must raise themselves to it."

Independent India and Autonomy

After Independence also, a kind of autonomy was conferred on the capital but it largely remained a chief commissioners regime. In 1956 Delhi was converted into a Union territory and gradually the chief commissioner was replaced by a Lt. Governor. In 1991, the national capital territory Act was passed by the parliament and a system of diarchy was introduced under which, the elected Government was given wide powers; except law and order which remained with the Central Government. The actual enforcement of the legislation came in 1993.


The National Capital Territory of Delhi with an area of 1483 km² is situated between the Himalayas and Aravalis range in the heart of the Indian sub-continent. It is surrounded on 3 sides by Haryana and to the east, across the river Yamuna by Uttar Pradesh. The major part of the territory lies on the western side of the river Yamuna, only some villages and the urban area of Shahdara lie on the eastern side of the river. Its greatest length is around 33 miles and the greatest width is 30 miles. Delhi's altitude ranges between 213 to 305 metres above the sea level.

As of 2005, New Delhi's population is 17,037,900 (metropolitan area); 292,300 (city proper).

Geographically, New Delhi is located in the northern part of the country. Its neighbouring states are Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Delhi's lowest temperature is −2° C & highest is 47° C [1] (


As of 2005, the government structure of the New Delhi Municipal council includes a chairperson, three members of New Delhi's Legislative Assembly, two members nominated by the Chief Minister of New Delhi and five members nominated by the central government.



The New Delhi Metro was introduced on the Christmas Day of 2002, serving the urban area.

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New Delhi from space, May 1993

For everyday travel around the city, local buses offer a cheap and comfortable means of transport. These buses are owned and operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation. Presently there are also local buses that are owned and operated by private individuals or bodies. These are called the Blue and White Line buses.

Another popular means of travel around New Delhi is by the popular rickshaws which accommodate 3 people. These rickshaws (also called autorickshaws) are available around almost all bus stops, railway stations and airport. Private-owned taxis are also available at the various taxis stands in the city.

The city is served by Indira Gandhi International Airport.



Being a capital city, people of different cultures reside in New Delhi.

Delhi has many art galleries, including the National Gallery of Modern Art, Sahitya Kala Parishad and Center for Contemporary Art. The city boasts of many Indian cultural centers, most notable being the Triveni Kala Sangam and the India International Center.


Some popular nightclubs and their associated hotels are: C.J.'s (Le Meridien), Annabelle's (InterContinental The Grand), Dublin (Maurya Sheraton), Oasis (Hyatt Regency), Capitol (Ashok), Djinn's (Hyatt Regency), and My Kind of Place (Taj Palace). Other places include Shalom (Greater Kailash), Voda (Saket) and Fabric (on the Gurgaon-Mehrauli road).

Tourist Attractions

Main article: Tourist_Attractions_in_Delhi

Delhi is one of the most historic capitals in the world and two of its monuments- the Qutb Minar and Humayun's Tomb - have been declared World Heritage Sites. It 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, attractions like mosques, forts, and other monuments that depict India's Muslim history. The important places in Old Delhi includes 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. Delhi 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 Mahal 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 Qutb-ud-din Aybak of the Slave Dynasty; and the lotus-shaped Baha'i Temple.

See also

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