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  • Entrance Fee:
    Indian: Rs.50/-
    Foreigner: Rs.100/-
  • Opening Hour:
    9 AM to 6 PM
Quick Info
  • LocationMathura Road, New Delhi

  • Opening Hours 9 AM to 6 PM

  • Entrance Fee Indian: Rs.50/-
    Foreigner: Rs.100/-

  • Camera Fee Rs 25/-

Purana Qila - Old Fort

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.

Background

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 Some Mughal historical documents suggest that Humayun died as a result of the injuries he suffered after falling down from the steps of the Sher Mandal.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.

Description

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 stands today.

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

The Purana Quila or Old Fort in Delhi was built by Mughal Emperor Humayun and Sher Shah Suri in the sixteenth century. Legend has it that the site where Humayun erected his fort was once known as Indraparastha, the capital of the Pandavas of the Mahabharata. Though this information cannot be confirmed, excavations at Purana Quila have shown that there thrived a prosperous civilization at this place suring the 1000 BC. The earliest houses belonged to about the forth century B.C. In fact, till the end of the nineteenth century, there was a village called Indarpat (which sounds very similar to 'Indraprastha') inside the fort. Was ancient Indraprastha located here? This is a question that is difficult to answer with a simple 'yes' or 'no.'   

Purana Qila

The excavations at Purana Qila tell us about the lives of people who lived here hundreds of years ago. Houses made of sun-dried bricks as well as bricks baked in kilns, terracotta figurines of humans and animals, a special kind of shiny pottery that archaeologists call Northern Black Polished Ware and Painted Grey Ware were some of the artefacts excavated. Lots of seals and coins were discovered too. The houses found here had drains which carried waste water into soak pits dug into the ground. Terracotta ring wells reflecting their clever architectural skills were also found. An interesting find was a jug containing bells, ghunghroos (anklets with bells), and various objects of copper. In about the forth century A.D., the settlement at the Purana Qila seems to have started to decline. Houses at this time were made out of reused bricks of earlier buildings. Many centuries later, in the tenth century, a fortification wall was built around the settlement.

In the sixteenth century, the Mughal king Humayun built his fort at this place and forever buried the remains of a civilization that once thrived on the expertise and skills of an enterprising populace.

Fast- Facts:

The Purana Quila or Old Fort in Delhi was built by Mughal Emperor Humayun and Sher Shah Suri in the sixteenth century. The fortification wall was built by Humayun and the rest by Sher Shah.In 1539-40, Sher Shah Suri 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. He constructed this enormous fort in the 16th-century to defend his most prized possession, Delhi, from the Mughals. Though the massive Purana Qila has not been witness to any major battle, its very existence kept the Mughals away from invading Delhi. After his death Humayun recaptured Delhi with aid from the Persians. Below is a list of Fast Facts on Purana Qila for your convenience.  

Location- the Purana Qila is located on the eastern side of India Gate and north of Humayun's tomb on Mathura Road. Also Known as- Old Fort.

Best Time to Visit- early morning or just before sundown.

Entry- INR 5 for Indian citizens and INR 100 for foreigners.

Photography Fees- Rs. 25/-

Mode of Transport- auto rickshaws, buses and taxis are available from different parts of Delhi.

Nearest terminals- the nearest railway station is New Delhi staion, nearest airport Indira Gandhi airport and nearest metro station Connaught Place.

Nearest City Landmark- Connaught Place, the heart of New Delhi is very near and is the hub of the best eateries, shops and markets.

Nearby Attractions:

The Purana Quila or Old Fort in Delhi was built by Mughal Emperor Humayun and Sher Shah Suri in the sixteenth century. The fortification wall was built by Humayun and the rest by Sher Shah.In 1539-40, Sher Shah Suri 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. He constructed this enormous fort in the 16th-century to defend his most prized possession, Delhi, from the Mughals. Though the massive Purana Qila has not been witness to any major battle, its very existence kept the Mughals away from invading Delhi. After his death Humayun recaptured Delhi with aid from the Persians. Below is a list of nearby tourist attractions to Purana Qila.  

Qila-i-kuhna Masjid-

Built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541, this mosque is one of the most fascinating buildings inside the Purana Qila.  

Delhi Zoo-

Established in 1959, this is considered one of the finest zoos in Asia and is housed inside the Purana Qila. It also has a boat club.  

Light and Sound Show-

The Delhi Tourism organizes a light and sound show inside the old fort after 5 pm and before 9 pm.  

Humayun's Tomb-

Built in 1570, this is the first garden tomb of the Indian subcontinent and has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.  

India Gate-

Originally called the War Memorial Arch, India Gate commemorates the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the First World War. On its walls are inscribed the names of 60,000 men who fell fighting for the British Empire.