Delhi has been the seat of power for several rulers and many empires for about a millennium. The city was built, destroyed and then rebuilt here. Interestingly, a number of Delhi’s rulers played a dual role, first as destroyers and then as creators.
A combination of ancient and modern beauty, Delhi is one of the largest cities of India. The city is a bucket of rich culture, ancient monuments, mass diversity and many more. It’s a complete tourism hub for the visitors. It enlightens the heart with every passing monuments, forts, markets and colorful people all around.
Delhi is a city that bridges two different worlds. Old Delhi, once the capital of Islamic India, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with crumbling havelis and formidable mosques. In contrast, the imperial city of New Delhi created by the British Raj is composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government buildings.
The city’s importance lies not just in its past glory as the seat of empires and magnificent monuments, but also in the rich and diverse cultures. In Delhi, you will discover that the city is sprinkled with dazzling gems: captivating ancient monuments, fascinating museums and art galleries, architectural wonders, a vivacious performing-arts scene, fabulous eating places and bustling markets.
Delhi has been the political hub of India. Every political activity in the country traces its roots here.
Delhi, the capital of India has a strong historical background. It was ruled by some of the most powerful emperors in Indian history.
The history of the city is as old as the epic Mahabharata. The town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live. In due course eight more cities came alive adjacent to Indraprastha: Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad.
Delhi has been a witness to the political turmoil for over five centuries. It was ruled by the Mughals in succession to Khiljis and Tughlaqs.
In 1192 the legions of the Afghan warrior Muhammad of Ghori captured the Rajput town, and the Delhi Sultanate was established (1206). The invasion of Delhi by Timur in 1398 put an end to the sultanate; the Lodis, last of the Delhi sultans, gave way to Babur, who, after the battle of Panipat in 1526, founded the Mughal Empire. The early Mughal emperors favoured Agra as their capital, and Delhi became their permanent seat only after Shah Jahan built (1638) the walls of Old Delhi.
From Hindu Kings to Muslim Sultans, the reins of the city kept shifting from one ruler to another. The soils of the city smell of blood, sacrifices and love for the nation. The old ‘Havelis’ and edifices from the past stand silent but their silence also speaks volumes for their owners and people who lived here centuries back.
In the year 1803 AD, the city came under the British rule. In 1911, British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi. It again became the center of all the governing activities. But, the city has the reputation of over throwing the occupants of its throne. It included the British and the current political parties that have had the honour of leading free India.
After independence in 1947, New Delhi was officially declared as the Capital of India.
Delhi is the traditional and present day capital of India. Delhi stands in a triangle formed by the river Yamuna in the east and spurs from the Aravali range in the west and south.
Delhi is not only the largest commercial centre in Northern India, but also the largest centre of small industries. The IT sector, handloom, fashion, textile and electronic industry contribute a lot to Delhi’s economy.
Delhi is bounded by four states namely Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab that have a strong influence on the lifestyle of Delhi. Delhi is a cosmopolitan city where people are open to embracing new ideas and life style. People from all parts of the country live here. All major festival of India is celebrated and the Unity in Diversity is evident in social and cultural gatherings. Be it Holi, Diwali, Id, Guru Purab, Buddha Purnima or Christmas, you will find the same vigor and bliss among people from different communities.
Delhi, as you would agree after reading the History does not have its own unique culture or identity. The art and culture seen are main influences from the diverse artists and craftsmen that have settled in this city through centuries and thus the city boasts of its rich art heritage and certain values seen in their lifestyle, art, craft, music and demography. Since it is the capital of India, it homes many art galleries and cultural programmes and events that marks the uniqueness of this city and enhances its attraction.
Art and culture have a strong influence over Delhi since the period of Mughals reign when art like intricate carvings, architectural designs and paintings were priceless and worth seeing. The Mughals would invite Persian artists to weave their Palace carpets and craft Metal into beautiful shapes and structures.
Delhi is a dynamic city that is flexible and adaptable. But that does not mean the city has lost its connection to its roots-its culture.
The basic character of the city has remained same over the years. Delhi has this uncanny habit of blending itself with different cultures without losing its own color. Perhaps this is what has survived the culture of Delhi despite various outside influences in the past.
New Delhi has been a part of a rich and varied culture. The old city of New Delhi boasts of rich legacies of the time when Mughals were great patrons of arts and crafts.
To know more about the culture of New Delhi view the popular classical dance forms at the Kamani Auditorium or Siri Fort of New Delhi. Many dance and music festivals are organized at every corner of the city of New Delhi.
Delhi has a mini India feel to it. People from different corners of the country have come and made Delhi their home.
The culture of Delhi, thus, is liberal and tolerable. People from different parts of India live in peace and harmony in the capital and practice all their customs and rituals without any hindrance. This is reflected in various fairs and festivals that are celebrated in Delhi.
Cultural events in Delhi: India’s calendar of festivals draws upon the nation’s Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Sikh, Parsi, Buddhist and Christian communities, with a sprinkling of non-religious festivals thrown in for good measure. Most will be celebrated to some extent, somewhere in Delhi.
Republic Day, a week of celebration kicks off on 26 January, with a military parade along Raj path.
A guard of honor stands to attention at Raj Ghat on Martyr’s Day, 30 January, to commemorate the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Pragati Maidan: Various Trade Fairs are being organized throughout the year. States have found their permanent stalls here with their products and merchandises. Aiming at entertainment for the children, Appu Ghar Amusement Park, has been founded, open from 12-00 to 20-00. Open from 12-00 to 20-00.
Connaught Place: One of Delhi’s most popular shopping centers built as early as 1931 there is nothing that one cannot buy here and it also has several eating houses.
Janpath: Janpath is one of the busiest roads in New Delhi. Many star hotels are located in Chanakyapuri.
Chandni Chowk: It was the eyes and ears of the Mughal’s commercial instincts and is today one of the country’s best known wholesale markets for textiles, electronic goods and watches. The entire area was designed by Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan’s favourite daughter and was then inhabited by the well-to-do families of that time. There is however a word of caution and that are that there are several elements that are believed to be selling duplicate goods and the tourist needs to be careful about this.
Dilli Haat: Food and Crafts Bazaar, opposite INA Market, is a one-stop shopping place for tourists, which not only offers various arts and handicrafts of India, but also a taste of the ethnic cuisine. Visitors can also witness the different performing arts of the country.
WHERE TO STAY
Delhi is one of the India’s busiest entry points. It has a wide range of accommodation available from deluxe five star luxury hotels, with top-notch restaurants, 24-hour coffee shops, swimming pools, travel agents and shopping arcades, to middle-range hotels and guest houses offering good services and a comfortable stay, down to economical tourist lodges. There are a few Tourist Hostels, Working women’s Hostels, Service Apartments, Camping Sites and Dharmashalas as well.
WHERE TO EAT
Food in Delhi reflects its national capital status. There is no specific culture and it has got best from all parts of India. Food available is a mix of North Indian food, Mughlai, Punjabi and mouth watering street food.Delhi is a hot spot for Continental, Thai, Mexican and Chinese food as well.
The Mughlai influence on the food is apparent and enjoyed by both the locals and tourists. One of the most prominent contributions of the Mughals was the tandoor which has resulted in a large variety of tandoori dishes available. Some of the popular tandoori dishes in New Delhi include paneer tikka, tandoori chicken, seekh and boti kebab and even tandoori fish.
One can taste various desi foods available at every nook and corner of the city. Bengali Market near Connaught Place in the center of Delhi is worth visiting to taste the wide variety of food items available.
Delhi Haat has food stalls from almost every state in India, which offer cheap and quality food.
Parathe Wali Gali and Chandni Chowk are the places where a foodie can spend his or her entire day.
Chinese food has also become very popular over the years which is why Delhi has a large number of Chinese restaurant and not to mention the road side fast food with delicious Chinese food.
Continental cuisines can be had at multi-cuisine restaurants within the city or five star hotels.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Delhi is from October to March when the weather is at its best. During this period flowers are at their blooming best, the weather is pleasant and enjoyable to experience Incredible Delhi.