Delhi , the capital of India is a shopper' paradise and one can find almost anything in the by-lanes of Chandini Chowk in Old Delhi.Even high flying designers out-source their embellishments from the famous Kinari Bazaar. During my childhood we visited Delhi quite often and I loved shopping around with my Mom while Father fulfilled his official engagements.My brothers were great movie buffs and it was mandatory to watch the latest movie in the best cinema houses of the period and brag about it back home at Lucknow.
I remember shopping at Janpath as a young teenager for trendy bags and clothes.We also shopped at Karol Bagh for gorgeous printed Silk saris for my Mom. She got me a doll's china tea-set complete with a teapot, teacups etc from a crockery shop in Chandini Chowk !Its tough for anyone to believe now that I was the pampered brat of the family thoroughly spoilt by my parents and brothers.
Delhi has a special place in my heart because of the beautiful memories and also because it's a well laid out city full of greenery, flowers , wide clean roads and a great shopping experience.But there is more to Delhi than all this and that is the history behind the existence of the city.
Co-incidently this year is also New Delhi's centenary. Exactly 100 years ago the capital was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi and the British architect Lutyen's planned and created a new city.So now we have the New Delhi with it wide roads and Old Delhi with its old monuments and fabled bazaars!The Metro Rail connects both , and its an exhilarating experience to emerge from the spanking new Metro and walk into Old Delhi !
Legend says that the Pandavas created Indraprastha , the first city at the same site as of Delhi today.There have at least 8 cities built throughout the centuries.Many times the rulers tried and tested other locations but all came back to Delhi. Its geographic location has much to say for its popularity. Its easy to control the western and eastern borders from Delhi while the great Himalayas guard the north and the seas the South!
Delhi has seen the rise and fall of seven powerful empires ruled by famous emperors and I personally love to visit the old monuments literally strewn around the city.The superb Light and Sound Show at the Old Fort is a must to experience the by-gone era!
The Tomar Rajputs were the first rulers to have established their kingdom and built Lal Kot in 736 AD at the same location, later the Chauhan Rajputs took over the city and renamed it . The ruins can still be seen at Mehrauli where Qutub Minar was later built.
Several stories revolve around the brave Chauhan king Prithviraj Chauhan. He fell in love with Princess Samyukta, daughter of his arch rival Jaichand and attented her 'Swayamvara'or groom choosing ceremony as an uninvited guest in disguise and kidnapped the willing bride! This fuelled the hatred between Prithvi Raj and Jaichand paving the way for the Muslim invasion by Muhammed Ghauri from Afghanistan.
Qutub Minar or the victory tower was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, a slave left by Ghauri to rule who later became independent and started the Slave Dynasty.