Sunday, September 19, 2010

Old Fort Delhi

Old Fort

Said to be built on the site of Indraprastha, mentioned in the Mahabharata - the great Indian epic, Old Fort was the seat of administration for many emperors. Now in ruins, this citadel was the glory of being the home of the legendary ruler, Prithviraj Chauhan. Sher Shah Suri built after the city demolished the Humayun, Dinpanah. There are bastions at the corners of the western wall of the fortress. The walls of over 2 km of Purana Quila boasts three main doors two-storey sports 'chhatris' on top. Can be found in the north, south and west.

The north is called the "Talaqi-Darwaza (Forbidden Gate) and has a size of marble lions in combat with a man in his forehead. You can still see the remains of the color tiles used to decorate their exteriors. However, it is said that Sher Shah could not complete the construction of Old Fort and was completed by Humayun. Therefore, the south gate of the fortress known as Humayun Darwaza. There is a wide moat in the north and west sides of the fort and a causeway connecting the fortress with the mainland.

Excavations at the Old Fort area have revealed pieces of painted greyware dated around 1,000 BC, said to be related to the Mahabharata. The relics and remains of later period found in this study confirm the belief that Purana Quila was built at the site of Indraprastha, capital of the Pandavas. These artifacts range from the early days of Mauryan Mughal, such as Northern Black Polished ceramic, punch marked coins, terracotta figurines, animal feed and inscribed terracotta seals. Sher Shah built a mosque in 1541, with features of Lodhi to Mughal architecture style.

Sher-Mandal, a two-story octagonal tower of red sandstone and marble, crowned by an octagonal chhatri and decorated with tiles and painted plaster, was also built by him. The latter is said to be used as a library of Humayun. It was from here that Humayun fell and died. Besides these, there is a sound and light show at the Old Fort, the presentation of the 5000-year history of Delhi. Other attractions near Old Fort is a lake with paddle boats and Zoo facility located adjacent to the same.

Humayun's Tomb- Humayun's Tomb in Delhi

Humayun's Tomb
The second Mughal Emperor Humayun died just a year after he regained Delhi. His Persian wife, Hamida Begum, supervised the construction of his tomb from 1562 to 1.572. Designed by the Persian architect, Mirak Mirza Ghiyuath. Located on the banks of Yamuna River and adjacent to the famous shrine of Sufi saint Nizam al-Din Auliya, this tomb is said to have been a precedent of later Mughal mausoleums in India. Geometric gardens intersected with numerous water channels present an idyllic setting.

The tomb took eight years to build and Char Bagh had a style of garden design, the first of its kind in the region. These were introduced later in the Red Fort in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Persian architectural features are also evident in the building and its main camera is said to be inspired by the tomb of Mongolian Persian ruler, Oljeytu in Sultaniyya. The tomb of Timur (Tamerlane) in Samarkand is also said to be the source of inspiration for the Mughal architecture in India.

The central domed chamber, the sarcophagus of Humayun is found. In accordance with Islamic practice, his head is pointing south and facing east. The vaulted chambers also contain graves that were added later. These tombs contain symbols that provide complete information about its occupants. The sarcophagi are often not registered, but these graves are thought to contain the remains of the wives of Humayun, along with several Mughal emperors and later the princes.

The name of Humayun's tomb is on the UNESCO list of Heritage buildings and was the first Indian building to use the Persian double dome. Its harmonious proportions are undoubtedly the work of skilled artisans. Located on a platform, it exhibits certain Indian architectural features too, like small kiosks or 'chhatris' on the roof. Work attractive tile is carved intricately inlaid with Indian and Persian designs and items. Its carved stone screens are to be commended for its graceful appearance.

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