Delhi is an ancient city, rich with historical landmarks, traditions and cultures. It has been the seat of power for seven different empires and has seen some of the bloodiest battles and the grandest celebrations of all time. It is home to a proud religious and cultural tradition as well as one of the most rapidly developing economies in the world. It is a city of many faces, a city that cannot be defined, a city of many contradictions, a city of change and it is my home.
The city can broadly be classified into six different areas. Now while these might not reflect conventional area codes, most Delhi residents would agree that this classification best reflects the areas of capital city, with respect to their design and layout. Old Delhi, Lutyen's Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi, West Delhi and Gurgaon together make up the National Capital Region of Delhi.
Old Delhi is filled with wholesale markets, ancient monuments and the largest mosque in the country, the Jama Masjid. This bustling neighbourhood is synonymous with the city, its food, and its people.
Lutyen's Delhi, unlike the rest of the city, is well planned and organised. Designed by Sir Edward Lutyen, this area is home to the Indian Parliament, the Indian Prime Minister's and President's residences and the homes of some of the most influential people in Indian politics.
South Delhi is the entertainment centre of the city, with some of the best nightclubs, theatres and restaurants all located in this one area. There are several ancient monuments that dot the south Delhi map. Most notable of these is the Qutb Minar, the highest minaret in the world.
East and West Delhi were originally suburbs of the main city but have now grown into commercial, business and residential hubs of their own.
Gurgaon is the rapidly expanding commercial district of Delhi. Located just beyond the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Gurgaon is filled with multi-national companies, corporate houses and some of the newest residential spaces in the capital region.
Delhi is just entering an exiting new phase of its existence. The 2010 Commonwealth Games, which are scheduled to be held in the capital in the month of October, have changed the face of the city completely. Newly laid roads, a revamped public bus service, sparkling new stadiums and a newly introduced Metro facility, have all added to the appeal of the city; not only for tourists either, but for the locals as well.
The Metro is the first of its kind in India. With over a hundred kilometres of track, the Delhi Metro has already captured the city's imagination. Hundreds have travelled on the metro just for the experience. The newly inaugurated Terminal 3 at the International Airport is at par with the great airports of the world, and visitors to the city are sure to be amazed at the sheer beauty and finesse of the new facility. Dilliwallahs are eagerly anticipating the games and with events taking place all over the city, locals are sure to come out in full force to support their athletes and country.
Delhi is a city of many cultures and traditions, so it no surprise then that the city is always abuzz with religious festivals and cultural events. Festivals like Holi, Diwali, Dussehra and Christmas bring the city together, when the city comes alive with colour, lights and sounds.
During the winter months, the city explodes with several outdoor events and performances. The Bharat Rang Mahotsav, which is held in January, is a theatre festival organised by the National School of Drama. The Jahan-e-Khusrau is a 3-day Sufi music festival, which is held at the Humayun Tomb grounds. The Ramlila, an annual event, celebrates the victory of good over evil by depicting the story of how Ram killed Ravana. Re-enactments are performed all across the city, with the biggest one held at the Ramlila Grounds in central Delhi.
Delhi is also known for its food. With a proud Mughal tradition interspersed with influences from every corner of the country, Delhi is the centre of all Indian cuisine. With people and traditions coming in from all over the country and the world, Delhi has become a melting pot of foods, cooking styles and ingredients.
Although Delhi has many attractions within its borders, the roads that emanate from the city lead to some of the most beautiful destinations in the country. Delhi is the head of the "Golden Triangle", which consists of Jaipur and Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. Up north, the hill stations of Manali, Shimla, Leh, Nanital and Haridwar are the ideal destination for people looking to escape the Delhi heat.
The capital is slowly transforming into a world city. And although the city now boasts of the same features and amenities seen in the best cities of the world, it still retains its inherent Delhi-ness.
Delhi is a great city for sight-seeing, dining, music and art, and entertainment. For the residents, things are only getting better. And for tourists, Delhi offers one of the most unique holiday experiences ever.