Delhi (NCT - National Capital Territory)- Introduction @

What Is India News Service
Friday, April 13, 2007



NCT - National Capital Territory


Quick Information

State Area (Sq. Km.)


State Capital

New Delhi

Major Language(s)

Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and English

Number of Districts








Growth Rate 1991-2001

46.31 %



Urban Population

93.01 %

Sex Ratio (Females per 1000 Males)


Literacy Rate

81.82 %


87.37 %


75 %


Legislative Assembly


High Court, Delhi


Shri Tejinder Khanna


Raj Niwas, Delhi-110054

Office No.

011-23975022, 011-23960809

Residence No.

011 - 23960101, 23970303


011 - 23945004, 23937099



Chief Minister

Smt. Sheila Dikshit


3, Motilal Nehru Place, New Delhi - 110011

Office No.

23392020, 23392030

Residence No.

23018716, 23018717


23018733, 011-23392111

Chief Secretary Sri S. Regunathan ,   IAS/ AGMU : 68


Players Building, I.P. Estate, New Delhi

Office No.

011-23392100, 011- 23392101

Residence No.



011- 23392102





General Information

Delhi is a term that refers to either the State of Delhi or the National Capital Territory (NCT) of the Republic of India. In popular use, the term NCT includes several neighbouring areas in the adjoining states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The name Delhi may originate from the Urdu/Hindustani word Dahleez (English: threshold, or frontier) or from the name of a Mauryan king, Raja Dhillu. The people of Delhi are known as Delhiites or "Dilliwaalay". The latter is a historical and cultural term describing people of the old city and the associated diaspora. There are, for example, communities (often living in neighbourhoods dominated and named after them) of Dilliwaalay in major Pakistani cities who still identify their clan with neighbourhoods in the Old City of Delhi. The Persianized surname Dahelvi is also related to residents of Delhi.

Delhi has the most vibrant history of any of the more prominent cities or towns of India. It has been the "capital of seven empires" in Indian history and as per the Archaeological Survey of India, has over 60,000 recognized monuments built over several millennia. Delhi was first referenced in the Indian epic Mahabharata as Indraprastha.

Economically, Delhi is one of the most affluent urban centres in India and is at the heart of India's largest consumer belt. As an indicator, Delhi has more cars plying its roads than India's other four 'metros', Bangalore, Calcutta, Madras and Bombay combined and is widely considered to have the best transport and utilities infrastructure in the country. It has in recent years emerged as an entrepôt for multi-nationals and is the primary destination for FDI in India, particularly with the emergence of its suburbs Noida and Gurgaon as commercial and industrial centres in their own right. The nation's automobile, media and consumer goods industries have facilities in and around Delhi. There is also a strong showing by key knowledge-based industries in Delhi, particularly in the life sciences, telecom and the information technology arena. A preferred destination due to the quantity and high calibre of English speakers, Delhi and its suburbs account for over 30% of India's IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) exports--the second largest in the country (Bangalore accounts for 35%).

Delhi is a very cosmopolitan city due to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural presence of the vast Indian bureaucracy and political system. From an international perspective, there are more than 160 embassies present and an ever increasing expatriate population.

Delhi derives its historic importance from its position in northern India, occupying a location between the Aravalli Hills to the southwest and the Yamuna river on whose western banks it stands. This enabled it to dominate the old trade routes from northwest India to the plains of the Ganges. As a result, it has always been an important cultural and intellectual centre.

With a steadily increasing quality of life, a booming economy and consumer market and by virtue of the fact that it is the nation's capital, cultural and intellectual life in Delhi are burgeoning as well. Delhi also has a high standard in education. It is the home of many major educational institutions in India--namely the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, and All India Institute of Medical Sciences. Delhi also boasts of a great number of quality schools. Delhi is also home to a number of think tanks, museums, art galleries, parks and theatres.

Strictly defining Delhi's borders, it occupies an area of some 1,483 square kilometres (572 square miles) with a population of approximately 14 million (though with its suburbs it crosses well over 23 million). The principal spoken language is Hindustani, an amalgam of Hindi and Urdu. Influence of Urdu is because of Muslim rulers and great Urdu poets of 18th and 19th century like Ghalib. Other common languages spoken are English and Punjabi.


Delhi has been the National Capital for centuries and occupies a unique position in the national affairs. It was elevated to the National Capital Territory with a State Assembly and the Chief Minister in 1991 through the 69th Constitutional Amendment.

Delhi has seen the rise and fall of many empires which have left behind a plethora of monuments that attest to the grandeur and glory of bygone ages. Traditionally, Delhi is said to be the site of the magnificent and opulent Indraprastha, capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. A village called Indarpat existed in Delhi until the beginning of the 19th century. The ancient historic village was obliterated to make place for construction of New Delhi by the British.

Excavations have unearthed sherds of the grey painted ware (ca. 1000 BC) that some archaeologists associate with the age of the Mahabharata, but no coherent settlement traces have been found. Some locate Indraprastha in the Purana-Qila area.

The earliest architectural relics age back to the Mauryan Period (ca 300 BCE); since then, the site has seen continuous settlement. In 1966, an inscription of the Mauryan King Ashoka (273-236 BCE) was discovered near Srinivaspuri. Two sandstone pillars inscribed with the edicts of Ashoka were later brought to the city by Firuz Shah Tughluq. The famous Iron Pillar near the Qutub Minar was commissioned by the emperor Kumara Gupta I of the Gupta dynasty (320-540) and transplanted to Delhi at some time in the 10th century. Eight major cities have been situated in the Delhi area. The first four cities were in the southern part of present-day Delhi.

The Tomara Rajput dynasty founded Lal Kot, which lies near the Qutub Minar, in 736. In the Prithvirajaraso, the Rajput Anangpal is named as the founder of Delhi. The Chauhan Rajput kings of Ajmer conquered Lal Kot from the Tomaras in 1180 and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora. The Chauhan king Prithviraj III was defeated in 1192 by the Afghan army of Muhammad Ghori. After 1206, Delhi became the capital of the Delhi Sultanate. the first rulers were known as the Slave Dynasty as many of the rulers of this dynasty were former slaves. This includes the first Sultan of Delhi, Qutb-ud-din Aibak who was a former slave who rose through the ranks to become a general followed by governor and then Sultan of Delhi. Qutb-ud-din started the construction the Qutub Minar, instantly recognisable as a symbol of Delhi, to commemorate his victory but died before its completion. He also constructed the Quwwat-ul-Islam (might of Islam), which is the earliest extant mosque in India, in the Qutb complex. He was said to have pillaged exquisitely carved pillars from 27 temples for this mosque many of which can still be seen. After the end 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 fabled seven Delhis. In 1526, following the First Battle of Panipat emperor Babur defeated the last Lodhi sultan and founded the Mughal dynasty which ruled from Delhi, Agra and Lahore.

A Bazaar in Old Delhi, 2004In the mid-sixteenth century there was an interruption in the Mughal rule of India as Sher Shah Suri defeated Babur's son Humayun and forced him to flee to Afghanistan and Persia. Sher Shah Suri built the sixth city as well as the old fort known as Purana Qila. After his early death, Humayun was able to recover the empire with Persian help as Suri's son was not as able as his father. The third and the greatest Mughal emperor, Akbar, moved the capital of his empire to Agra resulting in a decline in the fortunes of Delhi. In the mid-seventeenth century, the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628-1658) built the city that sometimes bears his name (Shahjahanabad), the seventh city of Delhi that is more commonly known as the old city or old Delhi. This city contains a number of significant architectural features, including the Red Fort (Lal Qila) and the Jama Masjid. The old city served as the capital of the later Mughal empire from 1638 onwards, when Shah Jahan transferred the capital back from Agra. Aurangzeb (1658-1707) crowned himself as the emperor in Delhi in 1658 at the Shalinar garden ('Aizzabad-Bagh); a second coronation took place in 1659.

Delhi passed to British control in 1857 after the First War of Indian Independence; the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, was pensioned to Rangoon, and the remaining Mughal Territories were annexed as a province of British India. Delhi ceased to be India's capital with the British preferring their city of Calcutta. In 1911 the Capital of British India was again moved to Delhi from Calcutta. 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.


Manorama Year Book 2007

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