The capital of the British Indian Empire in 1911 and then of independent India following the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, Delhi consists of two distinct cities: the New and the Old Delhi. Established as the new imperial capital in the early 20th century, New Delhi exudes nostalgia for the British era. Old Delhi, on the other hand, is more Indian. Founded by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, it has preserved an old-world spirit throughout its bustling, chaotic streets, bazaars and colourful shops.
A city of immigrants where Indians from every region of the country come in hopes of finding a better life, this metropolis of nearly 14 million people combines tradition and modernity. While family and community remain central, an opening of the economy is rapidly transforming societal values. Hindus, Christians and Muslims coexist side by side while maintaining their own identities, and the influence of the sacred can be felt in every aspect of daily life.
Pollution and overpopulation, consequences of a massive influx of people during the partition of India and Pakistan, have created problems in this longstanding hub of Central Asia, but Delhi's charm retains an undeniable appeal.