Falling in Love with my City: Delhi Heritage Walk To Purana Qila

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Delhi. I’ve lived most of my life in this city and I’ve had my issues with it. But the city seems to have grown up alongside me, and I’ve been on the mend – trying to mend my broken relationship with the city. Rediscovering places, trying new things, and most of all, going to places I’ve never been to. This weekend I finally got an opportunity to visit a place I haven’t been to ever – Purana Qila (the literal English translation is Old Fort). I joined a morning heritage walk to this beautiful fort built in the 16th Century.

One of the three gates of the fort – Bada Darwaza

The group met at 8AM and spent the next two hours rediscovering the history attached to this beautiful fort.

One of the prettiest places I’ve been to in Delhi – the Mosque inside the fort

Some key historical points:

  • The spot that the fort stands on is supposedly the spot at which the ancient city of Indraprastha stood from the famous Indian mythology – Mahabharat
  • This fort area has been continuously inhabited since the Mauryan Empire i.e. 3rd century BC
  • This fort was originally built by the Mughal king, Humayan, to be his capital – Din Panah. It is also the place where Humayun died.
  • The fort was completed by King Sher Shah Suri
  • The famed Mughal Emperor, Akbar, spent his childhood in this fort. The Mosque opposite the Qila was commissioned by his wet nurse.
  • Post-partition, it acted as a refugee camp first for the Muslims heading to Pakistan and later for the Hindus who arrived from Pakistan
The lake outside that originally used to be a moat around the entire fort.

Places to see inside the fort –

1. Qila-I-Kuhna Mosque: this Mosque blew my mind off. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Delhi. After the walk was over, I had to go back to spend some alone time there just to absorb the beauty of the structure.

Photos can’t do justice to this place

2. Sher Mandal – the fabled library where the Mughal King Humayun fell down the stairs while rushing for evening prayers, injured himself, and eventually succumbed to those injuries.

Sher Mandal

3. Humayun Gate – Although the gate was built by Sher Shah, the gate bears the name of the Mughal king probably because the king’s tomb is visible from here.

4. Talaqi Gate – Translating to the ‘forbidden gate’ – the tale attached to this gate tells the story of a king who went out for battle and asked those who remained in the fort to only open the gate on his return. Unfortunately, the king died in the battle and the gate was never opened again. Which king, which year, which battle, and a lot of other details are missing from this story.

5. The Museum – There is a small museum inside the complex that holds artifacts dating back to the 3rd BC.

After spending a bit longer inside the fort, I headed out to the lake outside the fort. This lake originally used to be a moat that surrounded the entire fort for an extra layer of protection. The only way to enter the fort was through a drawbridge. I spent 15-20 minutes just relaxing in the shade of some trees by the lake. It was extremely peaceful more so cause there was only one other person chilling by the lake.

After finishing off the walk at the fort, I walked across to the Mosque on the other side of the road and spent some time reveling in the history of the place. I would have spent more time exploring the Mosque but since it was completely empty, I felt kind of eerie roaming around alone.

I loved that I made it for this walk. I was supposed to go with my best friend who had to drop out last minute and I was unsure if I should go by myself. But I convinced myself to do it and I loved the experience.

I am going to try and do more posts sharing details about my city, Dilli, as I set about rediscovering it. Would you like to see more places around Delhi? Have you been to Delhi? Which are your favourite places in Delhi?

PS: I share photos and reels on Instagram – follow me to see them.

PPS: Looking for offbeat things to do in Delhi – check out my recommendations here.

PPPS: OMG, I’m back to scheduled posts life :’)

If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts:

27 Comments Add yours

  1. RAMAN says:

    I am an enthusiast of Delhi as well as the Indo Islamic heritage in general. This taste of mine has greatly enabled me to appreciate the refined tastes that our medieval emperors had. Last week, I visited HumayuN tomb for a day and read beautiful Persian Ghazals while appreciating the serene though grand structure.

    I liked your description of the structures which led me to believe that you are quite a contemplative person bearing fine aesthetics. This could be obvious to your veteran readers but I am new. So.

    Have a nice day. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Hi, thanks for reading and following! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I love Humayun’s Tomb. If you had to recommend one
      These days I’m more fascinated with the smaller monumental structures that we end up seeing in almost every colony. I plan to do a post on the ones around my area next.

      Are you coming back to blogging after a hiatus?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RAMAN says:

        I wrote some blog posts during 2015-16 and never since. However, I wish to restart it as a chronicle of my life and thoughts.

        Like

  2. Is always great to rediscover your own city! It is amazing how you can always discover something new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Definitely! I’m discovering parts of my city that I haven’t seen despite having lived here for over 25 years. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love these India appreciation posts actually! Youโ€™re really thorough with the history and itโ€™s obvious youโ€™re very passionate about this. Thank you for sharing!! xoxoxo ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Thankeee. I hope you come visit me in India sometime in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that would be amazing!!

        Like

  4. Looks like Purana Quila is a must visit place when you travel to Delhi! Beautiful!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. petespringerauthor says:

    Great share! What impresses me beyond the beauty of these structures is the ingenuity that was required (especially considering the era) to build them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      The same thought enters my head every single time I stand in front of a beautiful monument – from the Pyramids (HOWWWW did they move those stones in that era) to the Taj Mahal (for the finesse without electrical tools) – how did they do it?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It all looks beautiful xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      It really is. Historical monuments are fascinating! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  7. We never even heard of Purana Quila when we were in Delhi and we were seaking interesting heritage places. Next time… Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      I visited it for the first time despite living in the city for over 25 years. It is the forgotten half-uncle of Red Fort…But that kinda makes it more my kind of place cause there are lesser people around. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pooja G says:

    Delhi seems amazing, one of my friends is from there and I so want to visit someday. As a historian I really enjoyed this post. I know almost nothing about India or it’s historical places. Awesome post!

    Like

  9. ReMiXtuReaL says:

    Wow! Amazing places I have missed out all these years. Love your post for letting me know all about a part of Delhi. Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜‡

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ReMiXtuReaL says:

        You are welcome! ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Like

  10. bosssybabe says:

    One of the reasons why I love wandering my city or neighborhoods surrounding me (or even a couple hours away) is because I love seeing the city with new eyes. Sometimes I look around and think what a tourist would see when they visit my city and I find I am able to appreciate it in a new light! ๐Ÿ™‚ loved seeing you discover your old city again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      So true!! I love being touristy in my own city. I’ve also realized that there are A LOT of places that I haven’t seen yet in my own city so trying to tick them off my list too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  11. Doer Mindset says:

    interesting post, It made me enthusiastic to learn more about Delhi ! I have never been to India. I loved how you narrated the historical story behind every monument.

    Like

  12. LaShelle says:

    What a gorgeous location!! I’m absolutely swooning over the history of it all. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  13. I would definitely like to see more places around Delhi! Please keep sharing! I haven’t been there, I don’t travel much but I would like to one day.

    Like

  14. Juliette says:

    I’ve never been to Delhi but I love these posts of yours because I get to discover it through your words! It’s amazing that you still went to the tour even though your friend wasn’t there, yay for stepping outside your comfort zone! I should definitely explore some parts of my city too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Panda says:

      Thank you!
      I hope you come visiting some day ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Like

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