Old Fort, Delhi (Purana Quila)

Purana Quila or the Old Fort is a heritage site in New Delhi. Famous for its Mughal and Lodhi type of architecture, the Purana Quila is a structure made up of red sandstone. The history of the Old Fort or Purana Quila is even older than the foundation of the fort itself.

Folk lore has it that the Old Fort or Purana Quila, is built on the grounds of the ancient city of Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas. This is a tale of Hindu mythology.

The Old fort was occupied by both Humayun and Sher Shah Suri after conquering each other to capture the empire. Humayun settled himself in the citadel and progressed to constructing a new city after the Mughal dynasty was established by his father Babur in 1526. However, Humayun lost the empire to Sher Shah Suri over a defeat in 1540.

Sher Shah Suri took this opportunity to renovate the fort and strengthen its protection; he named these new structures Shergarh. The fort was recaptured by Humayun after Sher Shah’s death. Sher Shah Suri’s mosque Qila-i-Kuhna and Humayun’s library are the only two monuments that live to tell the tale of the past.

The Bara Darwaza or the main date present on the western wall opens the doors to the Purana Quila. This main gate, made of red sandstone, is one of the three main gates of Shergarh. Chhattris or umbrella-like structures rise over the double-storeyed portico of the Bara Darwaza. The other two gates include the Forbidden Gate or the Taliqi Darwaza on the north and the Red Gate or the Lal Darwaza across the road. The Lal Darwaza is also known as the Sher Shah Gate. The fort takes the form of an octagon, extending on a length of 2.41 km and stands 33.5 m tall.

Qila-i-Kuhna is the mosque built by Sher Shah Suri in 1541. This single-domed edifice, Qila-i-Kuhna is an exquisite example of Mughal architecture and is a must-see attraction present inside the Old Fort. The prayer hall inside the mosque has five mihrabs or gracefully curved slots in its western wall. Various scripted inscriptions on the wall are set in red and white shades of marble. The staircase leads us to the second storey, which was mainly used as a prayer hall by the female members.

Sher Mandal was another structure built by Sher Shah Suri, which was later used as a library by Humayun. This is also octagonal in structure and stands two storeys high. Emperor Humayun, an avid reader, had a treasure trove of books in this library. As fate would have it, this building which also housed his library proved to be the fatal site where Humayun met his tragic end owing to a fall while descending the stairs.

Other Places to see in New Delhi are: India Gate, Jama Masjid & Jantar Mantra

The best way to see all these monuments is to hire a car in New Delhi. Contact us to book a car or a bigger vehicle.