Purana Qila - History


Purana Qila is built on the banks of river Yamuna and is the oldest fort of Delhi. It has been said that the fort was previously built by the Pandavas for their kingdom Indraprastha as some grey ware of that period was found during excavations.

Ancient History of the Fort

Northern Black Polished Ware of the Mauryan period in 300 BC were found which include glossy surfaced earthen pottery, terracotta figures of animals and humans, and other such things. Most of the things of the Mauryan period were made up of mud bricks. Then comes the Sunga period in which use of black polished ware continued. The houses and the floors were built with mud bricks. Yaksas were the semi-divine beings of that period which were made with terracotta. Coins of that period were also found.

Next comes the period of Sakas and Kushans who used copper currency. The use of burnt bricks in construction of houses and other buildings were also found. In the Gupta period, houses were built by using brickbats. Coins of that period were also discovered in which an archer is shown. Then came the period of Rajputs and in that period the buildings were built with rubble, brickbats, and mud bricks. During the Sultanate period, glazed ware was introduced while constructing the buildings. After this came the Mughal period.

Purana Qila under Mughals

Purana Qila was renovated by Humayun in 1533 and it took around five years to complete. The fort was built inside Din Panah which was a small city in Delhi. Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun in 1540 and captured the fort. After winning again, the renovation of the fort continued by Humayun. Shah Jahan wanted to shift his capital from the old fort so he constructed Lal Qila or Red Fort.

Humayun & Sher Shan Suri

Purana Qila under Sher Shah Suri

Sher Shah Suri ruled for five years and in his reign he constructed many structures inside the fort and named the fort as Shergarh.

Purana Qila under the British

New Delhi became the capital of British India in 1920 and Edwin Lutyens linked Rajpath with Purana Qila.

Purana Qila after Independence

After Independence, the fort was used as a refugee camps for those people who were migrating to Pakistan. The fort was the refugee camp till 1948 as the trains going to Pakistan were started in October 1947.