Purana Qila and its surroundings

Sandwiched between two of modern Delhi’s most prominent landmarks – Pragati Maidan and the National Zoological Park – the Purana Qila (‘old fort’) is appropriately named. It is old, of course; the citadel here dates back to the 1530’s – but there are many older monuments in Delhi. What makes Purana Qila special, as far as antiquity is concerned, is that this is believed to be the site of one of the oldest settlements in Delhi: Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas. Within Purana Qila itself there’s enough to see: one of the most elegant and exquisite mosques in Delhi; the building in which the second of the Mughal emperors, Humayun, fell to his death; three fine gateways; and more. Around Purana Qila are further attractions, both new and old. The National Zoological Park spreads across 240 acres along the southern edge of Purana Qila. On the northern side of the fortress is Pragati Maidan, almost a perpetual venue for trade shows, expositions and exhibitions. Clustered around Pragati Maidan are the excellent Crafts Museum and the National Science Centre and two sites of religious importance: Matka Pir and the Dargah. Also opposite Purana Qila, across Mathura Road, are a couple of other monuments that are little known but worth seeing: the Khairul Manazil mosque and the Lal Darwaza.

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