The National Capital Territory of Delhi is an international metropolis with excellent tourist spots, recreational facilities and a history that dates back to ancient times. The name Delhi, first recorded in the 1st century BC, had been 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 fortress city was built in the 12th century by Chauhan ruler, Prithviraj Chauhan. Delhi was captured by Muslims in 1193 and it became the capital of the Muslim empire in India under
Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the builder of the historic tower,
Qutab Minar. Around 1771, the Marathas gained control of the city and the British forces seized the city from them in 1803. Delhi came under British rule after 1857 and in 1911 they decided to make Delhi their capital. After India gained independence in 1947, Delhi became the national capital of India.
The state of Delhi covers an area of 1,485 sq km. Situated on the banks of Yamuna River(a tributary of the Ganges), Delhi is bounded in the east by Uttar Pradesh and in the north, west and south by Haryana.
Old Delhi is surrounded by a high stone wall that was erected in 1638 and can be approached through seven arched gateways, including the Delhi Gate in the south, the Ajmeri Gate in the east and the
Kashmiri Gate in the north. The city has attracted several people from all parts of the country and today, Delhi presents an epitome of the Indian society.
Punjabis and Jats are two dominant communities in Delhi. Languages commonly spoken are Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu. Many of India's major cultural institutions - including the National Museum, the national academies of music, dance, art and theatre - are located in Delhi. The city is home to numerous fairs and festivals. In addition to a variety of trade and book fairs, the city hosts an annual film festival. The majority of the people are Hindus. Muslims constitute the largest minority, followed by Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists.
Delhi is a nucleus of trade, commerce and industry. It is the nerve centre of Indian politics. The President, Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers have their residences and offices in Delhi.
Government office complexes are a major source of employment and the city is also home to prominent business, medical, agricultural and educational institutions. Delhi has six universities and more than 100 colleges, besides several premier research institutions. A number of international companies have also opened their branches in Delhi.
The Parliament, the Rashtrapati Bhavan or the residence of the President of India are important landmarks of the city. Among other places of interest are the Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Purana Quila, Tughlaqabad Fort,
Humayun's Tomb, Firoz Shah Kotla, India Gate, Lodi Garden, Jama Masjid, Rajghat, Jantar Mantar, Safdarjung's Tomb, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, National Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, Nehru Museum, Rail Transport Museum, International Dolls Museum, Delhi Crafts Museum, Bahai Temple which is also known as Lotus Temple, Buddha Jayanti Park, Coronation Durbar Site, Appu Ghar and Chattarpur Mandir.
Delhi is also a shopper's paradise. One can shop for ethnic products at the Dilli Haat and the Cottage Emporium. For the latest international brands one can shop at Ansal Plaza, Ebony and other multi-brand and centrally air-conditioned malls. Connaught Place, South Extension, Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh, Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar Market are popular shopping areas.
Delhi caters to both domestic and international tourists and has hotels and restaurants that suit every possible taste and budget. The Taj Mahal Hotel, ITC Hotel Maurya Sheraton and Towers, Le Meridien Hotel, Hyatt Regency Delhi and The Oberoi Hotel are some of the internationally known hotels in Delhi.
A modern city with nearly 40 flyovers and an underground Metro Rail, Delhi has three main railway stations, the Old Delhi Railway Station, the New Delhi Railway Station and the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station. Compressed Natural Gas or CNG-driven public transport system ensures lower levels of pollution in the city. The state-of-the-art Indira Gandhi International Airport is situated at Palam in Delhi.