Delhi as we know today is nothing without the history that has gone into its making as the capital of India. If you take away history, you take away Delhi's cultural identity and leave the cosmopolitan flavor suspended in vacuum, detached from any context. For, Delhi's cosmopolitan nature and prowess is derived from its rich historic past.
According to mythology - specifically the religious epic Mahabharata, Delhi in 1450 BC was the seat of Pandavas and was then known as Indraprastha. Delhi's early history can be traced back to the Maurya and Gupta period of rule in the 7th century AD. Majority of Delhi's historic monuments were built between 10th and 18th century that are now the popular tourist destinations in Delhi and a reminder of Delhi's Muslim past.
Muslims rulers woke up in Central Asia one fine morning in the 12th century with a burning ambition to conquer India that even Alexander had failed to accomplish. They invaded India, broke through the resistance posed by Prithviraj Chauhan at the North West Front. Delhi Sultanate was established and came under the rule of Qutub-ud-din Aibak, slave to the conquering invader.
Mughals came to rule India in 1526 when Babar established his rule in Agra. Before the Mughals established their dominance in the region, five dynasties were to rule Delhi and lend their own taste to Delhi's lifestyle. Briefly interrupted by Sher Shah Suri in 1540, the reign of India passed on from one generation of Mughals to the next in an uninterrupted chain of control.
Humayun, Akbar, Salim, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb are the prominent members of the dynasties and rulers of the Mughal Empire. Shah Jahan was the one to shift Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi under the name Shahjahanabad or today's Old Delhi. Jama Masjid, Red Fort and many other famous monuments were built under the reign of Mughals.
With Aurangzeb gone, the Mughal Empire showed cracks and slowly began to crumble. Simultaneously, the East India Company was gaining control of Indian trade routes and was entering into strategic alliances with independent princely states. The 19th century saw the establishment of British rule in India. British then shifted their capital from Calcutta to Delhi and thus New Delhi as we see around us, came to be. Lutyens designed the buildings that are still in active use by the government and form major tourist attractions in Delhi.
Post independence, India still bears the signs from eight invasions and empires proudly. Some of the symbols of India's rich historic past include Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Safdarjung's Tomb, Jama Masjid, Old Fort, Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate, Parliament House, Connaught Place and Lodhi Gardens.