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Delhi Guide

All you need to know

before you go.

The capital of India has been a center of power almost continuously since the 13th century.Being an ancient city Delhi has the shadows of its past. Its history goes a long way off to the time of the Mahabharata as Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas. Among the other dynasties that laid claim to Delhi were the Tornor Rajputs and the Chauhan Rajputs. Between 12th to 17th centuries  period, some of the most outstanding monuments were built which stand as past glory of the Afghan and Mughal architecture. During the British rule for about 200 years, when the country came under a unified control, Calcutta became the capital but only to move back to Delhi in 1911.The other five of Delhi's ex-capitals, further south, are today all but deserted, standing as impressive reminders of long-vanished dynasties.  Among them you will find the towering free-standing column erected by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the Qutub Minar and Purana Quila, Humayun's Tomb, and the major monument of the great Moghul period is Lal Qila, the "Red Fort". in Old Delhi.


Popular Hindu mythology claims that Delhi was the site of the fabled city of Indraprastha, which featured in the Mahabharata over 3000 years ago, but historical evidence suggests that the area has been settled for around 2500 years. Since the 12th century, Delhi has seen the rise and fall of seven major powers. The Chauhans took control in the 12th century and made Delhi the most important Hindu centre in northern India. When Qutab-ud-din Aibak occupied the city in 1193, he ushered in six and a half centuries of Muslim rule. The Delhi Sultanate lasted from 1206 to 1526, despite its inconsistent rule, and was followed by the mighty Moghuls from 1526 to 1857. The basis of what is today Old Delhi, including the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, was built during the reign of the Moghul emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658).


In 1803, the British captured Delhi and installed a British administrator. Delhi was not the capital of India at the time, but it was an important commercial centre and had a population of 150,000 by the start of the 20th century.


When the British decided to make Delhi the capital in 1911, they built New Delhi in a grandiose imperial style, as if the sun would never set on the British Raj. Only 16 years after the city was inaugurated as the nation's capital, Delhi was torched during the trauma of Partition. In a matter of weeks it was transformed from a Muslim-dominated city of less than a million inhabitants to a largely Hindu city of almost two million.


Today, very few city residents can lay claim to being 'real' Delhi-wallahs, and most of the population of New Delhi comprises Hindu Punjabi families originally from Lahore.


Since Independence, Delhi has prospered as the capital of India. In the past decade its population has increased by 50%, largely due to rapid economic expansion and increased job opportunities. The downside of this boom is increased overcrowding, traffic congestion, housing and electricty shortages and pollution. HELP!.

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