From the eyes of Heritologist

Vaibhav Chauhan

The Indian capital city of Delhi has a long history, including a history as the capital of several empires. The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya Period (c. 300 BC); since then, the site has seen continuous settlement.

The modern city contains the remnants of seven successive ancient cities including:

1. Qila Rai Pithora built by Prithvi Raj Chauhan, near the oldest Rajput settlement in Lal Kot; it was a seven-gated fort in Delhi. Quila Rai Pithora is supposed to be the First City of Delhi, built by Prithviraj, a Chauhan king and also the second last Hindu king of Delhi.

2. Siri, built by Alauddin Khilji in 1303;

3. Tughluqabad, built by Ghiyasuddin Tughluq (1321-1325);

4. Jahanpanah, built by Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325-1351);

5. Kotla Firoz Shah, built by Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-1388);

6. Purana Qila, built by Sher Shah Suri and Dinpanah built by Humayun, both in the area near the speculated site of the legendary Indraprastha (1538-1545); and

7. Shahjahanabad, built by Shah Jahan from 1638 to 1649, containing the Lal Qila and the Chandni Chowk. It was the capital of the Mughal Empire during Shah Jahan's reign. It is presently referred to as "Old Delhi".

New Delhi

Calcutta was the capital of India until 1911 during the British Raj. However, Delhi had served as the political and financial centre of several empires of ancient and medieval India, most notably of the Mughal Empire. During the early 1900s, a proposal was made to the British administration to shift the capital of the Indian Empire from Calcutta to Delhi. Unlike Calcutta, which was located on the eastern coast of India, Delhi was located in northern India and the Government of British India felt that it would be easier to administer India from Delhi rather than from Calcutta. George V, the then Emperor of India, made the announcement the capital of the Raj was to be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.

The India Gate commemorates Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I

New Delhi was laid out to the south of the Old City which was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. However, New Delhi overlays the site of seven ancient cities and hence includes many historic monuments like the Jantar Mantar and the Lodhi Gardens.

Much of New Delhi was planned by Edwin Lutyens, a leading 20th century British architect and it has been dubbed "Lutyens' Delhi". Lutyens laid out the central administrative area of the city as a testament to Britain's imperial pretensions. At the heart of the city was the magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan (then known as Viceroy's House) which sat atop Raisina Hill. The Rajpath, also known as King's Way, stretched from the India Gate to the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Secretariat which houses various ministries of the Government of India, flanked out of the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The Parliament House, designed by Herbert Baker, is located at the Sansad Marg, which runs parallel to the Rajpath.

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Mr Vaibhav Chauhan is a very good guide for visiting places in India. Mr Chauhan's vast experience in the field of culturalheritage gives him the edge over the other tourist guides of India. Mr Chauhan's manners and good sense of humour make him fit for the job in tourism.