PURANA QILA: The Eternal Sanctuary

Purana Qila or Old Fort- the remnant of history resting over the page of a greater history

The rampart which is a peep-hole to history,has been the provider of shelter since time immemorial and is still doing its job.


The first chapter of the chronicle takes us as back as 300 bc. The rampart which we see today is said to be founded on the bedrock of the city of Pandavas. The city, Indraprastha, which is a part of our popular history still lingers somewhere between the myth and the truth.


The second chapter unfolds the story of rulers and kings. The story of Mughal ruler, Humayun , who laid the cornerstone of the fort, as we see it today. And the story of Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri, who completed what was unfinished by Humayun.


In the third chapter the fort assumes the role of the guardian, provider , the shelter-giver. It takes us to the era of British India. It narrates that how the fort was a living part of the city of Delhi till a long time (1914). The Qila sheltered a village within it’s walls. But then our enslavers, the British thought the scene of poverty of the villages does not match the grandeur of the fort and thus cleared it.

But Purana Qila, still continued its job of providing shelter, though temporary in nature. The fort housed nearly 3000 Japanese civilians from across British- ruled Asia, during the second World War.


When you reach the Fourth chapter, an important event unfolds, the Partition of India. The Qila then became refuge for thousands who were fleeing as well as those who had moved to Delhi from the newly formed Pakistan.

15589766_993557757444567_679094406286758496_nThe fifth chapter tells the tale of the history we are still living. The solitary and dark alleys and corridors of the fort now provides shelter to the lovers seeking privacy.

The Qila also reminds us its metaphorical image of time. It was there when our existence was not even thought of ,and it will be there when we will cease to exist.


HOW TO REACH PURANA QILA: Mathura Rd, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Delhi 110003