PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN SETTLEMENT
Delhi stands with the oldest cities of the world like Rome and Istanbul. Delhi was even called
the ‘Rome of the East’ or ‘Rome of Asia’. Delhi can claim a hoary antiquity as a settlement. The
discovery of Harappan pottery at Mandaoli, a site on the eastern side of Yamuna on its old
course near Nandnagri, suggests the existence of rural habitation in this area around the
middle of the 2nd millennium BC.
The GT Road that connected central Asia to Dhaka and a feeder road, the Qutab Road
connecting GT Road and Mehrauli and passing along the New Delhi railway station have been
in use for nearly 1,000 years. The National Highway 8 has existed since the late Harappan age
while a village, Mandoli, now an e-waste disposal on the outskirts of Delhi and a settlement,
has turned out to be a Harappan archaeological site.
Traditionally, however, Delhi’s past is linked with the Mahabharata legend of the
foundation of Indraprastha, the site of present Purana Qila. In the Rajput Period, the Tomars
ruled the present Haryana region from their capital Dhillika. It is also believed that the Tomars
founded Delhi in 736 AD.
Then the Chauhans took over from them and they ruled till 1192 AD, when Prithviraj Chauhan,
also known as Rai Pithora – the last Chauhan king – was defeated by Muhammad Ghori. He left
his representative Qutb-ud-din Aibak to rule this city. For the next almost 600 years, Delhi was
ruled by Muslim kings. In 1788, the Marathas took over this city by defeating the Mughliya
Nine-Eleven played a very important role in the history of Delhi too; here, referring to the 9/11
of 1803. On 11th September 1803, upon the request of Mughal king Shah Alam, the British
defeated Marathas in the battle of Patparganj, present Mayur Vihar, and entered the city for
the first time.
The British army camped near Red Fort and later Daryaganj became a cantonment.
The cantonment was later shifted to Rajpur Chhawani. When the British turned
masters of the city, a large tract of the territory west of river Yamuna, including
Delhi, was seized, and the Mughal emperor was assigned a tract of land known as
During the 1857 uprising, the British were challenged and Bahadur Shah Zafar took
over the command of the city.The British government took over the rule of Delhi.
Delhi became a provincial town of Frontier Province. Later it was transferred to the
newly formed Punjab under a lieutenant governor. Calcutta remained the capital of
When the capital shifted to Delhi, it was a city of a two and half lakhs; in ten decades
it has become an urban conglomerate of more then 200 lakh. During this period, the
administrative system of Delhi saw many changes but the city was not well managed,
as it should have been. It used to be a city of a few miles but now it is spread over
1486 square kilometers. A municipality was established to provide civil services in an
organised manner; now its municipal corporation is decentralised into smaller
so it is more manageable.
Prior to 1931, that is before the inauguration of New Delhi, the city developed in the
northern and western parts of the walled city, but urban growth south of Shahjahanabad
started with the foundation of New Delhi.
Delhi is a city that bridges two different worlds. Old Delhi, once the
capital of Islamic India, is a web of narrow lanes lined with crumbling
havelis and mosques.
In contrast, the imperial city of New Delhi created by the British Raj is
composed of spacious, tree-lined avenues and imposing government
Delhi has been the seat of power for several rulers and many empires
for about millennium.
Many a times the city was built, destroyed and then rebuilt.
A number of Delhi's rulers played a dual role, first as destroyers and then
Delhi has been the political hub of India. Every political activity in the
country traces its roots here.
The Pandavas of the Mahabharata had their capital at Indraprastha,
which is believed to have been geographically located in today's Delhi.
Delhi is second-largest metropolis
city and Capital of India. It is the third
Delhi is main starting point for North
India. It is surrounded on three sides
by Haryana and to the east, across
the riverYamuna by Uttar Pradesh.
Delhi has an area of 1483 sq. kms. Its
maximum length is 51.90 kms and
greatest width is 48.48 kms
The Yamuna river and terminal part of
the Aravali hills range are the two
main geographical features of the
These area of the city’s lungs and help
maintain its environment. The
Yamuna River is Delhi’s main source
of drinking .
Delhi experiences extreme summers
Evolution of Delhi
Seven principal cities were chiefly created by different
rulers-some of them are no more than villages today with
splendid ruins while others have absorbed with the hightech skyline.
Seven Cities Of Delhi are :
1. Qila Rai Pithora
QILA RAI PITHORA
The capital of Prithviraj
Chauhan,Qila Rai Pithora, was
the Delhi built-in the 12th
It is said that his ancestors had
won the city from the Tomar
Rajputs, who are credited
with forming Delhi.Anangpal,
a Tomar ruler, created the first
known regular fort here and
called it Lal Kot.
Prithviraj Chauhan extended
the city beyond the fort. The
ruins are still visible around
Qutub Minar andMehrauli.
In 1192, Muhammad Ghori
defeated Prithviraj Chauhan .
In 1206, when Ghori was
assassinated, Aibak declared
himself the ruler of Delhi and the
Slave Dynasty was started.
This was also the beginning of
the Delhi Sultanate.Mehrauli
came into being and Qutub-uddin made Delhi into an
One of these was the tower
of victory -the 72.5 m tall Qutab
The Slave Dynasty ruled until
1290.One of the prominent
rulers was Razia Sultan, the first
woman Emperor of India.
The Khilji (or Khalji) rulers
followed the Slave
The most prominent
among the six rulers was
Alauddin Khilji, who
extended his kingdom to
the south of Narmada and
also established the city
Among some of the
remaining ruins is part of
the Siri Fort in the greater
Hauz Khas area.
The madrasa at Hauz Khas
was constructed during
Alauddin'sreign and bears
the stamp of West Asian
In 1330, Ghias-ud-din
Tughlaq established the
Tughlaq dynasty and set
out to rebuild a Delhi of his
His dream was to build an
invincible fort to keep away
Thus he founded the city of
Tughlakabad, the ruins of
which still remain.
His descendant Muhammad
bin Tughlaq later formed
Jahanpanah. Lying in the
area between Siri and Qila
Rai Pithora, this was the
fourth medieval city of
Delhi built in AD 1326-27.
Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-1388
AD)created the next city of
Firozabad, or FerozShah Kotla.
It was a well-planned city with
palaces, mosques, pillared halls,
and multi-floored water tanks.
Feroz Shah also transplanted the
Ashokan Pillar,, from Meerut to
the top of his palace.
The Sayyid and Lodi dynasties
that followed the Tughlaq
dynasty were far more
concerned with restoring
stability than patronization of
arts or architecture.
Tombs erected in the honour of
the rulers are the tombs at the
The Purana Qila today, was the
creation of Sher Shah when he
wrested Delhi from Humayunin
1540,the second Mughal king.
It was originally being built by
Humayun as his capital
Sher Shah razed Dinpanah to the
ground and started building his
own capital introducing ornate
elements in architecture.
Delhi was won back by Humayun
in1555 and he completed parts of
the Purana Qila left unfinished by
(Seventh planned city
The Mughal emperors
shifted their base from
Delhi to Agra.
Shahjahanabad was the
city with the colossal
Red Fort and its14 gates.
The fort still stands
along with the historic
architecture of the Jama
Masjid and Chandni
The old city was surrounded by a wall
enclosing approximately 1500acres, with several gates, comprising:
Nigambodh Gate- North/East, leading to historic Nigambodh ghat
Mori Gate- North
Ajmeri Gate-South East, leading to Ghaziuddin Khan`s Madrassa
and Connaught Place ; a concentring point in New Delhi.
Turkman Gate-South East, nearby some pre-Shah jahan remains,
which got enclosed within the walls, incorporating the tomb of
Delhi Gate-South; leading to Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground and
what was then older habitation of Delhi
constituents of Shahjahanabad are
A centrally located Friday mosque.
A bazaar around it with very
differentiations from centre to
A fortified city wall.
An imposing fort
Intra-urban divisions of living
The city originated,when
The fort at Agra faced the
agonizing heat, coupled
space for Shahjahan’s
slavish lifestyle and his
The Fort and its buildings
cost nearly 6 million. On
the auspicious day of 8th
April 1648, Shahjahan
From 1803 to 1857 the
East India Company
virtually controlled Delhi.
The Red Fort and Jama Masjid
were the straight point for two
straight thoroughfares that framed
From Lahore Gate ran a broad
avenue with a covered arcadedesigned and paid for by Jahan
Ara-that housed over 1500 shops.
Today known as Chatta Bazaar
The remains of Shahjahanabad
took shape within the city walls
with its havelis, mansions,
mosques, temples , Sikh shrines
and the gardens of the nobility.
The walled and guarded
establishments of these noble man
included private living quarters for
the nobles and their harem.
DIVISION OF CITY SECTOR
At the neighbourhood level the city of Shahjahanabad
was defined by the following elements:
Streets/bazaars and chowks
Individual havellisThanas and Mahallas:
The city was divided into 12 thanas (wards) each under
the control of a thanadar.
Each thana was again subdivided into several Mahallas
The spatial system of the city was based on an extensive
hierarchical organization which allowed a heterogeneous
population to live together
The local representatives of the different social and ethnic
groups aligned their buildings and the adjoining streets in a
The Mahallahs were sealed, homogeneous units within the
city. They could only be reached by means of several gates.
The alleys in the Mahallah were therefore semi-private
space, while the courtyard houses were private space
separated once again from the outside world by a gate
the city was separated from the surrounding land by a wall
and a moat.
Passing through the city gates marked the passage from one
The main thoroughfares, the secondary roads and
the bazaars were public space.
The members of the imperial household who lived outside
the fort/palace built large havellis on the model of the
imperial design of the Red Fort .
As a rule these city palaces accommodated not only the
owner and his family, but also their numerous followers,
servants and craftsmen with their workshops.
The internal organization of the space within the havellis was
therefore also based on the strict distinction between the
public, semi-private and private space
Interior courtyard of a havelli in the Walled City.
Day to day activities in the courtyard-thus the typology was
not only suited climatically but also enhanced the living
There emerges a hierarchy of streets in the layout of the city.
The primary streets were the main axes of the city -the Chandni
Chowk and Faiz bazaar.
The secondary streets were the ones which entered the south of the
city from Chandni Chowk.
The secondary street structure also includes the streets that are
parallel to the city walls -forming a concentric ring so to say, in the
southern part of the city.
They then intermingle at chowks with the third layering of streets,
which derive their character from the fact that they are
perpendicular to the main mosque, Jama Masjid.
The City Form –Morphological
The urban infrastructure was laid out in a geometric pattern .
Shows traces of both Persian and Hindu traditions of town
planning and architecture with the Persian influence largely
accounting for the formalism and symmetry of the palaces,
gardens and boulevards. The designed infrastructure of
The Friday mosque
The other major mosques, including the corresponding waqf
The two main boulevards
The bazaars around the Friday mosque
The elaborate system of water channels
The major gardens and the surrounding city wall.
The arrangement of these planned elements was influenced
by certain site features, which precluded absolute geometry
The RED FORT / PALACE : The Fort just as
Shahjahanabad was divided
into imperial (fort/palace)
and ordinary space (city) .
Its axes were precisely
aligned with the cardinal
points of the compass.
The Fort throughout is based
on an extensive grid of
Largely designed by Lutyens
over twenty or so years (1912 to
1930), New Delhi, situated
within the metropolis of Delhi,
was chosen to
replace Calcutta as the seat of
the British Indian government in
1912; the project was completed
in 1929 and officially
inaugurated in 1931.
various features from the local
and traditional Indian
clearly seen in the great drummounted Buddhist dome of
now Rashtrapati Bhavan
The new city contains both the Parliament buildings and
government offices (many designed by Herbert Baker) and
was built distinctively of the local red sandstone using the
traditional Mughal style.
When composing the plans for New Delhi, Lutyens planned
for the new city to lie southwest of the walled city
of Shahjahanbad. His plans for the city also laid out the street
plan for New Delhi consisting of wide tree-lined avenues.
Lutyens laid out the central administrative area of the city. At
the heart of the city was the impressive Rashtrapati Bhawan,
formerly known as Viceroy's House, located on the top
of Raisina Hill.
The Rajpath, also known as King's Way, connects India
Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan, while Janpath, which
crosses it at a right angle, connects South end road
(renamed as Rajesh Pilot marg) withConnaught Place.
The Secretariat Building, which house various ministries
of the Government of India including Prime Minister of
India office (PMO), are beside the Rashtrapati
Bhawan and were designed by Herbert Baker.
Also designed by Baker was the Parliament House,
located on the Sansad Marg, running parallel with the
After partition Delhi's growth remained unchecked for nearly
a decade. Developed land was in short supply and people did
not have the means to afford the exorbitant rates quoted by
the private developers. This led to the establishment of
The expansion of Delhi has resulted in its boundaries
extending beyond the Yamuna river. People tend to live
further and further away from the city centre because of the
lower rents prevalent in these areas.
This has resulted in increased travelling distance from work to
residence. More time is spent in commuting. To overcome this
problem the city is now working in full swing to construct
number of flyovers and to start off the metro service
In order to decongest these districts a number of attempts such as
shifting of wholesale business, creation of new business districts,
restriction on material movement, restriction on redevelopment have
been made in the past, but without success.
The intrusion of commercial area into the residential ones has disturbed
the tranquility of the latter.
Instead of curbing the growth of trade it is better to plan counter
development in other locations with increased level of facilities
The basic concept of the Master plan 1962 made in the mould of
modernist urban planning, was that, the traffic movement within the city
should be kept minimum and a work-to-home relationship was
conceived and the city started growing radially.
In the master plan 2001 there are some attempts at providing mixed
uses, and increasing densities in residential areas in prime locations,
proposals are made for Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) to connect
the ring to the periphery and also to improve city intra-city network
along the ring.