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Life in Delhi

Updated on: Mar 21, 2013
Living in Delhi About Delhi City About the history of Delhi Entertainment in Delhi Culture in Delhi Cost of Living in Delhi Food in Delhi Transportation in Delhi Sports in Delhi Languages spoken in Delhi About History in Delhi Schools in Delhi Delhi Education

Living in Delhi

The capital city, New Delhi, has a long history that continues today. The city's political importance and combination of cosmopolitanism and history lend it a unique atmosphere. The population as of the 2011 census was about 1.67 crore, or 1.4 percent of the country's total population. Approximately 97.5 percent of Delhi's populace lives in an urban area. The state is 1,483 square kilometers, which makes it relatively small. New Delhi is bordered by Haryana on three sides and by Uttar Pradesh on the east.


Delhi has many cinema halls, markets and shops that students enjoy. Cinema halls in Delhi include PVR Cinemas, Wave Cinemas, Movie Time cinemas, Srs Cinemas, Satyam Cineplexes, Regal Cinema, Fun Cinemas, Big Cinemas, Eros cinema and Milan Cinema.

One of the more famous markets in Delhi is Chandni Chowk, a historic marketplace with Jama Masjid at one end and Fatehpuri Masjid at the other. There are many different markets in Chandni Chowk, with goods such as books, jewelry, silver, textiles, shoes, spices, dried fruits and medicines available.

Connaught Place (also called CP) is an upscale shopping destination, with markets such as Janpath and Palika Bazaar. Arranged as a circular structure, the rings of Connaught Place have shops, hotels, bars and restaurants. Shops in Connaught Place include Adidas, Tanishq, Omega, Oxford Bookstore and Jain Book Depot; though there are many more. Palika Bazaar is an underground market with items such as clothes and electronics, and Janpath is a street market that includes merchandise such as silver jewelry and clothes. Other markets in central Delhi include Paharganj, Shankar Market and Karol Bagh.

There are many areas for sight-seeing, shopping and arts in Delhi. Old Delhi has a variety of markets and street shopping. Lodi Gardens, in south Delhi, is a park from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Today it is popular as a spot for jogging. Also in south Delhi is Defence Colony, which offers restaurants in all price ranges.

Delhi hosts a few performing arts festivals every year, including the Ananya Festival for classical dance, Bhakti Utsav and Kathak Mahotsav. All of these festivals are held in October. Bhakti Utsav is a devotional music festival, and Kathak Mahotsav is a Kathak dance festival that hosts solo and group performances.

Cost of living

Student costs in Delhi may vary. Select groups and sub-groups for basic costs are from the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers. Consumer price indexes measure increase or decrease in prices based on previous average prices.

Base: 2001=100

June 2012

Cost index by category




Clothing, bedding and footwear

Medical care

Education, recreation and amusement

Transport and communi-cation

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Delhi Government Portal


Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport is a hub to many major cities worldwide and within India. Transportation from the airport includes the Delhi metro, buses, cabs and prepaid taxis. It typically takes about 30-60 minutes to arrive at the city centre from the airport. Transportation within Delhi includes auto rickshaws, Delhi metro, trains, buses, taxis and car rentals. Many trains arrive in, leave from and go through the New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS).

The city

Delhi is modern, urban and well-connected internationally. Literacy is at 86.34 percent, an increase from the 2001 census. The 2011-2012 Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Delhi was about 313,934 crore rupees, a growth of 18.7 percent from 2010-2011, which exceeds the national level of growth. Service industries such as real estate, hotels, trade, financing, restaurants and banking contribute the most to Delhi's GDP.

About Delhi City


Hindi and English are the main languages spoken in Delhi. Urdu and Punjabi are also spoken, in addition to other regional languages.


The music scene in Delhi has much to offer listeners, whether electronica, Indian classical, rock or traditional folk. Midival Punditz, Indian Ocean and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan are based in Delhi. Music venues range from indoor clubs to amphitheatres. A recent festival to come to Delhi is the Invasion rock festival, held in January.

Festivals, religious and political events in Delhi include Diwali, Republic Day, Holi, Eid, Dassehra, Independence Day, the Qutb Festival and Lohri.

The National School of Drama (NSD), also known as the Rashtriya Natya Vidyalaya, is a famous dramatic arts schools with two performing branches. In the same building as NSD is Kathak Kendra, a prominent Kathak dance institute established in 1964. Other cultural institutions of note include the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Sahitya Akademi and the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra. The Sangeet Natak Akademi teaches music, dance and drama while the Sahitya Akademi is dedicated to literary awareness. Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra is another performing arts institution dedicated to dance.

Cultural resources in Delhi include the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, the National Archives of India, the American Center, the Goethe-Institut and the British Council.

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) houses miniature paintings, modern art and contemporary art, in addition to an Art Reference Library and sculpture garden. The National Museum focuses on Indian art history and Buddhist studies with a collection of sculptures, paintings, costumes and artifacts. Sections of the museum include the Harappan Gallery, Buddhist Art, Indian Miniature Paintings and the Archaeological Galleries. The National Museum of Natural History is another museum in Delhi that might interest you.

A prominent Sufi shrine in Delhi is the Nizamuddin Dargah, the tomb of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya. Another religious site is the Digambar Jain Temple, a sixteenth century temple located across from the Red Fort. It may be the oldest Jain temple in Delhi. Delhi is also home to Gurudwara Sisganj, the Fatehpuri Mosque, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and Birla Mandir.


Delhi is home to many different restaurants and cuisines. Karim's, near the gate to Jama Masjid, is a Delhi mainstay that serves kebabs, mutton Mughlai and many other mostly non-vegetarian dishes. If you are looking for Indian sweets, look for Ghantewala, located in Chandni Chowk. Ghantewala is a sweet shop that was founded in 1790. Popular foods in Delhi include aloo chaat, paratha, butter chicken, lassi, jalebis and sohan halwa. You can also find rabri faluda, kulfi, kebab, tikka and rumali roti.

Other restaurants for Indian food in Delhi include Haldiram's, Moti Mahal and Nirula's. Restaurants for non-Indian cuisine in Delhi include Pizza Hut, Subway, Cafe Coffee Day (CCD), McDonald's, KFC. South Indian, Chinese, American, Italian, French, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Tibetan and Mediterranean are among the diverse cuisines available in the city.


Delhi has hosted international sports events over the years including the Asian Games in 1951 and 1982, the Men's Hockey World Cup 2010, the Commonwealth Games 2010 and the Cricket World Cup final in 2011. Cricket teams from the city are the Delhi Cricket Team, the Delhi Giants and the Delhi Daredevils. The Delhi Cricket Team has previously won the Ranji Trophy. The Delhi Giants play for the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and the Delhi Daredevils play for the Indian Premier League (IPL).


An area that has been settled for about 2,500 years and seen the founding of about eight cities, Delhi was an important Hindu centre in the twelfth century, when it was controlled by the Chauhans. Qutb-ud-din Aibak later began Islamic rule, establishing the Delhi Sultanate. He was followed by Iltutmish, Razia Sultan, the Khilji dynasty, the Tughluq dynasty and the Mughals. During Mughal times in the seventeenth century, the Emperor Shah Jahan constructed Shahjahanabad, which is roughly Old Delhi today. Delhi was taken over by the British in 1803, though it didn't become the capital of the empire until 1911 when the capital was shifted from Calcutta. The official inauguration of New Delhi only happened in 1931. Delhi became the capital of independent India in 1950.

India Gate Delhi

Delhi holds a few historical monuments, including the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutb Minar, Humayun's Tomb and Purana Qila. Three sites have been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Red Fort Complex, or Lal Qila (2007), Qutb Minar and its Monuments (1993) and Humayun's Tomb (1993). Lal Qila, or the Red Fort, was the seventeenth century palace fort of Shahjahanabad. Shahjahanabad was the capital of Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal emperor of India. The Red Fort combines Mughal, Persian, Timurid and Hindu architectural traditions. Apart from being an important place architecturally and historically, it also stands a site for celebrating Indian independence.

Another significant seventeenth century structure in Delhi is the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Also built by Shah Jahan, the mosque is made from sandstone and marble like the Red Fort. The area of the mosque is about 1,200 meters. There are two minarets, four towers and three gateways, with the north and south gateways approached by a tall flight of steps.

Qutb Minar is another significant monument in Delhi. Built in the thirteenth century, it is a tall minaret that characterises Indo-Islamic architecture. Made up of five storeys, the structure is the tallest stone tower in India. Inscriptions and carvings cover the surface of the minaret, including verses from the Qur'an. The monument includes a surrounding garden.

Humayun's Tomb, another World Heritage Site, was built in 1570. An early Mughal structure, it is the earliest example of the Mughal garden tomb. The structure has double domes and kiosks within a garden. It was built for Humayun, the second Mughal emperor of India, 14 years after his death by his widow Hajji Begum. Later on other members of the ruling family were buried there. Other historical buildings in Delhi include the Purana Qila, Feroz Shah Kotla, the Old Delhi GPO and the Old Residency.

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