Apart from being the capital of India, Delhi is a fascinating
city with pleasant contradictions. Comprising of Old
Delhi and New Delhi, the city is home to famous tourist
destinations like the Laxmi Narayan Temple, India Gate,
Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb,
and the vivacious shopping bazaar of Chandni Chowk.
One such tourist attraction in Delhi is the Old Fort,
also known as Purana Qila in Hindi, one of the most
famous monuments in Delhi, India.
The founder of the Sur Dynasty, Sher Shah Suri, constructed
this enormous fort in the 16th-century to defend his
most prized possession, Delhi, from the Mughals. In
1539-40, he defeated his arch-rival, Mughal emperor
Humayun, in two consecutive battles and nearly brought
an end to the Mughal Empire in India by capturing two
Mughal strongholds - Delhi and Agra. Though the Purana
Qila has not been witness to any major battle, its very
existence kept the Mughals away from invading Delhi.
But after Sher Shah Suri died in 1545, Humayun recaptured
Delhi and Agra with the help of Persians.
Humayun made good use of the octagonal red sandstone
tower known as Sher Mandal as his library and observatory.
Some Mughal historical documents suggest that Humayun
died as a result of the injuries he suffered after falling
down from the steps of the Sher Mandal. It is being
said that the Mughals considering the fort to be a cursed
one after the death of the Humayun, and vacated the
edifice. As a consequence, the Mughals had to construct
a new fort to defend Delhi from foreign invasions. This
fort was named Lal Qila, popular known as Red Fort.
The unique Mughal-Hindu-Afghan architecture of the fort
not only attracts tourists from world over, but has
also drawn attention of archaeologists and Indian historians.
Recent archaeological excavations have exposed evidences
of pottery and other pieces of art and handicrafts which
throw a new light on the existence of Indraprastha,
a historic city mentioned in the great epic Mahabharata.
A report by the Archaeological Survey of India suggests
that Indraprastha stood on the site where the Old Fort
The historic structure of the Purana Qila, that has
stood witness to the periods of anarchy, the rise and
fall of empires in Delhi, presently houses the Delhi
Zoo, Delhi's largest zoological park, and a Boat club.
» Excavations at Purana Qila
» Purana Qila Nearby Attractions
» Purana Qila Fast Facts
» Purana Qila Photo Gallery
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