THE OLD FORT - DELHI - FEBRUARY 2008
The legend is that Humayun - the second Mughal emperor, after his father Babur - decided to make a city of his own (Dinpanah) on the small hill near the Yamuna river that was the site of Indraprastha, the original city of Delhi. When the Afgan ruler, Sher Shah Suri - who briefly penetrated the Mughal reign by defeating Humayun -, came to power, he destroyed most of Dinpanah to make way for his own Dilli Sher Shahi or Shergarh. The city was completed in 1545, before Humayun regained control of Delhi, offering a perfect blend of Mughal, Hindu and Afghan architecture.
"LAKE - The Yamuna River once flowed on the fort's eastern side and formed a natural moat. Today, there is a pool on the western side, where tourists can enjoy boating"
"BARA DARWAZA - The Main Gate, built with red sandstone and approached by a steep ramp, is the one used today to enter the Fort"
"FAÇADE - The double-storied façade of the Main Entrance still displays traces of tiles and carved foliage"
"TALAQI DARWAZA - Entry from the northern gate was forbidden, though it is not clear what the reason for the prohibition was"
"HUMAYUN DARWAZA - The southern gate, surmounted by chhatris (the elevated, dome-shaped pavilions that may be seen in the pictures) is an impressive building, though in ruins. It has an inscription bearing Sher Shah's name and the date 950AH (1543-4), and was being used as a scenery for another Bollywood movie"
"WALLS - Built in red sandstone, the Fort's walls are octagonal in shape and extend for 2.41 km"
"QILA-I-KUHNA MASJID - The Mosque of Sher Shah, built in 1541 and still in fairly good condition, is the epitome of Delhi's Lodi style of architecture, where a perfect blend of Hindu square pillars with Muslim arches and domes may be seen"
"MIRHABS - The prayer hall has five mihrabs, where marble in shades of red and white are used for the calligraphic inscriptions. It marks a transition from Lodi to Mughal architecture"
"SHER MANDAL - The small octagonal red sandstone tower built by Sher Shah was later used by Humayun as his library and observatory. Some Mughal documents indicate that it was while descending its stairs with the arms full of books (some day in the first quarter of 1556) that Humayun slipped, fell and received injuries from which he later died. Rumour is that after his death, the Mughals, considering the Fort to be cursed, vacated the structure and built their capital in a new fort - Lal Quila, the current Red Fort"