Old Fort of Delhi

Old Fort of Delhi

  • New Delhi
  • India
Amont Things to Do in New Delhi
  • Timings 7 00 AM - 6 00 PM
  • Time Required 2 - 3 hrs
  • Entry Fee Indians - INR 5, Foreigners - INR 200, Video - INR 25

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Old Fort of Delhi, New Delhi Overview

Old Fort or Purana Qila is the oldest fort of Delhi. The site, in which the fort stands, was once the capital of Pandavas, Indraprastha. Later Sher Shah Suri raised it amid the sprawling city area. The fort was completed fully by Sher Shah Suri’s son, Humayun. This splendid fort rests on the banks of river Yamuna, which bestows it a charming look. The fort is considered by many people as the ‘first city of Delhi’. Excavations performed by the Archaeological Survey of India confirmed that the fort had witnessed an unending cultural sequence from Mauryan ages to Mughal period.

In 1920s during the reign of the British Empire, Sir Edwin Lutyens designed a new capital for British India and aligned Rajpath, the central vista with the Old fort. In August 1947 during the partition of India, the Muslim migrants found refuge in Purana Qila and the nearby Humayum’s Tomb when they fled to Pakistan. Later in the 1970s the National School of Drama staged their three productions namely, Andha Yug, Sultan Razia and Tughlaq; all directed by Ebrahim Alkazi.

The main highlights of the fort are the arched gateways. There are three gateways: Humayun Gate, facing south; Bara Darwaza or the Big Gate facing west; and then the forbidden gate or ‘Talaqi Gate’. The fort walls have a height of 18 metres that extend the fort about 1.5 km. the gates have been built in sandstone with intricate carvings, ornate balconies, pillared pavilions and grand interior; all which remind one of the Mughal architecture. Even though the exteriors are fabulous, only some of the interior structures like Shermandel and Qila-I-Kuhna have survived.

Shermandal is a structure named after the emperor Sher Shah, who tried to construct the monument under the order of Babur. But during the infancy phase of the construction Sher Shah died, and therefore the entire work was stopped until the reign of Humayun. This is an octagonal tower built in red sandstone with stairs reaching up to the roof of the tower. Babur had built the tower for his son, Humayun. Humayun later used it as a library and personal observatory. The octagonal pavilion on the top looks stunning with 8 pillars and ornate in white marbles. The tower houses remains of stone shelving and plaster works. It is presumed that the emperor’s books were placed in the stone shelving.

Qila-I-Kuhna is a mosque which represents a beautiful epitome of the pre-Mughal design. The mosque is single-domed and is famed for the pointed arches or ‘horse-shoe shaped’ arches that can be perceived in the grand doorways. The monument was designed to be used as a Friday mosque or Jami mosque. The calligraphic inscriptions engraved in white, red and slate marbles over the central iwan give it a divine look. Earlier the mosque also had a fountain. The entire architecture is reminiscent of the Lodhi and Mughal period.

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