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Home>>North India>>Delhi

Delhi


HISTORY OF DELHI

Delhi travel, Delhi travel guide, Tourist attractions of Delhi, Historicals & Spiritual places of Delhi, Famous Beaches & lakes Tour, about fairs & festivals of DelhiDelhi, where a empire rose and fell before the dawn of history; where citadels of emperors appeared and disappeared; a city of mysterious eternity whose old ruins proclaim a majestic and imperial past and whose present pulsates vibrantly with the ever flowing life of India. The eternal Jamuna bears witness to the glorious and tumultuous 5,000 year old history of Delhi. A history which begins with the creation of Indraprastha by the Pandavas and the transformation of this barren gift of the Kauravas into an idyllic haven.

A history which encompasses all the various kings and emperors who fixed their royal citadels here-- Indraprastha, Lal Kot, Quila Rai Pithora, Siri, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad, Ferozabad, Dinpanah, Delhi Sher Shahi or then Shahjahanabad. but, combined and integrated into one, these 'new cities' have always been called Delhi and howsoever many names it may have acquired, Delhi has always been intrinsically identified with power and imperial sway. There have been at least eight cities around modern Delhi, and the old saying that whoever founds a new city at Delhi will lose it has come true every time -- most recently for the British who founded New Delhi in 1911.

Delhi travel, Delhi travel guide, Tourist attractions of Delhi, Historicals & Spiritual places of Delhi, Famous Beaches & lakes Tour, about fairs & festivals of DelhiThe historic Purana Qila, which has stood witness to Delhi's rejuvenation, periods of anarchy, and the rise & fall of empires, brings alive history of the capital. Amidst the tranquility of the splendidly panoramic environs of Purana Qila, Delhi's historic and legendary past come to life. After Shah Jahan built Red Fort the attention of administration shifted to gorgeous palaces of the fort. Today the fort is open for the public but only limited area can be accessed. More than half of the fort area has been taken over by the Army. But even what is open to visit reminds one of the splendour and lavish life style which our rulers lived. Delhi has seen the death of many empires and resisted bloody attempts to eliminate her. Nadir Shah had ordered his soldiers to plunder and massacre Delhi. It is said that he got so much wealth from Delhi that he was not able to carry in home. Abdali and Taimur Lane were no different they had tried their best to demolish the city of Delhi but it was some kind of a boon which helped it to regain its lost glory each time Delhi was plundered.

Delhi was the focal point for the first war of independence in 1857. Though the revolt did not reach its desired conclusion, Delhi became a thorn in the eyes of the British. Not only in ancient times or the mediaeval period, Delhi has been the center of any activity at all times. As the Britishers shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi, all the activities during the freedom struggle were directed towards Delhi. Thus, Delhi also bears the marks of the freedom struggle. The ultimate goal of the Azad Hind Fauz during the freedom struggle was to capture Delhi and established Swaraj. The slogan 'Dilli Chalo' is still used by leaders and political parties when they oraganise any rally or demonstration. It was the hosting of the tricolour at Red Fort in Delhi which marked a chapter in the history of India.

A Tale of Eight Cities
One of the oldest living cities in the world with Delhi's 20,000 ruins. Delhi is history, and Delhi's monuments are tablets on which the history is written. Every conqueror did his best to possess Delhi and make it his capital. Delhi is not a single city but a combination of eight cities that have been established here from as early as 900 BC to 1930 when the British completed the construction of New Delhi as the capital of imperial India. It is, therefore not surprising that the monuments of Delhi successfully mirror the development of the architectural styles in the country.

The earliest references to Delhi are in Buddhist and Jain scriptures but these sources cannot be precisely dated. In the great Indian epic Mahabharat composed around 900 BC, there is mention of the Indraprastha, a city founded by the Pandavas on the banks of the river Yamuna. The next mention of the city is during the rule of Raja Anangpal who build his fort in the Qutab area. In the 11th century AD, Raja Anangpal of Kanauj a Tomar king established Lal Kot as his capital city in the vicinity of the Qutab Minar. This was the first city of Delhi. Anangpal successors ruled from this fort for almost a century until Visal Deva, a Chauhan Rajput raja from Ajmer conquered Delhi.

Towards the end of the 12th century Mohammed Ghori invaded from Afghanistan, defeated Prithvi Raj, Visal Deva's grandson, and occupied Delhi. He however, returned to Afghanistan soon after leaving his new kingdom in the trusted hands of Alla-ud-din Khilji. The Lal Kot continued to be the capital till 1303 when Khilji defeated the invading Rajputs at Siri and constructed Delhi's second city in the area.

During the Tughlak rule (1320-1412) the third and fourth cities of Delhi were founded. Ghyas-ud-din Tughlak founded Tughlakabad which took four years to build but was deserted soon after due to a scarcity of water. Sultan Mohammad-bin-Tughlak constructed Delhi's fourth city called Jahanpanah close to the Qutab Minar to protect his people living in the open plains from attack by invaders.

Founded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88) Delhi's fifth city was named Ferozabad and was located in the vicinity of the present Feroz Shah Kotla.

Constructed in an area said to be the ancient city of Indraprastha, Purana Quila was erected by the Mughal Emperor Humayun between 1533-34 and was forced to flee from Purana Quila by in the invading Afghan warrior Sher Shah Suri (1530 -39). Sher Shah Suri built a beautiful hall and mosque in the fort and ruled from her till 1555 when Humayun returned to power and recaptured the fort.

Shahjahanabad or old Delhi as it is now called was build by Emperor Shah Jahan as Delhi's seventh city between 1638 and 1649. This city comprises of the famous Red Fort, Jama Masjid and contains many fine examples of Mughal architecture.

Delhi eighth city now known as New Delhi was formally inaugurated in 1931. Following the British decision to shift the capital of imperial India from Calcutta to Delhi in 1911, two British architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker were commissioned by design a city in keeping with the grandeur of India. This new city is today the capital of modern India.


Geography of Delhi
Area : 1,483 sq .km
Capital : Delhi
Population : 1,37,82,976
Male : 75,70,890
Female : 62,12,086
Literacy : 81.82%

Delhi's altitude ranges between 213 to 305 metres above the sea level

The national capital territory of Delhi with an area of 1483sq.km is situated between the Himalayas and Aravalis range in the heart of the Indian sub-continent.

Language
Main languages spoken in Delhi are :
Hindi, English & numerous others

Hindi :
Hindi - The Origin of 7th -8th Century
Hindi can be traced back to as early as the seventh or eighth century. The dialect that has been chosen as the official language is Khariboli in the Devnagari script. Other dialects of Hindi are Brajbhasa, Bundeli, Awadhi, Marwari, Maithili and Bhojpuri.

It was in the 10th century that authentic Hindi poetry took its form and since then it has been constantly modified.

Sub-Division of Hindi Literature
Hindi literature as a whole can be divided into four stages: Adikal (the Early Period), Bhaktikal (the Devotional Period), Ritikal (the Scholastic Period) and Adhunikkal (the Modern Period).

Adikal - The Early Period
Adikal starts from the middle of the 10th century to the beginning of the 14th century. The poetry of this period has been divided into three categories Apabhramsha Poetry, Heroic Poetry and Miscellaneous Poetry.

Apabhramsha Poetry includes the Siddha literature (750-1200), the Nath literature and the Jain literature. Siddha literature was written in the popular language and this echoed devotional themes combined with a strong erotic feeling.

Between the 7th and the 14th century, the poet Gorakhnath and his followers mainly composed the Nath literature. They avoided eroticism, scorned racial discrimination and put stress on moral values, using the Doha (couplet) and the Chaupai (quartet) styles in their poems. These compositions had a great influence on the Sant (devotional literature made popular by Rahim and Kabir et al) literature.

During this period Jain poets like Swayambhu, Som Datt Suri, Sharang Dhar and Nalla Singh composed the Charit Kavyas, which propagate moral tenets and portrayals of Nature. Heroic Poetry was composed wholly in the native speech.

The Early Period was the age of invasions and turmoils which greatly influenced poets who composed actual as well as imaginary accounts of the heroism of their patrons. Poems were usually written for the pleasures of kings, who were anyways quite accustomed to praise. Prithviraj Raso (Chand Bardai), Khuman Raso (Dalpativijay), Bisaldev Rao (Narpati Nalha) and Parmal Raso (Jagnik) are the major works of this age, and are lively renditions of battles and their outcomes.

Bhakti Kal or The Devotional Period
Bhakti Kal or the Devotional Period stretched between the 14th and the 17th century. During this age Islamic customs were heaped upon the common people, and the Hindus were quite dejected at the effect on their culture.

The poets of this period felt that it was their moral duty to arouse a sense of devotion through religious poetry.
These poets have been divided into two groups: Nirguna and Saguna poets, depending upon the devotional attitude towards the Lord.

Nirgunas have been further divided into two groups on the basis of the different sadhanas (disciplines) followed by them.

Those that put emphasis on the importance of knowledge for the realization of God were called the Saint poets. Kabir Das, Guru Nanak, Dharma Das, Maluk Das, Dadudayal, Sunder Das belong to this genre. In their Sakhis (couplets) and Padas (songs) they condemned rituals and laid emphasis on the theory of Monotheism (the belief that there is one God).

Ritikal or The Scholastic Period
The poets of Ritikal or the Scholastic period can be classified into two groups on the basis of their subject: Ritibaddha (those wedded to rhetorics) and Ritimukta (free from rhetorical conventions).

The former poets composed on definitional and (Lakshana) and illustrative (Lakshya) themes. The essential nature of Rasa, Alankara, Nayikabheda were illustrated by them through Saviyas and Kavithas. Poets like Chintamani, Keshav, Mati Ram, Deva, Kulpati Misra, and Bhikari Das were leaders of this style. The second group consists of free-minded poets like Alam, Ghananand, Bodha and Thakur.

They wrote in a spontaneous manner with powerful feelings of Love, quite apart from rhetorical poetry. This age saw two more poetic trends. Didactic poetry in stray verses composed by Vrinda, Vaital and Giridhar and Heroic Poetry by Bhushan, Sudan, Lal and various others.

Modern Hindi Literature
Modern Hindi literature has been divided into four phases; the age of Bharatendu or the Renaissance (1868-1893), Dwivedi Yug (1893-1918), Chhayavada Yug (1918-1937) and the Contemporary Period (1937 onwards).

Bharatendu Harishchandra (1849-1882) brought in a modern outlook in Hindi literature and is thus called the ‘Father of Modern Hindi Literature’. Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi later took up this vision. Dwivedi was a reformist by nature and he brought in a refined style of writing in Hindi poetry, which later acquired a deeper moral tone.

This was the age of revival when the glory and grandeur of ancient Indian culture was fully adopted to enrich modern life. Social, political and economic problems were portrayed in poetry while songs were of social awakening.
This trend helped in the emergence of National Cultural Poetry whose leading poets were Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Balkrishna Shama ‘Navin’, Siyaram Gupta and ‘Dinkar’. These poets put more stress on moral aspect of life rather than on love or beauty, which later evolved in the Chhayavada style of poetry.

Kamayani is the zenith of this school and Chhayavada was best represented by Prasad, Nirala, Pant and Mahadevi. After the decline of this movement in came the leftist ideology which found voice in two opposite styles of Hindi poetry.

One was Progressivism and Prayogavada or later called Nai Kavita. The former was an effort of translating Marx’s philosophy of Social realism into art.

The most notable figure of this movement was Sumitranandan Pant. The latter safeguarded artistic freedom and brought in new poetic content and talent to reflect modern insight.

The pioneers of this trend were Aggeya, Girija Kumar, Mathur and Dharamvir Bharati. A third style called Personal Lyrics also appeared, aiming at free and spontaneous human expressions with Harivansh Rai Bachchan as the leader of this trend. The history of Hindi poetry, thus, extends over a period of almost one thousand years.

The Rise and Growth of Khari Boli
The proper development of Hindi prose followed the rise and growth of Khari Boli (colloquial dialect). Pre-Bharatendu writers like Ram Prasad Niranjani, Sadasukh Lal, Insha Allah Khan and Sadal Misra composed proses mainly based on mythological stories.

Insha Allah Khan used the typical Khari Boli while others were more influenced by Sanskrit and Braj Bhasha.

The development of Hindi prose has been classified into three periods: The first phase (1868-1918), the period of growth (1918-1937) and the present age of excellence (1938 onwards). Prose literature of Bharatendu and Dwivedi era covers the first phase. The writers of this age developed drama, novel, short story, essay and literary criticism.

Dramatic Compositions
Popular dramatic compositions were done mainly by Bharatendu Harishchandra, Bal Krishna Bhatt, and Radha Krishna Das. They inclined more towards satires on contemporary conditions, social and patriotic plays. Translations of Bengali, English and Hindi were also taken up during this period.

Eminent prosateurs of this age included Devaki Nandan Khatri (novelist), Chandradhar Sharma (short-story writer), Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi (essayist) and Padma Singh Sharma (critic). The real development of prose had its foundation in the first phase itself.

The period of growth is represented by Jayshankar Prasad, Rai Krishna Das and Mahadevi Varma. Drama acquired a distinct place for itself in this period but the theatre did not respond to it. Again, fiction attained new proportions with Premchand as its most outstanding representative.

The period of excellence came more whole-heartedly after the Independence of India in 1947. Drama of this period laid emphasis on realistic expressions and two new forms evolved like Poetic Drama and Radio Play. Now the theatre was also interested in enacting these plays. ‘Ashka’ Jagdish Chandra Mathur, Mohan Rakesh and Lakshminarayan Lal have acquired distinction amongst modern playwrights.

Fiction made a wonderful progress during this period. Realism, psycho-analytical techniques and prose-style was the main ingredient of the plot structure. Modern fiction found its mentors in Yash Pal, Agyeya and Renu.
Essay and literary criticism also developed a lot. Essayists like Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Mahadevi Varma and Siyaram Sharan Gupta found new ways of expressing themselves through reminiscences, reportage and sketch. The history of Hindi prose is not expansive, as it had started out quite late. However, it has progressed at a rapid pace.

How to Reach Delhi

Travel within Delhi:
You'll find a range of transport options within Delhi, from luxurious air-conditioned cars to the humble cycle rickshaw.

Tourist taxis ply interstate while the yellow and black taxis can be used to commute anywhere within the city and are relatively expensive but safe. Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses go anywhere in the city and are the cheapest mode of transport. Auto rickshaws are another option, but remember to bargain for a reasonable fare. Luxurious special tourist buses can be arranged for traveling singly or alone. The recently introduced Metro underground railway line can be enjoyed as a joy ride.

Climate:
The summer months are not the ideal time to visit Delhi. It is hot, very dry and dusty. You can even get sunstroke unless you take precautions. Wear light cotton clothing. Try to keep your head covered. Cover your head and take your shoes off in places of worship. Stay away from beggars and touts. Female travelers are quite safe but the hazards of being a woman alone exist.

Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Delhi is from August to March. Winters in Delhi are sunny and pleasant in the day, ideal weather for sightseeing.

Air: Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport is connected to all the important cities of the world, by major international airlines. Palam Domestic airport connects Delhi to the major cities in India.

Rail: Delhi is connected to many Indian cities and towns by super-fast and express trains. The city's 3 main railway stations are New Delhi, Old Delhi and Nizamuddin. Luxury trains such as the Palace-on-Wheels, Fairy Queen and Royal Orient Express begin their tour from Delhi Cantonment railway station.

Road: Delhi is well connected to all the major cities of India by a network of highways and roads. There are three Inter State Bus Terminuses (ISBT), at Kashmere Gate, Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar, as well as many starting points in and around the city, from which various state-managed and privately run transport facilities, operate.

Travel Tips:

Railway Assistance :
International Tourist Bureau
(for Train Reservation & Indrail Passes)
1st floor, New Delhi Railway Station Paharganj side
Timing : 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

International & Domestic air Ticketing :
Delhi Tourism
N-36, Bombay Life Building,
Middle Circle, C.P., New Delhi - 110001
Timing : 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

For Extension of Visa :
The foreigner's Regional Registration Office (F.R.R.O.)
Hans Bhawan, Tilak Bridge, New Delhi
Timing : 9.30 am to 1.30 pm; 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm

Permits for Restricted Areas :
Ministry of Home Affairs,
Lok Nayak Bhawan, opp. Khan Market, New Delhi
(Monday to Friday Timing : 10 am to 5 pm)

Money Exchange :(Beyond Bank Hours)

  • State Bank of India, I. G. I. Airport, 24 hours
  • Central Bank of India, Ashok Hotel, 24 hours
  • Delhi Tourism, N-36 Bombay Life Building, Middle Circle, C.P. New Delhi - 110001
    (Monday to Saturday) Timings : 9.30 am to 6.00 pm

Prepaid Taxi/Auto :
Prepaid Taxi & Auto available from airport (Domestic & International), all Railway Stations and Bus terminals & other important places (Beware of touts)
 

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