If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.

The old Fort (in Hindi called PURANA QILA) was built in1533 by emperor Humayun. Some modification were done by Sher Shah in the year 1544. It is also called SHERGARH ( the abode of Tiger). It is located near Pragati Maidan and about a km from famous India Gate, just adjsent to Zoological Park. It is spread over 2 km area. It is not a very beautiful fort but historically it is important. It has a museum and there are monuments of Mahabharat age. The Babri ( Place for women bath) is interesting to see how about 80-10 ft down staircases are built and how the natural water used to flow.

The LIGHT AND SOUND program organised every day after the sun set is worth experiencing. It reveals the ancient history of India and depicts the facts how the city 'INDRAPRASTHA' has turned to recent ' NEW DELHI' the capital of India. The pictures are screened on the wide walls of the fort. The history from Mughal emperor to British rulers and the post independence era is worth witnessing.
There is also arrangements of Boating in the campus. Beautiful boat- ride is an attraction not only for kids , also for old people.

The History Underneath -  DINPANAH (PURANA QILA) to SHERGARH

Sher Shah’s journey from Sasaram in Bihar to being Emperor of Delhi is truly incredible. According to some reports, Sher Shah Suri was a commander in the Mughal Army under Babar and soon became Governor of Bihar. Legend has it that he fought a tiger with bare hands; the reason probably why he was conferred with the title of Sher Khan. Seeing his chance he revolted and took over Bengal; this probably after getting motivated by local and national hero Chanakya. In 1539, he defeated Humayun in the battle of Chausa and then again in Battle of Kannauj. Humayun fled India and Sher Khan took over Dinpanah, originally built by Humayun, renamed it Shergarh, proclaimed himself the emperor of India in 1540 and founded the Sur Dynasty. Today, Shergarh or Dinpanah is popularly known as Purana Qila.

Besides introducing elements to Dinpanah, Sher Shah built the mighty Grand Trunk Road from Chittagong to Kabul, built his own tomb in Sasaram, a hallmark of Afghan architecture in India, revived the ancient city of Pataliputra as Patna and introduced our currency rupiya – all this within a short span of five years. Sher Shah died in 1545 during the siege of Kalinjar Fort in Banda district of UP.

A look around

Before entering the main gate, get off and enter the lake area. You can take the kids out boating. But you have more serious things to do. You walk towards the looming Talaaqi Gate. This gate like the others is also capped with chattris and protected with bastions. Walk along the ramparts on the right with the rim of the lake on your right. Once the moat probably ran around the fort but now is limited to the western flank. Just make some noise walking so that you do not startle love birds cooing in the bushes.

Shergarh is a sprawling compound bound by walls on all sides. There are three gates: The Western Gate for entering is called Bada Darwaza flanked with mighty bastions, Northern Gate is called the Talaaqi Darwaza or the Forbidden Gate and the Southern Gate is called Humayun Gate. Humayun Gate is the signature symbol of Purana Qila with the two ubiquitous pavilions on top. At the foot is an amphitheatre where the Light and Sound show about Seven Cities of Delhi is played out in the evenings.

Along with the three gates, the main attraction of the complex is the Qila-e-Kuhna mosque built by Sher Shah Suri. The mosque marks the transition from Lodhi to Mughal architecture. Marble in shades of red, white and slate has been used for calligraphic inscriptions. Beware of the lady brandishing a lathi stick lest you forget to take your shoes off while entering.

Sher Mandal is a small double storeyed building that was used by Humayun as library. After Sher Shah’s death, Humayun had come back to reclaim Purana Qila. Here in Sher Mandal, Humayun while answering call to prayers, slipped, fell down the stairs and died. Humayun’s reign might have been ordinary, but his death proved spectacular in the form of his tomb. Humayun Tomb is arguably the best looking monument of Delhi that might have inspired the Taj Mahal.

Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games had one great side effect. It might not have brought foreign tourists in droves but ASI has spruced up most monuments in Delhi. Outside, there are the standard red signs naming the monument in neat fonts. Insides have detailed nifty layout maps of the site. Each building at the entrance has easy-on-the-eyes information engraved on redstone tablets instead of the earlier ugly blue metal boards bent out of shape. 

Now, go say hello to the monkeys in the neighbouring Delhi Zoo.
Next Post »