Delhi, known locally as Dilli (Hindi: दिल्ली), and also by the official name National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT) is one of the oldest cities in the world and gateway to its rich cultural heritage. Situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, it is the seat of the power of one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
Delhi is a city with a lovely mix of ancient and modern world where prehistoric monuments rub shoulders with tall skyscrapers. Its museums showcase the growth of Indian Civilization, while some of the country's biggest business houses base their head quarters in the city backed by some of the best infrastructure in the region and a steadily growing modern public transport system.
Location: Delhi stands in the middle of the Indian sub-continent, between the Himalayas and Aravallis range. Bordered by Haryana in the east and by Uttar Pradesh across the river Yamuna, Delhi is located approximately 213 to 305 m above the sea level.
Languages: Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, English
Summer: April - October (21º C to 46º C)
Winter Season: November - March (−0.6º C to 25º C)
Monsoon (Rainy Season): June - September.
Best Time Best Time to visit Delhi: Best time is during October-March. During October-November, the atmosphere is little bit cool with sunny weather in mid day and bringing the temperatures down to a very minimum of 2-3º C in December and January. February-March is the time when the nights are cool and the days filled with bright sunshine. The beautiful blend of hot and cold temperature makes it ideal for anyone to visit Delhi during this time and enjoy it to the maximum.
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Human habitation was probably present in and around Delhi during the second millennium BCE and before, and continuous inhabitation has been evidenced since at least the 6th century BCE. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. Settlements grew from the time of the Mauryan Empire (c. 300 BCE). Remains of seven major cities have been discovered in Delhi. The Tomara dynasty founded the city of Lal Kot in 736 CE. The Chauhan Rajputs of Ajmer conquered Lal Kot in 1180 CE and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora. The Chauhan king Prithviraj III was defeated in 1192 by the Afghan Muhammad Ghori. In 1206, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, the first ruler of the Slave Dynasty established the Delhi Sultanate. Qutb-ud-din started the construction the Qutub Minar and Quwwat-al-Islam (might of Islam), the earliest extant mosque in India. After the fall of the Slave dynasty, a succession of Turkic and Afghan 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 1398, Timur Lenk invaded India on the pretext that the Muslim sultans of Delhi were too lenient towards their Hindu subjects. Timur entered Delhi and the city was sacked, destroyed, and left in ruins. Delhi was a major centre of Sufism during the Sultanate period. In 1526, Zahiruddin Babur defeated the last Lodhi sultan in the First Battle of Panipat and founded the Mughal Empire that ruled from Delhi, Agra and Lahore.
The Mughal Empire ruled northern India for more than three centuries, with a sixteen-year hiatus during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, from 1540 to 1556. During 1553–1556, Hemu Vikramaditya acceded to the throne of Delhi by defeating forces of Mughal Emperor Akbar at Agra and Delhi. However, the Mughals reestablished their rule after Akbar's army defeated Hemu during the Second Battle of Panipat. Shah Jahan built the seventh city of Delhi that bears his name (Shahjahanabad), and is more commonly known as the "Old City" or "Old Delhi". The old city served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1638. After 1680, the Mughal Empire's influence declined rapidly as the Hindu Marathas rose to prominence. A weakened Mughal Empire lost the Battle of Karnal following which the victorious forces of Nader Shah invaded and looted Delhi, carrying away many treasures, including the Peacock Throne. A treaty signed in 1752 made Marathas the protector of the Mughal throne at Delhi. In 1761, after the Marathas lost the third battle of Panipat, Delhi was raided by Ahmed Shah Abdali. In 1803, the forces of British East India Company overran the Maratha forces near Delhi and ended the Mughal rule over the city.
After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Delhi came under direct rule of the British crown and was made a district province of the Punjab. In 1911, the capital of British India was transferred from Calcutta to Delhi, following which a team of British architects led by Edwin Lutyens designed a new political and administrative area, known as New Delhi, to house the government buildings. New Delhi, also known as Lutyens' Delhi, was officially declared as the capital of the Union of India after the country gained independence on 15 August 1947.
During the partition of India, thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from West Punjab and Sindh fled to Delhi, while many Muslim residents of the city migrated to Pakistan. Starting on October 31, 1984, approximately three thousand Sikhs were killed during the four-day long anti-Sikh riots after the Sikh body guards of then-Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, assassinated her. Migration to Delhi from the rest of India continues, contributing more to the rise of Delhi's population than the birth rate, which is declining.
The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly, though with limited powers. The law and order remained with the Central Government. The actual enforcement of the legislation came in 1993.
Delhi being the capital of India, is the main gateway city for northern India. All major International airlines run direct services to Delhi airport from various centres in the world: Aeroflot, Air Canada, Air France, Air India, British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Gulf Air, Japan Airlines, KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Qantas, Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International.
Delhi is linked by bus services, air conditioned, deluxe and ordinary, to all major destinations in north India. Delhi Transport Corporation and Road Transport Corporations of neighbouring States provide frequent bus services.
Delhi is the hub of the Indian Railways network with Express trains to all parts of the country. The city is well connected to almost every part of India.
There are two main stations in Delhi – (Old) Delhi train station in Old Delhi, and New Delhi train station at Paharganj; one has to make sure which station serves their destination (New Delhi train station is closer to Connaught Place).
If you’re departing from the Delhi train station you should allow adequate time to meander through the often-snail-paced traffic of Old Delhi. There’s also the Nizamuddin train station, south of Sunder Nagar, where various trains (usually for south-bound destinations) start or finish.
Many trains between Delhi and Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Udaipur operate to and from Sarai Rohilla train station, about 4km northwest of Connaught Place. You can check the http://www.irctc.co.in for schedules and rates.
Taxis can be hailed through your hotel or from the nearby stand. They do not ply on the roads soliciting customers like how auto drivers do. The most popular option these days is to “Dial a Taxi”. The black and yellow or yellow and green coloured taxis, (usually Ambassador, Maruti vans or diesel Indicas) charge customers by the meter. The drivers also have a tariff chart for your reference and theirs. 'Radio taxis' have also been introduced offering 24-hour air-conditioned service.
Buses are plentiful and cheap, these are the cheapest and the most popular means of public transport. The Green line service run by the State owned Delhi Transport Corporation plies on all arterial routes. The prices of tickets range from Rs 3-10 for a single ticket. There is a night service available but very skeletal and covers the route to and from railway stations only.
Cycle rickshaw are useful for plying short distances only, cycle rickshaws numbering three lakh in all are however not available in all localities. For instance- you will find them at Nizamuddin railway station and you will find them handy to reach the main road from where you can take an auto or taxi or catch a bus.
Auto rickshaws are much cheaper than the taxis; these black and yellow three wheeled vehicles are allowed to carry up to three passengers. Negotiate a fare before you set out. Auto-rickshaws are generally faster than taxis on short trips and cost half the price.
The Metro is currently running between Shahdara to Rithala covering a distance of 22 Km, Vishwa Vidyalaya - Central Sectt ( covering 11kms) and Indraprastha - Barakhamba Road - Dwarka ( covering 32.1 kms). The Metro trains run from 6 a.m. in the morning till 10 p.m. in the night. Metro trains are available at a frequency of 4 minutes during peak time.