New Delhi, stands proudly as India’s capital city – the seat of its national government. Part of a metropolis that is called home by some 22 million Indians and some expats, New Delhi remains to be one of India’s most exciting places to visit. Replete with history and culture, New Delhi is not only a center of government but also a major commercial city and a tourism hub.
This article opens a series of fun and interesting facts about India’s major metropolitan areas. Here are ten things that you need to know about New Delhi, India:
- New Delhi is merely a part of the Delhi metropolitan area.
New Delhi, India’s capital, is but a district of the larger urban agglomeration of Delhi. It is both the seat of the national government of India and the city government of Delhi. The city’s foundation stone was rolled out by King George V when India was still a colony of the British back in 1911. It was inaugurated as the capital city in 1931 by Lord Irwin – Viceroy of British India.
- It snatched the title of capital city from Calcutta (Kolkata).
During much of the British colonization of India, the capital city was really Calcutta. However, historically speaking, Delhi had always been the political and financial center of India – especially during the era of the Delhi sultanate and the Mughal dynasty. In the early 1900’s, the British colonial government in India thought it best to transfer the capital to a northern city like Delhi instead of a coastal city like Calcutta.
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8. The city experiences temperature extremes.
The weather and climate of Delhi is not really one of its stronger points. With a humid subtropical climate, Delhi experiences both frigid and torrid weather conditions yearly. In the winter months, temperatures can drop to as low as freezing point – 0 degrees Celsius. While in the middle of the year summer months, temperatures can easily go above 40 degrees Celsius. Extreme heat and cold are found in Delhi at different times of the year.
- It is the world’s most polluted city.
Delhi, in 2014, topped the list of the World Health Organization’s most polluted cities in the world. Delhi, being a city of some 22 million inhabitants, suffers from pollution brought about by the cars that ply the road every day. These cars are also to blame for the monstrous traffic jams that have gained notoriety for Delhi.
- Its airport has been dubbed the best in South Asia.
Despite of its traffic jams and pollution, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport has been named in previous years as the best airport in India and the whole of South Asia. Skytrax, an award-giving entity that releases annual accolades for the world’s best airports in 2014 named Delhi’s airport as the most improved and in 2015 gave it the honor of being the one to beat in the entire Indian subcontinent.
- Delhi’s Metro System is considered the best in India as well.
Delhi’s state of the art metro system, which became largely operational in 2010, has received accolades and praises for its aesthetics, efficiency, and for being environment-friendly, as it has very little carbon and greenhouse emissions and is also involved in rainwater harvesting and recycling.
- Delhi is a city of many faiths.
Just like the rest of India, a great majority of people who live in Delhi are Hindus. However, freedom of religion also enables other faiths to thrive and propagate in India’s capital. These other faiths include a sizeable population of Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, and Christians. There are also small numbers of Buddhists, Zoroastrianists, and Jews.
- It took 20 years to build the city.
Initially constructed as a symbol of British power and supremacy, the British urban engineers of India took 20 years to construct the city – using Hindu as well as Islamic symbols.
- It houses the final resting place of Mahatma Gandhi.
Perhaps the most prominent Indian man of the 20th century and beyond, Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi’s tomb is in Delhi called the Rajghat.
- It is known for its many museums and lovely gardens.
Owing mainly to British design and urban planning, Delhi is known for its well-landscaped gardens and gargantuan museums showcasing Indian culture and heritage.