Purana Qila in New Delhi
On the banks of river Yamuna, the Purana Qila (Old fort) in Delhi narrates the history of Delhi. Purana Qila is believed to be built by Pandavas in the ancient city Indraprastha of the Mahabharata.
From the deceit of Pandavas to the establishment of Sur Empire by Sher Shah Suri to the Mughlas and Britishers conquering the land of India and the brave freedom fighters laying their lives for independence of India; the fort has seen it all.
The current form of Purana Qila was constructed in 16 century. Excavation carried out by ASI (Archaelogical Survey of India) in 1955 (again in 1973) unearthed 3000 years old Painted Grey Ware.
Architecture of Purana Qila
Purana Qila reflects Persian influence in its architecture. The 18 metres high walls of the building traverse about 1.5 km have three Darwazas (Gateways). Purana Qila is one of the largest building built exclusively with red sandstone.
Gates of Purana Qila
The three Darwazas (gateways) of Purana Qila depict a blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture style. All the three gates are double-storied sandstone structures decorated with marble inlays and blue tiles. These gates are famous for their elaborately designed decorations.
Bara(Bada) means big/large in English, so Bara Darwaza means Big Gate. Out of three, only Bara Darwaza in still in use today.
This gate probably got its name because it was built by Humayun or perhaps because Humayun’s tomb is visible from the gate. Anyways, the gate is beautifully and elaborately decorated.
This gate is also known as “Forbidden Gate”. This is so because of the belief that this gate carries some jinx or is ill-fated.
Qila-e-Kuhna was designed as a Jami Mosque (Friday mosque) for the Sultan Sher Shah Suri and his close courtiers in 1541 and is an excellent example of pre-Mughal design.
The prayer hall inside the mosque has five elegant arched niches set in its western wall for praying. The calligraphy inscribed on the central walls traces the transcription from Lodhi architecture to Mughal architecture.
The red and white marbles used adds to the pleasant charm of the mosque. The courtyard once had a shallow tank with a fountain. Despite being one of the oldest mosques in Delhi, Qila-e-Kuhna is a well-preserved structure in Purana Qila.
Sher Mandal, an octagonal structure near Purana Qila, was constructed by Babur for use as an observatory and library for his son Humayun. This is one of the earliest observatories built in Delhi. The tower is built with red sandstone decorated with white marbles in typical Mughal style.
Sher Mandal observatory is also the spot where on 24 Jan 1556, Humayun fell from the second floor to his death while gazing the night sky standing on the top of his private observatory.
Address: (near New Delhi Zoo) Mathura Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110003
- Entry fees- INR 30 (for Indians) & INR 200 (3$) for Foreigners.
- Camera- None for still camera and INR 25 for video-camera.
Time: 7.00 AM to 5.00 PM
Nearest Metro Station: Pragati Maidan (Blue Line).
Featured Image: ©JMiers
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