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Delhi - Lesson Summary

About 14 capital cities had been founded on the left banks of the river Jamuna, which is known as Delhi today. The most splendid and famous among the 14 cities was Shahjahanabad, built by Shah Jahan I, in 1639. Shahjahanabad housed the famous Red Fort or the Lal Quila, which was the palace complex.

The main roads of Chandni Chowk and Faiz Bazaar ran through the centre of the city and it housed the grand Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. A mohalla is a residential part of a town or city.

Delhi was also a hub of Sufi culture during the reign of Shah Jahan. It had numerous Sufi lodges called Khanqahs, open prayer places known as idgahs, and tombs of Sufi saints called dargahs. There was a stark difference between the rich and the poor in Delhi.

Initially, Delhi did not enjoy the status of an important city under the British rule. In the 18 th century, the presidency cities of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras grew in importance. Eventually, trade moved to the presidency cities gaining important under British power while smaller cities, old ports and trading centres declined.

The British defeated local rulers and set up new centres of administration, which led to the collapse of the former centres of regional power. By the early 20 th century, Indian cities were inhabited by just 11% of the total Indian population.

Delhi, gained more importance in modern times when it was made the capital of British India in 1911.


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