Delhi, a city of 7 cities, 8 cities or 14 cities? It depends on which lens one is looking at the city from. But it surely is not one city!
India’s political centre has been around for a long time. 1,300 years as per historical records, in which it served as the capital city for different rulers over various periods.
Many set up their own capital, in their own name, for posterity’s sake in and around Delhi. For instance, Mubarak Shah, the second Sayyid dynasty ruler during the Delhi Sultanate period founded Mubarakabad in the 15th Century [included in the 14 cities list]; it is now a neighbourhood called Kotla Mubarakpur.
All together, 14 such cities were built over the centuries in this patch of strategically placed land in northern India with the fertile Gangetic plain to its east, the impenetrable Deccan plateau to the south, and the arid desert state of Rajasthan to the west. An area nourished by the river Yamuna and the monsoons.
Much smaller than present-day Delhi, these cities were often built a short distance away from an old one or incorporated earlier ones into its boundary walls, and at times even existed concurrently. Each of them has added a distinctive layer to Delhi, making Modern India’s capital quintessentially different from any other. Where else can you time travel across a millennium in an hour.
For this post, I am taking the ‘8 cities in a city’ theory. Seven historical cities in Delhi that still exist, and New Delhi, listed in chronological order.
It is a longish post. After all, we talking about 1,300 years and eight cities. 🙂 Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Happy time travel! Continue reading