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Delhi

Delhi - Your Host City

New Delhi is the Capital and the Government Centre of India.

Delhi, locally pronounced as Dilli or Dehli officially National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest metropolis by population in India. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population.

Delhi is a palimpsest, bearing the complexities, the contradictions, the beauty and the dynamism of a city where the past coexists with the present. many dynasties ruled from here and the city is rich in the architecture of its monuments. Diverse cultural elements absorbed into the daily life of the city have enriched its character. Exploring the city can be a fascinating and rewarding experience.

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History

The historical and present records about Delhi cover such areas as the city's history, geography, languages spoken, demographics, tourist places and people. Delhi was initially a ruling ground of the Mughal Empire. However, in 1803 AD Delhi became a dominion of the British Kingdom and in 1911 the city was acknowledged as the capital of India.

History of Delhi enumerates a saga of various dynasties like the Mughals, Khilji and Tuglaks who once ruled this city. The first ever evidence of Delhi can be traced back to the times of Mahabharata in 1400 BC when it was known by the name of Indraprastha.

Delhi re-emerged as a major political, cultural and commercial city along the trade routes between northwest India and the Gangetic plain after the rise of the Delhi sultanates.

It is the site of many ancient and medieval monuments, archaeological sites and remains. In 1639, Mughal emperor Shahjahan built a new walled city in Delhi which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857.

When India gained independence from British rule in 1947, New Delhi was declared its capital and seat of government. As such, New Delhi houses important offices of the federal government, including the Parliament of India, as well as numerous national museums, monuments, and art galleries.

Some of the most prominent tourist attractions in Delhi are:

  • Red Fort
  • Jama Masjid
  • Purana Quila (Old Fort)
  • India Gate
  • Humayun’s Tomb
  • Lodhi Garden
  • Qutab Minar
  • Lotus Temple
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Raj Ghat (Mausoleum of Mahatama Gandhi)
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location

Location
Delhi’s geography is favorable in many respects. For one the city is located on the banks of Yamuna River which makes its crop lands fertile. Being on the northern part of India Delhi comprises of plain areas. There are a total of nine districts in Delhi.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi is spread over an area of 1,484 km2 (573 sq mi).

Vegetation of Delhi mainly comprise of medium size trees and herbs. However Delhi is known for its varied flowering plants. Weeds and grass grow on the banks of the Yamuna river. With its vast expanses of tree cover, Delhi is undoubtedly among the greenest capitals on earth.



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Climate
Delhi features an atypical version of the humid subtropical climate. Extreme temperatures dominate the capital. Delhi experiences extreme summers and winters. Besides the winter season also experiences immense fog which covers the city in its blanket.





languages


Languages
There are several languages in Delhi, which are spoken by various groups of people residing in the city. These languages in Delhi have been adapted from the different regions of India and they have blended smoothly with the city's rich culture.



The following languages are commonly spoken in the Delhi, the capital of India:

  • Hindi is the official language of Delhi and the majority of the people speak in Hindi. However the language is split up into several interesting dialects, which are popular among the people.
  • Urdu in Delhi is not only common but has a rich history of its own. Currently it is very popular in the area of Purani Dilli or Old Delhi, where a large number of Muslims reside.
  • Punjabi is one of the important languages of Delhi, which is widely spoken. The people who are conversant with it are the Punjabis and Sikhs in Delhi.
  • English in Delhi is a language with which nearly all the inhabitants of the city are familiar. It is a popular means of communication, particularly among the youngsters. Tourists in the city have absolutely no problem in communicating with the local people as everyone from shopkeepers to travel guides and from taxi drivers to passers-by are familiar with English. However, a prior knowledge of Hindi would be beneficial if the tourist intends to explore rural parts.

    Some of the other languages spoken in Delhi are Marathi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Nepali, Tamil, Oriya, Malayalam, Konkani and more.

    Among the various languages in Delhi, Hindi and English are generally used as the common mediums of instruction.


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Demographics
Many ethnic groups and cultures are represented in Delhi, making it a cosmopolitan city. Being the political and economic hub of northern India, the city attracts workers - both blue collar and white collar - from all parts of India, further enhancing its diverse character. A diplomatic hub, home to the embassies of 160 countries, Delhi has a large expatriate population as well.

People of Delhi, count amongst the most hospitable ones in India. You will find them very helpful and cheerful, always smiling and eager to help. Just like the rest of India, Delhi people also treat their guests with great honour and respect. Coming from different parts of the country as well as the world, they are multi linguistic and multi cultural.

Among the religion, Hinduism is the most practised (80% of Population). Other large communities include Muslims, Sikhs, Jains and Christians. Other minorities include Parsis, Buddhists and Jews.


DELHI - a rich and dynamic cultural hub
The cultural diversity and religious unity are the core values of the Indian society. Delhi, being the capital of India, naturally reflects it all, as people from different states come here for best education, best medicinal assistance and good job opportunities. It is a centre stage of Indian politics too and represents all that is best in the country.

Delhi is divided into two parts - Old Delhi and New Delhi, where the Old Delhi is full of formidable and interesting mosques, forts and monuments. On the other side New Delhi, the imperial city created by the British Raj has wide tree-lined avenues, parks and fountains, and imposing government buildings.

The ancient city still reflects the remnants of the glorious old-age charm and culture, yet has a very modern and chic lifestyle. The nightlife is interesting and a number of discos beckon the youngsters to sway and dance on enchanting numbers.

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A shopper’s paradise with its varied shops, markets, bazaars, glitzy malls with an opportunity to relax in pubs and trendy clubs. A place of gastronomical delight with a variety of finger licking cuisines.

Festivals
Delhi's association and geographic proximity to the capital, New Delhi, has amplified the importance of national events and holidays. National events like Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi's birthday) are celebrated with great enthusiasm in Delhi.

On India's Independence Day (15 August) the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the Red Fort. Most Delhiites celebrate the day by flying kites, which are considered a symbol of freedom.

The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India's cultural diversity and military might.

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Over the centuries Delhi is known for its composite culture, and a festival that symbolizes it truly is the Phool Walon Ki Sair, which takes place each year in September, and where flowers and fans embroidered with flowers, pankha are offered to the shrine of 13th century Sufi saint, Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki.

Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of lights), Mahavir Jayanti, Guru Nanak's Birthday, Durga Puja, Holi, Lohri, Chhath, Krishna Janmastami, Maha Shivaratri, Eid ul-Fitr, Moharram and Buddha Jayanti.

Apart from religious festivals there are several other fairs & festivals associated with music, art and culture. The Qutub Festival is a cultural event during which performances of musicians and dancers from all over India are showcased at night, with the Qutub Minar as the chosen backdrop of the event. Similarly there is Taj Mahotsav, held in Agra with Taj Mahal as chosen backdrop. Kite flying festivals, Pushkar Fair, etc.


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Cuisine
Punjabi and Mughlai delicacies like kebabs and biryanis are popular in Delhi. The street food here is known to be delicious and includes chaat, golgappe and aloo tikki.







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Due to Delhi's large cosmopolitan and migrant population, cuisines from every part of India, including Gujarati Rajasthani, Maharashtrian, Bengali, Hyderabadi cuisines, and South Indian food items like idli, sambar and dosa are widely available.

There are several food outlets in Delhi serving international cuisine, including Italian, Japanese, Continental, Middle-Eastern, Thai and Chinese. Within the last decade western fast food has become more popular as well.


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Art & Craft
The capital of India is not only known for its rich historical background but also for some exquisite arts and crafts. Infact, the arts and crafts of Delhi have been patronized since the times of the royals. As a cultural centre of its time, Delhi attracted the best of painters, musicians and dancers.

Historically, Delhi has always remained an important trading centre in northern India. Old Delhi still contains legacies of its rich Mughal past, which can be found among the old city's tangle of snaking lanes and teeming bazaars. The dingy markets of the Old City have an eclectic product range, from oil-swamped mango, lime and eggplant pickles, candy-colored herbal potions to silver jewelry, bridal attire, uncut material and linen, spices, sweets.


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Chandni Chowk, a three-century-old shopping area, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewellery and Zari saris. Notable among Delhi's arts and crafts are the Zardozi (an embroidery done with gold thread) and Meenakari (the art of enameling).

Dilli Haat, Hauz Khas, Pragati Maidan offer a variety of Indian handicrafts and handlooms. Over time Delhi has absorbed a multitude of humanity from across the country and has morphed into an amorphous pool of cultural styles.


Transport
Delhi Transport is well known in the country for its organized and systematic operations. The Capital city of Delhi is linked up with the important cities of India by National highways, Northern Railways and by Indian and private airlines.

Railways
The Vast City lies in the intersection of a number of national highways.
The main railway stations of Delhi are :

  • New Delhi Railway Station
  • Old Delhi Railway Station and
  • Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station
  • Anand Vihar Railway Station

Airways
Indira Gandhi International Airport which is the major gateway for overseas travelers and functions as both international and domestic connections is located 20 kms south of the city centre. The airport is well connected to all parts of the city by bus, taxis and metro rail.


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Commuting in Delhi
Public transport in Delhi is provided by buses, taxis (radio taxis & pre-paid taxis), auto rickshaws and a metro rail system.

Buses
Buses are the most popular means of transport catering to about 60% of the total demand. The state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is a major bus service provider for the city. DTC operates a huge fleet of both air conditioned and non air conditioned buses. The new Low Floor Buses are accessible to persons with mobility impairments with a manual ramp at the entrance that is pulled out on request. The BRT system has levelled Bus Q Shelters that allows level entry and exit to the bus are and is completely accessible.



metro rails

Delhi Metro
The Delhi Metro, a mass rapid transit system built and operated by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), serves many parts of Delhi as well as the satellite city of Gurgaon in the neighbouring Haryana and Noida in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. The metro system is completely accessible for persons with reduced mobility with accessible lifts, tactile paving, low height counters, audio-visual information dissemination in the trains, level platform entry, wider doors and dedicated space for wheelchair parking in the rail in the first and last compartments. A rechargeable Metro Card can be bought if the visitors intend to travel frequently and save themselves of buying a ticket manually before each journey.



auto rickshaw

Auto Rickshaws
Auto rickshaws are a popular means of public transportation in Delhi, as they charge a lower fare than taxis. Most run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and are yellow and green in colour. It can store a foldable wheelchair easily and is low floor, hence often preferred by persons with mobility impairments for para transit- the last leg connectivity from Bus/Metro/Railway Stations and for shorter rides within the city.



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Taxis
Taxis, though not an integral part of Delhi public transport, but are easily available. Private operators operate most taxis, and most neighborhoods have a taxi stand from which taxis can be ordered or picked up. In addition, air-conditioned radio taxis, which can be ordered by calling a central number, have become increasingly popular, charging a flat rate of INR 20-25 per kilometre. These can be booked on line (no extra charge) or by calling the fixed phone numbers below: (attracts some extra charge)

Phone Numbers of major Radio Taxis in Delhi :