|National Capital Territory of Delhi|
From top clockwise: Lotus temple,Humayun's Tomb, Connaught Place,Akshardham temple and India Gate.
The area around Delhi was probably inhabited before the second millennium BC, and there is evidence of continuous inhabitation since at least the 6th century BC. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. According to this epic this land was initially a huge mass of forests called 'Kandavaprastha' which was burnt down to build the city of Indraprastha. The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya period (c. 300 BC); in 1966, an inscription of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273–235 BC) was discovered near Srinivaspuri. Remains of eight major cities have been discovered in Delhi. The first five cities were in the southern part of present-day Delhi. Anang Pal of the Tomara dynasty founded the city of Lal Kot in AD 736. The Chauhans conquered Lal Kot in 1180 and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora.
The king Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated in 1192 by Muhammad Ghori, a Tajik invader from Afghanistan, who made a concerted effort to conquer northern India. By 1200, native Hindu resistance had begun to crumble, the dominance of foreign Turkic Muslim dynasties in India was to last for the next five centuries. On the death of Muhammad in 1206, the Turkic slave-general, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, broke away from the Ghurid Dynasty and became the first Sultan of Delhi. He began construction of the Qutb Minarand Quwwat-al-Islam (might of Islam) mosque, the earliest extant mosque in India. Qutb-ud-din faced widespread Hindu rebellions and it was his successor, Iltutmish (1211–36), who consolidated the Turkic conquest of northern India.
For the next three hundred years, Delhi was ruled by a succession of Turkic and an Afghan, Lodhi dynasty. They built a number of forts and townships that are part of the seven cities of Delhi. Delhi was a major centre of Sufism during this period. The Mamluk Sultanate (Delhi) was overthrown in 1290 by the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320). Under the second Khilji ruler, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Delhi sultanate extended its control south of the Narmada River in the Deccan. The Delhi sultanate reached its greatest extent during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325–1351). In an attempt to bring the whole of the Deccan under control, he moved his capital to Daulatabad, Maharashtra in central India, but by moving away from Delhi he lost control of the north and was forced to return to Delhi to restore order. The southern provinces then broke away. In the years following the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388), the Delhi sultanate rapidly began to lose its hold over its northern provinces. Delhi was captured and sacked by Timur Lenk in 1398. Near Delhi, Timur massacred 100,000 captives. Delhi's decline continued under the Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451), until the sultanate was reduced to Delhi and its hinterland. Under the Afghan Lodhi dynasty (1451–1526), the Delhi sultanate recovered control of the Punjab and the Gangetic plain to once again achieve domination over northern India. However, the recovery was short-lived and in 1526 the sultanate was destroyed by Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty.
In 1526, Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, from the Fergana Valley in modern-day Uzbekistan, invaded India, defeated the last Lodhi sultan in the First Battle of Panipat and founded the Mughal Empire that ruled from Delhi andAgra. The Mughal dynasty ruled Delhi for more than three centuries, with a sixteen-year hiatus during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, from 1540 to 1556. In 1553, the Hindu king, Hemu Vikramaditya acceded to the throne of Delhi by defeating forces of Mughal Emperor Humayun at Agra and Delhi. However, the Mughals re-established their rule after Akbar's army defeated Hemu during the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556. Shah Jahan built the seventh city of Delhi that bears his name Shahjahanabad, which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1638 and is today known as the Old Cityor Old Delhi.
After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Mughal Empire's influence declined rapidly as the Hindu Maratha Empire rose to prominence. In 1737, Maratha forces sacked Delhi following their victory against the Mughals in the First Battle of Delhi. In 1739, the Mughal Empire lost the huge Battle of Karnal in less than three hours against the numerically outnumbered but military superior Persian army led by Nader Shah ofPersia during his invasion after which he completely sacked and looted Delhi, the Mughal capital, carrying away immense wealth including the Peacock Throne, theDaria-i-Noor, and Koh-i-Noor. The Mughals, severely further weakened, would never overcome this crushing defeat and humiliation which would also let the way open for more invaders to come, including eventually the British. Nader eventually agreed to leave the city and India after forcing the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah Ito beg him for mercy and granting him the keys of the city and the royal treasury. A treaty signed in 1752 made Marathas the protectors of the Mughal throne in Delhi.
In 1757, the Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Durrani, sacked Delhi. He returned to Afghanistan leaving a Mughal puppet ruler in nominal control. The Marathas again occupied Delhi in 1758, and were in control before their defeat in 1761 at the third battle of Panipat, and the city was captured again by Ahmad Shah. However, in 1771, the Marathas established a protectorate over Delhi when the Maratha ruler,Mahadji Shinde, recaptured Delhi and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II was installed as a puppet ruler in 1772. In 1803, during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, the forces of British East India Company defeated the Maratha forces in the Battle of Delhi. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Delhi fell to the forces of East India Company after a bloody fight known as the Siege of Delhi. The city came under the direct control of the British Government in 1858. It was made a district province of thePunjab. In 1911, it was announced that the capital of British held territories in India was to be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi. The name "New Delhi" was given in 1927, and the new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931. New Delhi, also known as Lutyens' Delhi, was officially declared as the capital of the Union of India after the country gainedindependence on 15 August 1947. During the partition of India, thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees, mainly from West Punjab fled to Delhi, while many Muslim residents of the city migrated to Pakistan. Migration to Delhi from the rest of India continues (as of 2013), contributing more to the rise of Delhi's population than the birth rate, which is declining.
The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly along Civil lines, though with limited powers. In December 2001, the Parliament of India building in New Delhi was attacked by armed militants, killing six security personnel. India suspected Pakistan-based militant groups were behind the attack, which caused a majordiplomatic crisis between the two countries. There were further terrorist attacks in Delhi in October 2005 and September 2008, resulting in a total of 103 deaths.
Delhi is the largest commercial centre in northern India; it has an estimated net State Domestic Product (FY 2010) of 1595 billion (US$25 billion) in nominal terms and ~6800 billion (US$110 billion) in PPP terms.As of 2013, the per capita income of Delhi was Rs. 230000, highest in India. GSDP in Delhi at the current prices for 2012-13 is estimated at Rs 3.88 trillion (short scale) against Rs 3.11 trillion (short scale) in 2011-12.
As per the Economic survey of Delhi (2005–2006), the tertiary sector contributes 70.95% of Delhi's gross SDP followed bysecondary and primary sectors, with 25.20% and 3.85% contributions respectively. Delhi's workforce constitutes 32.82% of the population, and increased by 52.52% between 1991 and 2001. Delhi's unemployment rate decreased from 12.57% in 1999–2000 to 4.63% in 2003. In December 2004, 636,000 people were registered with various employment exchange programs in Delhi. In 2001 the total workforce in national and state governments and the quasi-government sector was 620,000, and the private sector employed 219,000. Key service industries are information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism. Construction, power, health and community services, and real estate are also important to the city's economy. Delhi has one of India's largest and fastest growing retail industries.Manufacturing also grew considerably as consumer goods companies established manufacturing units and headquarters in the city. Delhi's large consumer market and the availability of skilled labour has attracted foreign investment. In 2001, the manufacturing sector employed 1,440,000 workers and the city had 129,000 industrial units.
Delhi's culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. This is exemplified by many significant monuments in the city. Delhi is also identified as the location of Indraprastha, the ancient capital of thePandavas. The Archaeological Survey of India recognises 1200 heritage buildings and 175 monuments as national heritage sites. In the Old City, the Mughals and the Turkic rulers constructed several architecturally significant buildings, such as the Jama Masjid – India's largest mosque and the Red Fort. Three World Heritage Sites – the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb – are located in Delhi. Other monuments include the India Gate, the Jantar Mantar – an 18th-century astronomical observatory – and the Purana Qila – a 16th-century fortress. The Laxminarayan temple, Akshardham temple, the Bahá'í Lotus templeand the ISKCON temple are examples of modern architecture. Raj Ghat and associated memorials houses memorials ofMahatma Gandhi and other notable personalities. New Delhi houses several government buildings and official residences reminiscent of British colonial architecture, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, the Parliament of India and Vijay Chowk. Safdarjung's Tomb is an example of the Mughal gardens style. Some regal havelis (palatial residences) are in the Old City.
Lotus Temple, is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, is open to all regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasised in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasise that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions. The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faithand other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside. Furthermore no sermons can be delivered, and there can be no ritualistic ceremonies practised.
Chandni Chowk, a 17th-century market, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewellery and Zari saris. Delhi's arts and crafts include, Zardozi – an embroidery done with gold thread – and Meenakari – the art of enamelling.
Delhi's association and geographic proximity to the capital, New Delhi, has amplified the importance of national events and holidays like Republic Day, Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti. On Independence Day, the Prime Ministeraddresses 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 strength. Over the centuries, Delhi has become known for its composite culture, and a festival that symbolises this is the Phool Walon Ki Sair, which takes place in September. Flowers and pankhe – fans embroidered with flowers – are offered to the shrine of 13th century Sufi saint Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki and the Yogmaya temple, both situated in Mehrauli.
Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of lights), Mahavir Jayanti, Guru Nanak's Birthday, Raksha Bandhan, Durga Puja, Holi, Lohri, Chauth, Krishna Janmastami, Maha Shivratri, Eid ul-Fitr, Moharram and Buddha Jayanti. TheQutub 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 a backdrop. Other events such as Kite Flying Festival, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi. The Auto Expo, Asia's largest auto show, is held in Delhi biennially. The World Book Fair, held biannually at the Pragati Maidan, is the second largest exhibition of books in the world. Delhi is often regarded as the "Book Capital" of India because of high readership.
As India's national capital and centuries old Mughal capital, Delhi influenced the food habits of its residents and is where Mughlai cuisine originated. Along with Indian cuisine, a variety of international cuisines are popular among the residents.The dearth of food habits among the city's residents created a unique style of cooking which became popular throughout the world, with dishes such as Kebab, biryani,tandoori. The city's classic dishes include Butter chicken, Aloo Chaat, chaat, dahi vada, kachori, chole bhature, Chole kulche, jalebi and lassi.
The fast living habits of Delhi's people has motivated the growth of street foodoutlets.A trend of dining at local dhabas is popular among the residents. High profile restaurants have gained popularity in recent years, among the popular restaurants are the Karim Hotel, the Punjab Grill and Bukhara. The Gali Paranthe Wali (the street of fried bread) is a street in Chandni Chowk particularly for food eateries since the 1870s. Almost the entire street is occupied by fast food stalls or street vendors. It has nearly become a tradition that almost every prime minister of India has visited the street to eatparatha at least once. However, other Indian cuisines are also available in this area but this street specializes in north Indian food .