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Delhi - Quick Facts

Area: 1,483 sq km
Capital: New Delhi
Altitude: 293 m above sea level
Population: 16.78 million (Census 2011)
Average Temperature:  45°C (Max) - usually in May - Jun, 5°C(Min) - usually in Dec - Jan
Desirable Clothes: Woolen for winters and light cotton for summers
Rainfall: 714 mm
Highest Location:  Tughlakabad
Highest Point: 1,047 Ft
Best time to visit: July to mid-September  
Climate: Extreme climate with very hot summer and very cold winter
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Languages: Hindi, English, Urdu and Punjabi
Religions: Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Judaism

Delhi is an international metropolis with excellent tourist spots, recreational facilities, and a history that goes back to antiquity. Delhi offers a multitude of interesting places and attractions to the visitor, so much so that it becomes difficult to decide from where to begin exploring the city. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. It is a spacious, open city that houses many government buildings and embassies, apart from places of historical interest. Delhi, Capital of India and the third largest city in India, lies at an altitude of between 700 and 1,000 feet (213 and 305 metres) and covers an area of 1,485 square kilometres. Situated on the Yamuna River (a tributary of the Ganges River) Delhi is bordered on the east by the state of Uttar Pradesh and on the north, west, and south by Haryana. It generally has been presumed that the city was named for Raja Dhilu, a king who reigned in the 1st century BC , and that the various names by which it has been known (Delhi, Dehli, Dilli, and Dhilli) have been corruptions of this name. Delhi is surrounded by a high stone wall, erected in 1638, and is approached through seven arched gateways, including the Delhi Gate in the south, the Ajmer Gate in the east, and the Kashmere Gate in the north. Within the walls is a maze of congested narrow streets, alleys, busy bazaars, and some of the nation's most spectacular Indo-Muslim architectural features.

The region has a tropical steppe climate. The general prevalence of Continental air leads to relatively dry conditions with extremely hot summers. Monthly mean temperatures range from 14.3'C in January (minimum 3'C) to 34.5'C in June (maximum 47'C) the annual mean temperature is 25.3'C (WMO, 1971). The main seasonal climatic influence is the monsoon, typically from June to October. The mean annual rainfall total is 71.5 mm. Maximum rainfall occurs in July (211. mm). The heavy rains of the monsoon act as a "scrubber". North-westerly winds usually prevail; however, in June and July south-easterly predominate. Wind speeds are typically higher in the summer and monsoon periods; in winter, calms are frequent (20 per cent of the time).

The name Delhi, first recorded in the 1st century BC, was applied to a succession of cities built on this site before the present city was founded in 1638 by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. The first was built in the 12th century AD by the Cahaman ruler Prithviraja. It was captured by Muslims in 1193 and became capital of a Muslim empire in India under Qutubuddin Aybak, builder of the Qutb Minar tower. Muslim control ended with the capture and destruction of Delhi in the late 14th century by the Turkish conqueror Tamerlane. Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty in India, restored Delhi to capital status in 1526, and his son Humayun built a new city here. In 1540 it was seized and destroyed by the Afghan invader Sher Shah, and it was replaced by another new city. Akbar, the son of Humayun, recaptured Delhi but moved his capital to Agra and allowed Delhi to fall into ruins. It was rebuilt in its present form and restored as the Mughal capital by Akbar's grandson Shah Jahan in the 1600s. Delhi remained the Mughal capital until 1739, when it was conquered and looted of its treasures, including the famous Peacock Throne, by the Persian ruler Nadir Shah. About 1771, the Marathas gained control and remained in power until British forces seized the city in 1803. Delhi came under British rule after 1857, and in 1911 they decided to make it their capital. After India gained independence in 1947, Delhi became the Capital of India. Subsequently Delhi was made a Union Territory on November 1, 1956. With the 69th Constitutional amendment, Delhi got a Legislative Assembly when the National Capital Territory Act was enacted in 1991. Following state assembly elections in Delhi, Mr. Madan Lal Khurana became the first Chief Minister of Delhi.

By Air
Delhi has two airports, one international named Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI Airport) and the other domestic named Palam airport.

By Rail
Delhi is the major railhead of north India. The trains are available for all the cities and towns of the country.

By Road
Buses from different states of India pull into the Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Old Delhi, Anand Vihar, and Sarai Kale Kha Bus Terminals. Well connected to different places of the country. Distances from major cities- Mathura-146 km, Agra-200 km, Jaipur-250 km, Fatehpur Sikri-238 km.

Delhi is not a place in seclusion; it is by nature a homogenous city, which is ready to assimilate all incoming influences-whether they are people, culture, or the languages. Delhi has attracted people from all parts of the country leading to the establishment of different cultural pockets. Punjabis are the most dominant section here. Languages commonly used are Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English.

Delhi is a city of gardens and fountains, notable examples being the Roshan Ara Gardens and the meticulously planned and laid out Mughal Gardens. Many park and garden areas have grown up around historical monuments, such as the Lodi Gardens (around the Lodi Tombs) and the Firoz Shah Kotla Grounds (around Asoka's Pillar). Among the major recreation areas are the Delhi Ridge and the Yamuna riverfront Apart from the national festivals celebrated in Delhi, the occasions celebrated with much zest are Lohri (in January); Republic Day (January 26th - a spectacular parade down Rajpath, by the Defence Services and programmes displaying India's rich cultural heritage); the Delhi Rose Show (in January at Safdarjung's Tomb); the Delhi Flower Show (in February at Purana Quila); Urs (April/May and November/December - at Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia's tomb); Phool Walon ki Sair (September/October - a festival of flower sellers) and Dussehra (October).

For the gourmet in search of new gastronomic experiences, multifarious choices are at hand. The most popular cuisine is Mughlai food that owes its origin in India with the coming of the Mughals in the 16th century. With Delhi is their centre, they introduced a new style of cooling using clay ovens or 'tandoors' as they are popularly known. With time, several local herbs and spices found their way into these dishes, giving rise to a distince style called Mughlai food. It makes its presence felt in almost every niche in Delhi from the roadside stalls called dhabas to speciality restaurants in deluxe hotels. The dished include braised specials called korma, pot roasts or Dum Pukht, Kebabs and pilafs or biryanis.

Delhi has an amazingly long tradition of arts and crafts. Strangely enough not many people know about this: dilliwallas (Delhiites) included. Hardly surprising, considering there’s so much to confuse as arts and crafts from all over India camp out here. Actually, it would be an insult if they didn’t – after all isn’t Delhi the capital, the premiere city of India? Anyway, as a result, local traditions have gone unnoticed. As the popular Hindi adage goes: ghar ki murgi dal barabar, meaning that the things at home are rarely appreciated! In the year 1648 when Shahjahan built Shahjahanabad, the present-day walled city (though there is hardly any wall left!). Chandni Chowk, the famous market place came up as an accompaniment to the Red Fort in 1650.

Famous Arts & Crafts are-
•        Bamboo Work
•        Carpet Weaving
•        Gems, Kundan & Meenakari Jewellery
•        Ivory Carving
•        Leatherware
•        Musical Instruments
•        Paper Craft
•        Pottery
•        Shellac Bangles
•        Wood Inlay
•        Zari, Gota, Kinari & Zardozi
•        Dastkar, The Crafts Revolution

The celebration of all the festivals of India by the residents of Delhi makes the capital full of colour and joy through out the year. But the celebration of Holi and Dewali in Delhi carries a totally different mood here. These two festivals paint a very different picture of Delhi. The pomp and gaiety of the Id and Guru Purab celebrations takes into its fold the people from all walks of life. Being the Capital City, the National Festivals are celebrated with much fan fare which lacks any where else in the nation. The decorations done on the various places of worship during these festivals are a feast to the eyes.

Red Fort
A huge fort that contains within it some very beautiful palaces and handsome public buildings, such as the Diwan-i-Am (hall of public audience), Diwan-i-Khas (hall for private audiences), Rang Mahal (water-cooled apartment of royal ladier), the Pearl Mosque, built of white marble and the Lahore Gate-the main gate of the fort. Also the site of a son-et-lumiere programme is held here at evenings. There is a small museum on the fort's premises, and a small shopping arcade.

Sound & Light Show
It is held the year round, except during the monsoons (August). HindiEnglish September to October1900-2000 hrs2030-2130 hrs November to January1800-1900 hrs1930-2030 hrs February to April1900-2000 hrs2030-2130 hrs

Jama Masjid
It is situated in Old Delhi, an architectural extravaganza of Shah Jahan. One of the largest mosques, a handsome structure that is still a house of worship for devout Muslims.

Raj Ghat & Shanti Vana
Modern Indian memorials have been raised to independent India's leaders, by the banks or river Yamuna; that of Mahatma Gandhi is Raj Ghat and of Nehru is Shanti Vana.

New Delhi Sight Seeing

Purana Qila

This historic Purana Qila, which has stood witness to Delhi's rejuvenation, periods of anarchy, and the rise and fall of empires, is the venue for the spectacular sound and light show which brings alive the history of the capital. Amidst the tranquillity of the splendidly panoramic environs of Purana Qila select episodes from the annals of Delhi's historic and legendary past are brought to life. The viewer is transported centuries back in time to witness Draupadi being reduced to a dasi of Hastinapur, the gallant Prithviraj Chauhan gallooping away with the beauteous Samyogita, Sher Shah Suri being blown to bits by misfired cannon, the clash of a sword weilded by the legendary Razia Sultan, Humanyun tragically tumbling down the steps of his library, Bahadur Shah Zafar surrendering to the British.

India Gate
At the centre of the city is India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers who were martyred during the Afghan war. Directly opposite and Rashtrapati Bhawan, once the imperial residence of the British viceroys, and now the offical residence of the president of the Indian replublic.

Qutab Minar
A sandstone forerunner of the Taj Mahal that was built by his greiving window also situated nearby is the otmbs of Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia Chisti, Jahanara and the famous Urdu poet Mirza Chalib. The Qutab Minar is an 11th centuary victory tower that rises to a height of 73m. Also situated in the complex is the iron pillar of Ashoka, which has not rusted over the years.

Humayun's Tomb
A sandstone forerunner of the Taj Mahal that was built by his grieving widow

Lotus Temple
A place of faith that all visitors must see is the Baha'i Lotus Temple, a beautiful marble temple in the form of a blossoming lotus, surrounded by acres of beautiful gardens.

Birla Mandir
It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Mathura (146 Kms)
Mathura is traditionally recognised as the capital of Braj Bhoomi, the land which gave birth to Lord Krishna. The region is richly interwoven with the legend of Krishna, kept alive today by millions of devotees who look upon him as the most endearing incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and by specific locations associated with the legend.

Agra (
200 Kms)
Agra is famous as being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World-the Taj Mahal. The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. While its significance as a political centre ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map. a pleasant town with a comparatively slow pace, Agra is known for its superb inlay work on marble and soapstone by craftsmen who are descendants of those who worked under the Mughals. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.

Fatehpur Sikri (38 Kms from Agra, 238 Kms from Delhi)
Fatehpur Sikri came into being four centuries ago when the Emperor Akbar, not yet 28 years old, created the first planned city in Indo-Islamic architecture. The city is the concept of one man; it was actualized with great energy while the impulse lasted, and completely abandoned a little more than a decade later. In 1568, Akbar was secure and powerful but he had no son and heir. His search for blessings for the birth of a successor brought him to the Sufi mystic Sheikh Chisti, who lived in Sikri village. The saint prophesied the birth of three sons and soon after was born Prince Salim, later to become Emperor Jahangir.

Jaipur (250 Kms)
The "pink city" and Rajasthan's colourful capital, is full of things to see and do. The capital of Rajasthan was founded by Swai Jai singh 11 in 1727 A.D. He was not only a great ruler, but also a renowed mathematician and astrologer. Jaipur is also called as the first planned city of the country. It was designed by vidyadhar bhattacharya as per the Hindu treatise, shilp shastra. There are impressive monuments, an excellent range of handicrafts, a wide verity of cuisine, and entertainment that can keep you enthralled for days. In fact, you will find yourself wanting to extend your holidays.

Delhi is a melting pot of many people and cultures. Some of Indias best shopping is found in Delhi, ar relatively easy place to shop as long as you know what to buy and where to go. Visitors find a wide choice of items such as-Handicrafts from all over India, silk and cotton weaves, pottery and terracotta, jewellery, brassware, ivory, rosewood and sandalwood carvings and paintings are available.

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