Delhi – The capital can boast its status as one of the oldest cities in the country. Having seen the reign of multiple dynasties and varied monarchs, it is now the seat of parliament and home to the central government.
But its long history has guaranteed depth to the city and you will find it has many hidden facts:
Delhi and New Delhi are two different places
Delhi is the entirety of the Union territory. It contains the National Capital Region and the historical old Delhi. However, New Delhi is the capital of India and seats the three branches of government. It is an urban center and is newly developed.
Interestingly enough the New Delhi area of the city was mostly designed by English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and is so often called Lutyens Delhi.
The Red Fort used to be white
The imposing tourist attraction, the Red Fort was originally a mix of red sandstone, white marble, and limestone. However, post the revolt of 1857, the British decided to cover up Mughal artwork and architecture in red paint or whitewash. This was not evident until recently when a restorative project by the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed the original facade of the building.
It is home to some of the largest markets in Asia
Delhi’s Khari Baoli is Asia’s largest spice market. It was started in the 17th century under the Mughal rule and was originally a stepwell. However, it has now been transformed into Asia’s biggest spice market, with hundreds of traders and buyers in one place.
Delhi also boasts a one-stop wholesale destination for electrical equipment, in Bhagirath Palace. Which is also famous for housing the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar after his arrest by the British during the revolt of 1857
Whereas, if you want ready-made garments and textiles Gandhi Nagar is Asia’s biggest market for the same. Nehru Place, on the other hand, has the largest Information Technology market in South East Asia. And lastly, fruits and vegetables are found at their largest wholesale market in the Azadpur fruits and vegetable market.
All public transport is run on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas)
DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) is the largest CNG-powered bus service operator in the world. It has a huge fleet of over 4000 buses and increasing. Not to mention that strides are being made to introduce Hydrogen blended CNG busses too.
The second most populated city in the world
According to a UN report from 2014, Delhi is the world’s second-most populous city after Tokyo. Having more than doubled its population since 1990. This is evident in the over 700 million passengers that the Delhi metro transports daily.
The Delhi Metro is one of the largest metro networks in the world and is environmentally conscious
It covers a distance of nearly 277 km. According to Delhi Metro’s official website, it has helped remove over seven lakh vehicles from the streets of Delhi. It was even voted the second-best metro system in the world and certified by the United Nations as the first metro and rail-based system to get carbon credits for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In fact, the Delhi Metro and Rail Corporation is so committed to the environment that it even harvests rainwater along the Blue line of the metro service.
The worlds tallest minaret
The Qutub Minar is one of three World Heritage monuments in Delhi. The construction of Qutub Minar was started by Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, who laid the foundation for the Mamluk dynasty (1206-1290) in India. Unfortunately, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak did not live long enough to see the completed tower.
However, it is not just the tower that is a tourist attraction; at the foot of the tower is the Quwat-ul-Islam Mosque which was the first mosque to be built in India. And right near the minar we have the Iron Pillar which has long since baffled scientists due to its aversion to corrosion.
It is one of the greenest cities in the country
20% of the city’s landmass still accommodates forests and parks, a huge difference from the rest of the country’s urban metros. Delhi is also second only to Nairobi in the number of birds it hosts.
It houses the only Baha’i place of worship in South Asia
Completed in 1986, the Lotus Temple in Delhi is the only place of worship of the Baha’i community in South Asia. It is an architectural marvel that has become a huge tourist attraction. Thankfully, the Lotus Temple is open to people of all faiths.
It has some very weird museums
In one of a kind experience, tourists can visit the Sulabh museum of toilets in Delhi. It aims to educate people about sanitation and hygiene but mostly it’s a novelty experience that people can talk about. Another specific museum is the National rail museum where you can ride old trains and get some fancy old-fashioned gifts to take home.