"Delhi- Past and Present" Top 5 Page for this destination New Delhi by lynnehamman

New Delhi Travel Guide: 1,156 reviews and 2,554 photos


Delhi is like an onion- one has to peel away the layers of history to get to the heart of this vibrant, multi-faceted historic city.
Standing on the banks of the River Yamuna,the walled city of Old Delhi was formerly known as Shahanabad. The bazaars (chowks) teem with people, speaking in Hindi, Urdu Punjabi and English.A jumble of shops, some fronting ancient Mughal havelis,sell everything and anything. Spice shops stand beside bicycle repair shops-colourful silk saris and jewellery catch the eye. The frantic crowds vie for space in the narrow lanes, already crowded by traffic of every sort. Chandi Chowk (Moonlight Bazaar) has not changed in centuries.except for the traffic. Even the smells , one would imagine, are the same.The Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) is a favourite place to browse or buy antiques and bric-a brac of every description. The name says it all.


Archaelogical excavations and historical texts show that the present day Delhi is the 8th city built on the present day site.
Delhi Sultanate Period was the 13th Century under ruler Qutb-ud-din.
The walled city Shahanabad was constucted by Emperor Shah Jehan in the 7th Century. It became the capital of the Mughal Empire,and the Red Fort is today a world heritage listed site.The Peacock Throne once stood inside this fort. The great Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in Asia, and was also constructed around this time. Because of its northern geographical position, Delhi was of strategic importance on the trade and commercial routes.

Started in 16th Century, and continued for three centuries. Akbar was considered to be the greatest ruler. A multi- talented and strong ruler, Akbar gained acceptance from the Rajputs by taking Hindu women into his harem, even marrying into the Hindu faith.
Shah Jehan introduced a golden era into the Mughal world- many wondrous buildings were erected during this time, the most famous being th Taj Mahal, holding the tomb of his late wife Mumtaz, and the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi..
Shahanabad was founded by Shah Jehan,with the Red Fort as its centrepiece. Poetry, Music and Art flourished under his rule. After falling ill in 1657, his son, Aurangzeb, placed his father under house arrest at Agra Fort. After the death of Shah Jehan, Aurangzed delared himself ruler.
From then onwards,the power and the glory of the Mughal Empire went into slow decline. Wars were waged and lost. The empire had shrunk.His subjects became hostile and rebellious.Aurangzeb ruled for 48 years., but was never able to repeat the success and glory of his forebearers.
The last Mughal Emperor , Bahadur Shah ii was deported by the British after the Great Mutiny in 1857. He was sent out of Delhi, ignominously, on a bullock cart to Burma, where he died in exile years later. The British now ruled India- but the great monuments, tombs, fort and bazaars of Old Delhi still stand, reminding us of the glory that once was.

New Delhi is a huge contrast to the old city.The traffic is still chaotic, and the shopping is still frenzied, but it is cosmopolitan and modern, and caters for every need. Its wide tree lined streets and avenues are well laid out,in complete contrast to the jumbled lanes of the Old City.


The history of the British period of rule,known as the RAJ era (1858-1947) is well covered and documented. It brought about much change in Delhi,as throughout all of India
After Independance and Partition in 1947, Delhi, now capital,assumed uppermost importance to the governance of India.Important speeches are made from the Red Fort(Jawaharlal Nehru's famous speech "At the stroke of the midnight hour"- on the eve of Indepenance, was made here). The construction of New Delhi was underway, designed and built by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the famous British architect.
New Delhi encompasses a very different style.The avenues and roads are wide,tree lined and filled with white bungalows. Rajpath is the wide ceremonial avenue that holds India Gate,and Rashtrapati Bhavan(Presidential residence) at one end.
Connought Circle, in New Delhi, is the hub of commercial activity.Shops and restuarants line the inner circle, and there is grassy park at the centre,which is very popular with locals and tourists. Many of the buildings around Connought Place are Victorian style. Underneath is the Metro station,and the Palika Bazaar. Roads lead off from the circle in all directions- Janpath being the most important leads off Radial road 1.
Although most cities in India have an old part and a newer modernized area, Delhi was the most aesthetically attractive and functional example of how the two can complement each other.

For additional info on Old Delhi, read THE LAST MUGHAL by William Dalrymple. A fascinating story.

Also a must read for anyone interested in Delhi is City of Djinns by W.Dalrymple- a wonderful memoir of his stay in Delhi

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Historical monuments & Mughal Architecture
  • In a nutshell:I would love to explore more of the old city
  • Last visit to New Delhi: Jan 2013
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (27)

Comments (48)

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Oct 14, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    You've really put me in the mood for our visit :-)

    • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
      Oct 14, 2015 at 2:00 PM

      Oh I am glad! I love visiting Delhi. It always has surprises. A photographers dream too.

  • bharat_tanwar's Profile Photo
    Jun 21, 2013 at 1:00 AM

    good work on my city..........thanks :)

  • elpariente's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Many years since I visited Delhi ,probably will be very different .
    I have great memories of our first visit
    Very good information
    Gracias !!!

  • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    A beautiful homage to an equally beautiful city, esp. Old Delhi!
    Thank You!

    • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
      Oct 25, 2012 at 10:16 PM

      Thanks Anil- did u get me email query about transport from your home?

    • anilpradhanshillong's Profile Photo
      Oct 25, 2012 at 10:34 PM

      Yes! Did! Wrote reply after scratching head for long, long time as you have covered places unvisited by Delhiites!

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Love the colage intro photo Lynn, its so nice. Your tips and photograph is wonderful. You always do such a great job on your pages. I enjoy reading them.

  • Liatris1's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2011 at 6:58 AM

    Yes, William Dalrymple really has some good books about India. "Last Mughal" is amazing, imagine all the research! And of course "City of Djinns"

    Have you read "White Mughals"? A gripping love story!

  • TravellingGugu's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    Lynn you are the best! Thx for recommending me your page on Delhi, it gives me a great head start. Now I feel less intimidated about tackling Delhi on my own. B est wishes from TravellingGugu, aka Francis ^^

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Great pages. I also love your Homepage. It is so well written.

  • techants's Profile Photo
    Jan 26, 2010 at 4:42 AM

    I contacted Ajay per your advise ....he is such a nice fella. Great delhi page

  • Court94403's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    Great tips Lynne, I have always wanted to visit India. You make it sound so nice!

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