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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Purana Qila

The second Mughal Emperor, Humayun has constructed the Fort in 1538. After Babur arrived in India, he did nothing in his lifetime, but fight. Apart from that, his entire concentration was on building mosques. He considered them to be the centers from where Islam would take off. When Humayun decided to make a city of his own, he decided on the site of the ancient city of his own, he decided on the site ancient city of Indraprastha (Delhi). Humayun was quite a scholar with a fine grasp on such matters. Therefore, it is quite certain that the site was chosen deliberately. When Sher Shah Suri overthrew him, he destroyed most of Dinpanah (refuge of the faithful) as the city of Humayun was called, to make way for his own Dilli Sher Shani or Shergarh. Incidentally, Humayun was probably the only emperor in history who built a city in Delhi and did not give it his own name -this was typical of Humayun’s rather sophisticated and dreamy character.

The Design :-
The plan of Old Fort, now simply called "Purana Qila" by Delhites, is irregularly orbital. The walls of the immense Qila (Palace) tower down on the road that takes one to Pragati Maidan from the height of 18m, and run on for about 2km. It has three main gates - the Humayun Darwaza, Talaqi darwaza and Bara darwaza (which one used to enter the fort today). The double -storeyed gates are quite huge and built with red sandstone. The entry to the Qila was from Talaqi (forbidden) darwaza, the northern gate. It is not clear why this was so. Sher Shah Suri and his successor could not complete the city. When Humayun defeated Sher Shah’s son to take back his city, he did not deal with Dilli Sher Shani as the latter had done with Dinpanah. In fact the Mughal emperor very handsomely completed the city and even used several of the buildings like the Sher Mandal, a rather two stroreyed octagonal building. Humayun used this as his library and, then tripped to his death from its steps.

Excavations :-
Several excavations have taken place in the Purana Qila in an attempt to prove, or disprove as the case may be, whether it is indeed the site of Indraprastha or not. Diggings have yielded painted grey ware pottery, which has been dated to 1000 BC. Similar stuff has been noticed in other sites associated with the epic Mahabharata as well. These seem to conclusively prove that this indeed was the place, where Indraprastha once flourished. These excavations have also thrown up coins, associated with the Gupta (about 4-5th century AD) and post-Gupta ages (700-800 AD ) of Indian History as well.

Qila-i-Kuhna Masjid :-
One of the most fascinating buildings, and also one of the few that still survive, in the Purana Qila (Old Fort) is the Qila-i-Kuhna Masjid. Sher Shah Suri built it in 1541. He was obviously out to make a definite style statement. The mosque is quite a place; its prayer hall measures 168 ft. by 48.8 ft. It has five doorways with the true horseshoe-shaped arches. Apparently, the idea was to build the whole mosque in marble. During construction, the supply of marble ran out and red sandstone had to be used instead. Those were the days when due to constant strife, materials from far of places could not be procured easily. The builder used the material at hand very skillfully. The result is quite spectacular - the red sandstone and the marble contrast beautifully with each other to give the mosque a very distinctive air. The mihrabs (Prayer niches) inside the mosque are richly decorated with concentric arches. From the prayer hall, staircases lead one to the second storey where a narrow passage runs along the rectangular hall. A beautifully worked dome tops the central alcove. In the courtyard at one time, there was a shallow tank, which had a fountain. The mosque has an inscription, which says ‘as long as there are people on this earth, may this edifice be frequented, and people are happy in it. A noble thought - amen (confirm or agreed) to it.

How To Reach :-
The Purana quila is situated to the south-east of India gate and to the north of Humayun's tomb on mathura Road in New Delhi. There is an entry fee, Rs. 5/- for citizen of India and Rs. 100/- for foreigners. It is open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm everyday. Visitors can take local buses, auto-rickshaws, taxis or metro train from various points of the city to reach this monuments. The boats are available for a nominal price per hour rate. Since it is situated at a stone's throw from India Gate, reaching to this ancient fort is a matter of joke for every tourist.

Photo Gallery of the Fort
The Enterance of Purana Qila

Qila Kuhna Masjid, inside Purana Qila

Purana Qila wallpaper

Purana Qila view

Purana Qila Pictures

Purana Qila Photo, New delhi

Purana Qila Photo

Purana Qila images

Purana Qila , Delhi

Lake outside Purana Qila

A beautiful seen of Purana Qila

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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Aparna A said...

The plan of Old Fort, now simply called "Purana Qila" by Delhites, is irregularly orbital.You can book Bus Tickets in online.

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