What is the importance of Delhi
Delhi is a city in India and one of the largest on earth. It has more than 16 million inhabitants, almost twice as many as live in Switzerland. There are even around 25 million people in the immediate vicinity. The many residents often live in small spaces in modest apartments. The cityscape is therefore characterized by many high-rise buildings. But there are also many old temples and parks.
A small part of the city, New Delhi, is the capital of India. The seat of government, parliament and other important buildings of the state are located there. Another part is called Old Delhi. This is the historical core of the city, with a lot of old buildings. These include the Jama Masjid mosque and the Red Fort, a fortress from the 17th century. Another attraction of Old Delhi is the Lal Mandir. This is an important temple of the Jainists, an Indian religion.
There are marketplaces in many corners of the city. On these you get exotic spices, plants and other foods. Unlike in Europe, many people in India still use the marketplace. Because so many people live in such a small area in Delhi, the streets are often crammed with cars. The traffic from Delhi is considered to be one of the most chaotic in the world.
What happened earlier in Delhi?
Delhi is called the "City of the Seven Cities" because it was built on the ruins of various submerged cities. The oldest of these cities was Indraprastha. Legend has it that it was founded by the five Pandavas around 3,000 years ago.
These supposedly descended from various Hindu gods and were the foster sons of King Pandu. They made the city of Indraprastha the capital of their later great empire. However, it is not known exactly whether this city was really in the Delhi area.
Today's Delhi emerged around the year 700. It was ruled by Hindu princes until the 12th century. Then the Persians invaded the city and killed Prince Prithviraj the Third. They made the city Muslim and destroyed large parts of what was then the old town.
Muslim sultans then ruled Delhi for 300 years. They conquered further areas in India and became very powerful. In the 16th century, the Sultanate of Delhi became the likewise Muslim Mughal Empire. This lasted until the 19th century when all of India became part of the British Empire.
The British changed a lot. They built the modern New Delhi district south of the old town. They declared this to be the capital of their colony, British India, in 1931. When India became independent in 1947 under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, New Delhi remained its capital. Delhi is also the place where Gandhi was assassinated in 1948.
In a market square in Delhi
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