About Delhi

Delhi officially known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi is the capital city of India.

One of the most metropolitan cities of the world, Delhi has a total urban population of 16.3 million spread over 1,484 sq. km.

Delhi is the second most populous city and second most populousurban clusters in India.

Given the frenetic pace of urban growth, capital city Delhi has now expanded beyond the NCT boundaries to incorporate towns in neighbouring states under its extended jurisdiction of National Capital Region (NCR) with an overall count of 25 millionresidents as on 2014.

The NCT and its urban region have been given the special status of National Capital Region (NCR) under the Constitution of India's 69th amendment act of 1991.

The NCR includes the neighbouring cities of Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Neharpar (Greater Faridabad), Greater Noida, Bahadurgarh, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Rohtak, Bhiwani,Rewari, Baghpat, Meerut, Alwar, Bharatpur and other nearby towns.

Though a union territory, Delhi has a political structure very similar to that of a state in Indian union with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister.

New Delhi is jointly administered by the federal government andthe local government of Delhi and is the capital of the NCT of Delhi.

Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BCE. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital ofvarious kingdoms and empires.

It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region.    » Read More

Delhi information guide

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Origin of the word 'Delhi'

According to legend, this northern region was once built and ruled by a king called Dhillu or Dilu in 50 BC.

There is another belief that the name of the city is based on the Hindi (or Prakrit) word dhili (loose) and that it was used by the Tomaras (the ruling clans who are mostly Rajputs, Jats and Gurjars of the northern plains) to refer to the city because the iron pillar of Delhi had a weak foundation and had to be moved.

The coins in circulation in the region under the Tomaras were called dehliwal.

According to Bhavishya Purana, King Prithiviraja of Indraprastha built a new fort in the modern-day Purana Qila area for the convenience of all four castes in his kingdom.

He ordered the construction of a gateway to the fort and later named the fort dehali.

However, a few historians believe that the present day Delhi is derived from the word Dilli, a corruption of dehleez or dehali —both terms meaning 'threshold' or 'gateway' - and symbolic of the city as a gateway to the Gangetic Plains.

Cosmopolitan with diverse cultures

A melting pot of cultures, Delhi is the political hub of the country as the capital city accommodates the Union government with all its paraphernalia, the official quarters of the ministers, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, Rashrapathi Bhavan (President’s bungalow) and the Prime Minister’s official residence, among others.

Delhi is also a tourist paradise with endless Mughal structures, historical spots and heritage sites that are preserved well for the visitors and locals alike to marvel at the ancient kingdoms and civil societies that once thrived here.

The national capital territory (NCT) embraces Old and New Delhi and the surrounding metropolitan region, as well as adjacent rural areas.

To the east the territory is bounded by the state of Uttar Pradesh, and to the north, west, and south it is hemmed in by the state of Haryana.

One of the country’s largest urban agglomerations, Delhi is located on the western banks of Yamuna River, a tributary of the Ganges (Ganga) River, about 160 km south of the Himalayas. With the steady influx of migrants, the historical capital city is under extreme pressure as land, water, electricity, education, housing and other basic amenities have to be provided to the ever increasing population across the NCR region that includes the border towns in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Lifestyle modifications

The predominance of night life, expansion of shopping malls and growth of food chains and restaurants have given a new spin to the daily routine of Delhiites as the enjoy hanging out at these entertainment spots like discotheques, cinema halls and beauty parlours.

However, traditional living and conservative ethos have also become entrenched as a counter to pro-western thoughts and neo-liberal attitudes that have tilted the youth’s psychological underpinnings.

Tourist attractions:

The ancient seat of Mughal Empire, Delhi has hundreds of monuments, historic edifices, mosques and forts that point to its past grandeur and how life was once prosperous here with commerce flourishing at the market places.

Here are the prominent tourist sites and places that get visitors from abroad and other parts of the country:

The Qutub Minar, Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In New Delhi, also known as Lutyen's Delhi as it was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, the places of interest are India Gate and Rajpath; Sansad Bhavan; Rashtrapati Bhavan; Connaught Place and Lodhi Gardens.

Mughal monuments:

Purana Quila; Red Fort; Salimgarh Fort; Chandni Chowk; Safdarjung's Tomb; Qutub Minar; Tughlaqabad

Places of worship:

Akshardham Temple; Laxminarayan Temple;Cathedral Church of Redemption; Gurudwara Bangla Sahib;ISKCON Temple; Jama Masjid; Lotus Temple; St. James' Church;Kalka Ji Mandir


National Museum; National Rail Museum

Other tourist spots:

Jantar Mantar; Nizamuddin Dargah; Raj Ghat; Shanti Vana; National Zoological Park