Delhi, sometimes refered to as Dilli, is the second-largest metropolis in India after Mumbai with a population of 13 million. Located in northern India on the banks of the River Yamuna, Delhi has the political status of a federally-administered union territory known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. A Constitutional amendment in 1991 gave Delhi its own legislative assembly with limited powers. The National Capital Territory of Delhi comprises of nine districts, 27 tehsils, three statutory towns viz. Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), New Delhi Municipal Committee (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB), 59 census towns and 165 villages.
Having been the capital of several empires in ancient India, Delhi was a major city in the old trade routes from northwest India to the Gangetic Plains. Many ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance have been erected in its history. The Mughals built a section of the city (now known as Old City or Old Delhi) that served as the capital of Mughal Empire for a long period. During the British Raj, New Delhi was built as an administrative quarter of the city. New Delhi was declared the capital of India after India gained independence from British rule in 1947. As the seat of the Government of India, New Delhi houses important offices of the federal government, including the Parliament of India. Delhi has grown up to be a cosmopolitan city owing to the immigration of people from across the country. Like many other large cities of the world, Delhi suffers from urbanisation problems such as pollution, traffic congestion and scarcity of resources. The rapid development and urbanisation of New Delhi and surrounding areas coupled with the high average income of the populace has largely eclipsed socio-cultural traits that used to represent Delhi until a few years after Independence.
The etymology of "Delhi" is uncertain. The most common view is that it is an eponym of Dhillu, a king who ruled the area in ancient times. Raja Dhillu (King Dhillu) founded ancient Delhi in 800 BC. Some historians believe that the name is derived from Dilli, a corruption of dehleez or dehali—Hindustani for 'threshold'—and symbolic of city as a gateway to the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Another theory suggests that the city's original name was Dhillika. The Hindi/Prakrit word dhili ("loose") was also used for the area, and gradually transformed into the local name "Dilli".
Human habitation was probably present in and around Delhi during the second millennium BCE and before, as evidenced by archeological relics. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. Settlements grew from the time of the Mauryan Empire (c. 300 BC). Remains of seven major cities have been discovered in Delhi. The Tomara Rajput dynasty founded the city of Lal Kot in 736 AD. The Chauhan Rajput kings of Ajmer conquered Lal Kot in 1180 AD and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora. The Chauhan king Prithviraj III was defeated in 1192 by the Afghan Muhammad Ghori. In 1206, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, the first ruler of the Slave Dynasty established the Delhi Sultanate. Qutb-ud-din started the construction the Qutub Minar and Quwwat-al-Islam (might of Islam), the earliest extant mosque in India. After the fall of the Slave dynasty, a succession of Turkic and Central Asian dynasties, the Khilji dynasty, the Tughluq dynasty, the Sayyid dynasty and the Lodhi dynasty held power in the late medieval period, and built a sequence of forts and townships that are part of the seven cities of Delhi. Delhi was a major center of sufism (a mystic tradition of Islam) during the Sultanate period. In 1526, Zahiruddin Babur defeated the last Lodhi sultan in the First Battle of Panipat and founded the Mughal Empire that ruled from Delhi, Agra and Lahore.
The Mughal Empire ruled northern India for more than three centuries, with a five-year hiatus during Sher Shah Suri's reign in the mid-16th century. Mughal emperor Akbar shifted the capital from Delhi to Agra. Shah Jahan built the seventh city of Delhi that bears his name (Shahjahanabad), and is more commonly known as the Old City or Old Delhi. The old city served as the capital of the Mughal Empire since 1638. In 1761, Delhi was raided by Ahmed Shah Abdali after the Third battle of Panipat.
Delhi came under direct British control after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Shortly after the Rebellion, Calcutta was declared the capital of British India and Delhi was made a district province of the Punjab. In 1911, Delhi was again declared as the capital of British India. Parts of the old city were pulled down to create New Delhi; a monumental new quarter of the city designed by the British architect Edwin Lutyens to house the government buildings. New Delhi, also known as Lutyens' Delhi, was officially declared as the seat of the Government of India and the capital of the republic after independence on 15 August 1947. During the partition of India thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees from West Punjab and Sindh migrated to Delhi. Migration to Delhi from the rest of India continues, contributing more to the rise of Delhi's population than the birth rate, which is declining.
In 1984, the assassination of Indira Gandhi (Prime Minister of India) led to violent backlash against the Sikh community, resulting in over two thousand seven hundred deaths. The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly, though with limited powers.
The National Capital Territory of Delhi is spread over an area of 1483 square kilometers. It has a maximum length of 51.9 kilometer and the maximum width of 48.48 kilometer. Out of the total area of 1483 square kilometer, 783 square kilometer is rural and 700 square kilometers is urban. There are three local bodies (statutory towns) namely, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (area is 1397.3 square kilometer), New Delhi Municipal Committee (42.7 square kilometer) and Delhi Cantonment Board (43 square kilometers).
Delhi is located at 28°61'N, 77°23'E, and lies in northern India. It borders the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on the south and Haryana on the west. Delhi lies almost entirely in the Gangetic plains. Two prominent features of the geography of Delhi are the Yamuna flood plain and the Delhi ridge. The low-lying Yamuna flood plains provide fertile alluvial soil suitable for agriculture. However, these plains are prone to recurrent floods. Reaching up to a height of 318 m (1043 ft), the ridge forms the most dominating feature in this region. It originates from the Aravalli Range in the south and encircles the west, northeast and northwest parts of the city. Yamuna, a sacred river in Hinduism, is the only major river flowing through Delhi. Most of the city, including New Delhi, lies west of the river. East of the river is the urban area of Shahdara. Delhi falls under seismic zone-IV, making it vulnerable to major earthquakes.
Delhi has a semi-arid climate with high variation between summer and winter temperatures. Summers are long, from early April to October, with the monsoon season in between. During the summer season, the city faces extreme power and water shortages. Many people die every year owing to the summer heat wave. Winter starts in November and peaks in January. Delhi is notorious for its heavy fog during the winter season. In December, reduced visibility leads to disruption of road, air and rail traffic. Extreme temperatures range from -0.6 °C (30.9 °F) to 47 °C (116.6 °F). The annual mean temperature is 25 °C (77 °F); monthly mean temperatures range from 14 °C to 33 °C (58 °F to 92 °F). The average annual rainfall is approximately 714 mm (28.1 inches), most of which is during the monsoons in July and August. The average date of the advent of monsoon winds in Delhi is 29 June.
The Delhi metropolitan area lies within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). The NCT has three local municipal corporations: Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Delhi Cantonment Board. MCD is one of the largest municipal corporations in the world providing civic amenities to an estimated 13.78 million people. The capital of India, New Delhi, falls under the administration of NDMC. The chairperson of the NDMC is appointed by the Government of India in consultation with the Chief Minister of Delhi.
Delhi has four major satellite cities which lie outside the National Capital Territory of Delhi. These are Gurgaon and Faridabad (in Haryana), and Noida and Ghaziabad (in Uttar Pradesh). Delhi is divided into nine districts. Each district is headed by a Deputy Commissioner and has three subdivisions. A Subdivision Magistrate heads each subdivision. All Deputy Commissioners report to the Divisional Commissioner. The District Administration of Delhi is the enforcing department for all kinds of State and Central Government policies and exercises supervisory powers over numerous other functionaries of the Government.
The Delhi High Court exercises jurisdiction over the Delhi. Delhi also has lower courts; the Small Causes Court for civil cases, and the Sessions Court for criminal cases. The Delhi Police, headed by the Police Commissioner, is one of the largest metropolitan police forces in the world. Delhi is administratively divided into nine police-zones, which are further subdivided into 95 local police stations.
Government and politics
As a special Union Territory, the National Capital Territory of Delhi has its own Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, Council of Ministers and Chief Minister. The legislative assembly seats are filled by direct election from territorial constituencies in the NCT. However, the Union Government of India and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi jointly administer New Delhi. The legislative assembly was re-established in 1993 for the first time since 1956, with direct federal rule in the span. In addition, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) handles civic administration for the city as part of the Panchayati Raj act. New Delhi, an urban area in Delhi, is the seat of both the State Government of Delhi and the Government of India. The Parliament of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) and the Supreme Court of India are located in New Delhi. There are 70 assembly constituencies and seven Lok Sabha (Indian parliament's lower house) constituencies in Delhi.
Delhi was a traditional stronghold of the Indian National Congress, also known as the Congress Party. In the 1990s the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Madan Lal Khurana came into power. However in 1998, Congress regained power. Sheila Dixit of Congress is the incumbent Chief Minister. Both parties have advocated full-fledged statehood for Delhi, but the process to establish this has been slow.
The water supply in Delhi is managed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). As of 2006, it supplied 650 MGD (million gallons per day) of water, while the water demand for 2005–06 was estimated to be 963 MGD.The rest of the demand is met by private and public tube wells and hand pumps. At 240 MGD, the Bhakra storage is the largest water source for DJB, followed by river Yamuna and Ganges. With falling groundwater level and rising population density, Delhi faces severely acute water shortage. Delhi daily produces 8000 tonnes of solid wastes which is dumped at three landfill sites by MCD. The daily domestic waste water production is 470 MGD and industrial waste water is 70 MGD. A large portion of the sewerage flows untreated into the river Yamuna.
The city's per capita electricity consumption is about 1,265 kWh but actual demand is much more. In 1997, Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) replaced Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking which was managed by the MCD. The DVB itself cannot generate adequate power to meet the city's demand and borrows power from India's Northern Region Grid. As a result, Delhi faces a power shortage resulting in frequent blackouts and brownouts, especially during the summer season when energy demand is at its peak. Several industrial units in Delhi rely on private electrical generators to meet their electric demand.Few year ago Power supply of Delhi was handed over to private players. The distribution of electricity is carried out by companies run by TATA'S & Reliance Energy ltd in Delhi. Delhi has 43 fire stations (under Delhi Fire Service) that attend about 15,000 fire and rescue calls per year.
State-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and private enterprises like Hutch, Airtel, Idea cellular, Reliance Infocomm and Tata Indicom provide telephone and cell phone service to the city. Cellular coverage is extensive, and both GSM and CDMA services are available. Broadband internet penetration is increasing in the city.
With an estimated net State Domestic Product (SDP) of 83,085 crores (830.85 billion) Indian rupee (INR) (for the year 2004–05), Delhi is an important commercial center in South Asia. Delhi has a per capita income of 53,976 INR which is around 2.5 times of the national average. The tertiary sector contributes 70.95% of Delhi's gross SDP followed by secondary and primary sectors with 25.2% and 3.85% contribution respectively. Delhi's workforce constitutes 32.82% of the population showing an increase of 52.52% between 1991 and 2001. Delhi's unemployment rate decreased from 12.57% in 1999–2000 to 4.63% in 2003. In December 2004, 636,000 people were registered with various employment exchange programmes in Delhi.
In 2001, the total workforce in all government (union and state) and quasi government sector was 620,000. In comparison, organised private sector employed 219,000. Delhi's service sector has expanded due in part to the large skilled English-speaking workforce that has attracted many multinational companies. Key service industries include information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism. Delhi's manufacturing industry has also grown considerably as many consumer goods industries have established manufacturing units and headquarters in and around Delhi. Delhi's large consumer market, coupled with the easy availability of skilled labour, has attracted foreign investment in Delhi. In 2001, the manufacturing sector employed 1,440,000 workers while the number of industrial units was 129,000. Construction, power, telecommunications, health and community services, and real estate form integral parts of Delhi's economy. Delhi's retail industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India.
Public transport in Delhi is provided by buses, auto rickshaws, a rapid transit system, taxis and suburban railways. Buses are the most popular means of transport catering to about 60% of the total demand. The state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is a major bus service provider for the city. Private vehicles account for 30% of the total demand for transport. At 1922.32 km of road length per 100 km², Delhi has one of the highest road densities in India. Delhi is well connected to other parts of India by five National Highways: NH 1, 2, 8, 10 and 24. Roads in Delhi are maintained by MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi), NDMC, Delhi Cantonment Board, Public Works Department (PWD) and Delhi Development Authority.
Delhi's high population growth rate, coupled with high economic growth rate has resulted in an ever increasing demand for transport creating excessive pressure on the city's existent transport infrastructure. The city faces acute transport management problems leading to air pollution, congestion and resultant loss of productivity. In order to meet the transport demand in Delhi, the State and Union government started the construction of a mass rapid transit system, including the Delhi Metro. As of 2007, the metro operates three lines with a total length of 65 km (40 miles) and 59 stations while several other lines are under construction. In 1998, the Supreme Court of India ordered all public transport vehicles to use compressed natural gas (CNG) as fuel instead of diesel and other hydro-carbons. The DTC now operates the world's largest fleet of environment-friendly CNG buses. Though pollution from road transport has decreased in recent years, it is still at a high level.
Railways served only 1% of the local traffic until 2003. However Delhi is a major junction in the rail map of India and is the headquarters of the Northern Railway. The four main railway stations are Old Delhi, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Sarai Rohilla and New Delhi Railway Station.
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) is situated in the southwestern corner of Delhi and serves for domestic and international connections. In 2005–06, the IGI airport recorded a traffic of more than 8.5 million passengers, making it one of the busiest airports in South Asia. Safdarjung Airport is the other airfield in Delhi used for general aviation purpose.
Many ethnic groups and cultures are represented in Delhi, making it a cosmopolitan city. A seat of political power and a centre of commerce, the city attracts workers—both blue collar and white collar—from all parts of India, further enhancing its diverse character. A diplomatic hub, represented by embassies of 160 countries, Delhi has a large expatriate population as well.
According to the 2001 Census of India, the population of Delhi that year was 13,782,976. The corresponding population density was 9,294 persons per km², with a sex ratio of 821 women per 1000 men, and a literacy rate of 81.82%. By 2003, the National Capital Territory of Delhi had a population of 14.1 million people, making it the second largest metropolitan area in India after Mumbai. This included 295,000 people living in New Delhi and another 125,000 in Delhi Cantonment. By 2004, the estimated population had increased to 15,279,000. That year, the birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate (per 1000 population) were 20.03, 5.59 and 13.08, respectively. According a 1999–2000 estimate, the total number of people living below the poverty line in Delhi was 1,149,000 (which was 8.23% of the total population). In 2001, the population of Delhi increased by 275,000 as a result of migration and by an additional 215,000 as a result of natural population growth. The resulting high migration rate, made Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. By 2015, Delhi is expected to be the third largest agglomeration in the world after Tokyo and Mumbai.
Hinduism is the religion of 82% of Delhi's population. There are also large communities of Muslims (11.7%), Sikhs (4.0%), Jains (1.1%) and Christians (0.9%) in the city. Other minorities include Buddhists and Jews. Hindi is the principal spoken and written language of the city. Other languages commonly spoken in the city are English, Punjabi and Urdu. Of these, English is an associate official language, and Punjabi and Urdu second official languages. Linguistic groups from all over India are well represented in the city; among them are Maithili, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi. Punjabis, Gujjars and Jats are the three large ethnic communities in the city.
In 2005, Delhi accounted for the highest percentage (16.2%) of the crimes reported in the 35 cities in India with populations of one million or more. The city also has the highest rate of crime against women (27.6 compared to national average rate of 14.1 per 100,000) and against children (6.5 compared to national average of 1.4 per 100,000) in the country.
Delhi's culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. This is exemplified by the many monuments of significance found in the city; the Archaeological Survey of India recognises 175 monuments in Delhi as national heritage sites. The Old City is the site where the Mughals and the Turkic rulers constructed several architectural marvels like the Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque) and Red Fort. Two World Heritage Sites, the Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb are located in Delhi. Other monuments include the India Gate, the Jantar Mantar (an 18th century astronomical observatory) and the Purana Qila (a 16th century fortress). The Lotus Temple, Laxminarayan Temple and Akshardham are examples of modern architecture. Raj Ghat and associated memorials houses memorials of Mahatma Gandhi and other notable personalities. New Delhi houses several government buildings and official residences reminiscent of the British colonial architecture. Important structures include the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, the Parliament of India and Vijay Chowk. Safdarjung's Tomb is an example of the Mughal gardens style
Delhi's association and geographic proximity to the capital, New Delhi, has amplified the importance of national events and holidays. National events such as Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi's birthday) are celebrated with great enthusiasm in Delhi. On India's Independence Day (15 August) the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the Red Fort. Most Delhiites celebrate the day by flying kites, which are considered a symbol of freedom. The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India's cultural diversity and military might.
Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of light), Guru Nanak's Birthday, Durga Puja, Holi, Lohri, Maha Shivaratri, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha and Buddha Jayanti. The Qutub Festival is a cultural event during which performances of musicians and dancers from all over India are showcased at night, with the Qutub Minar as the chosen backdrop of the event. Other events such as Kite Flying Festival, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi.
Punjabi cuisine and Mughlai delicacies like kababs and biryanis are popular in several parts of Delhi. Due to Delhi's large cosmopolitan population, cuisines from every part of India, including Rajasthani, Maharashtrian, Bengali, Hyderabadi cuisines, and South Indian food items like idli, sambar and dosa are widely available. Local delicacies include Chaat and Dahi-Papri. There are several food outlets in Delhi serving international cuisine including Italian and Chinese.
Historically, Delhi has always remained an important trading centre in northern India. Old Delhi still contains legacies of its rich Mughal past that can be found among the old city's tangle of snaking lanes and teeming bazaars. The dingy markets of the Old City has an eclectic product range from oil-swamped mango, lime and eggplant pickles, candy-colored herbal potions to silver jewelry, bridal attire, uncut material and linen, spices, sweets. Some of old regal havelis (palacial residences) are still there in the Old City. Chandni Chowk, a three century old shopping area, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewelery and Zari saris. Notable among Delhi's arts and crafts are the Zardozi (an embroidery done with gold thread) and Meenakari (the art of enameling). Dilli Haat, Hauz Khas, Pragati Maidan offer a variety of Indian handicrafts and handlooms. However, the city is said to have lost its own identity and socio-cultural legacies as it went to absorb multitude of humanity from across the country and has morphed into an amorphous pool of cultural styles.
Schools and higher educational institutions in Delhi are administered either by the Directorate of Education, the NCT government, or private organizations. In 2004–05, there were 2,515 primary-, 635 middle-, 504 secondary- and 1,208 senior secondary schools in Delhi. That year, the higher education institutions in the city included 165 colleges, among them five medical colleges and eight engineering colleges, six universities—Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Indira Gandhi National Open University, Jamia Hamdard, —and nine deemed universities.
Private schools in Delhi—which employ either English or Hindi as the language of instruction—are affiliated to one of two administering bodies: the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE). In 2004–05, approximately 15.29 lakh (1.529 million) students were enrolled in primary schools, 8.22 lakh (0.822 million) in middle schools and 6.69 lakh (0.669 million) in secondary schools across Delhi. Female students represented 49% of the total enrollment. The same year, the Delhi government spent between 1.58% and 1.95% of its gross state domestic product on education.
After completing the ten-year secondary phase of their education under the 10+2+3 plan, students typically spend the next two years either in junior colleges or in schools with senior secondary facilities, during which their studies become more focused. They select a stream of study—liberal arts, commerce, science, or, less commonly, vocational. Upon completion, those who choose to continue, either study for a 3-year undergraduate degree at a college, or a professional degree in law, engineering, or medicine. Notable higher education or research institutes in Delhi include All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Delhi School of Economics, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi College of Engineering,Hindu College and St Stephen's College.
As the capital of India, New Delhi is the focus of political reportage, including regular television broadcasts of Indian parliament sessions. Many country-wide media agencies, among them the state-owned Press Trust of India and Doordarshan, are based in the city. Television programming in the city includes two free terrestrial television channels offered by Doordarshan, and several Hindi, English and regional-languages cable channels offered by Multi system operators. Satellite television, in contrast, is yet to gain large-scale subscribership in the city.
Print journalism remains a popular news medium in Delhi. During the year 2004–05, 1029 newspapers—in thirteen languages—were published from the city. Of these, 492 were Hindi language newspapers, and included Navbharat Times, Dainik Hindustan, Punjab Kesri, Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar. Among the English language newspapers, The Hindustan Times, with over a million copies in circulation, was the single largest daily. Other major English newspapers included Indian Express, Times of India, The Hindu, The Pioneer and Asian Age.
Radio is a less popular mass medium in Delhi, although FM radio has been gaining ground since the inauguration of several new FM channels in 2006. A number of state-owned and private radio stations broadcast from Delhi, including All India Radio (AIR), one of the world's largest radio service providers, which offers six radio channels in ten languages. Other city-based radio stations include Radio Mirchi, Gyan Vani and Radio City.
As in the rest of India, cricket is a popular sport in Delhi. There are several cricket grounds (or maidans) located across the city, including the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, one of the oldest cricket grounds in India to be granted status as venue for international cricket matches. The Delhi cricket team represents the city in the Ranji Trophy, a domestic first-class cricket championship played between different cities and states of India. Other sports such as field hockey, Football (soccer), tennis, golf, badminton, swimming, kart racing, weightlifting and table tennis are also popular in the city.
Sports facilities in Delhi include the Jawharlal Nehru Stadium and the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. In the past, Delhi has hosted several domestic and international sporting events, such as the First and the Ninth Asian Games. The coming years will see the city host the 2010 Commonwealth Games, projected to be the largest multi-sport event ever held in the city. Delhi lost bidding for the 2014 Asian Games, but is bidding for 2016 Olympic Games.
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