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Clockwise from the top: Lotus temple, Humayun's Tomb, Connaught Place, Akshardham temple and India Gate.
Although constructed of destroyed Hindu temples, the Mosques at Old Delhi and Ajmer once and for all set the fashion to be followed by later mosques in Muslim India… ~ Syed Mahmudul Hasan

Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, is a city and a union territory of India containing New Delhi, the capital of India. Straddling the Yamuna river, primarily its western or right bank, Delhi shares borders with the state of Uttar Pradesh in the east and with the state of Haryana in the remaining directions. The NCT covers an area of 1,484 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the 2011 census, Delhi's city proper population was over 11 million, while the NCT's population was about 16.8 million. Delhi's urban agglomeration, which includes the satellite cities Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida in an area known as the National Capital Region (NCR), has an estimated population of over 28 million, making it the largest metropolitan area in India and the second-largest in the world (after Tokyo).


  • With evidence of continuous settlement dating back to the 6th Century BC, Delhi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. The legendary city of Indraprastha from the epic Mahabharata is said to have been situated where Delhi now lies. Thought to have been built and destroyed 11 times, evidence of at least eight distinct settlements can still be seen in Delhi.
  • Thus, I once heard a Hindu nationalist pleading for renaming Delhi as Indraprastha, the city founded right here by Mahabharata hero Yudhishthira. This ancient-new name would constitute a statement heard loud and clear around the world. (Ch. 9)
    • Elst K. On Modi Time (2015)
  • Indraprastha was the town founded by the Pandava brothers of Mahabharata fame as their capital. Here, the eldest among them, Yudhishthira, became the “ruler of righteousness” (dharma-râja). ... The new town was dedicated to Indra. ... Indraprastha was founded as the capital of the Pandavas’ small-time kingdom but the area was destined by fate to become the capital of the Delhi Sultanate, the Moghul Empire, Samrat Hemachandra’s short-lived Empire, British India spanning the whole Subcontinent, and now the Indian Republic. It is a source of pride, and worth celebrating, that here, the “righteous ruler” once chose to highlight the great universal ideas personified in Indra. Therefore, the open-minded Delhiites all agree: Indraprastha amar rahe!
    • About Indraprastha, the oldest part of Delhi. Elst, Koenraad. Hindu Dharma and the Culture Wars. (2019). New Delhi : Rupa.
  • Much of Delhi’s regional importance came from the location in the watershed between the Ganga and the Indus river systems...In the sixth century BC, Delhi formed part of the Kuru kingdom, one of the Mahajanapadas or ‘great states.’ In the Buddhist documents of that period, Indapatta (identified with Indraprastha) is mentioned as the capital of the Kuru state.
    • A.G. Krishna Menon, in "Delhi: A Heritage City: 20 Walks through History", P.9
  • One evidence of the continuing importance of Delhi, as a location in the third century BC, is the inscription (edict) engraved here on the instruction of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka... the edict is to be found on a rock in the area in modern Kalkaji.
    • A.G. Krishna Menon, in "Delhi: A Heritage City: 20 Walks through History", P.9
  • Although constructed of destroyed Hindu temples, the Mosques at Old Delhi and Ajmer once and for all set the fashion to be followed by later mosques in Muslim India…
    • Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Dacca (Bangladesh), 1979.
  • A Paradise, that's Delhi
    Humpty Dumpty, hocus pocus, hurly burly
    If there is a paradise on earth, it is Delhi
    Full of people, overflowing
    Markets onto the road going
    Full of fumes, full of gases
    Full of ultra modern asses
    Full of shining, made-up faces
    Full of heart and cancer cases
    Car and truck and motorcycle
    Full of vehicle on the vehicle
    Full of jolting, full of stoking
    Full of lanes and bylanes choking
    Full of housing haywire going
    Full of sewage into Jamuna flowing
    Full of callous indifference breeding
    Full of pastures fast receding
    Full of power, and still power crisis
    Full of smoothly rising prices
    Full of girth and grime and mirth
    Our Delhi is a paradise on earth.
  • The Delhi area has an incredibly long and eventful ancient past, beginning thousands of years ago in the stone age and merging at the other end into the medieval period when the Rajputs made way for Delhi Sultans in the twelfth century.
  • Delhi--created at the end of the 12th Century from the ruins of seven ancient cities--is a microcosm of all India. The city of 13 million people is the nation's capital and cultural heart. New Delhi is home to grand hotels, fashionable homes, spacious parks and broad promenades. Old Delhi is compact, crowded and chaotic.
    • Harry Shattuck, in The old and the new of Delhi: Within city, it's a whole other world
  • In its long history Delhi has been on several occasions the victim of military occupation accompanied by pillage and rapine, and these occasions have sometimes altered the course of the city’s fortunes, both materially and culturally. One such occasion was its capture by Qutubuddin Aibak on behalf of Sultan Muizud-Din Muhammad-ibn-Sam of Ghur in 1192 or 1193. Others, much later, were Nader Shah’s capture of the city in 1739, followed by its occupation by Ahamd Shah Durrani, the British in 1803, and the destruction which accompanied the uprising of 1857 and its suppression.
  • The period from 1724, to Nadir Shah’s invasion in 1739 was one of rapid internal decay of the empire, but one of outer brilliance for Delhi as far as its cultural life was concerned. The phase of 1740 to 1760 was period of growing anarchy.
    • Rakesh Kumar Bhatt, in History and Development of Libraries in India, P.174
  • Modern Delhi began with the slow revival of the city under British domination. During the ‘Delhi Renaissance’, approximately 1830 to the outbreak of uprising of 1857, Delhi exhibited the beginnings of a cultural ferment; Western technology and idea entered the city and supported each other.
    • Rakesh Kumar Bhatt, in History and Development of Libraries in India, P.175
  • Chandni Chowk is the street--an imperial avenue under Shah Jahan's reign--extends from the Red Fort. The name often is applied to connecting alleys and streets. It's jammed with makeshift shops, markets, rickshaws, carts drawn by horses and oxen, cows, goats and pedestrians.
    • Harry Shattuck, in The old and the new of Delhi: Within city, it's a whole other world
  • Once through this ruined city did I pass
    I espied a lonely bird on a bough and asked
    What knowest thou of this wilderness?
    It replied: 'I can sum it up in two words:
    ‘Alas, Alas!”
  • It was a big challenge for me when I decided to start with the Sufi night. It took a while for the crowd to understand the music that was being played at the club since Delhi's crowd is more used to listening to hip-hop and Bollywood music, but the introduction of Sufi music definitely brought in a change.
  • The soil and climate in Delhi are also not favourable for anthrax.
    • Riaz Khan (Delhi Zoo curator), Money Control (2012)[3]
  • Delhi does not have legislations and policies which recognise the city’s values. The state government has not been able to identify the unique elements and outstanding universal values yet.
  • As you go from New Delhi to Old Delhi suddenly, the streets are narrower. Suddenly, there are bicycle-rickshaws instead of cars. Suddenly, there are more people. Suddenly, everything is different.
    • Raj Ahluwalia, in The old and the new of Delhi: Within city, it's a whole other world
  • In Delhi one could manage a drink and dine off other people all 365 days...Delhi had over a hundred embassies, High Commissions and legations. Diplomats in Delhi did not have much work to do. Most of their energies were directed to wining[sic] and dining officials of the External Affairs and other ministries of the Government of India, cultivating non-official locals, and celebrating their independence days.
  • That's Delhi. When life gets too much for you all you need to do is to spend an hour at Nigambodh Ghat, watch the dead being put to flames and hear their kin wail for them. Then come home and down a couple of pegs of whisky. In Delhi, death and drink make life worth living.
    • Khushwant Singh, in Delhi: A Novel, p. 26
  • They grouped into nativities - Bengalis, Biharis, Bandladeshis, South Indians, Northeasterners, Kashmiri Pandits and Punjabis - or sought refuge in professional identities. They were Delhiites because geography and the pursuit of common goals made them so and not because the city offered a unifying identity. Delhi now belonged to everyone who lived in it, but no one belonged to Delhi. The original Delhiites too were missing from public life - they preferred the city of memory.
  • It is now almost a cliché that the Partition transformed Delhi from a Mughal to a Punjabi city. The bitter experiences of the refugees at the hands of Islamists in Pakistan encouraged them to support right-wing Hindu parties ... Trouble began in September (1947) after the arrival of refugees from Pakistan who were determined on revenge and driving Muslims out of properties which they could then occupy. Gandhi in his prayer meetings in Birla House denounced the 'crooked and ungentlemanly' squeezing out of Muslims who left for Pakistan. Despite these exhortations, two-thirds of the city's Muslims were to abandon India's capital eventually.
    • Ian Talbot and Gurharpal Singh, The Partition of India (2009), p. 118–119

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