(Last Updated on : 27/06/2017)
History of Delhi
goes back to centuries back and narrates some of the most significant occurrences in the history of India. The earliest architectural
relics of Delhi date back to the Maurya Empire
(c. 300 BC). The history of Delhi murmurs the tale of ancient and buried timelines.
According to Jawaharlal Nehru, "Delhi is the symbol of old India and new...even the stones here whisper to our ears of the ages of long ago and the air we breathe is full of the dust and fragrances of the past, as also of the fresh and piercing words of the present".
Early History of Delhi
The early history
of Delhi began with the rule of Indian kings
in Indraprastha, which is depicted in Mahabharata
. Yamuna River
flowing by the city
bears witness to the glorious and tumultuous 5,000-year-old history of Delhi. The history of Delhi begins with the creation of Indraprastha by the Pandavas
and the transformation of this barren gift of the Kauravas
into a tranquil heaven. From the time of the Mauryan Empire
, there have been settlements here. The ruins of seven major cities have been discovered in Delhi.
It was in AD 736, that the Tomara Rajput dynasty
founded the city of Lal Kot or Qila Rai Pithora. In 1180, the Chauhans, the rivals of the Rajput clan ousted the Tomaras and renamed the city as Quila Rai Pithora
. Only for a decade the Chauhans
remained here. In 1191 AD, with the decline of Hindu rule, the Delhi Sultanate
came into power and thus began the medieval era
Medieval History of Delhi
The medieval history of Delhi was recorded with the Second Battle of Tarain
in 1192 AD where Mohammad Ghori attacked and plundered north India. The two consecutive battles of Tarain 1191 and 1192, the Rajputs first managed to restrain an invading force from Afghanistan, led by Muhammad Ghuri
but surrendered a few months later. After Ghuri's assassination in 1206, his provinces, forts
were kept unharmed in the hands of his Turkish general, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak
, the creator of the Slave dynasty
or Mamulak dynasty also known as Delhi Sultanate and became the first Muslim ruler of Delhi. He also constructed the Qutub Minar
. His successor, Iltutmish
, was possibly the greatest of the early Delhi Sultans.
In the history of Delhi, the Slave Dynasty (1211-1227) was followed by the Khalji dynasty
(1296-1316) and during the rule of Ala-ud-din Khalji
, the second city of Delhi was built which is known as Siri. Today, Siri is situated where the Siri Fort
and the modern day Asiad Village Complex are positioned.
The third city of Delhi - Tughluqabad was founded by the Tughluq dynasty
soon after in 1320 AD. However, very little remains of this can be seen in present day Delhi. The fourth city of Delhi - Jahanpanah
n was built in 1327 AD between Lal Kot and Siri. The next Sultan Firoz Shah Tuglaq
built the fifth city of Delhi in 1354 AD - Firozabad District
. The Tughlaq's were succeeded by the Central Asian Turk, Timur, who was later succeeded by the Sayyid dynasty. The Lodi dynasty followed very soon and the only interesting architectural features added by them were the tombs, the finest of which may be seen at the Lodi Gardens.
The well-known battle of Panipat
fought in 1526 marked the beginning of Mughal dynasty
in India, a period in Indian history that was very significant. Babur
were the early Mughal rulers
that were interrupted by a 15-year break in Mughal rule when Sher Shah Suri
an Afghan king ruled over Delhi. He built the fort Din-Panah - the 6th city on the banks of the Yamuna, which is presently known as the “Purana Qilain”.
When Emperor Akbar
took over, the capital was shifted to Agra
. However in 1628 AD, Delhi was again made the capital of the Mughal Empire under the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. In Shah Jahan
's rule, Delhi experienced the construction of some of the finest pieces of Mughal architecture
. There was the new walled capital of Shahjahanbad - the 7th city of Delhi, which is now known as Old Delhi with the heritage sites of Red Fort and the Jama Masjid
. During the rule of Aurangzeb
, the capital Delhi was shifted to Aurangabad
, which is located in Maharashtra
. After his death
in 1707, Mughal Empire was shattered into pieces and many regional powers rose into prominence and later British East India Company
intervened in the political
situation and began to rule India in the midst of bloodshed revolts
Modern History of Delhi
Delhi witnessed chaotic times, different rulers and dynasties and finally in 1803 AD, the British Government in India
who had already time-honoured their presence in India, took over power in Delhi. Delhi became the focal point for the First War of Independence
in 1857. Though the revolt did not reach its objected end, Delhi became a thorn in the eyes of the British.
As the British Government in India shifted their capital from Kolkata
to Delhi, all the actions during the freedom struggle were carried on in Delhi. Thus, Delhi bears several marks of the freedom struggle. It was the hosting of the tri-colour Indian national flag
at Red Fort
in Delhi that marked a significant chapter in the history of India.
After Independence on 15 August 1947, Delhi was officially declared as the seat of the Government of India
and the capital of the Republic of India. With Independence
, it was in Delhi that the British Government transferred the power to India's first democratically elected Government under the Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
. In the wake of the Partition of India
, Hindu mobs turned on Delhi's Muslim population and nearly half of them fled to Pakistan ending centuries of Muslim dominance in the city and they were replaced by an arrival of Hindu
refugees from the Pakistani sectors of Punjab
In 1950, Delhi was made the capital city
of Independent India and in 1992 it was declared as a Union Territory and NCR. The history of Delhi is believed to be one of the most glorious and stately one in the history of India.