Read about the city
The Indian capital Delhi is full of sights, activities and history with the many cities within the city. British New Delhi is just one of the many capitals that have been established as Indian residential cities over time. Ancient Delhi is one of the other examples and is in itself a magnificent city, which Shah Jahan founded as Shahjahanabad during the emperor's reign. Several other cities can be seen as forts from the many eras that passed Delhi through times.
The life and mood of Delhi is at one and the same time both positively hectic and charmingly relaxed. In Chandni Chowk's bazaar streets, you get a glimpse of colorful India through impressions for all senses, and in contrast there are parks, boulevards and major centuries-old buildings forming quaint oases in the big city.
There are many sights and things to do in the city from the Sultan's Delhi with amazing Qutb Minar, and the subsequent mughal architecture, where Humayun's Tomb stands as a prime example of their times. Humayun's Tomb is one of the places where you get a historical experience on the architectural path to Agra's famous Taj Mahal.
After the mughals, British time came with New Delhi as the new and partially European-designed capital around India Gate and the Viceroy’s Palace, which is today the president’s residence. Connaught Place with side streets is almost like being back in colonial days. Modern Indian Delhi is of course omnipresent with an ambitious and forward-looking development in the beautiful metropolis.
- Secretariat Building: The Secretariat is one of the beautiful and impressive building complexes along the magnificent Rajpath Boulevard. It dates back to British times and is home to parts of the Indian government administration.
- National Museum: The National Museum of Delhi is India's leading museum and through the large collection you get a very fine insight into Indian culture and history. The impressive museum building itself was built in 1960.
- Raj Ghat: The patriarch of modern India, Mahatma Gandhi, was cremated after his death in 1948. Raj Ghat is the place where it happened and from which Gandhi's ashes were scattered in the Yamuna River.
- Jama Masjid: Jama Mashid is India's largest mosque and it is also called the Friday Mosque. It was completed after six years of construction in 1656 and is literally a mighty example of the Mughals' religious beliefs.
- Gurudwara Bangla Sahib: This is the most prominent temple for Sikhs in the Indian capital. It is known for its connection to the eighth Sikh guru Har Krishan, and it is a temple complex that is very beautiful and worth seeing for its architecture and temple life.
- Feroz Shah Kotla: Feroz Shah Kotla is the name of the ruins of Delhi's fifth city. It was called Ferozabad, which was a beautiful city with palaces, mosques and gardens. Most of the building material from the ruins has since been used for other constructions in the city.
- Lodi Gardens: The Lodi Gardens are a stunning green oasis with an almost elevated tranquility and peace from the bustling city that surrounds the area. The buildings in the garden originate primarily from the Afghan Lodi dynasty.
- Connaught Place: The Connaught Place roundabout is New Delhi's central square. The square is named after Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, who was the seventh child of British Queen Victoria.
- Safdarjung's Tomb: Safdarjungs Mausoleum is a large and beautiful tomb monument, built in sandstone and marble as the last major mughal building in Delhi. The architecture of the mausoleum is very elegant.
- Lakhsmi Narayan Temple: This is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, who is an embodiment of Vishnu in the Hindu religion. The temple was built in the years 1933-1939 and consecrated by Mahatma Gandhi.
- Delhi Junction Railway Station: Delhi Junction, also known as Old Delhi Railway Station, opened in 1864 when the Howrah Railway in Calcutta opened. The building is worth seeing and there is a good railway atmosphere here.
- Swaminarayan Akshardham: This place is also simply called Akshardham Temple, and it is a temple complex that was opened in 2005. The complex's lavishly decorated temple is located in the middle of the large area, and around it you can see various exhibitions about i.a. traditional Hindu culture.
- Coronation Park: Coronation Park is a park north of downtown Delhi that has been the site of several royal events. It was here that the so-called Delhi Durbar was held in 1877, when the British Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.
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The first settlement
History has brought many different peoples, settlements and capitals to Delhi and the first time the area was inhabited was around 2800 BC. Here it is believed that the Pandavas built a large fort, which had both a defensive function and served as a habitation. The city of Pandavas is the legendary Indraprastha, though there are not enough archaeological finds to conclude much about the city. Thus, Indraprastha is not included in the so-called "cities of Delhi", which is the list of actual cities in Delhi throughout history. However, according to Indian folklore, Indraprastha was a magnificent city in the epic kingdom of the Mahabharata, founded around the year 3500 BC.
Delhi was founded
In 736, what developed into modern Delhi was founded by Anangpal, the leader of the Tomar dynasty. His city was based on a large fort and bore the name Lal Kot, which was changed to Qila Rai Pithora in 1180, when the Chauhan kings from Ajmer conquered Lal Kot.
The area of the city had already been expanded under King Vigraharaja IV, who ruled in the mid-1100s, and that development was soon to continue.
Time of the Sultanate
From 1206, Delhi became a Sultanate during a dynasty of slaves. The first sultan was Qutb-ud-din Aybak, a former slave who first rose to the rank of general and then first governor and later sultan. Qutb-ud-din Aybak began as a monument to the conquest of Delhi Qutb Minar, which remains one of the Indian capital's characteristic buildings.
During the time of the Sultanate, several of the districts that are now regarded as some of Delhi's cities, “cities of Delhi”, were established. A few of these new cities were built around Siri by Alaud-Din Khalji around 1300 and by Ghiysud-Din Tughlug a few decades later. Among other things, you can still see the remains of the fifth city at Feroz Shah Kotla today. The city was founded as Ferozabad by Feroz Shah Tughluq in 1354.
In 1398, Uzbek Timur invaded India to secure, among other things, a more stringent regime led by Muslim sultans vis-à-vis the Hindu people. After a victorious advance, Timur Lang was able to ride into Delhi on December 18, 1398, and then plundered and destroyed his army, and countless prisoners of war were killed on that occasion.
The era of the Mughals
The last Afghan Sultan was defeated by Zahiruddin Babur in 1526, and Babur established the dynasty and era of the Mughals. The Mughals ruled from Delhi, but also from the cities of Agra and Lahore.
Over the following decades, however, it came to an end to the rule of the moguls as Sher Shah Suri overcame Zahiruddin Babur's son, Humayun, who fled to Persia. Sher Shah Suri founded the sixth city of Delhi with his fort Purana Qila. Sher Shah died in 1545 when his son Islam Shah came to rule northern India from Delhi. His reign lasted until 1553, and three years later it was the Hindu emperor Hemu who was crowned in Delhi. However, Hemu ruled less than a month before the moguls again seized power.
Akbar the Great and Agra
The third mogul was Akbar, who moved the capital to Agra, and that meant a decline in Delhi's development in favor of the new residential and government city. However, some activity occurred during both Akbar and the successor Jehangir in the first decades of the 17th century, but it was not until Shah Jahan that the city's development progressed towards the capital we know today.
In 1638, Shah Jahan moved the capital of India from Agra to his new seventh city in Delhi, Shahjahanabad, which remained the capital of the moguls until 1857 - and today is known by the name of Old Delhi. Shah Jahan's first major building is located at the Red Fort, which served as the city's fortified center, and from his time also lies the impressive Jama Masjid mosque.
The decline of the moguls
From the end of the 1600s, the power of the moguls was weakened; primarily in favor of Hindu Maratha. Maratha forces plundered Delhi in 1737 after their victory in the First Battle of Delhi. Two years later, the numerically superior armies of the moguls lost to Nader Shah's armies from Persia at the Battle of Karnal. After the defeat, the moguls had to see to it that their capital was plundered for immense wealth such as the peacock throne and diamonds Daria-i-Noor and Koh-i-Noor.
During this period, England was expanding its interests and possessions in India through the British East India Company. Calcutta was the center of the English and thereby the capital of English India. In 1803, English troops conquered the capital of the moguls, and India became part of the English colony empire and formally subjugated Calcutta.
The Moguls formally remained rulers in the city, and there was a relative calm until 1857, when an uprising against the English rule broke out. It was the end of the time of the moguls and India was now ruled from England and regionally from Calcutta.
20th Century Delhi
The English decided in 1911 to move India's capital from Calcutta to the capital of the moguls, and they founded the eighth city, New Delhi, south of Shah Jahan's city. A number of large-scale English-imperial-style civil engineering works were initiated, with architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Barker not least making their mark through grand administrative buildings. New Delhi was officially inaugurated in 1931.
New Delhi is constructed as a representative city with wide boulevards, parks and large office buildings. This whole part of the capital's total urban area is very European inspired and it differs from the other cities of India.
Independence to Today
Since 1931 and especially after India's independence in 1947, growth in New Delhi's area and population has exploded. In addition to the country's general population explosion, many migrants, primarily Hindus and Sikhs, came from areas that were located in East or West Pakistan. The large relocation to the city also created the foundation for the construction of a number of industries, and the city has also gradually become the financial center of the country. The increased number of tourists and foreign companies with interests in New Delhi has helped to create the cosmopolitan atmosphere that is experienced in several of the capital's districts.
Today's New Delhi stretches across the area for all the historic cities of the area. Skyscrapers stand side by side with ancient monuments, and the city has grown in every direction. The city has become a melting pot of historic buildings and peoples, and it provides a variation of the city that cannot be experienced in many other places in the world.
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