Purana Qila - Old Fort
Delhi, India

The ruins of this fort are located on a small hill which once stood on the banks of the Yamuna river. Legend has it that the fort marked the site of Indraprastha, the magnificent capital of the Pandavas, though the construction was carried out by Sher Shah Suri any time between 1538 to 1545 A.D.The structure houses a mosque which has a double-storeyed octagonal tower. It is said that the Mughal King, Humayun, fell from the tower accidently and died.

The location of Purana Qila is not new to history, as the earliest reference to this site is made in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. Recent excavations at the fort site have yielded painted grey ware pottery which dates back to 1000 B.C.The fact that until 1913 there was a village within the fort called Indrapat gives credence to the belief that Purana Qila was built on the ruins of Indraprastha. The walls of the fort are 18 metres high at some points and there are groups of holes arranged in patterns on the walls which were apparently meant to be nesting spaces for birds.

The fort has three gates- Humayun Darwaza, Talaqi Darwaza and Bara Darwaza, through which one can enter the fort today. Inside the fort is the Kuhna Masjid built by Sher Shah in 1541 and is considered to be a masterpiece of architecture. The inner west wall of the building has five arched openings which are richly ornamented in white and black marble. On a marble slab inside the mosque is an inscription which when translated reads: ' as long as there are people on this earth, may this edifice be frequented and people be cheerful and happy in it'.


Outer Walls of the Fort


Gate to the fort


Mosque