The Yamuna River Project

Mapping Delhi through Indian empires

Re-Centering Delhi Team, Fall 2016.

Delhi has grown continuously over more than a millenia, a result of multiple empires trying to expand their grasp over India and the subcontinent. In its current condition, the cultural context of Delhi is extremely rich, with essentials of modern cities intertwining, often intrusively, on the historical landmarks of the city. While the forts and temples of previous empires embraced the Yamuna, Delhi has turned its back almost completely to the river.

Delhi is located at the bottleneck of the Yamuna. To the north, the river is fed by snowfall from the Himalayas, but to the south, the tributaries of the Yamuna are fed by seasonal monsoon rains.

As one of the oldest developing cities in the world. Delhi has been rebuilt 7 times by different ruling dynasties. Tomar Empire, 1060-1180.

Chauhan Empire, 1180-1192.

Ghurid Empire, 1192-1206.

Slave Empire, 1206-1290.

Khalj Empire, 1290-1320.

Tughlaq Empire, 1320-1414.

Lodi Empire, 1451-1526.

During the Mughal Empire, Delhi became the capital city of India due to river accessibility, drinking water, irrigation, and cultural purposes. The first cultural site, Kaushal Minar, was then placed along the Najafgarh,

Post-independence British buildings were re-purposed for use by the Indian Government, but a connection to the river was never restored. The river remains walled off and inaccessible to the city and has become a dumping ground for trash. The historical condition of the river was as an active face to the city – now, the Yamuna exists in isolation as a result of infrastructure.

All rights reserved by the Yamuna River Project at the University of Virginia, 2017.

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