Sunday, January 11, 2009



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"


Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! Once again thanks for your support!
I was thinking that, even disregarding more than a thousand pictures, my posts will certainly double (at least) the number of days I spent in India in February 2008. That will definitely bring the delay in posting at least to the regular one year. That’s the best I can do... ;))
That’s true that I’m travelling much less, in particular in long, far away trips... But the problem is that it seems that the least you travel, the more you work... ;))
Have a great week!

Ron said...

You said it right, "The least you travel, the more you work." That is so true.

Once again your pictures are amazing. The world is an amazing place.

alicesg said...

Dont you really admired and be amazed by these ancient builders. They dont have much high tech. machines during those times yet they can built such beautiful buildings. Wondered why during ancient times, emperor and king get to enjoy such luxuries and why my father is not the emperor...hahaha

Venksh said...

gil u r real lucky... to c all this place,
Superb pictures hope there is still more to come,
Getting more n more information abt Mugals through ur post,
Now we all know how the Red fort really originated...
Thankx Gil,


Anonymous said...

Good Sunday morning!
And thank you again for the wonderful scenes of these old buildings with different nuances of red and brown, so fine work - both the buildings and your photos !

Have a nice Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Excellent series of photos that capture the detailing of the doors and walls. Happy New Year!

Louise said...

Love this stuff. It makes me remember descriptions in the book The Far Pavilions. I truly appreciate your sharing your travel.

Wendy said...

Happy New Year Gil!
I love the color of sandstone.

S-V-H said...

Thank again Gil for taking us with you on this fantastic and beautiful trip to "Magic India".

Sue's Daily Photography

Anonymous said...

Incredible-looking place and wonderful-looking photos. I especially love the first photo.


Joy said...

I like seeing the Muslim influence in Indian culture. These are very lovely photos.

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Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Hi Trotter,

Thanks for sharing your trip to India (I'll probably never get there). I would rather travel than work but unfortunately I must work LOL.

Have a great week!

Nikon said...

Beautiful shots, Gil. Like I mentioned last time, your photos seem to get better with each series!
I'd love to visit India - you are very lucky, Gil!!

Anonymous said...

As always, excellent pictures Gil. I am a Delhite and could relate to these posts that you are posting.

Happy New Year, once again.

Daniela Valdez said...

Hey, thanks for visiting my blog.

I love yours, great pics!

Shionge said...

I know I will never get to travel to India but through you, I think I am lucky :)

Thank you.

lyliane six said...

Superbe ce fort et cette mosquée!
et leur histoire aussi.
Il y a des pierres de toutes les couleurs dans les murs!
J'ai de plus en plus envie d'aller là bas, en voyant ces images! bonne semaine.

Azer Mantessa said...

those are interesting architectures ... the blended civilization and cultures appeals

Lara said...

few minutes in the hectic day to enjoy another virtual trip here. have a great week!

indicaspecies said...

I like your mention of the Indraprastha. Wonderful monuments of the 16th century Shergarh!

I'm enjoying your India series.

Anonymous said...

At the first look that mighty fort doesn't look like India. But inside it's beautifully oriental.

PeterParis said...

Still a number of amazing buidlings and the usual interesting information!

Obviously the 16th century was a great century for constructions over there!

Pietro Brosio said...

Gil, many thanks for sharing these wonderful photographs of your trip to India.
One year delay, as you said, is a regular delay: I think this is a great quality, beacause it means that you have a lot of amazing and interesting images in your archives! And maybe there are some more which you have no time or space to publish! :-)
Saturday I watched in another (faster) computer some of your older posts and I enjoyed them very much.
Have a good week ahead!

Lori said...

The architecture is simply splendid! I love all of the colorful stones used in the buildings too. How lucky you were to see these sights!

Thérèse said...

It's beautiful especially the very unusual carved foliage of the windows gaps of the Bara Darwaza.

bindu said...

Your pictures are fabulous! I **love** your Easter Island picture at the top. I dream of going there one day, and just finished reading all about the collapse of their civilization in "Collapse" by Jared Diamond.

Light and Voices said...

All the shapes and colors and textures that you photograph are done so well. Appreciate that you include historical segments with the post.

Olivier said...

je suis toujours impressionné par ces temples, la couleur, la texture, c'est vraiment magique, ma pagode est bien petite a cote de ces merveilles ;o)

Cutie said...

Really admire those builders who built all these buildings. Anyway, beautiful photos... Can't wait to see ur next post =)

P.N. Subramanian said...

Amazing pictures and great details. My coming here was accidental. Now I am unbale to resist the temptation of seeking your concurrence to reproduce few of your posts in Hindi. It would be great. I shall link it up. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Well then Gil, you must travel more so you can work less! :) Always a joy to visit here. ~ Lynn

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Gil

Absolutely fascinating photos! Thank you for letting me visit India through your pictures and commentary.


Rakesh Vanamali said...

Now I get to see part of Delhi thanks to you space! Wonderful images Gil. Thanks very much!

Lakshmi said...

wonderful pictures..India looks even more beautiful through your eyes

Pijush said...

Extraordinary pic collection of Delhi. I am amazed. Keep posting Gil and have a nice time

adelynne said...

Somehow, the first photo in this post is the best for me, though I love old architecture! Weird, right? LOL.

Dorothée said...

Bonjour Gil,
Cela faisait longtemps que je n’étais pas venue faire un petit tour dans ces magnifiques contrées lointaines (encore de superbes vues !) que nous tu fais partager avec art et talent. Les nombreuses informations historiques que tu donnes sont remarquablement riches, détaillées et passionnantes. On se nourrit d’Histoire et de Culture sur ton blog. Bravo et Merci.
Comme tu le découvriras sur mon dernier post, nous sommes actuellement en plein déménagement, c’est pourquoi je suis absente de la blogosphère !
Je profite aussi de mon passage pour te souhaiter une excellente année 2009 à toi et à tes proches.
A bientôt !

Anonymous said...

I like to travel and I like photography and find very intersting place - your Blog -:)

RuneE said...

Obviously a place for much interesting "framing" - entrance upon entrance in a row. I'm weak for that kind of thing.

angela said...

Like Alice I'm constantly amazed by the idea of workers toiling to build these with no help from cranes or drilles or computers. It makes our architectural offerings seem very puny in comparison..
Your photos are as always a delight..

Anonymous said...

Hi everybody! Profiting from a short break to get here and reply to your comments! Need a longer day; any suggestion how to get it? Reducing the already short time to sleep is not acceptable... ;))

Unfortunately it isn’t totally in my hands to change the terms of that exchange... ;)

Alice SG,
Always found it amazing how they could build such constructions with the low tech they had available those times; of course that time and labour force weren’t an issue, but anyhow... ;)

I wouldn’t call it luck; a matter of choice... ;)
But it’s true that I feel fortunate to have visited those Mughal monuments... ;) The story of the Red Fort is an interesting one!!

The colours of the bricks were actually a wonderful surprise; quite warm in a somehow surprisingly cold weather...

Thanks for your visit and comment! I’m always flattered to receive a nice comment from an expert on the matter!

Haven’t read the Far Pavilions, but it’s not hard to imagine that a British-Indian novel would link to these places!!

Great colours, indeed!!

Magic! Almost as much as your Key West...

That first picture is a success; but some of the others aren’t that bad... ;))

The Mughal architecture is absolutely stunning!

Never say never...

Start packing... ;) Well, people say that things are a bit confusing now; but I think they will always be, so probably is better now than later... ;))

I should have got in touch with you before going, so that we could have had a cup of tea at the Palace... ;))

It was my pleasure to land at your blog!!

Never say never; furthermore, you’re quite close... ;))
But I’m pleased to show it to you!!

Le Fort est magnifique, mais il a dû être beaucoup plus beau avec les couleurs originales…

Blending seems to also work for civilizations… Not only for what you were thinking… ;)))

You’re always welcome! Hope things are running well with you busy days!!

It’s amazing that Humayun didn’t destroy Shergarh when he regained control of the city… Great spirit!

It’s true that the first picture could have been taken somewhere else, but then, when you get closer and inside, it’s typical!!

The Mughal times were a period of great splendour!!

One year delay is what I managed now; but, except for the 70s that are somehow closed, the 80s are still in August 86 and the 90s in June 1997… And most of the time during those days, I was filming with a video camera, not taking pictures… ;))
It’s true that downloads may be incredibly low in some cases, and a fast computer linked to a decent broadband helps… (to get out of there earlier… LOL!).

Most of the colours, as we may see from what remains, are gone… But it must have been absolutely awesome when everything was there to be seen…

Those doors are stunning, indeed…

Thanks for your visit and first time comment on this blog! Easter Island is magic! I read many things about the civilization there, but not Collapse. If you’re interested in the topic, you just push the label «Easter Island» and will have four posts on it…

Thanks! Just a few words to complement the pictures, that’s what I add…

Le pagode est magnifique, mais il est vrai que ces monuments d’il ya 500 ans sont vraiment magnifiques… Et les moyens étaient très limités…

People of great vision, the guys who built the monuments…
Always delighted to read you here!

Glad to read you here for the first time! No objection to your translation of some posts into Hindi. Thrilled, actually… provided the source is mentioned… ;))

You’re quite right! The problem is survival… ;))

You’re welcome. My pleasure!!

It’s amazing that after three years there, I’m still showing things you didn’t see… ;) We definitely to take a break to be a tourist on our own town… ;)

It’s your eyes that makes it so! Thanks!!

Welcome back! It seems I would be somewhere closer to where you live on these posts… But now you’re in Chicago! Greece, India, US… you’re always travelling… ;)) Enjoy!!

I thought you were fond of the old buildings and then you tell me the water is what is drawing your attention? ;))

Comme je suis content de te revoir ici! En fait, tu as été absente de la blogosphère depuis quelques mois… Alors, tu déménages; c’est toujours très dur…
Merci pour les commentaires; tu sais, c’est l’Inde qui as un incalculable réseau d’Art et de Culture!!

Great pleasure to see you commenting here for the first time! I tried to read your blog, but it seems to be written in Polish, a language I regretfully don’t control… ;) But the pictures are awesome!!
See that you have a great camera; you surely love photography!! Thanks!

Framing, ok. But not exactly «matryoshka»... ;)

True! But, even with cranes and computers, a building said to be more than 800 metres high (like the Burj Dubai Tower, being built in Dubai and currently at 688m) is an awesome sight!!

My Unfinished Life said...

i have been to old fort and adjacent zoo many a college student..we used bunk classes and go there t chill out in the winter sun...and once slimbed up the ramparts of the old fort..which is not allowed...but still we somehow had sneaked in...your post brings back some good memories!!

Anonymous said...

Shooting Star,
Great to have brought back those good memories! Can imagine you slimbing up the remparts... ;))

Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Another gorgeous place to go !
Superbe reportage comme d'habitude.

Anonymous said...

It's true that it's a fabulous place to visit!

Ming the Merciless said...

Amazing architecture but strangely enough, I thought you were in Turkey instead of India.

Anonymous said...

It could actually be Turkey, or some other country with Islamic influence...

Anonymous said...

I wonder why there are so many Stars of David in this supposedly Muslim building. Or maybe the stars are of different meaning to them. Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

This is what I found in the Net on the Star of David on Mughal monuments:
"1. It is actually a Hindu symbol that consecrates the union between the Shiva (male) aspect with the Shakti (female) aspect that makes up a whole. The star is made of two triangles that intersect, one triangle denoting the Shiva part and the other, the Shakti part. And that Indo-Saracenic buildings drew elements from Hindu and Islamic architecture with minarets, Gothic arches and domes
(2.) it is a Mandala symbol found on ancient Indian temples built thousands of years ago, and symbolizes the Nara-Narayana, or perfect meditative state of balance achieved between Man and God
(3.) this particular representation is purely a Persian import (Babar claimed to be a descendant of Timurlane), both David and Solomon are mentioned in the Qu'ran, and the symbol originated well before Judaism".
Hope it helps to understand the reason...

Jen Laceda | Milk Guides said...


I enjoyed your picture tour and mini-history lesson of grand temples in and around Delhi, India!

By the way, we'll be in Paris, Barcelona, and Marrakech in May. It will be my first time in Marrakech, so I'll be sure to take lots of photographs! However, we have decided to forgo the Sahara desert trip since we have our 2-year-old girl with us. Maybe nect time.

As for Paris and Barcelona, I love these 2 cities and don't mind returning again and again. We do stay in different hotels everytime we go there, though. Makes for a more interesting trip to stay in a different arrondissement in Paris or different barrio in Barcelona!

Cheers! Here's to a year of more travels and good health! Happy Chinese New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks! My pleasure to show the monuments I had the chance to visit...
Paris, Barcelona and Marrakech make a great trip surely!! And May seems to be perfect!! As far as the desert is concerned, I also would love to see it, but never made... ;(
About Paris, I understand you: I've been there «only» eighty two times there... ;))

adelynne said...

before i write on, let me just say that i went all the way back (three pages) to the post that i have yet to comment! lol. my favourite photos in this post are the first and last ones! but they are all beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! I see you're making it systematically... ;))

A Lady's Life said...

I love the first picture with the water at the bottom. Too bad they keep all these building empty.
They are so beautiful.

GMG said...

This one wasn't particularly empty; actually they were even preparing to shoot a movie there...

Anonymous said...

Hello all,

I know it sounds nuts but why cant we use this puarana quila as our Prime Ministers Home??just like the white house of American President..If it become the Prime Ministers Residence of India..they will renovate it to the old glory..just my two cents

Trotter said...

I've no word on the choice of the residence of India's PM, but I remember that the last Emoperor living there - Humayun - Humayun slipped, fell and received injuries from which he later died. No superstitions, but... ;)