On 19th of December, 2009, I ventured to visit the Old Fort, also known as Puratan Durg, Purana Qila in Delhi. The folklore associated to it made this visit a bit curious and exciting. I reached Karol Bagh from Gurgaon, then ITO area and then took a three-wheeler to the Old Fort.
This fort lies adjacent to the Zoological Park, or Delhi Zoo. So, if you are visiting Delhi Zoo, you can also visit Old Fort. However, I had visited Delhi Zoo earlier and had missed going to this Old Fort just because of sheer ignorance, I planned a singular trip to this much-talked-about historical monument.
This citadel was founded by the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun in 1533 and was completed afyer five years. As history goes, Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun in 1540. He renamed this citadel as Shergarh and added several more structures in the complex.
The fort is in complete ruin now, which actually adds to the aura of historic talks that relate this place to Indraprastha: The heaven-like abode of Pandavas, which was created by Maya Danava when they were awarded a totally barren place out of Hastinapur–the seat of Kuru Dynasty. I tried to walk to every nook-and-corner of this place just to feel the historic vibe, where people of different eras might have breathed.
The monument is protected by Archaeological Survey of India and there is an entrance fee of Rs. 5 and Rs. 5 for the museum that is housed inside the fort. Some excavations near the eastern wall of the Fort revealed that the site has been continuously occupied since 1000 BC. The findings have revealed objects from Mauryan, Sunga, Kushana, Gupta, Rajput, Delhi Sultanate, Mughal periods enhancing the importance of this place.
There are many monuments inside the fort including Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque, Sher Mandal, Sher Shah Suri Gate or Lal Darwaza. In the back of the complex, facing the Yamuna River to the east, lies the historic Bhairava Mandir. This temple is also associated to the times of Pandavas.
The complex is quite big and you will feel a bit tired if you and adventurous enough to visit every nook-and-corner. However, the trip is worth it and you will feel going back to history as you move along. There are sprawling lawns inside the complex where you can relax and eat your stuff if you have cared to bring something.