DELHI CITY 233
the south-west corner is occupied by the Najafgarh jhil. The rest of
the tahsil consists of a fertile upland plain, poorly wooded and with
a light rainfall, but for the most part irrigated by the Western Jumna
Delhi City (DPhli or Dhili).-Head-quarters of the Delhi Division,
District, and tahsil, Punjab, and former capital of the Mughal empire,
situated in 28° 39′ N. and 77° 15′ E., on the west bank of the Jumna ;
distant from Calcutta 956 miles, from Bombay 982 miles, and from
Karachi 907 miles. The population at the last three population.
enumerations was : (1881) 173,393, (1891) 192,579,
and (igoi) 2o8,575. The increase during the last decade is greatly
due to the development of mill industries. The population in 19oi
included 114,417 Hindus, 88,46o Muhammadans, 3,266 Jains, 2,164
Christians, and 229 Sikhs.
The area close to where the northernmost spur of the Aravalli Hills
abuts on the Jumna has from remote times been the site of one great
city after another. First of these is the city of
Indraprastha, founded, according to the tradition History.
preserved in the Mahabharata, by the Pandava chief Yudhishthira.
Indraprastha was, however, only one of the five prasthas or `plains,'
which included Sonepat, Panipat, Pilpat, and Baghpat. Firishta has
recorded a tradition that Delhi or Dill! was founded by a Raja
Dhilu before the Macedonian invasion ; but as an historical city Delhi
dates only from the middle of the eleventh century A. D., when Anang
Pal, a Rajput chief of the Tomar clan, built the Red Fort, in which
the Kutb Minar now stands, and founded a town. He also removed
the famous iron pillar on which are inscribed the eulogies of Chandra
Gupta Vikramaditya, probably from Muttra, and set it up in 1052 as
an adjunct to a group of temples. This remarkable relic consists of
a solid shaft of metal 16 inches in diameter and about 23 feet in height,
set in masonry, 3 feet of it being below the surface. Tradition indeed
asserts that a holy Brahman assured the Raja that the pillar had been
driven so deeply into the earth that it reached the head of Vasuki, the
serpent king who supports the world, and, consequently, had become
immovable, whereby the dominion was ensured for ever to the dynasty
of its founder. The incredulous Raja ordered the monument to be
dug up, when its base was found reddened with the blood of the
serpent king. Thus convinced, Anang Pal at once commanded that
the shaft should be sunk again in the earth; but as a punishment for
his want of faith, it appeared that no force could restore it to its place
as before. Hence the city derived its name Dhili, from the fact that
the column remained loose (dhila) in the ground. Unfortunately for
the legend, not only does the inscription prove its falsity, but the name
of Dilh is undoubtedly earlier than the rise of the Tomar dynasty.