Purana Qila (Old Fort) in Delhi: How To Reach, Best Time & Tips (5 Places Near Purana Qila)

Purana Qila, Urdu for Purana Qila formerly also known as Shergarh and Sher Qila, is one of the oldest forts in Delhi, India.

The site has been continuously inhabited for 2,500 years and has been found dating back to the Maurya period. The present citadel was started in the time of Humayun and its construction continued under Sher Shah Suri.

The site is often identified with the site of Indraprastha, the capital of the kingdoms of the Pandavas from the Mahabharata.

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Purana Qila Information:

Location Mehrauli
Status UNESCO World Heritage Site
Timings 7:00 am to 5:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee ₹ 30 for Indians; ₹ 500 for foreigners; free for children below 15 years
Still Camera ₹ 25 (non-commercial use)
Video Camera ₹ 25 (non-commercial use)
Nearest Metro Station Qutab Minar
Year of Establishment 1192
Commissioned by Qutb-ud-din Aibak
Dimensions 73 meters (height); 14.3 meters (base diameter); 2.7 meters (top diameter)
Architectural Style Indo Islamic Afghan architecture
Material Used Red

Purana Qila – History

Excavations point to traces of the pre-Mauryan period to the 3rd century BC. In the first two rounds of excavations – 1954–55 and 1969–72 – B.B. Lal, the then Director of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), had unearthed the Painted Gray Ware Culture (PGW) beneath the mound.

At that time, Lal had embarked on a mission to excavate the various sites mentioned in the Mahabharata text and such marks were found as a common feature at all those sites.

Based on the PGW’s traces, Lal concludes that it was the site of the Pandava kingdom of Indraprastha, estimating 900 BC as the period of the Kurukshetra War.

Purana Qila History
Purana Qila History

Later, during 2013-14 and 2017-18, the Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Dr. The excavation done by Vasant Kumar Swarnakar confirms that the site of Purana Qila is a continuous residence from the Maurya period to the British period.

Alexander Cunningham identified the fort with Indraprastha, although he referred to the present structure as built by Muslims.

The origin of Purana Qila lies in the walls of the new city of Delhi, Dinpana, built by the Mughal emperor Humayun.

Abul Fazl said that he had built the fort at the site of ancient Indraprastha. Sher Shah Suri, the founder of the Suri dynasty, defeated Humayun and made changes to the fort, strengthened its fortifications and completed its walls.

purana qila - seen
purana qila – seen

He also had another fort called Shergarh, where the governor lived. His project, however, was a continuation of Humayun’s construction of a citadel for an imperial city.

He also built many structures inside the fort.

The fort is believed to have been annexed even after his rule.

The extent of his contribution to the construction of the fort is disputed.

The historical reason for its creation is also uncertain judgment from primary sources. Muhammad Khwandmir said that Humayun had laid the foundation of the city on a mound near the Yamuna.

The construction of walls and fortifications was almost finished by the time of Humayun.

Tarikh-i-Dawdi states that the royal city of Sher Shah Suri remained unfinished on his death and he named his fort as Shergarh.


Abbas Sarwani said that the two forts he was building were unfinished when he died. Tarikh-i-Khan-Jahan says that Salim Shah Suri built a wall to protect Humayun’s Dinpanah.

sixth city of Delhi In 1556, the Hindu king Hem Chandra Vikramaditya was crowned at Purana Qila on 7 October, having decisively defeated Akbar’s army in the Battle of Delhi (1556).

Edwin Lutyens designed New Delhi, the new capital of British India in the 1920s, aligning the central vista, now the Rajpath, with the Purana Qila.

During the Partition of India, Purana Qila, along with neighboring Humayun’s Tomb in August 1947, became the site of refugee camps for Muslims migrating to newly established Pakistan.

This included over 12,000 government employees who chose to serve in Pakistan, and between 150,000–200,000 Muslim refugees who surrendered inside Purana Qila until September 1947, when the Indian government took over management of the two camps.

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The Purana Qila camp remained functional until early 1948, as trains to Pakistan waited until October 1947 to start.

In subsequent decades it has been the location of various important theater productions, cultural events and concerts.

Today, it is the site of a daily sound and light presentation on the history of the “Seven Cities of Delhi”, from Indraprastha to New Delhi after sunset.


Delhi is considered by some to be the site of the famous city of Indraprastha founded by the Pandavas of the Mahabharata period, as a result of which it is regarded as the ‘first city of Delhi’.

In support of this, by 1913, a village called Indrapat existed within the walls of the fort.

purana qila - indraprastha
purana qila – indraprastha

What is the best time to see Purana Qila?

Usual Coming Hours 7:00 A.M. Till 5:00 pm.

The best time to travel to Purana Qila is at 3:00 in the day.

If you want to enjoy your trip to the fullest then you must visit Delhi during the winter season.

Because at this time it is very pleasant, in which you can enjoy walking, sitting on the lawn, boating. If you want to enjoy the sound and light show, go to Purana Qila after sunset.

Archaeological evidence of Indraprastha

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) built Purana Qila in 1954–55 and again from 1969 to 1973 under B. Lal and excavated by Vasant Kumar Swarnkar in 2013-14 and 2017-18.

Its findings and artifacts are displayed in the Archaeological Museum, Purana Qila.

It includes painted gray ware, dating to 1000 BC, and various objects and pottery with continuous residence from the Maurya period to the Shunga, Kushan, Gupta, Rajput, Delhi Sultanate and Mughal periods.

Mahabharata - History of Old Fort
Mahabharata – History of Old Fort

The houses built during the Rajput period were made of bricks used in other structures and also of mud bricks.

A fortification wall about 30 meters long was also found. During the Delhi Sunnet, the structures were built from re-used bricks and the ruins of earlier structures.

The structures of the Mughal era were characterized by a deep pit dug in the earlier eras.


The fort walls rise to a height of 18 m, are about 1.5 km apart, and have three arched gates: the Bara Darwaza (Big Gate) on the west side, which is still in use today; South Gate, also popularly known as ‘Humayun Gate’ (perhaps because it was built by Humayun, or perhaps because Humayun’s Tomb is visible from there); And finally, the ‘Talki Dwar’, often referred to as the “Forbidden Gate”.

All gates are two-storey sandstone structures flanked by two massive semi-circular bastions, decorated with white and colored marble inlays and blue tiles.

History of Old Fort
History of Old Fort

They are replete with detail, including ornate overhanging balconies, or jharokhas, and are topped by pillared mandapas (chhatris), all features reminiscent of Rajasthani architecture as seen in the North and South Gates, and which represent the future. was repeated in Mughal architecture.

Despite the grandeur of the exteriors, some internal structures have survived except the Qila-e Kuhna Mosque and Shermandal, both of which are attributed to Sher Shah.

Qila-e-Kuhna Mosque

The single-domed Qila-i-Kuna Mosque, built by Sher Shah in 1541, is a classic example of pre-Mughal design, and an early example of the widespread use of pointed arches in the area, as seen in its five gates.

The ‘true’ horseshoe-shaped arch. It was designed as the Jami Masjid or Friday Masjid for the Sultan and his courtiers.

History of Qila e Kuhna Mosque
History of Qila e Kuhna Mosque

Inside the prayer hall, the single-sided mosque, measures 51.20 m by 14.90 m and has five elegant arched prayer nakhs or mihrabs installed in its western wall.

Marble in shades of red, white and slate is used for the calligraphic inscriptions on the central iwan, marking a transition from Lodhi to Mughal architecture.

A second storey, accessed via stairs from the prayer hall, with a narrow passage running along the rectangular hall, provided places for women courtiers to pray, while the vaulted door on the left wall, framed by ornate gyrocas, allowed members to was reserved for the royal family.

An inscription on a marble slab inside the mosque reads: “As long as there are people on the earth, may it be graceful and may the people be happy and cheerful in it”.

Sher Mandal

Sher Mandal took the name of Farid (Sher Shah), who tried to overthrow the order given by Babur, but he died during the initial phase and hence construction was halted until Humayun’s arrival.

This two-storey octagonal tower of red sandstone with steep stairs leading to the roof was intended to exceed the existing height.

Its original builder was Babur who ordered the construction and was used as a private observatory and library for his son Humayun, only after the fort was rebuilt.

History of Sher Mandal
History of Sher Mandal

It is one of the first observatories in Delhi, first at Pir Ghaib in Hindu Rao in the Ridge built by Firoz Shah Tughlaq in the 14th century.

The tower is supported and decorated by eight octagonal chhatris. With white marble in typical Mughal style.

Inside, there are remains of decorative plaster-work and traces of stone-shelving, where, presumably, the emperor’s books were kept.

It was also the place where, on 24 January 1556, Humayun fell from the second floor to his death.

Following his fondness for the celestial star gazing at the top of this private observatory, he hurried to the evening prayer.

He fell down the stairs and died from his injuries two days later. Entry inside the library is now prohibited.

outside monuments

Several other monuments are located around the complex, such as Kairul Manzil, a mosque built by Maham Anga, Akbar’s foster-mother, and which was later used as a madrasa.

The Sher Shah Suri Gate or the Lal Darwaza, which was the southern gate of Shergarh, is located to the southeast of Kairul Manzil, across Mathura Road, opposite the Purana Qila complex.

purana qila-seen
purana qila-seen

Attractions near Purana Qila

  1. Humayun’s Tomb (2.9 km)
  2. India Gate (2.1 km)
  3. Jantar Mantar (5 km)
  4. Mirza Ghalib’s tomb (2.7 km)
  5. National Zoological Park (550 km)
  6. Nizamuddin’s Tomb (2.9 km)
  7. Parliament House (4.4 km)
  8. Rashtrapati Bhavan (4.6 km)
  9. Buland Darwaza

How to reach Purana Qila Delhi?

If you want to travel to Old Fort, then let us know that the city of Delhi is well connected via metro and state-run buses. The beside walking distance to metro station to Purana Qila is Pragati Maidan Metro,

Which is located on the Blue Line. The fort is about 2 kilometers from the metro. You can hire a local or battery operated rickshaw to reach the fort from the metro station.

If you want to make your journey even more comfortable then you can book a taxi or cab. Apart from this, you can also travel by bus, which will be economical for you.

Architecture of Purana Qila

The towers of Purana Qila have raised balconies on the roof walls.

This balcony has a famous and attractive Rajasthani style pavilion which is very attractive.

The old fort has a lush green view which enhances the beauty of the fort even more while presenting the fort.

Which mosque is in the Purana Fort?

Qila-i-Kuhna Majjid is one of the major attractions of Purana Qila which reflects the Indo-Mughal architectural style. This monument was built by Sher Shah in AD 1541.

The single-domed mosque has massive horseshoe-shaped arches with five gates. It is mainly called ‘Jami Masjid’ which was constructed for the king himself and his courtiers for Friday prayers.

The rectangular prayer hall of the Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque has five arches or prayer spaces (mihrabs) set in the western walls (in the direction of the Kaaba).

Sher Mandal in Purana Qila:

The upper part of the Sher Mandal i.e. along with the Chhatri is a two-storey octagonal building made in red stone, whose construction served as the Anand Mandal for the king.

He built it for the use of reading and relaxing and enjoying the view of the city below from the top of the tower. It is believed

The building was built higher and was used as an observatory, but due to the death of the king, its construction was stopped.

Archaeological Museum in Purana Qila:

Museum located in Purana Qila, Archaeological Survey of India has excavated many of these relics from many places of the fort.

Many artifacts and findings from AD 1954-55 and 1969-73 by archaeologists are on display here.

The main exhibits of this museum include painted greyware from the ancient kingdoms of the Kushan dynasty, Rajputs, Delhi Sultanate and Mughals to 1500 BC.

purana qila ticket(Purana Qila Light and Sound Show)

Duration: 60 mins
Entry ticket for Old Fort:

  1. Rs.100 for adults;
  2. Rs.50 For children (3 to 12 years):
  3. Rs.50 for students, senior citizens, differently abled people


Hindi – 7:30 pm to 8.30 pm
English – 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm

Note : No shows on Fridays (closed on Fridays and public holidays)

Where is the Purana Qila located?

Purana Qila is in close proximity to Delhi Zoological Park.

who built the purana qila?

Purana Fort was built by Sher Shah Suri as a part of Din Panah city built by Mughal Emperor Humayun.

When was the Purana Qila built?

Purana Fort was built by the Mughal king Sher Shah Suri in AD 1538.

How was the Purana Qila built?

The old fort is built on the banks of the Yamuna river, but from the north and west direction, it shows that there is a moat connected to the river, that ditch was built for security so that no enemy could enter it.

The wall of the old fort is about 2.4 km long and this fort has three main gates, these gates are located in the direction of north, west and south.

  • The west gate of Purana Fort is used to enter the Haleime Fort.
  • The door in the north direction is called Talaki Darwaza.
  • It is not known when and why this door was banned.
  • Purana Qila is a classic example of Mughal and Hindu architecture.

Interesting Facts about Purana Qila

  1. This world famous fort was built between 1538 AD to 1545 AD by an Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri for his victory and protection.
  2. This fort is the oldest fort in Delhi, which is located on Mathura Road, New Delhi, near Delhi Zoo.
  3. Near the eastern wall of the old fort was re-excavated between 1969 and 1973. In which relics from the Maurya period (300 years BC) to the early Mughal period have been found.
  4. It is believed that this fort is situated above a city named Indraprastha of ancient Mahabharata era, but in the excavation done between 1969 and 1973, no such remains were found from which it can be said that it is situated above the city named Indraprastha.
  5. The height of the walls of this fort is about 18 meters, the length of these walls is about 1.5 km. is.
    The Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque, built in 1541 by Sher Shah Suri, consists of horseshoe-shaped arches and five gates.
  6. It has 3 main main gates which are known as Humayun Darwaja, Talaki Darwaza and Bara Darwaza. All these doors are made of red sandstone.
  7. The most important monument is the Sher Mandal located within this fort, which is 2 storeys high. Its structure is in the shape of an octagonal pavilion.
  8. Near this fort is a garden, a lake surrounded by rows of trees and flowering plants, in which paddle-boating facilities are available.
  9. This fort is built in the ancient Mughal architectural style, in which various types of carvings have been done.

“PURANA QILA” Oldest Fort in Delhi India

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