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Historically, Delhi is said to have been founded in the 11th century A.D. Butlegend and popular belief ascribe the beginnings of the city to the days of the Mahabharata, for Delhi is believed to have been the site of the legendary city of Indraprastha, the splendid home of the Pandavas. Be that as it may, the last one thousand years have witnessed the birth and the rise and fall of innumerable kingdoms in the seven cities of Delhi.

New Delhi, which constitutes a major portion of the area having grown at a phenomenal pace during the last fifty years, is the Indian capital. An exceedingly beautiful city with a profusion of gardens, it is also the country's most important political, commercial and cultural centre

Along with its twin city of Delhi or Old Delhi, New Delhi offers the tourist, especially cultural tourist, a wealth of monumental attractions ancient, medieval and modern. Besides, the city's excellent tourist infrastructure the numerous modern hotels make it one of the world's most exciting convention centres. And of course, Delhi is today one of the two (with Mumbai) most important gateways to India.

ACCESS
Being the national capital and one of India's principal gateway cities, New Delhi is excellently connected by rail, air and road with various parts of the country. And, internationally it is directly airlinked to most of the world's important cities.

Monuments
Red Fort: The seat of the Mughal Empire, it is a huge fort housing within its precincts imposing palaces and impressive public buildings, such as Diwan -i-Am (hall for public audience), Diwan-i-Khas (hall for private audience); Rang Mahal (a water -cooled apartment for royal ladies); Sheesh Mahal (retiring apartments); Moti Masjid or Pearl Mosque (built of white marble). A sound-and-light show is conducted during the evenings (in Hindi and in English). Entry to the Fort is free on Sundays.

Purana Qila: It was built by Sher Shah Suri and was also the seat of the Mughals. It is also believed to be the site of Indraprastha of the Mahabharata era. Son-et-lumiere or sound-and-light show is also held here during the evenings (in Hindi and in English).

Humayun's Tomb: Humayun's widow got this sandstone mausoleum built to house the mortal remains of her dead husband. The tombs of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, Jahanara and Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib are situated close by.

Qutub Minar: Highest ever tower to be built in India, it rises to a height of 73 metres. It is an 11th century victory tower built by the slave king Qutubuddin Aibak and later completed by his successor Iltutmish.

Jantar Mantar: It is a stone astronomical observatory commissioned by the builder of Jaipur, Sawai Jai Singh

Tughlakabad: Attracting the eye from a distance are the massive ramparts of Tughlakabad, the third city of Delhi. The fort has 13 gates.

Safdarjang's Tomb: Built in 1753-54 by Nawab Suja-ud-Daulah for his father, the second Nawab of Oudh and Prime Minister to Emperor Muhammad Shah. The layout is identical to the `charbagh' garden of Humayun's Tomb.

Shamsi Talab and Jahaz Mahal: A water reservoir in a terraced garden built in 1230 by Iltutmish. A chhatri or canopy is built over a faint footprint said to be that of the Prophet. In the Shamsi Talab is the Jahaz Mahal, probably built in the Lodi period (1451-1526), which may have served as a pleasure resort. Every year the Mahal is the venue of the Phool walon-ki-Sair or Sair-i-Gulfaroshan

India Gate: This modern memorial arch was built in homage to the 90,000 Indian soldiers who died in World War I and whose names are inscribed on it. Also referred to, in history, as an All India War Memorial, an eternal flame has been lit, the Amar Jawan Jyoti, to honour the Unknown soldier.

Samadhis/Memorials

Raj Ghat: Mahatma Gandhi was cremated here in 1948.
Shanti Van: Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister was cremated here in 1964.
Vijay Ghat: Lal Bahadur Shastri, the successor of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was cremated here. Shakti Sthal: The daughter of Jawahar Lal Nehru, Mrs Indira Gandhi, and his grandson Sanjay Gandhi were cremated here.
Vir Bhumi: Indira Gandhi's son, Rajiv Gandhi was cremated here.
Kisan Ghat: It is a memorial to the great farmer leader Charan Singh, who was also Prime Minister briefly in 1979.
Samta Sthal : This was built in the mid-1980s as a memorial to the legendary leader of the backward communities, Jagjivan Ram

Area: 1483 sq. km
Population: 9.4 million
Main Languages: Hindi, Punjabi and English
Best time to visit: October to March


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