Delhi, officially known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi, is the largest metropolis in India by size and the second largest in terms of population. Besides including the national capital New Delhi, the hoary areas of Old Delhi, the defense establishments of Delhi Cantonment, Delhi loosely incorporates some urban sub-cities as well like Noida, Gurgaon, Dwarka and Ghaziabad and others. Delhi today is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country with people from all around the country and indeed from many other parts of the world seeking to work, live and love here.
A brief glance at the demographic profile of Delhi reveals how rapidly the city is growing in terms of population. According to the 2001 Census of India, the population of Delhi that year was 13,782,976 while in 2007 it was estimated that more than 21.2 million people were living in the National Capital Territory of Delhi by the Population Reference Bureau. Hinduism is the major religion followed in Delhi followed by Islam, Sikhism, Baha’i’, Jainism and Christianity. Followers of other minority religions include Paris, Buddhists and Jews. Delhi has a literacy rate of 81.82%, higher than the national average of 64.84%. However in recent times, one of the biggest blots against Delhi as a city offering a high quality of life has been its rising crime rate and especially crime against women.
The most significant feature of Delhi’s demographics is its diversity. Being the political and administrative capital of India as well as the cultural hub of northern and central India, Delhi attracts large numbers of people from all over the country. This includes both blue and white collar workers. While the former fill in the ever growing demands of labor in the manufacturing and construction industries in Delhi, white collar workers on the other hand staff the expanding service, media, tourism and finance sectors of the economy besides catering to the booming Information Technology and Business Process Outsourcing sectors in sub-cities like Noida and Gurgaon. Other segments of Delhi’s professional class are composed of those working for the central government, defense establishments and the headquarters of various companies established in the national capital. Yet another crucial segment of Delhi’s migrant population includes its large expatriate population composed of students/researchers, political asylum seekers from other countries as well as the staff and families of nearly 160 foreign embassies.
Delhi has traditionally been the cultural hub of northern and central India. Ever since the times of the Delhi Sultanate in the medieval ages and peaking under the patronage of the Mughals, the city has been a thriving center of art, architecture, literature and research. Today, Delhi can boast of having gems of medieval architecture like Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar side by side with modern architectural marvels like the Lotus Temple of the Baha’i’ faith and the Akshardham Temple. Indian Habitat Center and Indian International Center on the Lodhi Road are only two of the most high profile locations which host round the year exhibitions of visual arts and performances of both classical and contemporary music and dance. Other than this Delhi has a lively theater scene with plays in Hindi, English, Urdu and other Indian languages being performed regularly. The National School of Drama is in fact located in Delhi. All these cultural events make for ample opportunities for young art lovers in Delhi to meet and interact socially.
Delhi is also a city of festivals and parades. The Republic Day Parade perhaps marks the highpoint of the city’s list of national festivals and people from across the country come here to watch or participate in it. Other festivals celebrated by Delhiites with great fervor are Diwali, Holi, Id, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Dussehra as well as other secular events like Qutub Festival, the Kite Flying festival and the International Mango Festival. Delhi also hosts several mega exhibitions at Pragati Maidan like the Auto Expo and the World Book Fair, to name only two of the most famous. Dilli Haat, Chandni Chowk, Janpath and Hauz Khas are major destinations for those interested in traditional crafts and hand-made artworks from across India. The city thus provides ample festive occasions and venues for young men and women to interact in a fun and enjoyable way.
However regular dating venues among the young single Delhiites most comprise of the city’s pubs, cafes and nightclubs. F-bar, Ivy, Tantra, Odyssey, Fever, Djinns, Buzz, Hard Rock Café, Aura and TGIF are some of the hottest nightspots in Delhi where a lot of single men and women hang out especially on weekends. Most of the five star and seven star hotels like Taj, Hyatt, Park, Oberoi, Radisson and Sheraton have their own bars and clubs and these places have an active singles scene. Other than these coffee shops like CCD and Barista as well as fast food joints like McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut make up the usual hang-out places for young men and women. They're good places to frequent if you're looking for dating opportunities. Many students and young professionals hang around these coffee shops in the evenings. Among Delhi’s most fashionable locations are the central and southern areas like Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Punjabi Bagh, Khan Market and Defence Colony. The mushrooming of shopping malls like DLF, Ambience, Metropolitan not only in Delhi but in satellite cities like Noida and Gurgaon has vastly expanded the dating opportunities for the city’s singles.
A significant percentage of Delhi’s young population comprises of students who come here from primarily the eastern and northeaster parts of India and indeed from many other countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and West Asia. These young men and women mostly seek admission in the several higher educational institutions of Delhi like the Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University as well as other professional institutions like IIT, IIM and other management schools or any of the several medical Colleges. The campus is thus not only an important meeting ground for young singles but also a determinant of dating trends. For instance students prefer to date during daytime to early evening. The relatively high rate of crime and other security concerns make late evening dates unusual among the student community. On the other hand the nightclubs and high-end pubs are frequented by Delhi singles who can afford private transport and are comfortable being out late at night. The Nouveau riche of Delhi lead high consumption lifestyles and you can often befriend singles by sharing tequila shots at a pub or by frequenting nightclubs.
Life in Delhi is an eclectic mix of both the traditional and modern, the leisurely and the fast-paced. The city has something for everyone – whether it is student living on a budget and looking for love in its vast campuses or the much-married professional who can afford a night out at the most expensive club in town.