About New Delhi
India’s capital, New Delhi, is among the 11 districts of the City of Delhi. While many use Delhi and New Delhi interchangeably, the latter is a smaller city within the former. Under India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New Delhi is among the Indian cities that would be developed as a smart city through the Smart Cities Mission.
The mission is a government program aimed at renewing and redeveloping cities to make them more citizen-centric and sustainable.
At the time of the British Raj, Calcutta (today: Kolkata) served as the capital of India.
Historically, New Delhi was the economic and political center from the time of ancient India to the time of the Delhi Sultanate. Due to logistical and administrative reasons, the British Administration moved to transfer the British Indian Empire capital from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1911.
To commemorate the transfer, King George C and Queen Mary laid the foundation stone at the Delhi Durbar of 1991 at Kingsway Camp. As the transfer was finalized, Edwin Luytens became responsible in planning several constructions in the city. Luytens, together with George Swinton and John Bordie planned to sites – the North and South. But the Viceroy rejected the plans due to financial constraints. The present day central bloc of New Delhi facing the east at India Gates was originally meant to become the north-south axis that connects the Paharganj to the House of the Viceroy.
During the early construction phase of the foundation stone, tourists surmised that the gate was the passageway from Earth to Heaven. In reality, the location was chosen due to limited space and the presence of heritage site along the North side.
Along with the transfer of capital were also several infrastructure projects like the secretariat building. Offices of the Madras and Bengal Presidencies were moved as well bringing with them their employees from India. To accommodate the employees, Gole Market area was developed to serve as their housing.
To house government dignitaries, bungalow houses were built along the Lodhi Estate area and Lodhi colony.
When India was declared an independent country in 1947, New Delhi was given limited autonomy and was supervised by a government-appointed Chief Commissioner. By 1956, the city became a union territory ruled by a Lieutenant Governor.
Based on the last census, Mumbai is home to a total population of 257,803. Spanning an area of 16.5 square miles, it has a population density of 15,624.42 per square mile.
Locals are referred to as Delhiites. The most widely spoken language in New Delhi is Hindi. It is also the common language used to communicate with non-natives. However, English remains as the formal language employed in business and government offices.
The city has a literacy rate of 89.38%, the highest in Delhi.
Due the large coverage of the Indian bureaucracy, New Delhi has a diverse culture and is known to celebrate several national events and holidays such as Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti. During Independence Day celebration, locals fly kits to symbolize their freedom.
The city also hosts a number of religious festivals like the Maha Shivaratri, Diwali, Durga Puja, Teej, Guru Nank Jayanti and Eid ul-Fitr to name a few.
New Delhi is a food paradise. The city has a wide variety of gustatory offerings that would satisfy any craving. Tandoori chicken and tandoori roti is the ultimate definition of New Delhi food. The freshly made meal from the tandoor is often available at roadside dhabas.
Locals also feast on South Indian food, particularly the vegetarian varieties. While there are a number of fine dining cuisines at five-star hotels, New Delhi food is best experienced at the food stalls situated at Dilli Haat. Each meal from different Indian states is represented here at a moderate cost.
New Delhi has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate. The temperature during summer and winter vary widely. Temperature ranges from 115 F during summer to 32 F during winter. It is uniquie from other cities as the city experiences long and extremely hot summers with relatively dry and mild winters. Summer can last for six months from April to October, with monsoon season approaching at the heat of the summer. With peaks in January, winter begins in November.
There are various modes of transportation available for Delhiites and tourists. By air, Indira Gandhi International Airport serves as the main aviation hub.
The state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation plies the roads of New Delhi. They are the largest bus transport system to utilize compressed natural gas. Despite the availability of public buses, many of the New Delhi residents still opt to drive their own car, making them one of the cities with the highest road density.
New Delhi is home to the Northern Railway and serves as a major junction of the Indian railway network. The city is also served by the Delhi Metro, a rapid transit system that ranks as the world’s 12th largest metro system.
Auto-rickshaws and taxis are other forms of public transportation.
Places of Interest
New Delhi has several interesting historic sites and museums to visit. The National Museum houses more than 200,000 Indian and foreign artworks that spans 5,000 years. Other museums worth visiting include National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery of Modern Art, National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum, National Rail Museum, Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, Nehru Planetarium and Supreme Court of India Museum.
Inspired by the Parisian Arc de Triomphe, India Gate serves as India’s national monument. It was built to commemorate the 90,000 Indian Army soldiers who gave up their lives reclaiming India’s freedom.
To know more about the life and death of Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi Smriti and Rajghat are great places to explore.
Known to have lushly landscaped gardens, New Delhi is best visited during spring when all the flowers in the gardens are in full bloom. Buddha Jayanti Park and Lodi Gardens are a favorite among locals and tourists.