New Delhi is the capital of India. It is located in the northern part of the country. New Delhi is not a city itself, but a quarter in Delhi, one of the oldest urban centers in the world. The first settlements in the Delhi area date back to the second millennium BC.
But according to tradition, Delhi was only founded around 800 BC by the mythical king Dhilu. Some scholars believe the name Delhi is a distortion of “Dhilu.” The first certain historical record of the territory dates back to 736 AD. The document mentions construction in Delhi of a fortress called Lol Kot. Over the following centuries, seven cities were created around Lol Kot. They eventually merged with Delhi.
In the 11th century, Delhi was the most important center for Hinduism in India. But at the end of the 12th century, Muslims from Afghanistan invaded northern India and imposed Islam on the population. Around 1190, construction started on Qutb Minar. It is the tallest brick minaret in the world, and became the symbol of Delhi. Starting in 1206, Delhi was the heart of a Muslim kingdom: the Sultanate of Delhi. Different Muslim dynasties held power in India for roughly 300 years.
Delhi underwent a period of great expansion during the Muslim reign. The historical Hauz Khas district was built, as well as the Chandni Chowk bazaar, and the Lal Qila royal palace. In the early 1800s, Great Britain began to expand in India. In 1857, the English attacked and conquered Delhi. But the city maintained its importance even under foreign rule. In the early 1900s, the English built an administrative district called New Delhi.
In 1911, New Delhi became the capital of India. The financial and commercial center Connaught Place was built in the district. On August 15, 1947 India gained independence from the British government and split into two states: India, which has a Hindu majority, and Pakistan, which has a Muslim majority. Over the following months, millions of Hindus moved from Pakistan into India. Delhi became the heart of Hinduism once again. Today, it is one of the most populous cities on earth, with over 13 million inhabitants. About 300,000 of them live in New Delhi.