Purana Qila is one of the oldest forts located in the capital city of Delhi in India. “Purana Qila” literally translates to “Old Fort”.
The exact time of construction of the Purana Qila is not known, but various excavations have traced it back to the 3rd century BC, which is called the pre-Mauryan period.
Some excavations done between 1954–55 AD and 1969–72 AD by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), had unearthed traces of Painted Grey Ware culture, and the fort was identified to have been built by Muslims, by the famous historian Alexander Cunningham, based on its architectural style.
After numerous rounds of research and excavations, archaeologists and historians deduced that the walls and gates may have been built under the guidance of the second Mughal emperor Humayun, while the buildings within the Qila (that includes a mosque and a building called Sher Mandal) have been built by Sher Shah Suri (the founder of the Suri empire in India).
Purana Qila is rectangular in shape. The walls of the Qila are about 18 metres high and about 1.5 km long. The walls at the east and west side of the qila are the largest. It has three arched gateways, namely:
All three gates are double-storeyed, made of sandstone and are flanked by two huge semi-circular bastion towers created of rubber masonry, decorated with white and coloured-marble inlays and blue tiles.
These are embellished with ornate overhanging balconies, or jharokhas, and topped by pillared pavilions (chhatris).
While the exteriors are grand and showcase the stunning architectural styles on the fort building, not much of interior structures have survived to this day, except for the mosque (known as Qila-i Kuhna Mosque) and the Sher Mandal building.
The Purana Qila is open to visitors between 7 AM to 5 PM on all days of the week and even on national holidays.
The entry fee to visit Purana Qila is INR 20 for Indian nationals and INR 200 for Foreign national visitors. To use a Camcorder or video camera, an additional fee of INR 25 is applicable.
People usually visit purana Qila for recreational purposes, or to have a look at the historic and beautiful architecture. Besides this, a lovely Light and Sound Show takes place during late evenings in the fort, which is worth a watch and visitors, especially first timers are recommended not to miss this.
How to reach:
Trains, buses and flights are the easiest options for reaching Delhi city. Delhi’s airport is Indira Gandhi International airport, which is well-connected to other cities in India as well as other parts of the world; and the main train terminal in Delhi for intercity trains is Delhi Junction, and this can easily be reached from other cities within India. From the airport or railway stations, it is not very difficult to get to Purana Qila, as it is located in one of the prime areas of Delhi city.
Though it is easy to get buses, autorickshaws or taxis to this place from any point in the city, Delhi metro is the most recommended mode of transportation in the city. This is a local train system that connects all the major areas of Delhi and has a smooth transition system making local travel smooth and easy for tourist as well as locals.
The nearest metro station to Purana Qila is Pragati Maidan Metro Station on the Blue line. The Purana Qila fort is at a distance of just 2 km (1.24 miles) from the station.
One of the oldest forts in Delhi, the Purana Qila is reflective of the bygone Mughal Empire and stands majestically in Old Delhi. Nestled by the banks of the Yamuna River the fort exudes romantic vibes with its spectacular panoramic views and impressive architecture and this is visited by many young couples. Believed to be built by Humayun in 1533, the fort also fulfilled the needs as a refugee camp for migrating Muslims during the Partition of India.