Delhi is a huge commercial and cosmopolitan metropolis that bridges two very different worlds. Old Delhi, once the capital of Islamic India, is a labyrinth of narrow lanes with crumbling havelis, temples, mosques and teeming bazaars. In stark contrast, just a short metro ride away, the imperial city of New Delhi, built by the British Raj to rule the Empire, is composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and grand, imposing government buildings. New Delhi has been the capital of India and the seat of government since it gained independence in 1947.
Delhi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, and has served as the capital of several empires. It has been built, destroyed and rebuilt several times over many thousands of years. This rich and fascinating history is reflected in temples, museums, galleries and magnificent monuments all round the city, and there is much to interest visitors.
Delhi was captured by the British during the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, and became the seat of British government in India in 1911. Edwin Landseer Lutyens, often referred to as the greatest British architect, was then commissioned to build a new imperial capital, New Delhi, to the southwest of the old city. New Delhi is built on a grand scale, with wide avenues and impressive government buildings conveying authority. Grandest of all is the Viceroy's House, now the official residence of the President of India.
At the heart of New Delhi lies Connaught Place, a bustling shopping area and well worth a visit. Highlights of Old Delhi include the Red Fort, and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India.