India's national capital territory of Delhi, which includes the capital city of New Delhi, is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. It has over sixteen million people working in information technology, telecommunications, hotels, banking, media, and tourism, among other fields. It boasts globally renowned universities and medical centers, world heritage sites, fabulously wealthy people, and the world's second largest exhibition of books held biannually. At the same time, many of its residents live in slums without water, electricity, or sanitation. One of the most dangerous cities in India, Delhi has high crime rates including serious crimes such as kidnapping and crimes against women.
Delhi is a northern Indian city, with Hindi and Punjabi the most commonly spoken tongues. It has historically been the capital of many successive kingdoms since the sixth century B.C., and its archaeological layers include hundreds of famous monuments. Of these, the largest and most architecturally significant ones standing today were built by Mughal and Turkic rulers since the twelfth century. There are three World Heritage Sites in Delhi: the Red Fort, Qutab Minar, and Humayan's Tomb, thought to be the prototype for the Taj Mahal in Agra. The Jama Masjid is India's largest mosque.
The government buildings in New Delhi - including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, and the Parliament of India - are in the British colonial style. Established in December 1911 after King George V moved the capital of British India from Calcutta, the city was planned by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens as a garden city that combined European architecture with Mughal and Hindu elements.
Notable locations include Gandhi Smriti (Old Birla House), a memorial to Gandhi and the site of his assassination; Connaught Place (Rajiv Chowk), a commercial center designed in a pattern of rings; and India Gate, a commemorative monument to India's fallen soldiers during World War I and the Afghan War as well as the North-West Frontier conflict.
This article was originally published in October 2012, and has been updated for the
August 2013 paperback release.
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