A Trip to Purana Qila or the Old Fort in Delhi
Purana Qila is one of the oldest forts in Delhi and also one of the oldest structures in Delhi. This place is associated with legendary city of Indraprastha built by Pandavas before Mahabharata. The excavations by ASI at Purana Qila Site have unearthed painted grey wares dating back to 1000 B.C. which reaffirms the antiquity of this site. The first look at the fort from the road gives you a glimpse of the grandeur and scale of Purana Qila. With massive ramparts rising as high as 18 metres, and sprawling over one and a half kilometers, Purana Quila is as grand as a fort of such antiquity could be.
The complex had three arched gateaways and another gateway opposite the road which is known as Sher Shah Gate or the Lal Darwaza. The big three which leads to the interior of the fort are called Bara Darwaza (Big Gate) facing west, which is the one which visitors use, ‘Humayun Gate’ which is the southern gate and Talaqi Darwaza or the Forbidden Gate which is Northern Gate. Despite the grandeurs of the exterior just as Tughlaqabad Fort, only a few of structures of note has survived inside Purana Qila. The main attractions which are in good state are the Qila-i Kuhna Mosque and the Sher Mandal, which were constructed during the reign of Sher Shah Suri. There is a baoli (step well) too but it remains closed to visitors.
During the early years of Mughal empire, Purana Qila became the citadel of the Sixth City of Delhi Dinpanah which was founded by Humayun. Mughal Emperor Humayun had the fort renovated in 1533 which took around 5 years to complete. Humayun also completed the construction of what is now known as Sher Mandal which was strted by Babus for to be used as observatory. Sher Mandal is one of the main attractions in the fort which was used by Humayun as his personal library. It was from Sher Mandal that Humayun tragically fell to his death. In 1540 Sher Shah defeated the Mughals and declared himself the emperor of Delhi and founded Sur dynasty.
Purana Qila is best visited in early morning when photo ops are best and there is no crowd which lets you explore monuments in peace and soak in the lush green surrounding. Entry fee to the Purana Qila which one of the Protected and Paid Monuments in India is nominal: Rs. 5 for Indians. Just before the entrance to Purana Qila there is a food court with ample variety of food. Public Convenience is located both outside the fort and inside it. Parking facility is also available and one could reach the park easily by bus or by getting down at Pragati Maidan Station of Delhi Metro.
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