The city of Delhi is one of the ancient cities in the history of the world. The remains of civilization and settlement date way to the Pre-Mauryan period, at least about 2500 years.
There are locations in Delhi, which live to tell the tale of history. One such area or place is Purana Qila. The name itself suggests the ancient history as Purana in Hindi translates to Old.
The trace of history goes far back into the Mauryan Period and perhaps into the Mahabharata time as conjectured by few.
Purana Qila stands on the banks of Yamuna and attracts history-minded tourists every day. During the Mughal period, Humayun while building the city of Dinpanah, included Purana Qila in the limits of that city. He made various structural modifications to the Fort, and the archaeological department has found many artefacts belonging to that period. In 1540, Sher Shah defeated Humayun and continued building and fortification of the Fort. He belonged to the Suri dynasty. The Fort was later recaptured, and modifications continued.
The archaeological evidence suggests that this place was used as a fort and city for various rulers of dynasties such as Mauryas, Kushans, Rajputs, Delhi Sultanate and Mughals. Many artefacts of different periods have been found. A Painted Grey Ware which dates back to 1000BC is also found, this is attributed to the Pandava capital Indraprashta during the Mahabharata period. There existed a village by name Indraprat within the Purana Qila area.
A King named Hem Chandra Vikramaditya used this Purana Qila as a capital after he defeated Akbar. Edwin Lutyens built a Central street aligning with Purana Qila, which is known as Rajpath today. Refugees used the Qila area from Pakistan during the partition, and they stayed in the area until 1948. Today the Purana Qila is a famous tourist location with its rich historical heritage and old era charm.
National School of Drama used Purana Qila as a staging background for various plays. There is a great Light and Sound show in the premises of Purana Qila, enunciating the history of Purana Qila from Indraprastha to current times. The Humayun’s tomb nearby and various outlying monuments near Purana Qila like, Kairul Manzil, Lal Darwaza also add to the heritage of the site.
Delhi, a city with layers of history, can surely be experienced more with a relaxed visit to Purana Qila area. This place stands as a testimony to the ancient history of Delhi.
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