The Mughal Empire ruled over Delhi for more than three centuries. The only break came during the reign of Sher Shah Suri from 1540 to 1556. Soon after, Hindu king, Hemu Vikramaditya defeated Mughal Emperor Akbar and captured the throne. The Mughals reestablished their rule shortly thereafter. During Shah Jahan’s reign, the city was known as Shahjahanabad. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city lost its prominence. After India’s First War of Independence in 1857, Delhi came under the direct rule of the British crown. In 1911, it was made the capital of British India.
After India won its independence in 1947 and Delhi was officially declared the capital, a team of architects led by Edwin Lutyens designed a new political and administrative area. This came to be known as New Delhi and it houses all the government buildings.
Delhi is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with more than 12.25 million. It has the proud distinction of being India’s cultural, political, and commercial centre. Its net State Domestic Product is around 24.5 billion dollars and its per capita income is 1,450 dollars. The tertiary sector contributes 71% of Delhi's gross SDP. Industry has grown considerably and many consumer goods industries have established manufacturing units and headquarters in and around Delhi.
Construction, power, telecommunications, health and community services, and real estate power Delhi's economy. Delhi also has India's largest retail industries. As a result, land prices are booming and Delhi is currently ranked the 7th most expensive office hotspot in the world.
Delhi has a rich cultural heritage. Arts, literature, music, dance, and theatre flourish here. It is home to many prominent personalities. Be sure to be part of the famous Qutub Festival that showcases performances by musicians and dancers from all over India. Or attend the Auto Expo, Asia's largest auto show held in Delhi. If you are a book lover, you could attend the World Book Fair the second largest exhibition of books in the world with as many as 23 nations participating!
Delhi is a food lover’s paradise. Punjabi and Mughlai delicacies like Kababs and Biryanis are popular in Delhi. The street food there is known to be delicious and includes several kinds of chaat. People from all over the country have settled in Delhi giving it a multicultural outlook. English, Hindi, Punjabi are the main languages of the region.
Delhi has a humid subtropical climate. Summers are long and extremely hot. Dry, hot winds called ‘loo’ are common. The monsoons bring some respite but the humidity increases at this time. Winters are chilly and often see heavy fog.
Qutub Minar – At 72.5 metres, this is the world's tallest brick minaret. King Prithviraj started building it and the construction was completed by Qutubuddib and Iltutmish. The Qutub Minar is one of the best examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. It is surrounded by several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as Qutub complex.
Jantar Mantar – Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur who was given the task of revising the calendar and astronomical tables. It was built in 1724 and consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments. It is a must-visit for astronomy and history buffs alike!
India Gate – This is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was originally known as the All India War Memorial as it commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for the British Empire in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. Following India's independence, India Gate became the site of the Amar Jawan Jyoti or ‘the flame of the immortal soldier’.
Red Fort - Built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan, this is one of Delhi’s most prominent landmarks. It served as the capital of the Mughals until 1857, when Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled by the British. Every year on Independence Day, the Prime Minister of India raises the Indian flag here. It incorporates Persian and Indian architectural styles and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.