The first Gazetteer of Delhi District was published in 1883-84 and was largely based on Maconachie's Settlement Report of the District. It was revised by H. C. Beadon, Deputy Commissioner, Delhi District and published in 1912. it is only after a lapse of almost six decades that it is being revised and brought up-to-date under a Central scheme of the Ministry of Education.
2. Hardly any city in India can claim the long continuity of history and tradition that Delhi has enjoyed. At the time of the Mahabharata, it was the capital of Pandavas and was known as Indraprastha. Thereafter it faced many vicissitudes and re-emerged into importance in the 12th Century A. D., when Delhi became the capital of the Chauhan ruler Prithviraj. Prithviraj, however, was defeated by Muhammad Ghori in 1192 A. D., and Delhi thus became the capital, first of the Sultans and later of the Mughals. Became the capital, first of the Sultans and later of the Mughals. It was during this period that Delhi reached the pinnacle of its glory to which many monuments bear witness.. when the British established their power in India, they made Calcutta their capital, but shifted it to Delhi in 1911. It has been rightly said that though Akbar spent millions on Fatehpur Sikri, Shahjahan on Agra, the British on Calcutta, the spell of Delhi has always proved irresistible.
3. With such a long and eventful history, it is not surprising that Delhi should abound in relics and remains of its past. The Archaeological Survey of India has listed more than 1300 monuments in Delhi. Cunningham, Carr Stephen, Fanshawe and Sir Syed Ahmed have left excellent accounts of the these monuments, but they are outdated and most of the publications are out of print. Besides, some of them are too scholarly and technical to be of the much interest to the general reader.
4. In this volume, which will form part of the Gazetteer, an attempt has been made to present the history of Delhi. The brief account given in it of the places of interest in this territory should prove interesting and useful to readers of all types including scholars.
Preface to the Second Edition
The first edition of Delhi: History and Places of Interest was published in 1970. the public response has been very encouraging and all copies were sold out in a very short time. There has been a persistent demand for its second edition.
We have taken advantage of the this opportunity to revise certain portions in the light of the new material for the benefit of tourists.
I am thankful to the Publications Division, Government of India, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, for bringing out the second edition of this book on behalf of the Delhi Administration.
Preface to the First Edition
On the advice of the Editor, Central Gazetteers Unit, Ministry of Education and Youth Services it was decided some time back by the Delhi Administration to publish separately two of the chapters of the Delhi Gazetteer, namely, History and Places of Interest. The need for such a publication had been felt for a long time as no authentic work on these subjects was readily available. This publication may also serve as a guide for tourists who may be interested in the history and places of interest of this ancient city.
Delhi enjoys a unique place of importance. For ages it has been the capital of India. The earliest reference to this city is to be found in the famous epic Mahabharata, which is believed to have been compiled some 3,500 years ago. It was then known as Indraprastha and was ruled by the Pandava King, Yudhishthira. Since then, it has been, almost continuously, the seat of the Government under various dynasties and regimes. Many of them, in their own way, built new cities and royal palaces of unique beauty and design, which bear the distinctive marks of those who built them. Delhi had survived all the vicissitudes of time and fortune. Though it has frequently changed it site, character and even its name, it has preserved a continuous thread of existence. It has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations.
It ha been rightly said that there is no city in India that can compare with Delhi in the number of its monuments. These edifices illustrate the history of Indian architecture from the time of the Imperial Guptas, 1600 years ago, to the style of Lutyens and Baker at New Delhi in British times.
Delhi is particularly rich in material for the study of Indo-Muslim architecture. Every state of its development, from the building of the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque in the twelfth century to the splendid places and forts of the Mughal emperors in the seventeenth century, has been fully represented. In wonder that Delhi has attracted travelers and tourists from all parts of the world since early times. Bernier, Tavernier and Manucci have left vivid and glowing accounts of this city during Mughal times.
It is hoped that this book will arouse the interest of the readers in India and abroad to visit this great city. As Jawaharlal Nehru said: "Delhi is the symbol of old India and new
Even the stones here whisper to our ears of the ages of long ago and the air we breathe is full of the dust and fragrance of the past, as also of the fresh and piercing winds of the present. We face the good and bad of India in Delhi
What a tremendous story is hers. The traditions of millennia of our history surrounds us at every step and the procession of innumerable generations passes before our eyes.
I am grateful to Dr. P.N. Chopra and Dr. Dharampal who have contributed the chapters on History and Places of Interest respectively
I must record my deep gratitude to the Lt. Governor, Shri A. N. Jha, and the Chief Secretary, Shri S. C. Varma, for the keen interest they took in this work and gave all possible help and encouragement. Shri Jha has very kindly contributed the Foreword to this publication.
I would like to express my appreciation of the unstinted assistance received from the staff of the Gazetteer Unit of the Delhi Administration, particularly Shri Suraj Parkash, Shri G. L. Arora and Smt. Bina Mukerjee.
Back of the Book
Delhi is one of the most ancient and historic cities of India. It has been the capital of the country from time immemorial. Delhi is a city of continuity. The excavations at Purana Quila indicate that the history of Delhi goes back to the first millenium B. C.
This book presents an authentic and interesting story of the city, old and new. A large number of places of interest that this capital of the Indian Republic abound in, are vividly described. The colour photographs of recent additions to the Delhi scenario have also been included-Flyovers, Metros, New Delhi Secretariat building and much more. Last but not he least-the hoto of massive mega Akshardham Temple complex in the capital-an amazing world of Indian culture has also been included.
The book with a number of colour photographs would be of interest not only to the general reader but to the scholars as well.
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