History of Delhi
"Once there was nothing here.
Now look how minarets camouflage the sunset.
Do you hear the call to prayer?
It leaves me unwinding scrolls of legend
till I reach the first brick they brought here.
How the prayers rose, brick by brick?"
- Agha Shahid Ali -
Delhi, the capital of India has a strong historical background. It was ruled by some of the most powerful emperors in Indian history.
The history of the city is as old as the epic Mahabharata. The town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live. In due course eight more cities came alive adjacent to Indraprastha: Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad.
Delhi has been a witness to the political turmoil for over five centuries. It was ruled by the Mughals in succession to Khiljis and Tughlaqs.
From Hindu Kings to Muslim Sultans, the reins of the city kept shifting from one ruler to another. The soils of the city smell of blood, sacrifices and love for the nation. The old 'Havelis' and edifices from the past stand silent but their silence also speaks volumes for their owners and people who lived here centuries back.
In the year 1803 AD, the city came under the British rule. In 1911, British shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi. It again became the center of all the governing activities. But, the city has the reputation of over throwing the occupants of its throne. It included the British and the current political parties that have had the honour of leading free India.
After independence in 1947, New Delhi was officially declared as the Capital of India.
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Delhi is one of the most important historical cities. It has a land of towers, turrets, tombs, temples, mausoleums, monuments, forts, etc. It has been the seat of many ancient empires, kingdoms, kings and princes. It has always been the centre of great Indian movements. It has been the capital Hindu Kings as well as Mughal Emperors. It is the star attraction of Indians and foreigners because of its great and rich background. It has been ruined and recreated times and again.
It was named as Indraprastha by the Pandavas and remained the capital of many Hindu Kingdoms for thousands of years. The Muslim Kings also made it their capital through almost every king rehabilitated it at some particular place. Delhi of Qutub-ud-in Aibak was situated around Qutub Minar and Mehrauli. The present Delhi was found by Shahajahan and Red Fort was his grand palace. Chandni Chowk used to be a beautiful lake during those days.
Round the city of Delhi there used to be a big wall which is now broken at many places. The city has many magnificent monuments like Qutub Minar, Humayun’s tomb, tombs at Safdarjung and Nizamuddin.
Delhi has been the capital for the entire period of British rule of India. Today it is the capital of free India and seat of Central Government, embassies and high commissions. It has great buildings like Parliament House, Rastrapati Bhawan etc. It has also many great trading centres with activity especially in the evenings amidst ensigns’ glittering lights and coloured fountains.
The city of Delhi is the attraction of all eyes. Everyone is interested and anxious to have a bud’s view of this ancient city. It is, indeed, a treasure chest of antiquity.