A thousand years of history are to be found in Delhi, capital of India and its third largest city. Located in the north where the country narrows between Pakistan in the west and China and Tibet in the east, Delhi was the capital of Moslem India from the 12th to the 19th century. It has historically been the hub of vital trade routes and held a strategic position at the gateway to the fertile plain of the Ganges — the social, religious and cultural lifeline of India.

There are two Delhi cities now, the New and the Old. There have been at least eight recorded cities on and around the site, the oldest being Indraprastha, in existence since the third or fourth century B.C. There are many legends regarding the founding of the city and some archaeological dates as to its age. The Tomar Rajputs founded and fortified the walls of Dhillika, the first of the medieval cities, in the 9th century A.D. and were overthrown in the 12th century by the Cauhans of Jaipur who built a second defensive wall. Turkish invaders in 1193 ended Hindu rule and began the new Islamic era of the city. Subsequent cities were added adjacent to the more ancient ones. Shah Jahan, famous creator of the Taj Mahal, was responsible for the seventh Delhi, which he named Shahjahanabad. It was the Mughal capital until 1857. As the Mughal power waned to be replaced by that of the British East India Company, so Delhi lost its prestige and became just another provincial city.

In 1911 the British chose Delhi as their capital, transferring the viceregal headquarters from Calcutta. Plans were soon underway to build New Delhi to the south of Shahjahanabad and Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker, two British architects, were brought in to design it. The center of the plan consisted of the Rashtrapati Bhavan or Viceregal Lodge (which is now the Presidential Residence), Parliament House, the Secretariats, Memorial Arch and Connaught Circus. The city was designed in a mixture of European Renaissance and Oriental styles…

Source by Carlton R. Smith