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This article deals with the metropolis of Delhi. For the capital of India, see New Delhi. For other uses see Delhi (disambiguation).

Delhi (Template:Lang-hi, Template:Lang-ur, Template:Lang-pa) is a metropolis in India. The name Delhi also refers to the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), which is a special union territory jointly administered by the Central government, NCT's elected government and three municipal corporations : Delhi, Delhi Cantonment and New Delhi. New Delhi, an urban area within the metropolis of Delhi, is the seat of the Government of India.

Delhi's metropolitan area, known as the National Capital Region (NCR) encompasses the entire NCT as well as the neighbouring satellite towns of Faridabad and Gurgaon in Haryana, and Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh making it the 5th most populous megalopolis in the world, with 19.5 million people.

Delhi has the most vibrant history among prominent cities or towns of India. It was the "capital of seven empires" in Indian history and has over 60,000 recognized monuments built over several millennia, as per the Archaeological Survey of India. It is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, founded by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata around 5000 BC.

The name Delhi may originate from the Persian word Dahleez (Template:Lang-ur) (English: threshold, or frontier) or from the name of a Mauryan king, Raja Dhillu. Another possible etymology is the city's original name, Dhillika. The people of Delhi are known as Delhi-ites. The latter is a historical and cultural term describing people of the old city and the associated diaspora. The Persianized surname Dahelvi is also related to residents of Delhi.

Delhi is a very cosmopolitan city due to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural presence of the vast Indian bureaucracy and political system, and now expanding economy. There are more than 160 embassies and an ever-growing expatriate population.

Delhi derives its historic importance from its position in Northern India between the Aravalli Hills to the southwest and the Yamuna river on whose western banks it stands. This enabled it to dominate the old trade routes from northwest India to the plains of the Ganges. As a result, it has always been an important cultural and intellectual centre.

With a steadily-increasing quality of life, a booming economy and consumer market, the cultural and intellectual life in the Nation's capitol are burgeoning. Delhi also has hosts many of India's major educational institutions, and many quality schools. It is home to a number of think tanks, museums, art galleries, parks and theatres.


Ancient history

Image:RedFort.jpg According to Indian folklore, Delhi was to be the site of the magnificent and opulent Indraprastha, capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata, founded around 5000 BC. Hindu texts state that the city of Delhi used to be referred to in Sanskrit as Hastinapur, which means "elephant-city". A village called Indraprast existed in Delhi until the beginning of the 19th century. The British demolished the ancient village to make way for the construction of New Delhi in the late 19th century. Archaeological evidence suggests that Indraprastha once stood where the Old Fort is today. Excavations have unearthed shards of the grey painted ware (c. 1000 BC) that some archaeologists associate with the age of the Mahabharata, but no coherent settlement traces have been found.

The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya Period (c. 300 BC); since then, the site has seen continuous settlement. In 1966, an inscription of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273-236 BC) was discovered near Srinivaspuri. Two sandstone pillars inscribed with the edicts of Ashoka were later brought to the city by Firuz Shah Tughluq in the 14th century. The famous Iron pillar near the Qutub Minar was commissioned by the emperor Kumara Gupta I of the Gupta dynasty (320-540) and transplanted to Delhi during the 10th century. Eight major cities have been situated in the Delhi area. The first four cities were in the southern part of present-day Delhi.

The modern city contains the remnants of seven successive ancient cities including: -

  1. Qila Rai Pithora built by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, near the oldest Rajput settlement in Lal-Kot;
  2. Siri, built by Alauddin Khilji in 1303;
  3. Tughluqabad, built by Ghiyasuddin Tughluq (1321-1325);
  4. Jahanpanah, built by Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325-1351);
  5. Kotla Firoz Shah, built by Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-1388);
  6. Purana Qila, built by Sher Shah Suri and Dinpanah built by Humayun, both in the area near the speculated site of the legendary Indraprastha (1538-1545); and
  7. Shahjahanabad, built by Shah Jahan from 1638 to 1649, containing the Lal Qila and the Chandni Chowk.

8th century to 16th century

Image:Qminar.jpg The Tomara Rajput dynasty founded Lal Kot in 736 near the Qutub Minar. The Prithviraj Raso names the Rajput Anangpal as the founder of Delhi. The Chauhan Rajput kings of Ajmer conquered Lal Kot in 1180 and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora. The Chauhan king Prithviraj III was defeated in 1192 by the Afghan Muhammad Ghori. From 1206, Delhi became the capital of the Delhi Sultanate under the Slave Dynasty (so named because several rulers of this dynasty were former slaves). The first Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aybak was a former slave who rose through the ranks to become a general, a governor and then Sultan of Delhi. Qutb-ud-din started the construction the Qutub Minar, a recognisable symbol of Delhi, to commemorate his victory but died before its completion. In the Qutb complex he also constructed the Quwwat-al-Islam (might of Islam), which is the earliest extant mosque in India. He was said to have pillaged exquisitely carved pillars from 27 temples for this mosque, many of which can still be seen. After the end of the Slave dynasty, a succession of Turkic and Central Asian dynasties, the Khilji dynasty, the Tughluq dynasty, the Sayyid dynasty and the Lodhi dynasty held power in the late medieval period and built a sequence of forts and townships that are part of the seven cities of Delhi. In 1526, following the First Battle of Panipat, Zahiruddin Babur, the former ruler of Fergana, defeated the last Lodhi sultan and founded the Mughal dynasty which ruled from Delhi, Agra and Lahore.

16th century to Present

Image:Indiagatedelhi.JPG In the mid-sixteenth century there was an interruption in the Mughal rule of India as Sher Shah Suri defeated Babur's son Humayun and forced him to flee to Afghanistan and Persia. Sher Shah Suri built the sixth city of Delhi, as well as the old fort known as Purana Qila and the Grand Trunk Road. After Sher Shah Suri’s early death, Humayun recovered the throne with Persian help. The third and greatest Mughal emperor, Akbar, moved the capital to Agra resulting in a decline in the fortunes of Delhi. In the mid-seventeenth century, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658) built the city that sometimes bears his name (Shahjahanabad), the seventh city of Delhi that is more commonly known as the old city or old Delhi. This city contains a number of significant architectural features, including the Red Fort (Lal Qila) and the Jama Masjid. The old city served as the capital of the later Mughal Empire from 1638 onwards, when Shah Jahan transferred the capital back from Agra. Aurangzeb (1658-1707) crowned himself as emperor in Delhi in 1658 at the Shalimar garden ('Aizzabad-Bagh) with a second coronation in 1659. In 1761, Delhi was raided by Ahmed Shah Abdali after the Third battle of Panipat.

Delhi passed to British control in 1857 after the First War of Indian Independence; the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II was pensioned to Rangoon, and the remaining Mughal territories were annexed as a part of British India. Image:RajGhat.JPG Shortly after the First War of Independence, Calcutta was declared the capital of British India but in 1911 the capital was again moved to Delhi. Parts of the old city were pulled down to create New Delhi, a monumental new quarter of the city designed by the British architect Edwin Lutyens to house the government buildings. A brief but fascinating account of the Indian contractors behind this construction can be found in Khushwant Singh's autobiography Truth, Love and a Little Malice. New Delhi was officially declared as the seat of the Government of India after independence in 1947.

During the Partition of India thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from West Punjab migrated to Delhi. In 1984, the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi led to a violent backlash against the Sikh community, resulting in the deaths of 5,000 people.


Image:DSC00058.JPG The sixty-ninth amendment to the Constitution of India in 1991, granted Delhi the status of a special union territory and officially changed its name to the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). Delhi has its own Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, Council of Ministers and Chief Minister. The Legislative Assembly seats are filled by direct election from territorial constituencies in the NCT. However, Delhi is jointly administered by the Union Government of India and the Territorial Government of Delhi. New Delhi, an urban area in Delhi, is the seat of both the State Government of Delhi and the Government of India.

Delhi has always been a stronghold of the Indian National Congress, locally known as the Congress Party. The trend started to change in the 1990s when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Madan Lal Khurana came into power for the first time. However, in 1998 Sheila Dixit of the Congress Party defeated Madan Lal Khurana in state elections and has remained in power since then.


The National Capital Territory of Delhi is divided into nine districts. Each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner and has three subdivisions. Each subdivision is headed by the Subdivision Magistrate. All Deputy Commissioners report to the Divisional Commissioner. The District Administration of Delhi is the enforcement department for all kinds of State and Central Government policies and exercises supervisory powers over numerous other functionaries of the Government. Below is the list of the districts and subdivisions of Delhi: Image:Delhi map.PNG Image:Newdelhiskyline10ms.jpg Image:DSC00053.JPG

Suburbs/Satellite towns

Geography and climate

Image:Delhiterrian.jpg Delhi is located at 28.38° N and 77.13° E and lies in northern India. It borders the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on the east and Haryana on the west. Delhi can be divided into three major geographical regions: the Yamuna flood plain, the ridge and the Gangetic Plains. The low-lying Yamuna flood plains provide fertile alluvial soil suitable for agriculture. However, these plains are prone to recurrent floods. With an average altitude of 293 m above sea level, the ridge forms the most dominating feature in this region. It originates from the Aravalli Hills in the south and encircles the west, north-east and north-west portions of the city. The Great Plains are located in the south of the city and cover most of Delhi.

Yamuna, one of India's most sacred rivers, is the only main river flowing through Delhi. Most of the city, including New Delhi, lies west of the river. East of the river is the Old City which includes the urban area of Shahdara.

Delhi has a semi-arid climate with high variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summers are long, from early April till October, with the rainy season in between. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −0.6 (10 January, 1935 [1]) to 47 °C [2]. Winter starts in November and peaks in January.

The average annual rainfall is approximately 670 mm (27 inches), most of which falls during the Monsoons, in July and August. Traditionally, the Monsoons are supposed to touch Delhi by June 29 every year.



Delhi's population is more than 15 million people (2005 est.), making it the 3rd largest metropolitan area in India after Mumbai and Calcutta. About 295,000 people live in New Delhi and 125,000 in Delhi Cantonment. There are 827 women per 1000 men; the literacy rate is 78.5%. Approximately 90% of the population is urban. Delhi has one of the highest per capita incomes in India and is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Asia. According to a 2001 census by the Indian government, 13.0 million people lived in the Delhi metropolitan area. However, it is now estimated that more than 15.0 million people live in Delhi and its surrounding suburbs with migrants accounting for 60% of the increase in population. Include the satellite towns NOIDA, Gurgaon, Faridabad and Ghaziabad, the population is estimated over 20 million. Due to relatively high employment opportunities and better living conditions, Delhi has attracted millions of people from rural areas in neighbouring Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Delhi's state government has come under tremendous pressure as the city's infrastructure struggles to keep pace with the rising population. In 2001, the state government launched a 'master plan' to allocate more residential, commercial and industrial areas in the region and also decided to invest billions of dollars in city's infrastructure.

Hinduism is practised by 83.67% of Delhi's population. There are also large, vibrant communities of Muslims (9.2%), Sikhs (6.1%), Christians (0.9%) and Jains. Other minorities include, Buddhists and Jews.

Punjabis, Gujjars and Jats are large ethnic communities, but a collage of peoples from almost every Indian state inhabits the city. Large numbers of Kashmiris also inhabit the city and its outskirt areas.

Hindi is the principal spoken and written language. Other commonly spoken languages are English, Punjabi and Urdu. (English being an associate official language, and Punjabi and Urdu being second official languages.) Since Delhi is the capital, linguistic groups from all over India are represented including: Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and many others.


Image:Connaughtplace.jpg Delhi's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $26 billion in current prices.

Historically, Delhi has always been the economic capital of northern India. In early 19th century, it started to gain importance in arts and craft, textile and handloom. Many small-scale industries expanded, including the handloom and copper utensils industry. By the end of the 19th century, Delhi was northern India's manufacturing hub.

In recent years, Delhi's service sector has expanded exponentially due in part to the large skilled English-speaking workforce which has attracted many multinational companies. Key service industries include information technology (IT), telecommunications, banking, media and life sciences. Delhi and its suburbs account for over 30% of India's IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) exports - the second largest in the country (Bangalore accounts for 35%). Delhi's manufacturing industry has also grown considerably as many consumer goods industries have established manufacturing units and headquarters in and around Delhi ranging from Pepsico and Gap to zipper giant YKK.

Delhi is one of India's most affluent urban centres and is at the heart of India's largest consumer belt. As an indicator, Delhi has more cars on its roads than India's other four 'metros', Bangalore, Calcutta, Madras and Mumbai combined, and is widely considered to have the best transport and utilities infrastructure in the country. Delhi is one of India's largest markets because per capita income is much higher than in other Indian cities. Gurgaon and Noida, two of Delhi's largest satellite cities, have attracted more than $5 billion worth investments in the past three years. The city's booming economy is also the main reason so many people migrated to Delhi in recent years in search of better living conditions and employment.


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Delhi is famous for its Mughal, Afghan, Hindu and British architecture. Its large and lucrative tourism industry serves millions of international and domestic tourists. Besides being the modern capical, Delhi was the capital of several great empires of ancient India.

The city is marked with several ancient and modern monuments. Two World Heritage Sites, 72.5 m tall Qutab Minar and Tomb of the Humayun, are in the metropolitan area. Other famous landmarks include the Delhi Fort, India Gate, Lotus Temple, the Akshardham, Old Fort (Purana Qila), Raj Ghat and Laxminarayan Temple.

New Delhi, a spacious, well-designed district of Delhi, houses several government buildings and official residences. Important structures include the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, the Rajpath, the Parliament of India, the Jantar Mantar and the Vijay Chowk.

Other tourist attractions include the Appu Ghar, Delhi's Disneyland; the Pragati Maidan, one of Asia's largest exhibition grounds; the Mughal Gardens and Delhi Zoological Park.

The city is also viewed by many travellers as a bargain hunter's paradise, with products ranging from custom-made suits to eyeware available at a fraction of their cost in Europe and the U.S. For tourists from overseas, shopping in Delhi (as elsewhere in India) is a fascinating if sometimes jarring experience. Western-style shopping malls are rare, and intrepid travellers can find an amazing array of products, particularly if they shop in markets patronized by local residents. See Markets in Delhi.


Image:DSC00084.JPG Keeping pace with globalization, there are many discotheques and the city has a vibrant nightlife, although most clubs are located in five-star hotels. Some of these are C.J.'s (Le Meridien), Annabelle's (The Hilton), Dubliner (Maurya Sheraton Hotel), Agni (Park Hotel), Oasis (Hyatt Regency), Djinn's (Hyatt Regency) and My Kind of Place (Taj Palace). Other places include Shalom (Greater Kailash), Voda (Saket), Buzz (Saket), T'zers (Saket), Punjabi by Nature (Vasant Vihar) and Fabric (on the Gurgaon-Mehrauli road). Many Delhiites also throng the many malls that have sprung up within Delhi and its surrounding areas: a steady stream of cars heads towards Gurgoan, which has probably the highest concentration of shopping malls in India.

There are many modern restaurants and a wide array of cuisines, including Greek (It's Greek To Me in Safdarjung), Chinese, Thai, Italian (Olive Bar and Kitchen in Mehrauli), Mediterranean (Moshe's Oliva in Capital Court) and American. National and International restaurant chains, fast food chains run successful franchises in Delhi, including Nirulas, Pizza Hut, Subway, McDonald's, Baskin-Robbins and others. All these franchises modified their menus with respect to Indian culture and religion, clearly indicating vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, often by a relatively common colour code (red for non-vegetarian foods, green for vegetarian foods) and preparing the vegetarian foods in compliance with Hindu customs and practices.

Delhi was chosen as the site for the Commonwealth Games of 2010. This has led to a spate of development work, like construction of flyovers, metro etc. The New Delhi Metro opened on Christmas Day, 2002, in the urban area.



Image:DSC00076.JPG Delhi, by its variety, congestion and large expanse, is a transportation challenge, but it has an advantage in terms of good infrastructure in the form of wide roads and decent railway and air connectivity.


As Delhi's population continues to grow exponentially, the city's transportation authority struggles to reduce traffic congestion. Like many other cities in the developing world, it faces acute transport management problems leading to air pollution, congestion and resultant loss of productivity. Delhi's state government initiated a massive traffic decongestion plan in the late 1990s, investing billions of dollars in the road transport system. Today, there are more flyovers and highways in Delhi than in all other Indian metropolitan cities combined. The city's transportation system is regarded as the best in India. The Government's modest efforts have also helped reduce air pollution in the city.

Road connectivity is mostly reliant on private vehicles. Delhi has the highest ratio of vehicles per capita in India. Government-owned-Delhi Transport Corporation buses, and private buses, including chartered buses, White-line buses and Yellow-line buses also play a crucial role in connecting Delhi.



The auto rickshaws (sometimes called Auto) are an important and popular means of public transportation in Delhi, as they charge a lower fare than Taxis. Hiring an Auto in Delhi is very tricky, as few auto-drivers accept standard meter charges. The typical method is to haggle for an agreeable rate. It is typical for the rate to be almost doubled after 11 p.m. With the introduction of electronic meters, the tamperability of meters has reduced, and a stronger jurisdiction for a sanctioning body has forced more auto-rickshaws to comply with the meter-based charging scheme. However, it is common for the meters of auto-rickshaws to be "broken" or disregarded by their drivers. This rarely is a source of conflict because the fares charged are modest, particularly by western standards.



Though easily available, taxis are not an integral part of Delhi public transport. Most taxis are operated by DTC, Indian Tourism Ministry and various private operators. The Tourism Ministry grants private companies permits to operate taxis. Locally called tourist taxis, they provide better service than DTC ones, but, unlike DTC taxis, are not metered and usually charge more. To hire a taxi, one either has to go to a taxi stand or telephone a taxi service provider; they are not usually flagged from the street.


Delhi has one of India's largest Bus transport systems. Most of the Buses which ply across Delhi are operated by State-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and other private operators such as the BlueLine Transport Corporation. It is mandatory for all private bus operators to acquire permit from Delhi's State Transport Authority.

Bus fares are based on the colour of the stripe on the bus. Regular DTC buses are yellow and have bus numbers in white plates. Their fares are in denomination of 2, 5, 7 and 10 rupees. Similar private buses are yellow or blue. Buses with green stripes, yellow number plates and GL printed ahead of the number, charge a flat fare of 10 rupees.

DTC operates the world's largest fleet of environmentally friendly CNG buses. While not very high-tech, they pollute much less than the poorly designed and maintained diesel buses of most other State Road Transit Commissions (RTCs) in India. The buses are also much easier on the lungs of other road users as there is no cloud of carbon particles in the face of the unfortunate motorcyclist who sidles next to a bus at an intersection. Directly, and indirectly, the gas-burning buses have also somewhat reduced the downward trend in Delhi's air quality and related illnesses.


Image:DelhiMetro.jpg A metro (mass rapid-transit system) built and managed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is also under operation, with a total length of 56km and 50 stations, according to Three lines currently operate. Line 1 runs east-west for 22kms on an elevated track between Rithala and Shahdara. Line 2 runs north-south for 11kms in an underground tunnel between Vishwa Vidyalaya and the Central Secretariat. Line 3, opened on December 31, 2005, runs 22.8 km long on elevated tracks and an underground tunnel, between Indraprastha, Barakhamba Road and Dwarka.

Railway connectivity

Delhi has a large and efficient railway network. The Indian Railways plays a crucial role in connecting Delhi with the rest of India. The railway system also helps connect major parts of the city and its suburbs. The major railway stations connected through the trains are Old Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Okhla, Pragati Maidan, Shahdara, Shakur Basti and Tilak Bridge. One of the major local trains operates between Palwal station and Shakur Basti station.


Image:Indira-Gandhi-Airport-(big).jpg Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) serves Delhi for both domestic and international connections, and is situated in the southwestern corner of the city. In 2004, IGI recorded a traffic of more than 8.5 million passengers<ref>[3]</ref>, making it one of the busiest airports in South Asia. It operates two terminals — Terminal 1 for domestic and Terminal 2 for international air travel. The international terminal has all modern facilities like Duty-Free Shopping, money exchange service and various other recreational facilities. However, limited transportation facilities between Terminal 1 and the international terminal, has caused some inconvenience to passengers in the past.

Two other airports are Palam (now part of the IGI complex) and Safdarjung Flying Club. Palam Airport (formerly RIAF Palam) is now used by the Indian Air Force and the Avionics Research Centre (ARC) of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).


Image:Maharaji Nehru stadium.jpg Cricket is the most popular sport in the city as in India as a whole. There are several cricket grounds (locally known as maidan) across Delhi. The local Delhi Cricket Team is one of the top cricket teams in the Ranji Trophy, India's top domestic cricket tournament. One of the oldest cricket grounds in India to be granted international status, the Feroz Shah Kotla, is situated in Delhi. But other sports, particularly soccer, tennis, golf, badminton, swimming, kart racing, weightlifting and table tennis are becoming more popular. Field Hockey is also popular, even though cricket has overtaken it by a long way in terms of popularity.

Delhi has hosted several domestic and international sporting events. New Delhi was the venue of the First and the Ninth Asian Games. The city is known for its excellent sports infrastructure. The Nehru Stadium and the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium are one of the largest sports complexes in South Asia. Delhi will be the site for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the largest multi-sport event ever held in the city.


Image:IitwindT.jpg Delhi attracts students from all over India. A number of government and private colleges offer quality education in science, engineering, medicine, arts, law and management. The prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences is among the best medical institutions in the world. Other notable educational and research institutes include Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Delhi School of Economics, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi College of Engineering and St Stephen's College. More than nine universities are situated in the metropolitan area. The top 5 include Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Indraprastha University and Indira Gandhi National Open University. In 2001, Delhi University had 220,000 students, making it one of the largest universities in Asia. It has 14 faculties, 86 academic departments and 79 colleges spread all over the city. In 2003-2004, Delhi's 4800 primary and secondary schools enrolled more than 310,000 students. Most Delhi schools are affiliated to the national CBSE board. As population booms, more educational institutions will be required.


Sister cities


See also

External links


Template:NationalCapitalTerritory Template:Metropolitan Cities of India

Image:Flag of India.svg Indian States and Union Territories
States Andhra PradeshArunachal PradeshAssamBiharChhattisgarhGoaGujaratHaryanaHimachal PradeshJammu and KashmirJharkhandKarnatakaKeralaMadhya PradeshMaharashtraManipurMeghalayaMizoramNagalandOrissaPunjabRajasthanSikkimTamil NaduTripuraUttaranchalUttar PradeshWest Bengal
Union Territories Andaman and Nicobar IslandsChandigarhDadra and Nagar HaveliNational Capital Territory of DelhiDaman and DiuLakshadweepPondicherry

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