The National Capital Territory of Delhi is spread over an area of 1,484 km2 (573 sq mi) , of which 783 km2 (302 sq mi) is designated rural, and 700 km2 (270 sq mi) urban. Delhi has a maximum length of 51.9 km (32 mi) and the maximum width of 48.48 km (30 mi). There are three local bodies (statutory towns) namely, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (area is 1,397.3 km2 or 540 sq mi), New Delhi Municipal Committee (42.7 km2 or 16 sq mi) and Delhi Cantonment Board (43 km2 or 17 sq mi).
Delhi is an expansive area, in its extremity it spans from Narela in the north to Badarpur in the south. Najafgarh is the furthest point west, and Seemapuri is its eastern extremity. The NCR encompasses towns south and east of the said border, namely Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon.
Oddly, the main expanse of Delhi does not follow a specific geographical feature. The main city area of Delhi does not end until Saket in the South, whilst the northern limit is Jahangirpuri and the western limit is Janakpuri-Dwarka. The terrain of Delhi shows great variation. It changes from plain agricultural fields in the north to dry, arid hills (an offshoot of the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan) in the south and west. There used to be large natural lakes in the southern part of the city, but most have now dried up. Most of Delhi, including New Delhi, is situated on the western banks of the river Yamuna which separates the main city from eastern suburbs (commonly known as trans-Yamuna), although there is a good connectivity between the eastern and western sides, with a number of road and railway bridges as well as the Delhi Metro.
Delhi is located at , and lies in northern India. It borders the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the east and Haryana on the north, west and south. During British Raj it was adjacent to the province of Punjab and still historically and culturally tied closely to the region of Punjab. Almost entirely within the Gangetic plains, two prominent features of the geography of Delhi are the Yamuna flood plains and the Delhi ridge. The low-lying Yamuna flood plains provide fertile alluvial soilsuitable for agriculture but are prone to recurrent floods. Reaching up to a height of 318 m (1,043 ft), the Delhi ridge forms a dominating feature in this region. It originates from the Aravalli Range in the south and encircles the west, northeast and northwest parts of the city. Yamuna, a sacred river in Hinduism, is the only major river flowing through Delhi. Another river called the Hindon River separates Ghaziabad from the eastern part of Delhi. Delhi falls under seismic zone-IV, making it vulnerable to major earthquakes, but earthquakes have not been common in recent history. Delhi has the third highest tree-cover among cities in India.
Delhi was one of the world's ten most polluted cities in the 1990s, with vehicles producing 70% of the polluting emissions. In 1996 the Centre for Science and Environment started a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of India that ordered the conversion of Delhi's fleet of buses and taxis to be run on Compressed Natural Gas and banned the use of leaded petrol in 1998. In 2003, Delhi won the United States Department of Energy’s first ‘Clean Cities International Partner of the Year’ award for ‘‘bold efforts to curb air pollution and support alternative fuel initiatives’’.
Delhi features an atypical version of the humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cwa). Summers are long and extremely hot, from early April to mid-October, with the monsoon season in between. Early March sees a reversal in the direction of wind, from the north-western direction, to the south-western. These bring the hot waves from Rajasthan, carrying sand and are a characteristic of the Delhi summer. These are called loo. The months of March to May see a time of hot prickling heat. Monsoon arrives at the end of June, bringing some respite from the heat, but increasing humidity at the same time. The brief, mild winter starts in late November and peaks in January and is notorious for its heavy fog.
Extreme temperatures range from −0.6 °C (30.9 °F) to 46.7 °C (116.1 °F). The annual mean temperature is 25 °C (77 °F); monthly mean temperatures range from 13 °C to 32 °C (56 °F to 90 °F). The average annual rainfall is approximately 714 mm (28.1 inches), most of which is during the monsoons in July and August. The average date of the advent of monsoon winds in Delhi is 29 June.
Climate data for Delhi
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Rainfall mm (inches)
Avg. rainy days
Source no. 1: WMO
Source no. 2: HKO (sun only, 1971–1990)