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National Capital Territory of India
From top clockwise:  Lotus temple, Humayun's Tomb, Connaught Place,Akshardham temple and India Gate.
From top clockwise: Lotus temple, Humayun's Tomb, Connaught Place,Akshardham temple and India Gate.
Delhi is located in India
Location of Delhi in India.
Country  India
Region North India
Settled 6th century B.C., 3000 B.C. (from legend)
Incorporated 1857
Capital formation 1911
Established 1 Feb 1992
 • Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung
 • Chief Minister (President's Rule)
 • Legislature Unicameral (70 seats)
 • Parliamentary constituency 7
 • High Court Delhi High Court
 • Metropolis 1,484.0 km2 (573.0 sq mi)
 • Water 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi)
 • Metro 46,208 km2 (17,841 sq mi)
Elevation 0–125 m (0–409 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Metropolis 11,007,835
 • Rank 2nd
 • Density 11,297.01/km2 (29,259.12/sq mi)
 • Urban 16,314,838 (2nd)
 • Metro[2] 21,753,486
Demonym Delhiite, Dehlvi, Delhiwala
Time zone Indian Standard Time (UTC+5.30)
Pincode(s) 110001-110098, 1100xx
Area code(s) +91 11
Ethnicity Indian
Official Languages Punjabi, Urdu/Hindi

Delhi (, Hindustani pronunciation:  Dilli ), also known as the National Capital Territory of India is the capital territory of India.[3] Such is the nature of urban expansion in Delhi that its growth has expanded beyond the NCT to incorporate towns in neighbouring states and at its largest extent can count a population of about 25 million residents as of 2014,[4] and is the largest urban agglomeration in India by land area and population. It is also the 4th most populous city on the planet.[2][5] The NCT and its urban region have been given the special status of National Capital Region (NCR) under the Constitution of India's 69th amendment act of 1991. The NCR includes the neighbouring cities of Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Neharpar (Greater Faridabad), Greater Noida, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Rewari, Baghpat, Meerut, Alwar, Bharatpur and other nearby towns.

A union territory, the political administration of the NCT of Delhi today more closely resembles that of a state of India, with its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister. New Delhi is jointly administered by the federal government of India and the local government of Delhi, and is the capital of the NCT of Delhi.

Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC.[6] Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region.


  • History 1
  • Toponymy and idioms 2
  • History 3
  • Ecology 4
    • Climate 4.1
    • Air pollution 4.2
  • Civic administration 5
  • Government and politics 6
  • Economy 7
  • Utility services 8
  • Transport 9
    • Air 9.1
    • Road 9.2
    • Railway 9.3
    • Metro 9.4
    • Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) 9.5
    • Roads of 2006 and 2007 9.6
  • Demographics 10
  • Culture 11
    • Festivals 11.1
    • Cuisine 11.2
  • Education 12
  • Media 13
  • Sports 14
    • Hospitals 14.1
  • World Heritage status 15
  • See also 16
  • References 17
  • Further reading 18
  • External links 19


Delhi was the site of ancient Indraprastha (Khandavprastha), the ancient capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata.[7] Delhi re-emerged as a major political, cultural and commercial city along the trade routes between northwest India and the Gangetic plain during the Delhi Sultanate era.[8][9]

In AD 1639, the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built a new walled city named Shahjahanabad, in Delhi, which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1649 until the Rebellion of 1857.[10][11] Shahjahanabad today is Old Delhi. The greater part of Old Delhi is still confined within the space of Shah Jahān's walls, and several gates built during his rule—the Kashmiri Gate, the Delhi Gate, the Turkman Gate, and the Ajmeri Gate—still stand. In 1911 the British determined to shift the capital of India from Calcutta (Kolkata) to Delhi, and a three-member committee was formed to plan the construction of the new administrative center. The key architect on the committee was Sir Edwin Lutyens;[12] it was he who gave shape to the city. The British moved to the partially built New Delhi in 1912, and construction was completed in 1931.[13] A new capital city, New Delhi, was built to the south of the old city during the 1920s.[14] When the British left India in 1947, New Delhi became its national capital and seat of the union government.

Toponymy and idioms

There are a number of legends associated with the origin of the name Delhi. One is that it is derived from Dhillu or Dilu, a king who built a city at this location in 50 BC and named it after himself.[7][15][16] Another legend holds that the name of the city is based on the Hindi/Prakrit word dhili (loose) and that it was used by the Tomaras to refer to the city because the Iron Pillar of Delhi had a weak foundation and had to be moved.[16] The coins in circulation in the region under the Tomaras were called dehliwal.[17] According to the Bhavishya Purana, King Prithiviraja,of Indraprastha built a new fort in the modern-day Purana Qila area for the convenience of all four castes in his kingdom. He ordered the construction of a gateway to the fort and later named the fort dehali.[18] Some historians believe that the name is derived from Dilli, a corruption of dehleez or dehali—both terms meaning 'threshold' or 'gateway'—and symbolic of the city as a gateway to the Gangetic Plain.[19][20] Another theory suggests that the city's original name was Dhillika.[21]

The people of Delhi are referred to as or Delhiites.[22] The city is referenced in various idioms of the Northern Indo-Aryan languages. Examples include:

  • Abhi Dilli door hai or its Persian version, Hanouz Dehli dour ast, literally meaning Delhi is still far away, which is generically said about a task or journey still far from completion.[23][24]
  • Dilli dilwalon ka shehr or Dilli Dilwalon ki meaning Delhi belongs to the large-hearted/daring.[25]
  • Aas-paas barse, Dilli pani tarse, literally meaning it pours all around, while Delhi lies parched. An allusion to the sometimes semi-arid climate of Delhi, it idiomatically refers to situations of deprivation when one is surrounded by plenty.[24]


The entrance of Yogmaya temple
The ancient Yogmaya temple, claimed to be one of the five temples of the Mahabharata era in Delhi.

The area around Delhi was probably inhabited before the second millennium BC, and there is evidence of continuous inhabitation since at least the 6th century BC.[6] The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata.[7] According to this epic this land was initially a huge mass of forests called 'Kandavaprastha' which was burnt down to build the city of Indraprastha. The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya period (c. 300 BC); in 1966, an inscription of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273–235 BC) was discovered near Srinivaspuri. Remains of eight major cities have been discovered in Delhi. The first five cities were in the southern part of present-day Delhi. Anang Pal of the Tomara dynasty founded the city of Lal Kot in AD 736. The Chauhans conquered Lal Kot in 1180 and renamed it Qila Rai Pithora.

The iron pillar of Delhi, is said to have been fashioned at the time of Chandragupta Vikramaditya (375–413) of the Gupta Empire.[26][27]

The king Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated in 1192 by Muhammad Ghori, a Tajik invader from Afghanistan, who made a concerted effort to conquer northern India.[7] By 1200, native Hindu resistance had begun to crumble, the dominance of foreign Muslim dynasties in India was to last for the next five centuries. On the death of Muhammad in 1206, the Turkic slave-general, Qutb-ud-din Aibak, broke away from the Ghurid Dynasty and became the first Sultan of Delhi. He began construction of the Qutb Minar and Quwwat-al-Islam (might of Islam) mosque, the earliest extant mosque in India. Qutb-ud-din faced widespread Hindu rebellions and it was his successor, Iltutmish (1211–36), who consolidated the Turkic conquest of northern India.[7][28]

A view of Qutab minor
At 72.5 m (238 ft), A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Qutub Minar is the world's tallest free-standing brick minaret.[29]

For the next three hundred years, Delhi was ruled by a succession of Turkic and an Afghan, Lodhi dynasty. They built a number of forts and townships that are part of the seven cities of Delhi.[30] Delhi was a major centre of Sufism during this period.[31] The Mamluk Sultanate (Delhi) was overthrown in 1290 by the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320). Under the second Khilji ruler, Ala-ud-din Khilji, the Delhi sultanate extended its control south of the Narmada River in the Deccan. The Delhi sultanate reached its greatest extent during the reign of Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325–1351). In an attempt to bring the whole of the Deccan under control, he moved his capital to Daulatabad, Maharashtra in central India, but by moving away from Delhi he lost control of the north and was forced to return to Delhi to restore order. The southern provinces then broke away. In the years following the reign of Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388), the Delhi sultanate rapidly began to lose its hold over its northern provinces. Delhi was captured and sacked by Timur Lenk in 1398.[32] Near Delhi, Timur massacred 100,000 captives.[33] Delhi's decline continued under the Sayyid dynasty (1414–1451), until the sultanate was reduced to Delhi and its hinterland. Under the Afghan Lodhi dynasty (1451–1526), the Delhi sultanate recovered control of the Punjab and the Gangetic plain to once again achieve domination over northern India. However, the recovery was short-lived and in 1526 the sultanate was destroyed by Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty.

In 1526, Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, from the Fergana Valley in modern-day Uzbekistan, invaded India, defeated the last Lodhi sultan in the First Battle of Panipat and founded the Mughal Empire that ruled from Delhi and Agra.[7] The Mughal dynasty ruled Delhi for more than three centuries, with a sixteen-year hiatus during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, from 1540 to 1556.[34] In 1553, the Hindu king, Hemu Vikramaditya acceded to the throne of Delhi by defeating forces of Mughal Emperor Humayun at Agra and Delhi. However, the Mughals re-established their rule after Akbar's army defeated Hemu during the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556.[35][36][37] Shah Jahan built the seventh city of Delhi that bears his name Shahjahanabad, which served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1638 and is today known as the Old City or Old Delhi.[38]

Red Fort with the Indian Flag at the center
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Red fort is the location from which the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation on Independence Day

After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Mughal Empire's influence declined rapidly as the Hindu Maratha Empire rose to prominence.[39] In 1737, Maratha forces sacked Delhi following their victory against the Mughals in the First Battle of Delhi. In 1739, the Mughal Empire lost the huge Battle of Karnal in less than three hours against the numerically outnumbered but military superior Persian army led by Nader Shah of Persia during his invasion after which he completely sacked and looted Delhi, the Mughal capital, carrying away immense wealth including the Peacock Throne, the Daria-i-Noor, and Koh-i-Noor. The Mughals, severely further weakened, would never overcome this crushing defeat and humiliation which would also let the way open for more invaders to come, including eventually the British.[40][41][42] Nader eventually agreed to leave the city and India after forcing the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah I to beg him for mercy and granting him the keys of the city and the royal treasury.[43] A treaty signed in 1752 made Marathas the protectors of the Mughal throne in Delhi.[44]

Humayun's tomb (reddish coloured against the sky
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 1560, Humayun's Tomb is the first example of Mughal tomb complexes.[45]

In 1757, the Afghan ruler, Ahmad Shah Durrani, sacked Delhi. He returned to Afghanistan leaving a Mughal puppet ruler in nominal control. The Marathas again occupied Delhi in 1758, and were in control before their defeat in 1761 at the third battle of Panipat, and the city was captured again by Ahmad Shah.[46] However, in 1771, the Marathas established a protectorate over Delhi when the Maratha ruler, Mahadji Shinde, recaptured Delhi and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II was installed as a puppet ruler in 1772.[47] In 1803, during the Second Anglo-Maratha War, the forces of British East India Company defeated the Maratha forces in the Battle of Delhi.[48] During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, Delhi fell to the forces of East India Company after a bloody fight known as the Siege of Delhi. The city came under the direct control of the British Government in 1858. It was made a district province of the Punjab.[7] In 1911, it was announced that the capital of British held territories in India was to be transferred from Calcutta to Delhi.[13] The name "New Delhi" was given in 1927, and the new capital was inaugurated on 13 February 1931. New Delhi, also known as Lutyens' Delhi,[49] was officially declared as the capital of the Union of India after the country gained independence on 15 August 1947.[50] During the partition of India, thousands of Hindu and Sikh refugees, mainly from West Punjab fled to Delhi, while many Muslim residents of the city migrated to Pakistan. Migration to Delhi from the rest of India continues (as of 2013), contributing more to the rise of Delhi's population than the birth rate, which is declining.[51]

The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991 declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi.[52] The Act gave Delhi its own legislative assembly along Civil lines, though with limited powers.[52] In December 2001, the Parliament of India building in New Delhi was attacked by armed militants, killing six security personnel.[53] India suspected Pakistan-based militant groups were behind the attack, which caused a major diplomatic crisis between the two countries.[54] There were further terrorist attacks in Delhi in October 2005 and September 2008, resulting in a total of 103 deaths.[55]


Delhi is located at , and lies in Northern India. It borders the Indian states of Haryana on the north, west and south and Uttar Pradesh (UP) to the east. During the British Raj, Delhi was part of the province of Punjab and is still historically and culturally connected to the Punjab region.[56] Two prominent features of the geography of Delhi are the Yamuna flood plains and the Delhi ridge. The Yamuna river was the historical boundary between Punjab and UP, and its flood plains provide fertile alluvial soil suitable for agriculture but are prone to recurrent floods. The Yamuna, a sacred river in Hinduism, is the only major river flowing through Delhi. The Hindon River separates Ghaziabad from the eastern part of Delhi. The Delhi ridge originates from the Aravalli Range in the south and encircles the west, north-east and north-west parts of the city. It reaches a height of 318 m (1,043 ft) and is a dominant feature of the region.[57]

The National Capital Territory of Delhi covers an area of 1,484 km2 (573 sq mi), of which 783 km2 (302 sq mi) is designated rural, and 700 km2 (270 sq mi) urban therefore making it the largest city in terms of area in the country. It has a length of 51.9 km (32 mi) and a width of 48.48 km (30 mi).

Delhi is included in India's seismic zone-IV, indicating its vulnerability to major earthquakes, but earthquakes have not been common in recent history.[58]


Lightning strikes near India Gate, New Delhi
Lightning strikes near India Gate, New Delhi. Delhi receives much of its rainfall during the monsoon season which lasts from July to September

Delhi features an atypical version of the humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa). The warm season lasts from 9 April to 8 July with an average daily high temperature above 36 °C (97 °F). The hottest day of the year is 22 May, with an average high of 38 °C (100 °F) and low of 25 °C (77 °F).[59] The cold season lasts from 11 December to 11 February with an average daily high temperature below 18 °C (64 °F). The coldest day of the year is 4 January, with an average low of 2 °C (36 °F) and high of 15 °C (59 °F).[59] In early March, the wind direction changes from north-westerly to south-westerly. From April to October the weather is hot. The monsoon arrives at the end of June, along with an increase in humidity.[60] The brief, mild winter starts in late November, peaks in January and heavy fog often occurs.[61]

Temperatures in Delhi usually range from 5 to 40 °C (41.0 to 104.0 °F), with the lowest and highest temperatures ever recorded being −6.7 and 47.8 °C (19.9 and 118.0 °F) respectively.[62] The annual mean temperature is 25 °C (77 °F); monthly mean temperatures range from 13 to 32 °C (55 to 90 °F). The highest temperature recorded in July was 45 °C (113 °F) in 1931.[63][64] The average annual rainfall is approximately 714 mm (28.1 in), most of which falls during the monsoon in July and August.[7] The average date of the advent of monsoon winds in Delhi is 29 June.[65]

Climate data for Delhi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28.6
Average high °C (°F) 19.0
Average low °C (°F) 5.0
Record low °C (°F) −3.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 20.3
Avg. precipitation days 1.7 1.3 1.2 0.9 1.4 3.6 10.0 11.3 5.4 1.6 0.1 0.6 39.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 213.9 217.5 238.7 216.0 263.0 198.0 167.4 167.6 219.0 269.7 246.0 217.3 2,634.1

Air pollution

Urban sustainability analysis of the greater urban area of the city using the 'Circles of Sustainability' method of the UN Global Compact Cities Programme

Delhi is the most polluted[66] city in the world and according to one estimate, air pollution causes the death of about 10,500 people in Delhi every year.[67][68][69] During 2013-14, peak levels of fine particulate matter (PM) in Delhi increased by about 44%, primarily due to high vehicular and industrial emissions, construction work and crop burning in adjoining states.[67][70][71][72] Delhi has the highest level of the airborne particulate matter, PM2.5 considered most harmful to health, with 153 micrograms.[73] Rising air pollution level has significantly increased lung-related ailments (especially asthma and lung cancer) among Delhi's children and women.[74][75] The dense smog in Delhi during winter season results in major air and rail traffic disruptions every year.[76] According to Indian meteorologists, the average maximum temperature in Delhi during winters has declined notably since 1998 due to rising air pollution.[77]

Dense smog blankets Connaught Place, Delhi.

Environmentalists have criticised the Delhi government for not doing enough to curb air pollution and to inform people about air quality issues.[68] Most of Delhi's residents are unaware of alarming levels of air pollution in the city and the health risks associated with it.[71][72] Since the mid-1990s, Delhi has undertaken some measures to curb air pollution – Delhi has the third highest quantity of trees among Indian cities[78] and the Delhi Transport Corporation operates the world's largest fleet of environmentally friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) buses.[79] In 1996, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) started a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of India that ordered the conversion of Delhi's fleet of buses and taxis to run on CNG and banned the use of leaded petrol in 1998. In 2003, Delhi won the United States Department of Energy's first 'Clean Cities International Partner of the Year' award for its "bold efforts to curb air pollution and support alternative fuel initiatives".[79] The Delhi Metro has also been credited for significantly reducing air pollutants in the city.[80]

However, according several authors, most of these gains have been lost, especially due to stubble burning, rise in market share of diesel cars and a considerable decline in bus ridership.[81][82] According to CSE and System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), burning of agricultural waste in nearby Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh regions results in severe intensification of smog over Delhi.[83][84] The state government of adjoining Uttar Pradesh is considering imposing a ban on crop burning to reduce pollution in Delhi NCR and an environmental panel has appealed to India's Supreme Court to impose a 30% cess on diesel cars.[85][86]

The Circles of Sustainability assessment of Delhi gives a marginally more favourable impression of the ecological sustainability of the city only because it is based on a more comprehensive series of measures than only air pollution. Part of the reason that the city remains assessed at basic sustainability is because of the low resource-use and carbon emissions of its poorer neighbourhoods.[87]

Civic administration

Map showing the nine districts of Delhi

As of July 2007, the National Capital Territory of Delhi comprises nine districts, 27 tehsils, 59 census towns, 300 villages,[88] and three statutory towns, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) – 1,397.3 km2 or 540 sq mi, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) – 42.7 km2 or 16 sq mi and the Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB) – 43 km2 or 17 sq mi).[89][90] On 16 July 2012, the Delhi Government decided to increase the number of districts from nine to 11.[91]

The Delhi metropolitan area lies within the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT), which has five local municipal corporations; North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, NDMC and DCB. The former MCD was divided into three smaller Municipal Corporations – North Delhi, South Delhi and East Delhi.[92] According to the 2011 census, MCD is among the largest municipal bodies in the world, providing civic services to about 11 million people.[93]

Delhi houses the Supreme Court of India, and the regional Delhi High Court, along with the Small Causes Court for civil cases; the Magistrate Court and the Sessions Court for criminal cases, has jurisdiction over Delhi. The city is administratively divided into eleven police-zones, which are subdivided into 95 local police stations.[94]

Government and politics

The Supreme Court of India with Green coloured lawn and the building which shows its entrance to the court
Supreme court is the apex court in the country.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi has its own Legislative Assembly, Lieutenant Governor, council of ministers and Chief Minister. Members of the legislative assembly are directly elected from territorial constituencies in the NCT. The legislative assembly was abolished in 1956, after which direct federal control was implemented until it was re-established in 1993. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) handles civic administration for the city as part of the Panchayati Raj Act. The Government of India and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi jointly administer New Delhi, where both bodies are located. The Parliament of India, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace), Cabinet Secretariat and the Supreme Court of India are located in the municipal district of New Delhi. There are 70 assembly constituencies and seven Lok Sabha (Indian parliament's lower house) constituencies in Delhi.[95][96]

The Indian National Congress (Congress) formed all the governments in Delhi until the 1990s, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Madan Lal Khurana, came to power.[97] In 1998, the Congress returned to power under the leadership of Sheila Dikshit, who was subsequently re-elected for 3 consecutive terms. But in 2013, the Congress was ousted from power, with the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal forming the government with outside support from the Congress.[98] However, that government was short-lived, collapsing only after 49 days.[99] Currently, Delhi is under President's rule.[100]


A view of a road at Connaught Place showing busy traffic
Connaught Place in Delhi is an important economic hub of the National Capital Region

Delhi is the largest commercial centre in northern India; it has an estimated net State Domestic Product (FY 2010) of 1578 billion (US$26 billion) in nominal terms and ~6300 billion (US$100 billion) in PPP terms.[101] As of 2013, the per capita income of Delhi was Rs. 210000, highest in India. GSDP in Delhi at the current prices for 2012-13 is estimated at Rs 3.66 trillion (short scale) against Rs 3.11 trillion (short scale) in 2011-12.[102]

As per the Economic survey of Delhi (2005–2006), the tertiary sector contributes 70.95% of Delhi's gross SDP followed by secondary and primary sectors, with 25.20% and 3.85% contributions respectively.[103] Delhi's workforce constitutes 32.82% of the population, and increased by 52.52% between 1991 and 2001.[104] Delhi's unemployment rate decreased from 12.57% in 1999–2000 to 4.63% in 2003.[104] In December 2004, 636,000 people were registered with various employment exchange programs in Delhi.[104] In 2001 the total workforce in national and state governments and the quasi-government sector was 620,000, and the private sector employed 219,000.[104] Key service industries are information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media and tourism.[105] Construction, power, health and community services, and real estate are also important to the city's economy. Delhi has one of India's largest and fastest growing retail industries.[106] Manufacturing also grew considerably as consumer goods companies established manufacturing units and headquarters in the city. Delhi's large consumer market and the availability of skilled labour has attracted foreign investment. In 2001, the manufacturing sector employed 1,440,000 workers and the city had 129,000 industrial units.[107]

Utility services

See the caption for details
The headquarters of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).

Delhi's municipal water supply is managed by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). As of 2005–06, it supplied 650 million gallons per day (MGD), whereas the estimated consumption requirement is 963 MGD.[108] The shortfall is met by private and public tube wells and hand pumps. At 240 MGD, the Bhakra storage is DJB's largest water source, followed by the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. Delhi's groundwater level is falling and its population density is increasing, so residents often encounter acute water shortage.[108]
In Delhi, daily domestic solid waste production is 8000 tonnes which is dumped at three landfill locations by MCD.[109] The daily domestic waste water production is 470 MGD and industrial waste water is 70 MGD.[110] A large portion of the sewage flows untreated into the Yamuna river.[110]

The city's electricity consumption is about 1,265 kWh per capita, but actual demand is higher.[111] In Delhi power distribution is managed by Tata Power Distribution and BSES Rajdhani since 2002. The Delhi Fire Service runs 43 fire stations that attend about 15,000 fire and rescue calls per year.[112] The state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) and private enterprises Vodafone, Airtel, Idea cellular, Reliance Infocomm, Aircel and Tata Docomo provide telephone and cell phone service to the city. Cellular coverage is available in GSM, CDMA, 3G and 4G.


Indira Gandhi International Airport showing Terminal 1D and a passage
The Indira Gandhi International Airport is the busiest airport in South Asia.[113] Shown here is Terminal 1D of the airport.
A green coloured Delhi Transport Corporation CNG bus in the middle of the road
The Delhi Transport Corporation operates the world's largest fleet of compressed natural gas buses, totalling 9,000.[79][114]
The entrance of the Anand Vihar station
The Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway


Indira Gandhi International Airport, situated to the southwest of Delhi, is the main gateway for the city's domestic and international civilian air traffic. In 2012-13, the airport was used by more than 35 million passengers,[115][116] making it one of the busiest airports in South Asia. Terminal 3, which cost 96.8 billion (US$1.6 billion) to construct between 2007 and 2010, handles an additional 37 million passengers annually.[117]

The Delhi Flying Club, established in 1928 with two de Havilland Moth aircraft named Delhi and Roshanara, was based at Safdarjung Airport which started operations in 1929, when it was the Delhi's only airport and the second in India.[118] The airport functioned until 2001, however in January 2002 the government closed the airport for flying activities because of security concerns following the New York attacks in September 2001. Since then, the club only carries out aircraft maintenance courses,[118] and is used for helicopter rides to Indira Gandhi International Airport for VIP including the president and the prime minister.[119]

A second airport open for commercial flights has been suggested, by expansion of Meerut Airport or construction of a new airport in Greater Noida.[120]


Delhi has the highest road density of 2103 km/100 sq. km in India.

Buses are the most popular means of road transport catering to about 60% of Delhi's total demand. Delhi has one of India's largest bus transport systems. Buses are operated by the state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which owns largest fleet of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-fueled buses in the world. Personal vehicles especially cars also form a major chunk of vehicles plying on Delhi roads. Delhi has the highest number of registered cars compared to any other metropolitan city in India. Taxis, Auto Rickshaws and Cycle Rickshaws also ply on Delhi roads in large numbers.

Important Roads in Delhi

Some roads and expressways serve as important pillars of Delhi’s road infrastructure:

  • Inner Ring Road is one of the most important "state highways" in Delhi. It is a 51 km long circular road, which connects important areas in Delhi. Owing to more than 2 dozen grade-separators/flyovers, the road is almost signal-free.
  • Outer Ring Road is another major artery in Delhi that links far-flung areas of Delhi.
  • The Delhi Noida Direct Flyway (DND Flyway) is an eight-laned access controlled tolled expressway which connects Delhi to Noida (an important satellite city of Uttar Pradesh). The acronym DND stands for "Delhi-Noida Direct".
  • 'The Delhi Gurgaon Expressway is a 28 km (17 mi) expressway connecting Delhi to Gurgaon, an important satellite city of Haryana.
  • The Delhi Faridabad Skyway is controlled tolled expressway which connects Delhi to Faridabad, an important satellite city of Haryana.

National Highways Passing Through Delhi

Delhi is connected by Road to various parts of the country through several National highways:


Delhi is a major junction in the Indian railway network and is the headquarters of the Northern Railway. The five main railway stations are New Delhi railway station, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin Railway Station, Anand Vihar Railway Terminal and Sarai Rohilla.[121] The Delhi Metro, a mass rapid transit system built and operated by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), serves many parts of Delhi and the neighbouring cities Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad. As of August 2011, the metro consists of six operational lines with a total length of 189 km (117 mi) and 146 stations, and several other lines are under construction.[122] The Phase-I was built at a cost of US$2.3 billion and the Phase-II was expected to cost an additional 216 billion (US$3.5 billion).[123] Phase-II has a total length of 128 km and was completed by 2010.[124] Delhi Metro completed 10 years of operation on 25 December 2012. It carries millions of passengers every day.[125] In addition to the Delhi Metro, a suburban railway, the Delhi Suburban Railway exists.[126]


The Delhi Metro is a rapid transit system serving Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, and Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region of India. Delhi Metro is the world's 13th largest metro system in terms of length. Delhi Metro was India's first modern public transportation system, which has revolutionised travel by providing a fast, reliable, safe, and comfortable means of transport. The network consists of six lines with a total length of 189.63 kilometres (117.83 miles) with 142 stations, of which 35 are underground, five are at-grade, and the remainder are elevated. All stations have escalators, elevators, and tactile tiles to guide the visually impaired from station entrances to trains. It has a combination of elevated, at-grade, and underground lines, and uses both broad gauge and standard gauge rolling stock. Four types of rolling stock are used: Mitsubishi-ROTEM Broad gauge, Bombardier MOVIA, Mitsubishi-ROTEM Standard gauge, and CAF Beasain Standard gauge. The Phase-I of Delhi Metro was built at a cost of US$2.3 billion and the Phase-II was expected to cost an additional 216 billion (US$3.5 billion).[123] Phase-II has a total length of 128 km and was completed by 2010.[124] Delhi Metro completed 10 years of operation on 25 December 2012. It carries millions of passengers every day.[125] In addition to the Delhi Metro, a suburban railway, the Delhi Suburban Railway exists.[126]

Delhi Metro is being built and operated by the Padma Vibhushan E. Sreedharan, the Managing Director of DMRC and popularly known as the "Metro Man" of India. He famously resigned from DMRC, taking moral responsibility for a metro bridge collapse which took five lives. Sreedharan was awarded with the prestigious Legion of Honour by the French Government for his contribution to Delhi Metro.

Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS)

The 08 RRTS Corridors have been proposed by National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) to facilitate the people travelling from nearby cities in NCR to Delhi. The three main corridors in first phase are as follows which are expected to become operational before 2019:

  1. Delhi - Alwar via Gurgaon
  2. Delhi - Panipat via Sonepat
  3. Delhi - Meerut via Ghaziabad

Remaining five corridors are also approved by National Capital Region Planning Board but are planned in the second phase.

To make the project operational NCRPB has formed a separate body named as "National Capital Region Transport Corporation on the lines of DMRC to independently formalise and monitor its progress.

Roads of 2006 and 2007

As of 2007, private vehicles account for 30% of the total demand for transport.[121] Delhi has 1922.32 km of road length per 100 km2, one of the highest road densities in India.[121] It is connected to other parts of India by five

  • Official website
  • Delhi at DMOZ

External links

  • Economic Survey of Delhi 2005–2006. Planning Department. Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. Retrieved on 12 February 2007
  • Dalrymple, W (2003). City of Djinns (1 ed.). Penguin Books.  
  • Dalrymple, W (2003). Vidhya Society, (2009). Vidhya Society (NGO) is a leading charitable organization of Uttar Pradesh (India) established under society registration act 21-1860 on the special occasion of World Disable Year 2009. Director Mr. Pavan Upadhyay (1 ed.). Penguin Books.  
  • Prager, D (2013). Delirious Delhi (1 ed.). Arcade Publishing.  
  • Brown, L (2011). Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra (5 ed.). Lonely Planet Publications.  
  • Rowe, P; Coster, P (2004). Delhi (Great Cities of the World). World Almanac Library.  
  • Four-part series on Delhi (30 May – 2 June 2012). "Metrocity Journal: Delhi's Changing Landscape". The Wall Street Journal. 

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See also

The announcement of accepted cities will be made in June, 2015.

In February 2014, Government of India approved Delhi's bid for World Heritage City status. The historical city of Shahjahanabad and Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone in New Delhi have been cited in the bid. A team from UNESCO is scheduled to visit Delhi in September, 2014 to validate its claims. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has acted as the nodal agency for the bid.

World Heritage status

Below is a list of major hospitals in Delhi


Delhi is a member of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21.

Ambedkar Stadium, a football stadium in Delhi which holds 21,000 people, was the venue for the Indian football team's World Cup qualifier against UAE on 28 July 2012.[203] Delhi hosted the Nehru Cup in 2007[204] and 2009, in both of which India defeated Syria 1–0.[205] In the Elite Football League of India, Delhi's first professional American football franchise, the Delhi Defenders played its first season in Pune.[206] Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, a suburb of Delhi, hosts the annual Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix.[207] The Indira Gandhi Arena is also in Delhi.

Cricket and football are the most popular sports in Delhi.[201] There are several cricket grounds, or maidans, located across the city. The Feroz Shah Kotla Ground (known commonly as the Kotla) is one of the oldest cricket grounds in India and is a venue for international cricket matches. It is the home ground of the Delhi cricket team, which represents the city in the Ranji Trophy, the premier Indian domestic first-class cricket championship.[202] The Delhi cricket team has produced several world-class international cricketers such as Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Madan Lal, Chetan Chauhan and Bishan Singh Bedi to name a few. The Railways and Services cricket teams in the Ranji Trophy also play their home matches in Delhi, in the Karnail Singh Stadium and the Harbax Singh Stadium respectively. The city is also home to the Indian Premier League team Delhi Daredevils, who play their home matches at the Kotla, and was the home to the Delhi Giants team (previously Delhi Jets) of the now defunct Indian Cricket League.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games, which ran from 3 to 14 October 2010, was one of the largest sports event held in India.[193][194] The opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the main stadium of the event, in New Delhi at 7:00 pm Indian Standard Time on 3 October 2010.[195] The ceremony featured over 8,000 performers and lasted for two and a half hours.[196] It is estimated that 3.5 billion (US$57 million) were spent to produce the ceremony.[197] Events took place at 12 competition venues. 20 training venues were used in the Games, including seven venues within Delhi University.[198] The rugby stadium in Delhi University North Campus hosted rugby games for Commonwealth Games.[198][199] The mess left behind after the Commonwealth Games prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to replace Sports and Youth Affairs minister Manohar Singh Gill with Ajay Maken in 19 January 2011 Cabinet reshuffle.[200]

Delhi has hosted many major international sporting events, including the first and also the ninth Asian Games,[189] the 2010 Hockey World Cup, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2011 Cricket World Cup. Delhi lost bidding for the 2014 Asian Games,[190] and considered making a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.[191] However, sports minister Manohar Singh Gill later stated that funding infrastructure would come before a 2020 bid.[192] There are indications of a possible 2028 bid.


Radio is a less popular mass medium in Delhi, although FM radio has gained popularity[185] since the inauguration of several new stations in 2006.[186] A number of state-owned and private radio stations broadcast from Delhi.[187][188]

Print journalism remains a popular news medium in Delhi. The city's Hindi newspapers include Navbharat Times, Hindustan Dainik, Punjab Kesari, Pavitra Bharat, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar and Dainik Desbandhu.[183] Amongst the English language newspapers, The Hindustan Times, with a daily circulation of over a million copies, is the single largest daily.[184] Other major English newspapers include Times of India, The Hindu, Indian Express, Business Standard, The Pioneer and The Asian Age. Regional language newspapers include the Malayalam daily Malayala Manorama and the Tamil dailies Dinamalar and Dinakaran.[183]

As the capital of India, Delhi is the focus of political reportage, including regular television broadcasts of Parliament sessions. Many national media agencies, including the state-owned Press Trust of India, Media Trust of India and Doordarshan, is based in the city. Television programming includes two free terrestrial television channels offered by Doordarshan, and several Hindi, English and regional-language cable channels offered by multi system operators. Satellite television has yet to gain a large quantity of subscribers in the city.[182]

Pitampura TV Tower with background of blue sky
Pitampura TV Tower broadcasts programming to Delhi


[181] As of 2008, about 16% of all Delhi residents possessed at least a college graduate degree.[180].central universities and the rest are distance education is for Indira Gandhi National Open University [179],state universities Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi Technological University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and National Law University are the only [177].deemed universities seven major universities and nine [177]

Entrance of Indian Institute of Technology
Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi is ranked as Asia's fourth-best institute in science and technology in the year 1999.[178]

Private schools in Delhi – which use either English or Hindi as the language of instruction – are affiliated to one of three administering bodies, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), the Central Board for Secondary Education (NCERT (CBSE))[176] or the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). 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.[177] Female students represented 49% of the total enrolment. The same year, the Delhi government spent between 1.58% and 1.95% of its gross state domestic product on education.[177]

All India Institute of Medical Sciences with green lawn in front
All India Institute of Medical Sciences is a global leader in medical research and treatment.[175]


The fast living habits of Delhi's people has motivated the growth of street food outlets.[172]:41 A trend of dining at local dhabas is popular among the residents. High profile restaurants have gained popularity in recent years, among the popular restaurants are the Karim Hotel, the Punjab Grill and Bukhara.[173] The Gali Paranthe Wali (the street of fried bread) is a street in Chandni Chowk particularly for food eateries since the 1870s. Almost the entire street is occupied by fast food stalls or street vendors. It has nearly become a tradition that almost every prime minister of India has visited the street to eat paratha at least once. However, other Indian cuisines are also available in this area but this street specializes in north Indian food .[172]:40–50[174]

As India's national capital and centuries old Mughal capital, Delhi influenced the food habits of its residents and is where Mughlai cuisine originated. Along with Indian cuisine, a variety of international cuisines are popular among the residents.[171] The dearth of food habits among the city's residents created a unique style of cooking which became popular throughout the world, with dishes such as Kebab, biryani, tandoori. The city's classic dishes include Butter chicken, Aloo Chaat, chaat, dahi vada, kachori,chole bhature, Chole kulche, jalebi and lassi.[171][172]:40–50, 189–196

A dish of rice (white) with Karai chicken (dark orange) on it in a plate
Rice and Karai chicken from Delhi


Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of lights), Mahavir Jayanti, Guru Nanak's Birthday, Raksha Bandhan, Durga Puja, Holi, Lohri, Chauth, Krishna Janmastami, Maha Shivratri, Eid ul-Fitr, Moharram and Buddha Jayanti.[165] 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 a backdrop.[167] Other events such as Kite Flying Festival, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi. The Auto Expo, Asia's largest auto show,[168] is held in Delhi biennially. The World Book Fair, held biannually at the Pragati Maidan, is the second largest exhibition of books in the world.[169] Delhi is often regarded as the "Book Capital" of India because of high readership.[170]

A view of Pragati Maidan from inside
The Pragati Maidan in Delhi hosts the World Book Fair annually.

Delhi's association and geographic proximity to the capital, New Delhi, has amplified the importance of national events and holidays like Republic Day, Independence Day (15 August) and Gandhi Jayanti. On Independence Day, the Prime Minister addresses the nation from the Red Fort. Most Delhiites celebrate the day by flying kites, which are considered a symbol of freedom.[163] The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India's cultural diversity and military strength.[164][165] Over the centuries, Delhi has become known for its composite culture, and a festival that symbolises this is the Phool Walon Ki Sair, which takes place in September. Flowers and pankhe – fans embroidered with flowers – are offered to the shrine of 13th century Sufi saint Khwaja Bakhtiyar Kaki and the Yogmaya temple, both situated in Mehrauli.[166]

A view of a white coloured car put for show at Auto expo
The Auto Expo is held biennially at Pragati Maidan and India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. It showcases the Indian automobile industry.


Chandni Chowk, a 17th-century market, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewellery and Zari saris.[158] Delhi's arts and crafts include, Zardozi[159]  – an embroidery done with gold thread – [160] and Meenakari[161] – the art of enamelling.[162]

Lotus Temple, is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, is open to all regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasised in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasise that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions.[157] The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside. Furthermore no sermons can be delivered, and there can be no ritualistic ceremonies practised.[157]

Delhi's culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. This is exemplified by many significant monuments in the city. Delhi is also identified as the location of Indraprastha, the ancient capital of the Pandavas. The Archaeological Survey of India recognises 1200 heritage buildings[152] and 175 monuments as national heritage sites.[153] In the Old City, the Mughals and the Turkic rulers constructed several architecturally significant buildings, such as the Jama Masjid – India's largest mosque[154] and the Red Fort. Three World Heritage Sites – the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb – are located in Delhi.[155] Other monuments include the India Gate, the Jantar Mantar – an 18th-century astronomical observatory – and the Purana Qila – a 16th-century fortress. The Laxminarayan temple, Akshardham temple, the Bahá'í Lotus temple and the ISKCON temple 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 British colonial architecture, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, the Parliament of India and Vijay Chowk. Safdarjung's Tomb is an example of the Mughal gardens style. Some regal havelis (palatial residences) are in the Old City.[156]

An image showing a number of pots which are made traditionally, black coloured with red and green work on it.
Traditional pottery on display in Dilli Haat


According a 1999–2000 estimate, the total number of people living below the poverty line, defined as living on US$11 or less per month, in Delhi was 1,149,000, or 8.23% of the total population, compared to 27.5% of India as a whole.[146] 52% of Delhi residents who live in slums[147] without basic services like water, electricity, sanitation, sewage system or proper housing.[148][149] In 2005, Delhi accounted for the highest percentage (16.2%) of the crimes reported in 35 Indian cities with populations of one million or more.[150] The city has the highest rate of kidnapping and abduction cases with 9.3%; the national rate is 2.2%.[151] Delhi accounts for 15.4% of crime against women in Indian cities.[151]

Hinduism is Delhi's majority religion, with approximately 82.7% of Delhi's population. The city has large communities of Muslims (10%), Sikhs (5%), Jains (1.1%), Christians (0.94%) and Baha'i (0.1%).[139][140] Other minority religions include Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism.[141] Punjabi and Hindi/Urdu are the official and widely spoken languages in Delhi,[142] Punjabi is also spoken in Delhi's rural belt. There are many Haryanvi-speaking people in the city.[143] English is the principal written language of the city.[144] Other than Hindi/Urdu, Punjabi also has official language status in Delhi.[145]

Others include Christians (0.9%) & Baha'is (0.1%)
Religion in Delhi[138]
Religion Percent

According to the 2011 census of India, the population of Delhi is 16,753,235.[134] The corresponding population density was 11,297 persons per km2, with a sex ratio of 866 women per 1000 men, and a literacy rate of 86.34%. In 2004, the birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate per 1000 population were 20.03, 5.59 and 13.08, respectively.[135] In 2001, the population of Delhi increased by 285,000 as a result of migration and by 215,000 as a result of natural population growth[135] – this made Delhi one of the fastest growing cities in the world. By 2015, Delhi is expected to be the third-largest conurbation in the world after Tokyo and Mumbai.[136] Dwarka Sub City, Asia's largest planned residential area, is located within the National Capital Territory of Delhi.[137]

A complete view of Akshardham temple with people entering the temple
The Akshardham temple, the largest Hindu temple complex in the world. Hinduism is the predominant faith in Delhi.

Population Growth of Delhi 
Census Pop.
1901 405,819
1911 413,851 2.0%
1921 488,452 18.0%
1931 636,246 30.3%
1941 917,939 44.3%
1951 1,744,072 90.0%
1961 2,658,612 52.4%
1971 4,065,698 52.9%
1981 6,220,406 53.0%
1991 9,420,644 51.4%
2001 13,782,976 46.3%
2011 16,753,235 21.6%
† Huge population rise in 1951 due to large
scale migration after Partition of India in 1947.


To meet the transport demand, the State and Union government constructed a mass rapid transit system, including the Delhi Metro.[121] In 1998, the Supreme Court of India ordered that all public transport vehicles in Delhi must be fuelled by compressed natural gas (CNG).[132] Buses are the most popular means of public transport, catering for about 60% of the total demand.[121] The state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) is a major bus service provider which operates the world's largest fleet of CNG-fuelled buses.[133] Delhi Bus Rapid Transit System runs between Ambedkar Nagar and Delhi Gate.

[131] In 2008, there were 85 cars in Delhi for every 1,000 of its residents.[130] Delhi's rapid rate of economic development and population growth has resulted in an increasing demand for transport, creating excessive pressure on the city's transport infrastructure. As of 2008, the number of vehicles in the metropolitan region, Delhi NCR, is 11.2 million (11.2 million).[129][128] connect Delhi with the suburbs of Noida and Greater Noida.Noida-Greater Noida Expressway and DND Flyway connects Delhi with the neighbouring industrial town of Faridabad. The  

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