Delhi the City of Many Colors

Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India. It is the most expansive city in India—about 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). It has a population of about 25 million, making it the second most populous Indian city after Mumbai. Delhi also has a long history as it has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region.

HISTORY

 

Delhi, being the capital city of India, has seen the rise and fall of numerous powerful empires which have left behind a whole plethora of monuments that the story of grandeur and glory of bygone several ages. A city which traces its vast history from Mahabharata, the greatest epic tale of wars fought between the estranged cousins for the empire, the Kauravas and the Pandavas of Indraprastha to Mughals to Khiljis and Tughlaqs . The city of Delhi had passed on to the hands of the British emperor in 1803 AD. It was only in the year 1911, when the capital of British empire was earlier shifted from Calcutta to the city, that Delhi got its current prestige.

After independence also, a kind of autonomy was actually conferred on the capital city. In the year 1956, Delhi was converted into a Union territory headed by a Lt. Governor. In the year 1991, the national capital territory Act was came into the parliament and amended successfully. After this, a whole system of diarchy was introduced under which, the chosen Government was given wide powers; except all the law and order which remained with the central Government. The actual enforcement of the legislation came into existence in the year 1993.

New Delhi, the capital of India, is surrounded by the three sides by Haryana state and to the eastern side of the state all across the holy river Yamuna by Uttar Pradesh.

Historically, the capital city has long since been the foremost in political significance with all the successive dynasties choosing it as their prime seat of full power, in between the 13th and the 17th centuries of that time. Remnants of the flourishing past that survived as important monuments in varied parts of the Delhi.

All the myriad faces of the city are highly fascinating. In some of the famous places, it remains a garden city, a beautiful tree lined and with beautiful parks, but in some other places it can also be very well crowded with huge traffic.

ECOLOGY

 

Delhi is located at 28.61°N 77.23°E, and lies in Northern India. It borders the Indian states of Haryana on the north, west and south and Uttar Pradesh (UP) to the east. Two prominent features of the geography of Delhi are the Yamuna flood plains and the Delhi ridge. The Yamuna River was the historical boundary between Punjab and UP, and its flood plains provide fertile alluvial soil suitable for agriculture but are prone to recurrent floods. The Yamuna, a sacred river in Hinduism, is the only major river flowing through Delhi. The Hindon River separates Ghaziabad from the eastern part of Delhi. The Delhi ridge originates from the Aravalli Range in the south and encircles the west, north-east and north-west parts of the city. It reaches a height of 318 m (1,043 ft) and is a dominant feature of the region.

CLIMATE

 

Delhi features an atypical version of the climate. The warm season lasts from 9 April to 8 July with an average daily high temperature above 36 °C (97 °F). The hottest day of the year is 22 May, with an average high of 38 °C (100 °F) and low of 25 °C (77 °F). The cold season lasts from 11 December to 11 February with an average daily high temperature below 18 °C (64 °F). The coldest day of the year is 4 January, with an average low of 2 °C (36 °F) and high of 15 °C (59 °F). In early March, the wind direction changes from north-westerly to south-westerly. From April to October the weather is hot. The monsoon arrives at the end of June, along with an increase in humidity. The brief, mild winter starts in late November, peaks in January and heavy fog often occurs.It is advisable to carry light warm clothing as it might be slightly cold during the mornings and evenings in March.

 

Delhi average temperature & rainfall chart (Month wise)

 

MONTHS

MAX

MIN

RAINFALL

JANUARY

21

07

25

FEBRUARY

24

10

22

MARCH

30

15

17

ECONOMY

 

Delhi is the largest commercial centre in northern India; Key service industries are information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism Construction, power, health and community services and real estate are also important to the city’s economy. Delhi has one of India’s largest and fastest growing retail industries. Manufacturing also grew considerably as consumer goods companies established manufacturing units and headquarters in the city. Delhi’s large consumer market and the availability of skilled labour has also attracted foreign investment.

Transport

AIR

 

Indira Gandhi International Airport, situated to the southwest of Delhi, is the main gateway for the city’s domestic and international civilian air traffic.

ROAD

 

Buses are the most popular means of road transport catering to about 60% of Delhi’s total demand. Buses are operated by the state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which owns the largest fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG)-fuelled buses in the world.

RAILWAY

 

Delhi is a major junction in the Indian railway network and is the headquarters of the Northern Railway. The five main railway stations are New Delhi Railway Station, Old DelhiRailway Station, Nizamuddin Railway Station, AnandVihar Railway Terminal and Sarai Rohilla Railway Station.

METRO

 

The Delhi Metro is a rapid transit system serving Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region of India. Delhi Metro is the world’s 10th largest metro system in terms of length. It has a combination of elevated, at-grade, and underground lines, and uses both broad gauge and standard gauge rolling stock. Metro services are being extended to important hubs in the cities that are close to offices, colleges, and tourist spots.

For more information on Metro Routes check out this link

CULTURE

 

Delhi’s culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. There are about 1200 heritage buildings and 175 monuments as national heritage sites.

In the Old City, the Mughals and the Turkic rulers constructed several architecturally significant buildings, such as the Jama Masjid India’s largest mosquebuilt in 1656 and the Red Fort. Three World Heritage Sitesthe Red Fort, QutabMinar and Humayun’s Tomb– are located in Delhi. Other monuments include the India Gate, the JantarMantar an 18th-century astronomical observatory and the PuranaQila a 16th-century fortress. The Laxminarayan temple, Akshardham temple, the Bahá’íLotus temple and the ISKCON temple are examples of modern architecture. Raj Ghat and associated memorials houses memorials of Mahatma Gandhi and other notable personalities. New Delhi houses several government buildings and official residences reminiscent of British colonial architecture, including the RashtrapatiBhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, the Parliament of India and Vijay Chowk. Safdarjung’s Tomb is an example of the Mughal gardens style. Some regal havelis (palatial residences) are in the Old City.

Chandni Chowk, a 17th-century market, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewellery and Zarisaris Delhi’s arts and crafts include, Zardozi– an embroidery done with gold thread and Meenakari– the art of enamelling.

FESTIVALS

 

Delhi’s association and geographic proximity to the capital, New Delhi, has amplified the importance of national events and holidays like Republic Day, Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti. On Independence Day, the Prime Minister addresses the nation from the Red Fort. The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India’s cultural diversity and military strength. Over the centuries, Delhi has become known for its composite culture, and a festival that symbolises this is the PhoolWalon Ki Sair, which takes place in September. Flowers and pankhe– fans embroidered with flowers– are offered to the shrine of 13th century Sufi saint KhwajaBakhtiyar Kaki and the Yogmaya temple, both situated in Mehrauli.
Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of lights), Mahavir Jayanti, Guru Nanak’s Birthday, RakshaBandhan, Durga Puja, Holi, Lohri, Chauth, Krishna Janmastami, MahaShivratri, Eid ul-Fitr, Moharram and Buddha Jayanti. The Qutub Festival is a cultural event during which performances of musicians and dancers from all over India are showcased at night, with the QutubMinar as a backdrop Other events such as Kite Flying Festival, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi. The Auto Expo, Asia’s largest auto show is held in Delhi biennially. The New Delhi World Book Fair, held biennially at the PragatiMaidan, is the second largest exhibition of books in the world. Delhi is often regarded as the “Book Capital” of India because of high readership. India International Trade Fair (IITF), organised by ITPO is the biggest cultural and shopping fair of Delhi which takes place in November each year and is visited by more than 15 lakh people.

CUISINE

 

As India’s national capital and centuries old Mughal capital, Delhi influenced the food habits of its residents and is where Mughlai cuisine originated. Along with Indian cuisine, a variety of international cuisines are popular among the residents. The old city of Delhi is known for its Mughlai restaurants, some in existence for centuries .

Important Tourist Attractions of Delhi

 

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Akshardham Temple: Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomizes 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breath-taking grandeur and beauty. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built in only five years and holds the Guinness World Record as the World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple. The temple complex was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005.

More on Akshardham Temple

Humayun’s Tomb: Located near the crossing of Mathura road and Lodhi road, this magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architecture in India. It was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, the second Mughal Emperor, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome.There are several graves of Mughal rulers located inside the walled enclosure and from here in 1857 A.D; Lieutenant Hudson had captured the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah II. This monument is also called the prototype of Tajmahal.

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Lal Qila (Red Fort): Built on the banks of River Yamuna, Red Fort is known for its unique structure and history. It was built by the Mughal Emperor, Shahjahan, who also built one of the world’s wonders called as Taj Mahal in India. Red Fort became the new capital for Shahjahan when he shifted his capital to Delhi from Agra.

Lotus Temple (Bahai Temple): Lotus Temple is a symbol of outstanding architecture that represented the faith of Bahai. Located close to Nehru Place, Lotus temple as its name suggest is built in a shape of lotus flower with the use of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. People of all religion, community and creed can visit this temple. Constructed in 1986, the Lotus temple offers tranquil atmosphere in and around its premises for meditation, peace and wisdom. Due to its amazing architecture, it is quite popular among the visitors.

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QutubMinar: QutubMinar, at 73 metres, is world’s tallest rubble masonry minaret. QutubMinar, along with the ancient and medieval monuments surrounding it, form the Qutub complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site In 1200 AD, Qutb al-Din Aibak, founder of the Delhi Sultanate, started construction of the Qutub Minar. In 1220, Aibak’s successor and son-in-law Iltutmish added three storeys to the tower. In 1369, lightning struck the top storey, destroying it completely. So, Firoz Shah Tughlaq carried out restoration work replacing the damaged storey with two new storeys every year, made of red sandstone and white marble . Qutb Minar is surrounded by several historically significant monuments, which are historically connected with the tower and are part of the Qutb complex. These include the Iron Pillar of Delhi, Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Darwaza, the Tomb of Iltutmish, Alai Minar, Ala-ud-din’s Madrasa and Tomb, and the Tomb of Imam Zamin. Other minor monuments include Major Smith’s Cupola and Sanderson’s Sundial.

Jama Masjid: Located in Old Delhi near Lal Qila (Red Fort), Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in the country. It was built by great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656 AD. It is said that a team of 5000 workers and craftsmen was involved in building this architectural masterpiece. The mosque has a capacity to accommodate 25000 devotees at a time.

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India Gate: At the centre of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.

The foundation stone of India Gate was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and it was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. The eternal flame burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.

For more on Delhi’s Tourist Sites please Visit Delhi tourism Website.

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