History of Delhi
History of Delhi dated back to the Mahabharata period and much earlier as this was the site of the ancient Indraprastha. The city of Delhi was founded in the 11 th century by a Rajput chieftain of Tomara clan. Chauhans had obtained possession of the city from the Tomars. Prithvi Raj, the Chauhan ruler of Ajmer and Delhi made the city of Delhi famous by his heroic valour and romantic adventures. Delhi under Prithvi Raj and Kanauj under Jai Chand were the principal kingdoms of North India at that time.
The invasion of India by Muhammed Ghori was beaten back by Prithvi Raj in the first Battle of Taran in 1191 AD. Next year Ghori came back to avenge his defeat and in the second Battle of Taran in 1192 AD, the Rajput army was routed. Prithvi Raj was captured and put to death. Delhi thus passed into the hands of Muslim rulers for six centuries. Delhi was here after ruled by a series of Muslim dynasties, the Qutub Shahis Khiljis; Tughluqs; Sayyids and Lodis, each of whom built forts, tombs and palaces of different artistic styles.
After the 1857 the mutiny by Indian troops the British deposed the titular Emperor Bahadur Shah. A new capital was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, English architect. New Delhi – a city of imposing dimensions was laid out by the side of the old city by the British Indian Government.Independent India has retained this historic capital.
Places of Interest
Qutub Minar: The tallest stone tower in India was started by Qutub – Ud – Din Aibak as a memorial of victory and also as an accessory to the adjoining mosque to call the faithful to prayer.
Alai – Darwaza, Alai – Minar and Iron Pillar: Alauddin Khilji, in 1300 AD added a court to the east of Quwwatul – Islam mosque and the magnificent Alai – dar – waza (gateway).
Siri: Siri, the second city of Delhi, was built by Alauddin Khilji in about 1303 AD.
Kotla Firoz Shah: Replete with history is the abandoned capital of Firozabad, the 5 th city of Delhi.
Haus Khas: In 1300 Ad Sultan Alauddin Khilji excavated a Hauz (Tank or reservoir), today known as Hauz Khas, to supply water to his new city of Siri.
Humayun’s Tomb: Located near the crossing of Mathura road and Lodi road, this magnificent garden tomb is the first substantial example of Mughal architect in India.
Red Fort: Built with red sandstone by the great Emperor Shah Jehan, when he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi.
The foundation of the citadel was laid on the 16th April 1639 A.D. the construction took about nine years and it covers an area of 124 acres. Its fortification walls covering a perimeter of 2.41 km have height varying from 18m along river side 33.5 m on the other side. A wide moat (22.8 m wide and 9.14 m deep), surrounding the fort was originally connected to Yamuna River. Originally it had six gates but now entry into the for is through Labori and Delhi gates. The fort houses Diwane-e-Khas, the hall of public audience and Diwan-e-Khas, the hall of private audience the Moti Masjid or Pearl mosque, Rani Mahal and Hammam (royal baths).
Red Fort is the most prestigious place where Independent day celebration is held every year. Each evening the Sound and Light show recreates events of Indian history.
Jama Masjid : Built in red sandstone, Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, was built by Shahjahan. It has three gateways and two. Minarets, which stand 40 m high and are constructed of alternative vertical strips of red sand stone and white marble. The courtyard of the mosque is enclosed by an arched colonnade with domed pavilions at the corners. Along the western front is the prayer hall, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers.
Jantar Mantar: The unique-observatory with masonry instruments was designed by astronomer king - Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1724 A.D.It is a popular place for staging dharanas (protests) and hunger strikes.
Safdarjung’s Tomb: Built in the 18th century by Nawab Shuja-ud-Daulah (1753-54 A.D.). It is the last enclosed garden tomb in Delhi. It has several small pavilions with evocative names like Jangli Mahal (Palace of Woods), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace) and Badshah Pasand (King's favorite). The complex also has a madarsa. The Archaeological Survey of India maintains a library over the main gateway.
Rastrapati Bhawan: Standing on Raisina Hill. It was earlier the Viceroy’s House is today the official residence of the President of India.
Secretariat: On the either side of the ventral vista leading up from Rajpath to Rastrapati
Bhawan, are the two blocks of the Secretariat buildings.
Parliament House: The parliament house is a circular colonnaded building. It also houses ministerial offices, numerous committee rooms and library.
India Gate: Further east from the secretarial Building lies the All India was memorial arch, now known as India Gate. The 42 meter high freestanding arch was designed by Luteyens and built in 1931.India Gate was raised in the memory of 90,000 Indian soldiers killed during the World War I.
How To Reach
Air: Delhi is the main gateway city for northern India. All major international carriers operate direct services to New Delhi from various centers in the world. Domestic Airlines connect the city with all major centers of tourist and business interests in the country.
Rail: Delhi is the hub of the Indian Railways network with express trains to all parts of the country. Delhi has three major railway stations – Old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin.
Roads: 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 neighboring States provide frequent bus services.