Delhi is recognised amongst the world's longest continuously inhabited cities and the world's longest serving capitals.
The first ever evidence of Delhi can be traced back to the times of Mahabharata in 1400 BC, when it was known by the name of Indraprastha. The history of Delhi is said to begin with Bilan Deo or Anang Pal, who founded the Tomar dynasty. During his reign, a learned Brahmin disclosed that the foot of a pillar was driven so deep that it rested on the head of Vasuki, king of the serpents, who holds the earth on his hood. The king to verify the Brahmin’s claim, attempted to dig out the pillar and finding it wet with blood, tried to refix it but it remained loose (dhilla) which gave the city the name Dhili. Dilli could have also been a corrupt version of dehleez or dehali (meaning threshold). This made the city’s name symbolic of a place, as the gateway to the Indo-Gangetic plain.
Known as the city of seven towns, Delhi’s many avatars include Dehli, Dehleez, Dhillika, Dahalia, Dehlalai, Yognipura, Hazrat Delhi and Dahlu. In one couplet Amir Khusrao, while addressing Jalaluddin Feroze Shah, called the city ‘Dahloo’.