Delhi Journals

Historic Delhi Part 4: Emblems of Might

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An October 2006 trip to Delhi by phileasfogg

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar) Photo, Delhi, India More Photos
Quote: Passed from one dynasty to another, Delhi’s littered with symbols of power. Forts, palaces, victory towers - each ruler’s left behind something to mark his reign.

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)

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Attraction | "12th-13th Century: The Qutub Archaeological Site"

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar) Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
A World Heritage site, the Qutub Minar and its surrounding monuments are among Delhi’s top historic sights. Although the tapering axial tower of the Qutub Minar is the most famous monument, there’s more to see. Begin at the forlorn rubble of the Alai Minar, a victory tower ambitiously begun by Alauddin Khalji in an effort to rival the Qutub Minar. After that, move on to the imposing Quwwat-ul-Islam (`Might of Islam’) Mosque, one of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture in India - work began in 1192 AD under Sultan Qutubuddin Aibak. The mosque was built on the ruins of 27 Hindu and Jain temples, and signs of the original carving can still be seen in places. Walk to b...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 30, 2006

The Qutab Minar Complex (Qutb Minar)
Mehrauli
Delhi, India

Tughlaqabad Fort

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Attraction | "14th Century: Tughlaqabad Fort "

Tughlaqabad Fort Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
The Tughlaqabad Fort is a ruin. Its massive ramparts, sloping walls made of rubble and stone, are crumbling. Even on weekends, when most monuments are crowded, this one’s deserted. Other than a few couples holding hands, or a bunch of youngsters playing cricket, you’re unlikely to see anyone. Perhaps it’s a result of neglect. Perhaps it’s because few people know much about it. Or perhaps it’s a medieval curse come true. Ghiyasuddin, the first Sultan of the Tughlaq dynasty, began work on the fortified township of Tughlaqabad in 1321 (the year he ascended the throne). He soon realised that his power was being undermined by the growing influence of the Sufi mystic Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. Nizamuddi...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 30, 2006

Tughlaqabad Fort
Tughlaqabad
Delhi, India

Purana Qila/Pandovon Ka Quila (Old Fort)

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Attraction | "16th Century: Puraana Qila"

Purana Qila/Pandovon Ka Quila (Old Fort) Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Shahjahan’s magnum opus, the Red Fort, is rich and impressive. His great-grandfather Humayun’s construction, the Puraana Qila, is quiet and peaceful. Also known as the Paandavon ka Qila ('Fort of the Paandavs’, after the heroes of the Mahabharat), the citadel is believed to mark the site of the ancient city of Indraprastha, which, according to legend, was the Paandavs’ capital. Recent excavations have unearthed evidence of ancient settlements, but the actual foundation of a fort here is credited to the Mughal emperor Humayun. Humayun made the citadel of Dinpanah at this site in 1533, but was soon hounded out of India by his rival, Sher Shah Suri. Sher Shah demolished much of Dinpanah, an...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 30, 2006

Purana Qila/Pandovon Ka Quila (Old Fort)
Opposite Delhi Zoo
Delhi, India

Zafar Mahal

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Attraction | "19th Century: Zafar Mahal"

Zafar Mahal Photo, Delhi, India
Quote:
Zafar Mahal is a small, neglected yet interesting palace that stands beside the much revered dargah of the Sufi saint Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki. Take a taxi (or a Delhi Transport Corporation bus) to the Mehrauli Bus Terminal, and ask the way to the dargah. Almost anyone can guide you - and when you get there, the first structure you’ll see will be the imposing red sandstone gateway of Zafar Mahal. The palace is fenced off, but anybody can walk in - free. If you’re lucky, the massive wooden doors will be open. If they aren’t, simply step through the small doorway cut into one of the doors, and you’ll find yourself in a high-ceilinged Mughal vestibule. Zafar Mahal was originally built by Akbar II, b...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 30, 2006

Zafar Mahal
Near Qutubuddin Bakhtiar Kaki’s Dargah, Mehrauli
New Delhi, India

17th Century: The Laal Qila

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Story/Tip

Inlay work at the Laal Qila Photo,
Quote:
There’s a belief that if an invader captures the Laal Qila (the 'Red Fort’, as it is also commonly known), India will be considered captured. An interesting, but not surprising, belief - since the Red Fort has been, for more than three hundred years, a symbol of empire. When the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi in the mid-17th century, the Red Fort (which was then known also as Qila-e-Mubarak or Qila-e-Shahjahanabad) was built to house the imperial court. Spreading out over 125 acres, the fort was completed in 1648, and contained within it pavilions, palaces, gardens, and even busy markets. Today, only about 80% of the original buildings remain- and all of them have...Read More