Delhi had served as the political and financial centre of several empires of ancient India and the Delhi Sultanate, most notably of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. During the early 1900s, a proposal was made to the British administration to shift the capital of the British Indian Empire (as it was officially called) from Calcutta to Delhi. Unlike Calcutta, which was located on the eastern coast of India, Delhi was at the centre of northern India and the Government of British India felt that it would be logistically easier to administer India from the latter rather than the former.
New Delhi is a cosmopolitan city due to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural presence of the vast Indian bureaucracy and political system. The city's capital status has amplified the importance of national events and holidays. National events such as Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti (Gandhi's birthday) are celebrated with great enthusiasm in New Delhi and the rest of India. On India's Independence Day (15 August) the Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from the Red Fort. Most Delhiites celebrate the day by flying kites, which are considered a symbol of freedom.The Republic Day Parade is a large cultural and military parade showcasing India's cultural diversity and military might.
Religious festivals include Diwali (the festival of light), Maha Shivaratri, Teej, Durga Puja, Mahavir Jayanti, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Holi, Lohri, Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Raksha Bandhan, Christmas and Chhath Puja . The Qutub Festival is a cultural event during which performances of musicians and dancers from all over India are showcased at night, with the Qutub Minar as the chosen backdrop of the event. Other events such as Kite Flying Festival, International Mango Festival and Vasant Panchami (the Spring Festival) are held every year in Delhi.
There are also a number of Iglesia ni Cristo members, most of them Filipinos and some Indians who are married to the members.
In 2007, the Japanese Buddhist organisation Nipponzan Myohoji decided to build a Peace Pagoda in the city containing Buddha relics. It was inaugurated by the current Dalai Lama.
The climate of New Delhi is a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa) with high variation between summer and winter in terms of both temperature and rainfall. The temperature varies from 46 °C (115 °F) in summers to around 0 °C (32 °F) in winters. The area's version of a humid subtropical climate is noticeably different from many other cities with this climate classification in that it features long and very hot summers, relatively dry and mild winters, a monsoonal period, and dust storms. Summers are long, extending from early April to October, with the monsoon season occurring in the middle of the summer. Winter starts in November and peaks in January. The annual mean temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F); monthly daily mean temperatures range from approximately 14 to 34 °C (57 to 93 °F). New Delhi's highest temperature ever recorded is 48.4 °C (119.1 °F) on June 28, 1883 while the lowest temperature ever recorded is −2.2 °C (28.0 °F) on January 11, 1967, both of which are recorded at Palam Airport. The average annual rainfall is 784 millimetres (30.9 in), most of which is during the monsoons in July and August.