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.
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 a 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.
Handicrafts from all over India, silk and cotton weaves, pottery and terracotta, jewellery, brassware, ivory, rosewood and sandalwood carvings and paintings are available.