Human habitation was probably present in and around Delhi during the second millennium BC and before, and continuous inhabitation has been evidenced since at least the 6th century BC. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata. Settlements grew from the time of the Mauryan Empire (c. 300 BCE).
The Indian capital city of Delhi has a long history, including a history as the capital of several empires. The earliest architectural relics date back to the Maurya Period (c. 300 BC); since then, the site has seen continuous settlement. In 1966, an inscription of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273-236 BC) was discovered near Srinivaspuri, which is near Noida. Two sandstone pillars inscribed with the edicts of Ashoka were brought to by Firuz Shah Tughluq in the 14th century. The famous Iron pillar near the Qutub Minar was commissioned by the emperor Kumara Gupta I of the Gupta dynasty (320-540) and transplanted to Delhi during the 10th century. Eight major cities have been situated in the Delhi area. The first five cities were in the southern part of present-day Delhi.
Though settlements have been dated to have been taking place in Delhi for millenia, there is no record to stand by that claim. Delhi is generally considered a close to 5000-year old city, as per Ancient Indian text The Mahabharata, since the first ever mention of the city is found in this religious scripture. Therefore, except the scripture, archaeological evidences to book the city's Ancient history are as good as nought. As a result, Delhi's Ancient history finds no records and this period may be regarded as the lost period of its history. Extensive coverage of Delhi's history begins with the onset of the Delhi Sultanate in the 12th century. Since then, Delhi had been the seat of Islamic and British rulers until India's independence in 1947. The core of Delhi's tangible heritage is Islamic, spanning over 7 centuries of Islamic rule over the city, with some British-styled architectures and zones in Lutyens' Delhi dating to the British rule in India. Whatever records exist of Delhi- in the form of scriptures or archaeological evidences, they crown Delhi as the Capital city of some empire or the other all through, with minor random breaks in between, making Delhi one of the longest serving Capitals in the world.