The Purana Quila or the old fort is one of the most captivating tourist sites that narrate the history of Delhi in details. Constructed by the Mughal emperor – Humayun, the Purana Quila is evidence to the glory of the Mughal art. The Purana Quila is situated in New Delhi and is said to guard the ruins of the city of Indraprastha that is mentioned in the Mahabharata.
Known as Dinpanah meaning the ‘refuge of the faithful', the Purana Quila was built between 1538 and 1545 by the Mughal emperor Humanyun. The fort originally lay on the bank of the river Yamuna before the river changed its course. The Purana Quila was built by Humayun in an attempt to build a city of his own. But characteristically, the Old Fort did not bear the name of its creator unlike the other emperors erecting such structure. When Sher Shah defeated Humayun most of the structures inside the old fort were demolished and was renamed as ‘Shergarh' . But once again as Humayun recaptured his city from Sher Shah's son he took the task of completing the city and rebuilding its old glory.
The Purana Quila is another reminder of the bygone Mughal era which excelled in architectural styles. The Purana Quila has three majestic gates:
- The Humayun Darwaza
- The Bara Darwaza
- The Talaqi Darwaza
The three gates are double storied and built with red sandstone. The Humayun Darwaza and the Bara Darwaza were the two gates that were open for entry inside the old fort. Entry was prohibited through the Talaqi Darwaza as the name suggests. Talaqi means ‘forbidden'
The other two attractions at the fort site are:
- Qila-I-Kuhna Masjid,
- Sher Mandal
- the small museum
The Qila-I-Kuhna Masjid was built by Sher Shah when he had captured the Purana Quila after defeating Humayun in 1541. The prayer hall is the most imposing part of the masjid that has five doorways with horse shoe shaped arches. The original plans of building the entire place with marble was jeopardized due to supply shortage. But the fusion of marble and sandstone has given the masjid a unique style.
The Sher Mandal is now an observatory, octagonal in shape. The structure and style of the building suggests that the Sher mandal was built for entertainment purposes. The style and design of the building proves a definite coupling of the Muslim and Hindu architectural magnificence. When Humayun recaptured the Purana quila from Sher shah's son, he used the Sher Mandal as his own library.
The museum at the gate of the Purana Quila has many artifacts recording the beginning and end of a glorious era of the Mughal period.
How to get there
Tourists can avail local buses, taxis and auto rickshaws from different points within the city. Many hotels arrange for conducted tours for tourists.
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