New Delhi India’s Capital City INTRODUCTION
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India’s Capital City
New Delhi, the capital and the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient and the modern. Standing along the West End of Gangetic Plain, the capital city, Delhi, unwinds a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries, gardens and exotic shows. Comprising of two contrasting yet harmonious parts, the Old Delhi and New Delhi, the city is a travel hub of Northern India.
The city that has served as the political, financial and cultural centre for generations. And to the several empires of ancient India, most notably that of the Mughals.
New Delhi lies in northern India, almost entirely in the Gangetic plains. Both Old and New Delhi exert a beguiling charm on visitors.
Narrating the city's Mughal past, Old Delhi, takes you through the labyrinthine streets passing through formidable mosques, monuments and forts. You will also discover lively and colorful bazaars that boast to cater all sorts of good and items at mind-blowing prices amidst a barely controlled chaotic ambience. The imperial city of New Delhi displays the finely curved architecture of British Raj.
It generates a mesmerizing charm reflecting well-composed and spacious streets under the shade of beautifully lined avenues of trees and tall and imposing government buildings.
Public transport is an important feature in New Delhi. There are buses, auto rickshaws, a mass rapid transit system (otherwise called Delhi Metro), 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. Delhi Transport Corporation operates many routes not-only in Delhi, but also many inter-states routes. The mofussil buses operate around 34 depots, and the inter-state buses operate from the Three Inter State Bus Terminals in Kashmir Gate, Sarai Kale Khan and Anand Vihar.
Delhi Metro, operated by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited. A world class metro system has been instituted in New Delhi. 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
Auto rickshaws are one of the most popular means of public transportation in Delhi. Auto Rickshaws are popular in New Delhi, and are popularly known as scooters. Since they run on CNG, they are environmentally-friendly and a quick way to get around.
They are usually green and yellow.
A cost of a ride is in the range of Rs.20 to Rs.75.Taxis are not as prevalent in New Delhi as rickshaws,
and tend to be more expensive.
However, both private taxis and
the state-permit Taxis.
New Delhi's capital status 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
New Delhi and the rest of India.
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), 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.
Parliament, the supreme legislative body of the country, comprises of the President and the 2 Houses – the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Raja Sabha (Council of States). The President has the power to summon and prorogue either House of Parliament or to dissolve the Lok Sabha.
The Constitution of India came into force on January 26, 1950. The first general elections under the new Constitution were held during the year 1951-52 and the first elected Parliament came into being in April, 1952
The largest mosque in India, was built by the great
Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Begun in 1644 and completed
finally in 1658 at a cost of 10 lakh rupees, it has 3 gateways, 4 angle towers and two 40 m high minarets.
Situated on a rocky eminence in Old Delhi on the other side of
road to the Red Fort. One of the finest Specimen of Mughal
structure, its notable features
are its bold treatment in red
sandstone inlaid with black and
white marble, spacious courts,
massive pillars supporting
engrailed arches, elegant bulbous domes - all well
proportioned with decorative manipulation.
This is the place where Mahatma Gandhi was assasinated on January 30,1948. A 3 foot tall stone memorial has been erected at the site. Scenes from the Mahatma's life are painted on the walls and ceilings of the nearby red sandstone portion.
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, its foundation was laid by
the Duke of Connaught in 1921. With a diameter of 125 yards and a height of 75 ft. it was completed in just 5
years. Located near the Central Secretariat, this marvellous
piece of architecture can be admired only from outside due
to security reasons.
About 15 km south of Delhi, in Mehrauli, this 238 feet and
1 inch high Minar has been referred to as "one of the
wonders of world". This soaring tower of victory was built
immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu Kingdom in
Delhi. Qutb-ud-din Aibak laid its foundation in 1200 A.D.
Iltutmish added 3 more storeys. After damaged by
lightning in 1368 A.D. Firuz Shah Tughlaq rebuilt the 4th
story, added the 5th and a harp
shaped cupola. As of now, upper
storeys are closed for visitors,
yet its a treat to watch this
Shahjahan, who shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi had a great
significance in historical Delhi.
Hall of Public Audiences). It was in the Diwan-i-Am,
wherein a marble dais is said to have
supported Shahajahan’s famous Peacock throne
which was valued at some 6 million pound
sterling was taken away by Nadir Shah when
he looted Delhi in 1739.
This 42-metre high free standing arch, designed
by Lutyens was founded on February 10 1921 by
the Duke of Connaught. It commemorates the
70,000 Indian soldiers who died during World War I.
Amar Jawan Jyoti, another memorial, added
under the arch in 1971 is the nation's
tribute to Indian Jawans, who laid
their lives during Indo-Pak War of
1971. The names of the soldiers
are inscribed all along the walls
of the arch.
Of the 5 astronomical observatories built by Maharaja
Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), Jantar Mantar, at
Delhi is one of them (others were erected at Ujjain,
Varanasi, Jaipur and Mathura).
Built in 1724, it contains 6
masonry instruments, the largest one
Samrat Yantra (Supreme Instrument)
is like a sun dial. Built for observing
the movements of the stars and the
planets, through these Yantras one
can learn about the shortest and the longest
day of the year, days of the week, months, time and other
Summers are very hot, though the humidity levels are not much as in Calcutta and Bombay. Temperatures in the summer months can touch 45 degrees Celsius with May and June being the hottest months.
Rains are spread over a month from early July and humidity levels at this time can cause uneasiness. The winter months October-end to February-end are cold and dry and the minimum temperatures can go as low as 3 degrees Celsius in late December and January.
Heavy woolens are ideal during this time and can give a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. Weather bulletins and forecasts are given regularly over the television and in the newspapers and are normally accurate as they are based on satellite information.
Delhi is very much a mini India, attracting people from all parts of the nation. A perfect example of cosmopolitan culture. English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu are most commonly spoken.
In hotels and restaurants the staff speak English while the tourist guides are also well versed with the language. Indians being friendly can always help tourists who may not understand any other language than English.
Delhi is a large city that has emerged through the confluence of many contrasting cultures and traditions. Hence, there is a lot to explore and experience. It can be a confusing place for newcomers, especially since it is always teeming with people from various communities. To make their visit a pleasant one, visitors should follow few general guidelines.
For travel health, it is best to use your common sense. Take care what you eat or drink. It is best to carry your own mineral water. Hot tea and coffee are good alternatives. Indian travellers do not worry too much about water, because they are tuned to local conditions. Even so, contaminated drinking water remains the main reason for most stomach-related diseases.
Diarrhea (the English call it 'Delhi-belly') is the most common stomach ailment. Take a three or five-day course of anti-diarrhea tablets duly prescribed by a doctor. Along with medication, drink a lot of water with salt and sugar as diarrhea leads to dehydration. Alcohol, milk, meat, fried and spicy foods should be avoided. Porridge, stew and the local khichdi are easy to digest and, therefore, recommended.