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Delhi Travel Sites

Delhi The Story
The Mughal Delhi, The Modern Delhi, Ashoka Pillar, Ghoonidarwaza 

Places to see: Asoka Pillar, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Raj Ghat, Purana Qila, Humayun's tomb, India Gate, Birla House (Gandhi Smriti), Indira Gandhi Museum, Teen Murthi, Qutab Minar, Chhattarpur temple, Kalka Mandir, Bahaii temple, ISCON temple, Jantar Mantar, Hanuman Mandir, Connaught Place

Delhi - The Story

     Delhi's past goes back to misty antiquity. Excavated pottery dating 1500 BC is quoted as evidence of a glorious, prehistoric civilization. An Ashoka edict's discovery in Srinivaspuri in the city in around 2000 AD indicates the region might have been part of his empire. Time must have ravaged that older civilization around Delhi. But the civilisation that arose on its ruins from the outset of recorded history in and around the hub of a tolerant people was trampled upon by alien Muslim zealots without any revolt or serious resistance. What really a visitor can look for today is the monuments of the Muslim period dotting all over.

     Muslim history begins with Mahmud of Ghor invading India and defeating the Rajput king Prithviraj in 1192. His slave Qutbuddin Aibak became the viceroy. In 1206, Qutbuddin crowned himself as the sultan of the slave dynasty. He is thus the first Muslim ruler of Delhi. Mosque came to India, and alongwith, Islamic architecture. So also the tomb. Qutbuddin built Quwwat-ul-Islam (might of Islam) mosque. This is the earliest extant mosque in India. Qutb Minar was also built by him.

Qutb Minar

     The Khiljis displaced the Slave dynasty in 1290. The Tughlaq dynasty displaced the Khiljis in 1321. Mohammad-bin-Tughlak's schemes were eccentric, most notorious being the shifting of the apital. Tughlaks disintegrated. Timur-i-Lang invaded Delhi in 1398. Later came the Sayyids and Lodis. In 1526, Zahir-ud-Din Babur defeated Rana Sanga (Sangram Singh) and Ibrahim Lodi and founded the Mughal dynasty in Delhi. He shifted the Capital to Agra. It remained the Mughal Capital till 1648 when Shah Jahan finally shifted it back to Delhi. The Mughal empire weakened gradually after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. Persian invader Nadir Shah ravaged the city in 1739. The legendary Peacock Throne (explained later) disappeared from Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience) and later landed in the British museum in London.

    The Marathas, Sikhs and the British all fought for power. The British got the upper hand in 1803. (See Ghoonidarwaza). After the Meerut mutiny of 1857, the first Indian war of independence against the British, the last Mughal titular emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was captured and exiled by the British. The British assumed power. Another precious Indian relic, Koh-i-noor or Mount of Light, one of the largest diamonds in the world, adorned the British royal crown. Sporadic revolts against the British soon grew into a widespread freedom struggle against them. The spread of British education and ideas helped unite the people in a spirit of nationalism. A larger, democratic India was born in 1947.

   Climate:Winter (Dec to Feb) Min 4 deg C, Summer (May and June) Max 45 deg C, July to Sept monsoon, Oct-Nov Feb-April ideal for visit.

   Clothes: Cotton in summer and woollen in winter.

   -R M Nair

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