The quake, which was felt in Pakistan too, killed at least 40 people in Iran.
"The epicentre of the quake was the Pakistan-Iran border and it measured 7.8 on the Richter scale," said an official of the India Meteorological Department.
The quake took place at 4.14 p.m. (IST) at a depth of 33 km, he added.
The strong tremors lasted several seconds, leading to panic in many places. People rushed out of their offices and homes in the National Capital Region.
"I ignored the mild jolt first but after continuous jolts I realised that it is a quake," said Malini Saxena from east Delhi's Mayur Vihar locality.
In some areas, people could be seen standing outside their high-rise buildings.
"I was sleeping when I felt the tremors. I got up. A puppet hanging in the corridor of my home was shaking and the spoons were rattling," said Anushka, who lives in a high-rise building in the suburb of Gurgaon adjoining New Delhi.
Some saw ceiling fans in the houses shaking.
Similar reports came in from Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
People in the Kashmir Valley - where a devastating quake on Oct 8, 2005, had killed over 40,000 people on both sides of the Line of Control (LOC) that divides Kashmir into Indian and Pakistan administered parts - echoed the panic.
"I ran out of my kitchen when the earthquake occurred. I found some of our neighbours had also run out of their homes," said Tahira, 35, a homemaker in Srinagar.
From Dubai to Hyderabad, the tremors were felt across countries. Ask Manjula H in Hyderabad, who was skyping her sister-in-law in Dubai at the time and suddenly felt the tremors.
"Chatting with my SIL on Skype, she in Dubai and me in Hyderabad, suddenly tremors and could see the trembling screen #Earthquake #Phew," Manjula tweeted.
In eastern India, tremors were felt in the morning itself. In Odisha, a low intensity earthquake occurred at 8.36 a.m. and was felt for a few seconds in Astaranga area of Puri district, 70 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar, an official of the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre told IANS.
Two moderate quakes had hit the northeast earlier in the morning. The first tremor was felt at 6.53 a.m. in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
The second mild earthquake occurred around 2.04 p.m. in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia in Assam and some areas in Arunachal Pradesh, officials at the Regional Seismological Centre at Shillong said.
"The intensity of the first quake was 4.6 on the Richter Scale. The second quake measured 5.0," officials said.
They added that while the epicentre of the first quake was in Darrang district of Assam, the second one originated somewhere in the Arunachal Pradesh-China border.
--IANS (Posted on 16-04-2013)