Purana Quila (Old Fort)

Purana-Quila-Old-Fort

The Purana Qila (Old Fort) stands on the site where the ancient city of Indraprashtha is believed to have existed. Archeological evidences such as pottery dating back to 1000 BC, found within the fort premises support the premise. Pottery of similar nature has been recovered from other sites associated with Mahabharata. Also the fact that until early 20th century a village called ‘Indrapat’ existed in this area substantiates the theory.

The Old Fort was the citadel of the city of Dinapanah (Refuge of the Faithful) which Humayun started building in 1533 and completed five years later. When Sher Shah Suri – the Afghan King - defeated Humayun, he renamed the fort as Shergarh and added some more buildings within the complex. Out of the three entrances that Purana Qila had, only one remains open till date - the Bara Darwaza. Inside the fort you can see an imposing mosque - Qila Kuhna Masjid, which was built by Sher Shah in 1541. The central portion of the mosque is made up of white marble and bright red sandstone. Another building of interest inside the fort is the Sher Mandal - an octagonal building made up of red sandstone. The two-storied pavilion has steep steps leading up to the roof. After Humayun recaptured Delhi in 1555, he refurbished the Sher Mandal into his library. It was here that Humayun fell to his death a year later.

The most attractive tomb in Delhi - Humayun's Tomb also lies in this area but outside the walls of the Old Fort. Built by Humayun's widow Haji Begum in 1564, it is perhaps the most spectacular monument belonging to the Mughal period. It is believed the designs of Taj Mahal was inspired by this magnificent monument. The red sandstone and marble structure stands on a stone platform, surrounded by a garden divided into quadrants by water channels. High walls abound the monument on three sides while the river Yamuna flowed past the fourth side.