Delhi, officially the National Capital Territory of Delhi, is the capital territory of India. Delhi has been continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC. Through most of its history, Delhi has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires. It has been captured, ransacked and rebuilt several times, particularly during the medieval period, and modern Delhi is a cluster of a number of cities spread across the metropolitan region. The (NCT) and its urban region have been given the special status of National Capital Region (NCR) under the Constitution of India's 69th Amendment Act of 1991. The NCR includes the neighboring cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Neharpar (Greater Faridabad), Greater Noida, Bahadurgarh, Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Rewari, Baghpat, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Alwar, Bharatpur and other nearby towns.
The area around Delhi was probably inhabited before the second millennium BC and there is evidence of continuous inhabitation since at least the 6th century BC. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. According to Mahabharata, this land was initially a huge mass of forests called 'Khandavaprastha' which was burnt down to build the city of Indraprastha. Delhi is located at 28.61°N 77.23°E, and lies in Northern India. It borders the Indian states of Haryana on the north, west and south and Uttar Pradesh (UP) to the east. Two prominent features of the geography of Delhi are the Yamuna flood plains and the Delhi ridge. The Yamuna river was the historical boundary between Punjab and UP, and its flood plains provide fertile alluvial soil suitable for agriculture but are prone to recurrent floods. The Yamuna, a sacred river in Hinduism, is the only major river flowing through Delhi. he National Capital Territory of Delhi covers an area of 1,484 km2 (573 sq mi), of which 783 km2 (302 sq mi) is designated rural, and 700 km2 (270 sq mi) urban therefore making it the largest city in terms of area in the country. It has a length of 51.9 km (32 mi) and a width of 48.48 km (30 mi).
Delhi's culture has been influenced by its lengthy history and historic association as the capital of India. This is exemplified by many significant monuments in the city. Delhi is also identified as the location of Indraprastha, the ancient capital of the Pandavas. The Archaeological Survey of India recognises 1200 heritage buildings and 175 monuments as national heritage sites. In the Old City, the Mughals and the Turkic rulers constructed several architecturally significant buildings, such as the Jama Masjid India's largest mosque built in 1656 and the Red Fort. Three World Heritage Sites the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun's Tomb are located in Delhi. Other monuments include the India Gate, the Jantar Mantar an 18th century astronomical observatory and the Purana Qila a 16th century fortress. The Laxminarayan temple, Akshardham temple, the Bahá'í Lotus temple and the ISKCON temple are examples of modern architecture. Raj Ghat and associated memorials houses memorials of Mahatma Gandhi and other notable personalities. New Delhi houses several government buildings and official residences reminiscent of British colonial architecture, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Secretariat, Rajpath, the Parliament of India and Vijay Chowk. Safdarjung's Tomb is an example of the Mughal gardens style. Some regal havelis (palatial residences) are in the Old City.
Lotus Temple, is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, is open to all regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasised in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasise that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions. The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside. Furthermore, no sermons can be delivered, and there can be no ritualistic ceremonies practised. Chandni Chowk, a 17th century market, is one of the most popular shopping areas in Delhi for jewellery and Zari saris. Delhi's arts and crafts include, Zardozi an embroidery done with gold thread and Meenakari the art of enameling.