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Last updated : Nov 2009
Delhi Travel Guide
Delhi Travel Guide and Delhi Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
Delhi is an amazing city, spreading over a tract of the Jamuna plain. Its population of 13.8 million at the last count is a seething mass of humanity. Delhi's pollution and poverty challenge the respiratory systems and sensibilities of even the most seasoned travellers. Those who look past the nastiness that cloaks much of the city, the frantic traffic, the acrid smog and the ever present demands of the hustlers will discover delights at every turn – architectural, historical, floral and culinary – quite different from the lively color, eastern eccentricity and vibrancy that give Delhi its spirit.

Delhi has been the capital of India since it gained Independence in 1947 but, even prior to that, the British moved its capital here from Calcutta in the year 1911. For most of Delhi's history, Delhi controlled the numberous Muslim dynasties that governed swathes of the subcontinent from the 12th century and beyond.

Today, Delhi is actually two citiesOld Delhi, packed into the narrow, dirty streets underneath the Red Fort's imposing walls, is the polar opposite of the lavish Imperial refuge, broad, leafy boulevards and well spaced bungalows of New Delhi, as laid out by Lutyens and Baker in the 1920s.

Old Delhi was constructed by Shah Jahan in the 17th century, and is only the latest of 7 cities that have existed since the Muslims first arrived. Around New Delhi, especially in the area called Transjamuna which is over the river from the Old City, are the slums and suburbs that have popped up to house a population that has risen, more by migration than by natural increment, by 46% between 1991 and 2001. This population explosion has brought increased poverty and more wretched degradation in its wake – 45% of Delhi’s population live in slum conditions and beggars are on every street corner. In India, literacy rates are sharply improving, however, in Delhi, illiteracy continues, marginally, to grow.

Delhi is a base for visiting Agra – the home of the Taj Mahal – or the cities and forts of Rajasthan, and has a lot to offer. The architectural legacy of the Islamic conquerors is abundant and varied while the colonial centre is very attractive; there are some interesting museums. The city’s bazaars and shops offer a bewildering choice of goods, from silks and spices car spare parts.

The city’s restaurants beckon the visitors with a large number of delicious cuisine which – by European standards – is mainly very reasonably priced.

Summer in Delhi is best avoided as from mid-April, the temperature rises relentlessly. Most of May, June and July, the temperature stays at around 45°C (113°F), before the monsoon offers some relief. The best time to visit is from February to March.

Delhi is, even with its long history, a very young city. At Partition in 1947, Delhi was changed permanently and radically, almost overnight. With the creation of a predominately Hindu India and an exclusively Muslim Pakistan, a mass migration of peoples occurred in both directions along with sectarian bloodletting on a horrifying scale.

As it was largely Muslim, before 1947, at Partition Delhi became a Hindu and Sikh, Punjabi-speaking city. Consequently, the population virtually doubled, despite the mass migration of Muslims. This unbelievable, artificial demographic change explains Delhi’s brashness and insecurity – in many respects; Delhi is a city that is only half a century old.