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Purana Qila Has Been Delhi's Pride & Joy For More Than 5 Centuries And Here's Why

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If there is one place that can leave you awestruck with its sheer magnificence and grandeur, it’s the Old Fort or the Purana Qila in Delhi! It may have been built over 500 years ago, underwent a lot of decay and destruction over the centuries, but the kind of opulence it still exudes is unmistakable. Standing tall on the banks of river Yamuna, surrounded by lush greenery and with a beautiful lake just outside, the fort makes for the perfect spot to go boating with the fam on a fine summer evening, or exploring the ruins and picnicking on the lawns at any time of the year. 

Structures Found Inside The Premises

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The main entrance to the Purana Qila is through the Bada Darwaza (big gate) on the West side of the fort. It’s an imposing structure made of sandstone with intricate inlay work of white and coloured marbles and blue tiles. The fort encompasses a circumference of around 2 kms. To the North stands the huge Talaqi Gate or the ‘Forbidden Gate’, with chhatris (overhead round-shaped pavilions) carved with a unique series of lions in marble. The last gate, situated on the South Side, is known as the Humayun Gate, which offers a clear view of Humayun’s Tomb in the distance.

The only two surviving structures within the fort are the Sher Mandal (Humayun’s personal observatory) and the Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque. The rest of the fort and its structures were destroyed due to years of plunder and destruction. However, just one look at the ruins gives a fair idea of the splendour that must have been synonymous with the fort during its prime.

Shuffling Back & Forth

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The Old Fort was originally built by the Mughal Emperor Humayun, who subsequently lost it in battle, then regained control over it after many years, only to fall off the second storey of his observatory a year later to an unfortunate death. Within 15 years of Humayun’s overthrow, the fort changed hands a number of times, only ending up in its original ruler’s demise – no wonder the fort was believed to be cursed!

The Highlights

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The Old Fort has been subjected to exhaustive amounts of excavation and archaeological survey. The excavated remains of pottery, crafts and various artefacts are on display in the form of an Archaeological Museum within the fort complex. The fort has served as the venue for several plays, cultural events and music and dance concerts in the past. 

There is also a beautiful water body surrounding the Qila, around which you can take leisure walks and enjoy enchanting views of the area. 

But the most popular attraction offered by the fort today is the Light and Sound Show held here every evening, wherein the history of the seven cities of Delhi is narrated – a completely spellbinding experience that stays with you for life. The Purana Qila is in the immediate vicinity of the National Zoo and the Boat Club, as is the Sher Shah Suri Gate right across the road. 

It’s located at a very short distance from the Pragati Maidan Metro Station and is truly one of the best places to visit not just in Delhi but in the entire country, so do pay a visit!

Where | Purana Qila - Near Delhi Zoo, Mathura Road

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