Sites & cities that bear the name of Old Delhi

Old Delhi

Today in : India
First trace of activity : ca. 6th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Indraprastha?, Shahjahanabad, Purani Dilli

Description : Old Delhi or Purani Dilli is an area part of the greater city of Delhi, India. It was founded as a walled city named Shahjahanabad in 1639, when Shah Jahan (the Mughal emperor at the time) decided to shift the Mughal capital from Agra. The construction of the city was completed in 1648, and it remained the capital of the Mughal Empire until its fall in 1857, when the British Raj took over as paramount power in India. It was once filled with mansions of nobles and members of the royal court, along with elegant mosques and gardens. Despite having become extremely crowded by recent wave of migrants from East India, it still serves as the symbolic heart of metropolitan Delhi and is known for its bazaars, street food, shopping locations and its Islamic architecture; Jama Masjid being the most notable example, standing tall in the midst of the old city. Only a few havelis are left and maintained. The site of Shahjahanabad is north of earlier settlements of Delhi. Its southern part overlaps some of the area that was settled by the Tughlaqs in the 14th century when it was the seat of Delhi Sultanate. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty. The five dynasties were the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90), the Khalji dynasty (1290–1320), the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414), the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51), Lodi dynasty (1451–1526) and the Suri dynasty (1540-1556) Delhi remained an important place for the Mughals, who built palaces and forts. Most importantly, Shah Jahan had the walled city built from 1638 to 1649, containing the Lal Qila and the Chandni Chowk. Delhi was one of the original twelve subahs (imperial Mughal provinces), renamed Shahjahanabad in 1648, bordering Awadh, Agra, Ajmer, Multan and Lahore subahs. Daryaganj had the original cantonment of Delhi, after 1803, where a native regiment of Delhi garrison was stationed, which was later shifted to Ridge area. East of Daryaganj was Raj ghat Gate of the walled city, opening at Raj Ghat on Yamuna River. The first wholesale market of Old Delhi opened as the hardware market in Chawri Bazaar in 1840, the next wholesale market was that of dry fruits, spices and herbs at Khari Baoli, opening in 1850. The Phool Mandi (Flower Market) of Daryaganj was established in 1869, and even today, despite serving a small geographical area, it is of great importance due to dense population. After the fall of the Mughal Empire post 1857 revolt, the British Raj shifted the capital of British controlled territories in India to a less volatile city, Calcutta in Bengal, where it remained until 1911. After the announcement of the change, the British developed Lutyens' Delhi (in modern New Delhi) just south-west of Shahjahanabad. At this point, the older city started being called Old Delhi, as New Delhi became the seat of a national government. It was formally inaugurated as such in 1931.

See on map »