History of Delhi
Delhi : A Transition through Time
As you walk along the narrow bylanes of this city of dreams, tread softly. Every
crumbling wall has a story to tell. Every yesterday is replete with history.
Rulers have come and gone. The city has lived through wars and resurrection,
repeatedly rising from the ashes.
Cradling civilisations since times immemorial Delhi goes back hundreds of thousands
of years back into time.
Stone tools belonging to early stone age were discovered from the Aravalli tracts
in and around Anangpur, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus, the northern
ridge and elsewhere - evidence that the Early Man lived here.
Excavations at Mandoli and Bhorgarh in east and north-west Delhi respectively
have thrown up remains of chalcolithic period dating back to 2nd millennium
BC, 1st millennium BC as well remains of 4th-5th century AD have been traced
The excavations of the ancient mound of indraprastha, capital of the Pandavas,
located withing the fold of the sixteenth century Purana Qila revealed evidence
of continuous habitation of the site for almost 2500 years.
to the Mahabharata, the Pandavas founded their capital indrapratha in the region
known as Khandava-prastha. Delhi was also witness to the glories of the Maurya
Empire during 3rd century BC. The Ashokan edict engraved on a rock in East of
Kailash as well as remains found in Purana Quila excavations belonging to the
Mauryan period point to Delhi's importance during this era.
The first city of Delhi, Lal Kot was founded by the Tomar ruler Anangpal, in
the 11th century. It was extended to Qila Rai Pithora by King Vigraharaja IV
(Circa 1153-64). Qutbuddin Aibak became Delhi's first Sultan in 1206 and laid
the foundations of the Qutb Minar, India's tallest stone tower at the site of
the first city of Delhi subsequently the kings of the Sultanate dynasties, Khaljis,
Tughluqs Sayyids and Lodis continued to build. New cities as Delhi grew.
The second city around Siri by Alaud-Din Khalji (1296-1316); Tughlaqabad, the
third city built by Ghiysud-Din Tughlug (1321-51); Firuzabad, the fifth city
of Delhi, is now represented by Kotla Firuz Shah, founded by Firuz Shah Tughluq
It was Humayun who laid the foundations of the sixth city - Dinpanah. This was
destroyed and reconstructed as the Purana Qila by Sher Shah Suri however, it
was the Mughals who took Delhi to the zenith of architectural glory.
some construction activities did continue during the reign of Akbar (1556-1605)
and Jehangir (1605-27), it was Shah Jehan (1628-58) who built the seventh city,
Shahjahanabad which remained the Mughal capital until 1857.
The British in 1911 shifted the capital of India to Delhi. The eighth city of
New Delhi took shape in the imperial style of architecture. From then to now
Delhi continues to throb with vitality and hope.
The ruins and ramparts still stand tall in dignity - and amidst them rise modern
buildings and giant skyscrapers. It's a breathtaking synthesis of yesterday
and tomorrow, the holding on to the past and surging ahead to the furture.
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