Delhi – Through Time’s Lens
Delhi represents the most appropriate depiction of the Orient, steeped in its own values and images of arts, culture, aesthetics and life. It has been the seat of power for several different empires and has seen some of the bloodiest battles and the grandest celebrations of all time. 8 fully fledged cities were established here with the 9th city being the current New Delhi.
Indraprastha– The first city which is believed to have been established by the Pandavas in the 1400 BC
Qila Rai Pithora – Capital city of the legendary Prithviraj Chauhan which was established around 1180 AD and served later as the capital of the Mamluk Sultans until Balban’s death in 1287 AD.
Darul Khilafat (Seat of the Caliphate) – Capital city of Khalji Sultan Ala ud din established around 1303 AD. As per legend heads of 8000 Mongol soldiers were hung from the ramparts of his fort
Tughluqabad – It was constructed by Ghiyas ud din Tughluq and the fortifications of this city was specially designed by him keeping military strategies of the Mongol Invaders in mind. The walls were made at a slant to ensure scaling walls was not possible.
Jahanpanah (Shelter of the World) – It was constructed by Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1327 AD, whose empire was one of the largest in India.
Ferozabad – constructed by Ferozeshah Tughluq (the successor of Muhammad bin Tughluq) in 1354 AD. The most prominent feature of this city was the Ashokan Pillar which was erected by Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and was transported and installed on the orders of Ferozeshah Tughluq.
Shergarh– It was the capital of Sher Shah Suri of Sur dynasty in 1538 AD. The ruins of this city today are referred to as the Old Fort. The Mughal king Humayun after removing the Sur dynasty from power also ruled from the same city but he changed its name from Shergarh to Dinpanah (Refuge of the Pious).
Shahjahanabad– It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 AD. The Taj Mahal was constructed by Shah Jahan. He created the Red fort as he wanted to shift his capital to Delhi. It is now referred to as Old Delhi which symbolizes Jama Masjid, the Chandni Chowk and its bazaars.
The last, 9th city is the city of Delhi which was built by the British to replace Calcutta with New Delhi as its capital by King George the Fifth in 1911 AD.
The city has seen everything, from being the epitome of serenity and beauty to seeing its streets colored with blood, from gold coins being showered by kings to being pillaged by invaders. Its monuments and ruins stand in silence but give you a fair indication of how great those structures would have been when their rulers were living in them. Every ruler who ruled the city had a habit to construct a new city as per their own preferences and therefore the city has witnessed numerous cultural invasions. All the foreign cultures had tremendous impact on the music, dance and drama which forms the essence of its very culture.
Despite centuries many of the monumental architecture still exist in Delhi in various stages of preservation and never fail to remind a visitor its historical significance. It is probably one of the few cities in the world where one can clearly see the old-world charm and modern technology co-existing peacefully with each other. Contemporary Delhi is a mixture of the medieval and the modern. Its old values are struggling with contemporary forces of change. Today’s Delhi is the blend of old and new. Sprawled over the west bank of the river Yamuna, Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in India.
Featured Photo by enjoytheworld (Pixabay)