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Delhi History, India

Delhi, the capital of India, has always been branded with years of imperial power shifts. The timeless Jamuna River is a silent spectator to both the magnificent and turbulent 5000 year old history of the city.

A walk through the city is a showcase of risen and fallen fortresses of olden rulers’ remains which are scrawled all over the face of Delhi. In fact, many of the most important regal and majestic remains of the entirety of India are concentrated in the city. History owes it to the knowledge that the ancient city was governed by some of the India’s most respected and at times feared emperors.


A city tracing its roots to the Mahabharata

The history of Delhi is said to date back to the time of the magical epic The Mahabharata. Popular Hindu folklore argues that Delhi had been the mythical city in the epic which was called Indraprastha.

The whole area was in the beginning an empty and very barren slate of land which was rehabilitated into a glorious city by the hard work of Pandavas. This happened after the Pandavas won over the Kauravas in a battle over the land. The Pandavas founded their capital Indra Prastha in this region known as Khandava-Prastha.

Seven counts of progress and decline

Empires rose and fell even before the dawn of history in ancient Delhi. What's left today are a glut of ramparts, gates, monuments and temples of the glorious bygone ages. Much of the ancient history of Delhi encompasses all the different powerful rulers who placed their royal fortresses in the capital city.

Delhi has been destroyed and reformed seven times throughout its history and these are the names of the cities throughout history: Lal Kot or Qila Rai Pithora, Siri, Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah, Ferozabad, Dilli Sher Shahi or Shergarh and Shajahanabad.

Combined and integrated into one, they had always been referred to as Delhi. Most of the remnants - consisting of defensive ramparts, gates, temples and other buildings - are still existing exuding the medieval charm of the city's gaudy olden times.

The modern history under British ruling

The British Empire had taken Delhi into their custody in 1803. They put in a British Imperial administrator in the city. Although, during that time Delhi was yet to be the capital of India, it was a significant commercial hub and its inhabitants had reached close to 200000 by the early 1900's.

In 1911, the British moved the capital from Calcutta all the way to Delhi. The city then became the new centre of all activities during that time. Under British ruling, New Delhi was built and was fashioned in a grand manner.

Delhi - centre stage of the country

Only sixteen years after being inaugurated as India's capital, New Delhi was burned to the ground during the division of India when many hundreds of thousands of ethnic peoples—both Hindu & Sikh refugees—went to the city. In mere weeks, the city's population, of less than 1000000, swelled up to almost double that size.

Today it is home to some 14 million people. Delhi has managed to survive several fallings and risings. Each remnant of old structures you see, as you walk down the narrow streets, has a magnificent story to tell.

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