A Walk Around Purana Qila

Known simply as Purana Qila or Qila-e-Kohna (both meaning `old fort’), this fortress was built in the 1530’s. The site however does have a history that makes it truly old, and also historically and culturally of great significance. It is believed to be the site of one of the oldest settlements in Delhi: Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas. Excavations have revealed definite settlements dating from the 4th-3rd centuries B.C. and some pottery fragments that might date from as far back as 1000 B.C. The visible built structures are from the Mughal emperor Humayun’s city of Dinpanah (`asylum of the faith’), constructed between 1530 and 1538. Sher Shah, who ousted Humayun from the throne in 1840 made substantial additions to Dinpanah and also built his own city nearby, which he named Sher Garh. Later, with the shifting of the Mughal capital to Agra, and then the building of Shahjahanabad as the new capital, the Purana Qila was abandoned. It came to be occupied by a rural population and the village of ‘Inderpat’, recalling the ancient site of the Mahabharat. In the early 20th century the Archaeological Survey of India acquired and conserved the area. The rubble and dressed stone walls of the fort complete a circuit over a mile long, pierced by three impressive gates. The walls themselves are as high as 20m in places, and approximately 4m thick.

Open PDF