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New Delhi – Brief History

Delhi is a city where time travel is feasible. Step aboard your time machine (the sleek and efficient metro) and you can go from Old Delhi, where labourers haul sacks of spices and jewellers weigh gold on dusty scales, to modern New Delhi, with its colonial-era parliament buildings and penchant for high tea. Then on to the future: Gurgaon, a satellite city of skyscraping offices and glitzy malls.

This pulsating metropolis has a bigger population than Australia, and is one of the world's most polluted cities. But woven into its rich fabric are moments of pure beauty: an elderly man threading temple marigolds; Sufi devotional songs; a boy flying a kite from a rooftop.

So don’t be put off. Delhi is a city that has been repeatedly ravaged and reborn, with vestiges of lost empires in almost every neighbourhood. There's so much to experience here, it's like a country in itself

A symbol of the country’s rich past and thriving present, Delhi is a city where ancient and modern blend seamlessly together. It is a place that not only touches your pulse but even fastens it to a frenetic speed. Home to millions of dreams, the city takes on unprecedented responsibilities of realizing dreams bringing people closer and inspiring their thoughts.

Just a century ago, the British moved the seat of their empire from Kolkata to Delhi. And it has been the Capital of India ever since. Now a thriving, cosmopolitan metro, the city has much to celebrate as it has already reached the milestone of completing 100 years as a Capital. With a history that goes back many centuries, Delhi showcases an ancient culture and a rapidly modernising country. Dotted with monuments there is much to discover here. The seat of many powerful empires in the past, its long history can be traced in its many carefully-preserved monuments, ancient forts and tombs.

All this is combined with the best features of a modern city such as a metro system, bustling markets and fabulous eating places. The past and the present meld seamlessly together, making centuries-old monuments a part of the city’s daily life. Delhi is very much a history’s child. The story of the city is as old as the epic Mahabharata, when the town was known as Indraprastha, where Pandavas used to live. Over the centuries, eight more cities came alive adjacent to Indraprastha: Lal Kot, Siri, Dinpanah, Quila Rai Pithora, Ferozabad, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad and Shahjahanabad. Many empires rose to the heights of their power and were destroyed here. Among the prominent dynasties which made Delhi their capital were the Tughlaqs, the Khiljis and the Mughals.

Even today, one can have a fascinating glimpse into the past in Old Delhi, with its labyrinth of narrow lanes, old havelis, and colourful bazaars. Rickshaws wind their way through this crowded, bustling capital of the Mughals, where life continues, much as it did hundreds of years ago. It is home to three World Heritage monuments—Qutub Minar, Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb that have survived many centuries, and give an idea of architectural wonders created by emperors in the past. Central Delhi, with its tree-lined avenues, imposing structures and buildings such as the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House and India Gate, reflect Delhi’s colonial past. A number of museums provide a glimpse into the country’s fascinating history.

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