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City Profile: New Delhi

Overview:


New Delhi is the capital city of India. As the national capital, New Delhi is the seat of executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the Government of India. It also serves as the centre of the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi and is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory.

Delhi is a fastest growing metro in India. Today, it comprises of over 17 million inhabitants living and working here. With a wide area of 1483 sq. km, Delhi has turn into a vast city.

Delhi is the third largest city in India and now the most preferred city in terms of investments, industrialization, Information Technology, Healthcare, Real Estate, etc.

The culture of Delhi reflects the rich heritage of the past coupled with the influence of modern lifestyle. Delhi has always been a cosmopolitan city where one would find people from all parts of India. Overall, Delhi is a very multi-linguist and multi-cultured society which has now opened itself to embracing every new custom and tradition.

Apart from being the national capital of India and important economical hub of India, Delhi is the most preferred tourist destination of North India. Delhi's rich tradition, effervescent history, monuments, museums, galleries, parks and Mughal Architecture are some of the special attractions that beckon tourists from all over the world.

New Delhi is the blend of old and new. The contrast between the two is very much visible by the culture, lifestyle and tradition. Old Delhi still has the influence of Mughals with monuments, mosques and forts all through the complicated streets. Old bazaars and food are some of the specialties of Old Delhi. Whereas New Delhi is completely different with lifestyle and city's architecture having the influence of British Rule in India.

New Delhi is famous for its planned landscape and spacious streets with shades of greenery. Major commercial establishments are situated in New Delhi's business hubs like Connaught Place, Nehru Place, Bikaji Cama Place, South Extension, and ITO.

General Information

Geography

With a total area of 42.7 km, New Delhi forms a small part of the Delhi metropolitan area and is located in the Indo-Gangetic Plain because of which there is little difference in the city's altitude. New Delhi and surrounding areas were once a part of the Aravalli Range, but all that is left now is the Delhi ridge, which is also called the Lungs of Delhi. The second feature is the Yamuna floodplains; New Delhi lies west of the Yamuna river, although for the most part, New Delhi is a landlocked city. East of the river is the urban area of Shahdara. New Delhi falls under the seismic zone-IV, making it vulnerable to earthquakes.

Climate

The climate of New Delhi is a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate with high variation between summer and winter, in terms of both temperatures and rainfall. The temperature varies from 46 °C (115 °F) in summers to around 0 °C (32 °F) in winters. The area's version of a humid subtropical climate is noticeably different from many other cities with this climate classification in that it features long and very hot summers, relatively dry and cool winters, a monsoonal period, and dust storms. Summers are long, from early April to October, with the monsoon season in between. Winter starts in November and peaks in January. The annual mean temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F); monthly daily mean temperatures range from approximately 14 to 34 °C (57 to 93 °F). Delhi's lowest temperature ever recorded is −0.7 °C (30.7 °F). The average annual rainfall is 714 millimeters (28.1 in), most of which is during the monsoons in July and August.

How to get there?

Air - Delhi has an extensive network of international and domestic flights. All the major airlines in the world fly through Delhi and it is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Domestic air links cover Delhi from all the major cities in the country.

Train - The Indian Railway with their modern and organized network connects Delhi to major and minor destination in India. There are three important railway stations in Delhi to all major and minor destinations in India, namely New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station and Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station. Trains run from all the parts of the country to Delhi. For nearby places like Chandigarh, Dehradun, Gwalior, Bhopal, Lucknow, and Kanpur, the Shatabdi Express is recommended.

Bus - Delhi is well connected by road to all major destinations in North India. The Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) is located at Kashmiri Gate, Sarai Kale-Khan and Anand Vihar. Delhi Transport Corporation and Road Transport Corporations of the neighboring States provide frequent bus services through Air Conditioned, Deluxe and Ordinary Coaches. Buses from all the major places in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are available for getting to Delhi. During summer months, air-conditioned coaches are recommended.

Airports - Delhi has two airports. Indira Gandhi International Airport is 20km away towards city in the same area. Palam is city bound Internal Terminal Airport. Between the two shuttles coach service is in operation. SBI is the banker of both the terminals, for hotel's booking ITDC and serving the tourists with information is Tourist Booth with round the clock service, besides there are other arrangements. Indira Gandhi links Delhi with the whole world. Flights of almost all Airways of the World come to Delhi besides Air India. IAC, Alliance Air, Vayudoot and such other Airlines serve from Palam to all parts of the country. They have Airbuses, Boeings, Dornier and other planes. From both the terminals, Ex-Servicemen Air Link Transport Service (EATS) brings passengers to city at cheap rate.

Transportation

Taxis

This is the most common form of transport for foreigners here. Taxis wait at stands for you to come and hire them. A cruising taxi is a rarity. Stands have telephones, so when you find one near your house, ask for a card with a number on it. Taxis usually have a picture of a god or saint on the dashboard. If you are the first customer of the day, you may see flowers and burning incense sticks in the ashtray or a garland of flowers around the picture. The gods have a lot of control over one’s life, so proper homage must be paid. Just as storekeepers have small shrines located somewhere handy, so does the taxi driver, each according to his religion.

All taxis are metered and the meters are to be used. Never hire one if the driver claims the meter is broken, unless you agree on the price beforehand. Always insist on having the meter on. Tipping is not customary, but success in finding a difficult address, loading and unloading suitcases, or other extraordinary performance should be rewarded. If you travel at night between 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. an additional 25% has to be added. If you use air-conditioned taxis, add 50% extra on the fare. You can also hire a taxi for a half a day or full day.

Taxis drivers can find most addresses and know most places frequented by the Expat community, but do not be surprised if you have to help them locate other than obvious landmarks, markets or cinemas. Taxis will wait while you shop or visit for a small fee, usually Rs.30 per hour. Note the sum of the meter as you get out. Sometimes the driver will go off and return, expecting you to pay what’s on the meter. At night, taxis drivers appreciate taking you some distance, waiting for you, and returning you to your home base. Be sure you both understand how long you think you will be and what the cost for waiting is at that time of night. If you have been using the same taxi stand and same drivers, you will be able to work out an equitable fare. However, it is imperative to have the fare settled ahead of time. Tipping is recommended if you will be using these drivers on a regular basis. There will be days when, for one reason or another, you do not have money on you! They know you and when you explain your situation, the driver will understand. Be prepared for the driver to have no change, since this is a problem encountered in every kind of financial dealing here.

Private Car Companies

Another option for your transportation needs is to hire a car with a driver. The charges are competitive to the taxi prices and normally these cars are air-conditioned.

Three-Wheeled Scooters-Autorickshaws

These “mosquitoes” as the bus drivers call them, are ubiquitous, cheap, noisy, occasionally dirty and more dangerous than taxis. They zip among other traffic and are small. They hold two foreigners, or one foreigner and two children. The scooters can be “hailed”. The drivers speak much less English than taxi drivers. As the number of vehicles on the roads of New Delhi has increased dramatically in the last few years, these scooters have become even more dangerous and should be avoided. However, if you are doing short trips, this is a cheap way of getting around.

Buses

Buses usually hold about three times as many people as seems physically possible, and for that reason, most resident foreigners shun them. In addition to not getting ON them, when driving, stay AWAY from them.

Sightseeing

Delhi has long been a center of art and culture. So it is natural that the city must be home to a large number of museums and galleries. It also boasts many fine small private collections. The range of art and artifacts is massive, and the tourist will have no difficulty spending long hours enthralled. Below is a list of Museums & Galleries in Delhi, the national capital of India and a much sought-after travel destination.

National Museum
The National Museum on Janpath is a rich showcase of antiquities. Built in 1960, it has a splendid collection of the antiques representing the entire span of Indian civilization from the Harappan Period. Its galleries include artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization, excellent bronze sculptures belonging to the Chola period, manuscripts, the largest collection of miniature paintings in the world, a Buddhist Gallery, including relics of the Buddha from Piprahwa, the unique Jewelry Gallery, the Anthropological Gallery of tribal art; galleries devoted to decorative and applied arts, Maritime Heritage and Pre-Columbian art, and the Central Asian Antiquities, Gallery of Auriel Stein's finds along the ancient Silk Route.

The National Gallery of Modern Art

Once the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the widespread National Gallery of Modern Art is housed in Jaipur House, near India Gate, is prime storehouse of Indian contemporary art. On permanent display are many outstanding exhibits, including works of the "Bengali Renaissance" artists Abanendranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose, the great poet and artist, Rabindranath Tagore, and Jamini Roy, whose work, reminiscent of Modigliani, reflects the influence of Indian folk art. Also on exhibition are Company School paintings of the 19th and early 20th centuries. There is also an Art Reference Library, which has a large collection of art books, journals and periodicals.

The Rail Transport Museum

The Rail Transport Museum is a must for rail buffs. Its vintage display includes the oldest locomotive in the world-still working, the Viceregal Dinning Car (1889) and the Prince of Wales Saloon (1876). Children can enjoy a ride on the miniature rail track.

The Nehru Memorial Museum

Built in 1930 as the residence for the British commander-in-chief, the Museum is at Teen Murti House. It later became home to India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Its unique charm lies in the fact that the rooms have been intact as they were. Adjacent to the museum is the Indira Gandhi Memorial where you can get a glimpse of the life of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Crafts Museum

Directly north of Purana Qila on Bhairon Road, the Crafts Museum is a uniquely charming exhibition of the rural arts and crafts of India. Mud huts with thatched roofs and painted walls, terracotta horses recreating village shrines, courtyards add to the rural ambience of the place.

India Gate

Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers killed in World War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931. Built from sandstone, the arch also houses the Eternal Flame, a gesture in memory of the Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

Rashtrapati Bhawan
Formerly the Viceregal Lodge, the building is the highlight of Lutyen's New Delhi and was completed in 1929 at a cost of 12,53,000 pound sterling. Located in an area of 130 hectares, the palace has 340 rooms.

Red Fort
Red Fort is so called because of the red stone with which it is built. The Red Fort is one of the most magnificent palaces in the world. India's history is also closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler, Bhadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of the three century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free form colonial rule.


Qutab Minar

The origins of Qutab Minar are shrouded in controversy. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer. No one can, however, dispute that the tower is not only one of the finest monuments in India, but also in the world.


Purana Quila

The fort is said to be constructed on the historic site of Indraprastha (900BC) by Humayun and Sher Shah. Covering a circuit of about a mile, the walls of the fort have three gates and are surrounded by a mat fed by the river Yamuna.


Jantar Mantar

At first sight, the Jantar Mantar appears like a gallery of modern art. It is, however, an observatory. Sawai Jia Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), a keen astronomer and a noble in the Mughal court, was dissatisfied by the errors of brass and metal astronomical instruments.

Humayun's Tomb

The mughals brought with them a love for gardens, fountains and water. The first mature example of Mughal architecture in India, Humayun's Tomb was built by the emperor's grieving widow, Haji Begum, in 1565 AD.

Jama Masjid
Work on the Jama Masjid mosque was begun in 1650 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to complement his palace at the Red Fort. More than 5,000 workers toiled for six years to complete the largest mosque in India. Every Friday, the emperor and his retinue would travel in state from the fort to the mosque to attend the congressional prayers.

Safdarjung's Tomb
Representing the last phase of the Mughal style of architecture, Safdarjang's Tomb stands in the centre of an extensive garden.


Rajghat

The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the west bank of the river Yamuna on the evening of January 31, 1948.


Lakshmi Narayan Mandir

Built in 1938, the temple is an ideal introduction to some of the gods of the India pantheon. The temple contains a large number of idols and visitors can also watch priests performing ritualistic prayers.

Shopping

Many people come to India with visions of bargains, they expect carpets, antiques, jewelry and silks at rock bottom prices and “worth heaps more at home”. Westerners have been buying these goodies here in India for two thousand years. Antique dealers have been ahead of you, no matter where you go. The carpet stores of New York and Washington send their cleverest purchasers to Kashmir, Agra and Benares. Most of the good jewelers have been in business since before the founding of the Unites States. This means that while there are millions of beautiful things for sale; don’t let your head be turned by a smooth sales pitch based on the supposed antiquity of the article or its worth back home in Dallas. Buy what you like but if the sole attraction is reputed age or rarity, you may be disappointed. If the carpet is gorgeous, the “antique” intriguing, the bracelet exactly what your true love would adore, and the price one you can live with, buy and enjoy.

Two most important pieces of advice - first, examine everything you buy completely. Quality is often less than perfect, so do your checking before you begin to bargain, since once the shopkeeper has lowered his price, and you agree to it, you are expected to buy the item. Don’t be shy about taking things into the sunlight if the store is too dim. Inspect every yard of fabric. Don’t be surprised if the vendor contradicts you and says that the hole is in the middle of the sari if not a flaw! You may feel that you are committed to buy something by simply entering the shop but that isn’t so.

Markets

Connaught Circle (Closed on Sundays)

This shopping center of New Delhi has been designed by Lutyens and Baker and will take several trips to fully appreciate it. It is located in the center of Delhi and gives various options for shopping. Traffic is one way clockwise around concentric circles. Parking is available in front of most blocks. Things that can be found in Connaught Place are clothes, shoes, bags, books, suiting, fabric for dress material and handicrafts. Connaught Place is 9 kms from the American Embassy and next to the American Center building.

Other places of interest near Connaught Place are:

  • On Janpath there are lots of shops selling handicrafts from all over India. Cotton skirts and tops are also readily available and are priced from Rs. 100/ - onwards. There are a couple of good bookstores where a variety of books are on display. Other shops sell shoes, artificial jewelry, nuts, cosmetics and music. It’s a great place to buy some souvenirs to take back home. Bargaining is considered normal here.
  • Industries: Cottage Industries is opposite the Imperial Hotel. It has several floors and houses handicrafts from all over India. This is a Government run organization and the prices are fixed. It is centrally air-conditioned and they accept all major credit cards. They not only have handicrafts on sale but also sell jewelry both precious and semi precious, furniture, silk fabric by the meter and leather goods.
  • Emporiums: All the States of India have their emporiums located on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, in Connaught Place. Each of these Emporiums sells and has on display their local craft and fabric of their region. Closed on Sundays.
  • Haat

Dilli Haat is across the road from INA Market. It is a government run crafts bazaar. Craftsmen from all over India exhibit their crafts here and there are more than 60 stalls in Delhi Haat. The exhibition changes every two weeks. The products are priced very moderately and the admission fee is Rs. 10/-. Please note that because it is a government run establishment, the prices are somewhat fixed. This should not stop you from negotiating. You might just get lucky.

Greater Kailash (GK) - ‘M’ Block Market, Part 1

Located in South Delhi, the ‘M’ block market of Greater Kailash – 1 is famous for its designer boutiques and ready to wear garments, for both men and women. It has some very fine shoes and bag shops and the prices are competitive, besides selling everything from clothes to household items it has a lot of restaurants. Worth mentioning in the grocery shop and the store that sells sports and gym equipment.

Hauz Khas Village

Hauz Khas is very close to the Deer Park and is almost 10 kms south of Connaught Place. It is a small village turned into one of the most posh and up market area of New Delhi. Lots of fashion designers have their outlets here and a lot of stores sell Indian silver jewelry. A couple of shops up front sell home accessories and ready to wear garments for ladies. Hauz Khas Village also has nice furniture shops.

Khan Market:

A good one-stop shopping place, Khan Market is U shaped. On the outside there are bookstores, photo studios and clothing shops. Continue around to the left and there is a toy store and a household goods emporium. In the inside of the U there are chemists, vegetable shops, florists, chicken/mutton shop, cheese store etc. On both sides of the market you will find “general” stores which sell staples. Khan market is frequented by expatriates and hence more expensive than other Indian markets. Behind the market is an auto parts area with lots of shops selling upholstery, paint shops and a tall building which has numerous light and lamp shops on the ground floor.

Santusthi:

Santusthi is opposite the Samarat hotel in the Chanakyapuri area of New Delhi. It is run by the Air Force Wives Association. This complex has some very nice upscale shops and boutiques which are scattered around a small garden. The shops sell some very traditional Indian fabric, leather goods, and great outfits made out of hand woven silk, linen and cotton. Other shops in the complex sell jewelry, pottery and home furnishings. A nice restaurant, Basil and Thyme, is located here.

Sarojini Nagar Market:

A great market to stroll around. Here one can find export surplus/reject clothing for the whole family at bargaining prices. Once you have visited here a few times, you will get the hang of shopping here, and either love it or hate it-but it does have everything. Sarojini is a great place for fruits and vegetables. On the right side of Sarojini Nagar is Babu Market. It has household stores, innumerable small cloth/tailoring establishments and two wee wonderlands of trimmings as well as ready – made clothing stores.

Chandani Chowk (Old Delhi):

Located in Old Delhi this is a famous shopping area. The great Mughal Emperor Shah Jhan’s daughter Jahanara designed it. Absolutely anything can be bought here. It’s a vast area, surrounded with narrow lanes, so go with a friend. If you get lost, take a bycycle rickshaw back to the Red Fort. The narrow streets of Chandni Chowk are called Katras. For specific products there is a specific katra, and products sold are at wholesale prices.

Medical Facilities:

Max Superspecialty Hospital
URL: http://www.maxhealthcare.in/services_facilities/ourhospitals/super_speciality/index.html
Tel: +91-11-26515050; Fax: +91-11-26510050

Medanta Med City
URL: www.medanta.org
Tel: +91- 124-4141414, 4411441; Fax: +91-124-4834111

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital
URL: http://www.apollohospdelhi.com
Tel: +91-11-26925858, 2692 5801; Fax: +91 - 11 - 2682 5563

Fortis Escorts Heart Institute
URL: http://www.fortisescorts.in
Tel: +91-11-47135000; Fax: +91-11-26825013

La Femme Hospital – formerly known as Cradle (for OB-GYN)
URL: http://www.fortislafemme.com.
Tel: +91-11-40579400

Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science & Research
URL: http://www.sitarambhartia.org/
Tel: +91-11-42111111; Fax: +91-11-26533027

Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre
URL: http://www.batrahospitaldelhi.org/
Tel +91-11-29958747, 29957485-87; Fax: +91-11-2995 6255, 2605 7661

Moolchand Hospital
URL: http://www.moolchandhealthcare.com/
Tel: +91-11-42000000; Fax: +91-11-4200 0300

U.S. Embassy New Delhi
Shantipath, Chanakya Puri
New Delhi 110 021
Tel: 91-11-2419800 [Board]
URL: http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/

U.S. Commercial Service, New Delhi
The American Center
24 Kasturba Gandhi Marg
New Delhi 110 001
Tel: +91-11-23472000
Fax: +91-11-23472155
Email: newdelhiofficebox@trade.gov
Website: http://export.gov/india/ ; http://www.buyusa.gov/india/