An earthquake that was described to be of "slight intensity" by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) jolted residents of the national capital and neighbouring areas out of bed at 4.42 a.m. Monday.
The quake measured 4.3 on the Richter scale, the IMD said. Its epicentre was at 28.6 degrees north and 77 degress east, 10 km from Bahadurgarh, a town right on Delhi's western border with Haryana.
People jumped out of beds as windowpanes rattled and furniture shook. Many ran out of their homes to the chilly and misty pre-dawn outside, especially in the high-rise buildings of New Delhi and neighbouring towns of Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida and Faridabad.
Residents of cities further away -- Meerut and Jaipur -- also felt the temblor and some rushed out of their homes.
It took time before people felt that there may not be any aftershocks and they could drift back for a few more minutes in bed.
"My sister and I were fast asleep when I suddenly felt the bed moving. I woke up with a start and the water bottle standing on the table fell with a loud thud. I woke my sister and we both ran out. We saw people already standing out on the road and in their balconies," said Ayesha Sen, a resident of north Delhi.
Delden, another resident of north Delhi, said that initially she could not understand what was happening but when she heard people screaming outside she rushed out.
"It was by no means a minor earthquake. The doors and windows were rattling and we got scared. That early in the morning, people were obviously fast asleep and they were caught unawares. Thank god nothing major happened," Delden said.
The police and fire services in Delhi said there were no reports of any injury or damage due to the earthquake.