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Delhi has seen dynasties come and go, rulers rise and fall, which have influenced in making Delhi the cultural and architectural hub of India. Read on to explore more on the history of Delhi.

History Of Delhi

Apart from being famous as the hot seat of power and politics, Delhi has managed to woo all with its dizzying array of majestic monuments, opulent architecture, shopping venues and eclectic mix of the Old and the New Delhi. Apparently, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Delhi encapsulates everything that is grand and glorifying. Once the hub of royal power, today modern Delhi sits on the imperial ruins of its regal history. Delhi is a place where old ruins extol the imperial past, which defines much of what Delhi is today. According to the historical records, many emperors built their bastions here, like Indraprastha, Lal Kot, Quila Rai Pithora, Siri, Jahanpanah, Tughlakabad, Ferozabad, Dinpanah, Delhi Sher Shahi, which later was integrated into one city called Delhi. Today this hustling and bustling metropolitan city has become not only the political head but also the cultural and historical capital of India. Explore this article to know more about the history and the empires of Delhi, which ruled the city for centuries.

Overview Of Delhi History

Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan, who belonged to the Kshatriya Chauhan Rajput Dynasty, is an important historical figure and deserves a worthy mention here. The last Hindu king of ancient Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan is feted for his gallantry and courage. At a young age of 13, he was made the King of Delhi by then ruler of Delhi Anagpal. During his rule, he changed the name of Lal Kot of Tomars to Quila Rai Pithora. Apart from his bravery, he was popular for his love life with Sanyogita, the daughter of his enemy. Prithviraj Chauhan lost the second battle of Tarain in 1192 AD. After this, the slave emperor Mohammad Ghori captured Prithviraj Chauhan and sentenced him to death. This way the glorious and brave rule of Prithviraj Chauhan came to an end.

Slave Dynasty
The slave dynasty is marked as a crucial milestone in the history of Delhi. The slave dynasty, established in the year 1193 AD, had a much longer reign than any other dynasties that preceded it. The Turkish slave of Sultan Muhammad Ghur-Qutb-ud-din Aybak was the main person behind the establishment of Slave dynasty in Delhi. Later in 1206 AD, Sultan Muhammad was assassinated and Qutb-ud-din Aybak became the sole ruler of the Slave dynasty. After the death of Qutb-ud-din Aybak in 1211, his son-in-law Iltutmish came into power. After Iltutmish, the empire came in the hand of Raziyya and later was passed on to Balban, the last ruler of Slave dynasty. After the death of Balban, the slave dynasty came to end in 1287 AD.

Khilji Dynasty
The Khilji Dynasty initiated its rule in Delhi in 1290 AD after the death of Balban, the last ruler of Slave Dynasty. The glory of Khilji dynasty started with the crowning of Jalaluddin Khilji in 1290. But within few years he was killed out of conspiracy planned by his nephew Alauddin Khilji. After the death of Jalaluddin Khilji, Alauddin Khilji dominated the Delhi Sultanate through his courageous achievements. During his rule, the Khilji dynasty was marked by the brutal wars and internal conflicts among the Empire. Alauddin Khilji won over various parts namely Gujarat, Ranthambhor, Chittor, Malwa, Ujjain, Dhar and more. By 1311, he had conquered whole of North India and became a successful emperor. In 1316, the Khilji dynasty saw its end with the death of Alauddin Khilji.

After Khiljis, the next dynasty, which took over the power of Delhi, was the Tughlaqs, who governed the city from 1320 AD to 1398 AD. The Tughlaqs were the most diligent builders of all times and contributed greatly in city’s architecture by building Tughlaqabad, Jahanpanah and Ferozabad. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was the founder and the first emperor of Tughlaq dynasty who ruled Delhi till 1325 AD. After Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq’s death, his son Muhammad bin Tughlaq succeed him. During his reign, he achieved many milestones by extending his empire. Although he was a great ruler, he failed to impress people through his ideas. After him his cousin Firoz Shah`s took over the control and during his 37 years of rule the dynasty became popular with his marvelous administrative service. After the demise of Firoz, the dynasty became weak and eventually came to an end.

Sayyid Dynasty
The Sayyid Dynasty was initiated in 1414 AD by Khizar after winning the battle against Mahmud Shah, the last Tughlaq ruler. It was during his reign that most the provinces of the rulers were declared independent. The Khizar tried to reintegrate them but it did not work out. After him, the dynasty was hired by his son Mubarak Shah, who was later succeeded by Mohammad Shah and then Alam Shah. Gradually the Sayyid dynasty ended when Alam Shah was defeated by the Buhlul Lodi in 1451.

Lodi Dynasty
After defeating Alam Shah of Sayyid dynasty, Buhlul Lodi occupied Punjab and later on went to capture Delhi. After Buhlul Lodi, Nizam Khan took the throne of Lodi dynasty and established his supremacy as Sikandar Lodi. After the death of Sikandar Lodi, disagreement over succession took place between his two sons Ibrahim Lodi and Jalal Lodi. Later Ibrahim Lodi became the last ruler of Lodi, who was defeated by Babur in the famous battle of Panipat in 1526.

The Mughals played the vital role in establishing Delhi as the cultural and architectural capital of India. Originally, the Mughals were the habitants of Kabul in Afghanistan but they remained deep-rooted to India and its culture. The great Mughal dynasty was founded by Babar, who invaded India in 1526 on request of Daulat Khan Lodhi. After the defeat of Ibrahim Lodi, Babar established Mughal dynasty in Delhi. After Babar his son Humayun succeeded the throne and majestically carried the dynasty forward. After his death, his son Akbar became the ruler. Akbar was the most successful Mughal ruler, whose name flourished not only in India but also in the far west of Afghanistan. After Akbar, his son Jahangir ascended the throne and made significant and memorable contribution to the Mughal art and culture. After Jahangir, his son Shah Jahan came into power. Aurangzeb was the last Mughal emperor and after his death in 1707, the Mughal Empire gradually began to shrink.

British Rule
Britishers came to India as the merchants but impressed by the richness of the country they settled here and established their supremacy. In 1911 when King George visited India, he was attracted by the beauty of Delhi and it was it was during his possession, Delhi became the new capital of India and saw some of the significant changes in its architecture. Later with the struggle of great leaders and people of India, the country got independence in 1947. Britishers left India but the magnificent Delhi remained the capital of newly independent nation.