The ancient city of Delhi, in North India, has been the capital of a succession of political entities since at least the Medieval era. Today it is the Republic of India's principle city, known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi, and divided into seven districts that form the second largest of the nation's cities. India's upwardly mobile capital possesses one of the largest economies in the nation and is the principle commercial hub in the north of the country. This sprawling metropolis, having been ruled by Hindu, Muslim and Christian polities, is home to many religious buildings of different faiths and a setting for various devotional festivals.
Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), operated by the Airports Authority of India and named after a former Prime Minister, is the main airport serving the National Capital Territory of Delhi and adjoining urban agglomeration. The airport, the busiest in India and the largest in South Asia, is located in the constituency of Palam and is in close proximity to the metropolis's transport networks such as road, rail and metro connections. Flying to the capital does not have to be expensive thanks to the availability of cheap flights to Delhi, arriving at this airport, for those visiting the metropolis on a tighter budget.
Jantar Mantar, situated near Connaught Place in the New Delhi district, is an astronomical observatory built in the 1720s by local ruler Maharaja Jai Singh II at the command of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. The purpose of this large observatory, consisting of thirteen astronomical instruments, was to provide an accurate measurement of the movement of the sun, moon and other celestial bodies as well as provide a precise calculation of the time of day. The surrounding high-rise buildings have rendered red-painted Jantar Mantar an ineffective observatory but this urban landmark, designated a National Monument in 1948, remains a testament to Indian scientific curiosity and technical ingenuity.
Chandni Chowk is an historic market square in the walled city of Old Delhi that dates from the seventeenth century reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The market square was a site of imperial processions during the Mughal era and later in the time of the British Raj, the last one occurring in 1911 to mark the Imperial Durbar of George V. Today it remains a lively trading centre within the city's old quarter where street vendors ply their trade from stalls, selling everything from silverware to spices and haggling with customers over prices. The eighteenth century Sunehri Masjid, or Golden Mosque, is located here and somewhat obscured by more modern buildings.
The towering fortress of Purana Qila, standing by the Yamuna River which once fed its moat, is regarded as the oldest structural complex in Delhi and thought to have been built on the site of ancient Indraprastha. The fortress standing today dates from the sixteenth century, when it passed from one ruling dynasty to the next, but archaeological evidence suggests that the site has been occupied for over 3,000 years. Features of this fort, now a romantic destination for lovers, include 18 metre high walls, three arched gateways with towers on either side and an enclosure containing the Sher Mandal Library and the Qila Khuna Masjid mosque.
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Famous for its mughali fare, try the tandoori chicken and barra kabab at one of the city’s restaurants. Or, tantalise your taste buds with the spicy chaats available in stalls throughout the city.
Qutub Minar, Humayun's tomb and India Gate are major tourist attractions. Try a trip on the city’s well-connected metro system for quick access.
For a souvenir, try the Hauz Khas market. Housed in ruins, the quirky site is home to a number of art galleries, food from around the world and tiny boutiques with unique finds.