The Department of Sanskrit, University of Delhi, is as old as the University itself, having come into existence in 1922. Initially for two years it had no Postgraduate student. In 1924, a student in M.A. was admitted and the Department's Post-Graduate wing came into existence. According to the then prevailing practice the senior most teacher from among the teachers of the subject in the constituent colleges used to be the teacher-in-charge of the subject in the University which at that time had no faculty of its own. It, however, recognized some of the senior teachers of a subject working in colleges as Readers. In Sanskrit Mahamahopadhyaya Lakshmi Dhar Shastri Kalla of St. Stephen's College, by virtue of his seniority was appointed as Head of the Department in the University . The Postgraduate classes in Sanskrit were held in St. Stephen's College at that time. Dr. N.N.Choudhuri of Ramjas College took over as Head of the Department from Dr. M.M. Lakshmi Dhar Shastri in the year 1949. The Department in the University came into being with the creation of the post of a Reader in Sanskrit in the University in the year 1953. Dr. N.N.Choudhuri of Ramjas College who was already working as Head of the Department in the University was appointed as the first Reader-head. In 1955 another post, that of a Professor, was created. Dr. N.N.Choudhuri was appointed the first Professor. For a long time the main function of the Department was to provide instruction in Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses. Research came to occupy its attention later. Dr. Ram Gopal, was the first Ph.D. student of the Department in the academic year 1953-54. Even as late as the fifties, there used to be only five or six students in M.A. and one or two students in Ph.D. This continued for a number of years till there was a marked improvement in numbers of students in early sixties. From a small department it has now grown to one of the biggest departments in the university with more than three hundred postgraduate students and one hundred fifty research scholars and about One hundred fifty teachers in colleges and University Department.
The Department of Sanskrit has had some of the stalwarts as its members in the past. Prof. RV Joshi is an internationally acclaimed Sanskritist who introduced modern European research methods in the department. He is the recipient of Sahitya Academy award and ‘pravasi’ bhartiya sammana. Prof. Satyavrat Shastri is anothor distinguishing scholar who has been decorated with the prestigious Jnanapithia and Padmbhushana awards.