Two Famous Forts of Delhi

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India  has an ancient history and forts are a part of it. There are numerous forts that dot the entire country and to pick a few is a difficult task. Butthe two forts in Delhi have history and romance behind them and definitely merit study.

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This fort is located in Delhi and forms the backdrop of the Zoological Park. The fort has a checkered history and though presently in a dilapidated state, has a romantic history.  The fort has been restored to some extent by the ASI (Archeological Survey of India) and is an important tourist attraction.

The forts foundation stone was laid by the Mughal emperor Jahangir in 1533 and has a circuit of 2 km, making it one of the largest forts in India.  Hence the southern gate is named after him as the Humayun Darwaza. When Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri, in 1540, the fort came under the control of Sher Shah who made further improvements in it. However after his death in 1545, Humayun returned and became emperor again.

One man named Hemu a Hindu general of Adil Shah advanced on Delhi and repeatedly defeated the Muslims. This was the venue of his coronation as emperor of India in 1555. The significance of this event cannot be lost as he was the first Hindu ruler at Delhi after 350 years of Muslim rule.  His coronation took place in the Purana Quila. But after Akbar came to power and the construction of the Red fort by Shah Jahan the fort lost its importance. Its imposing walls however are a testimony to the grandeur of the fort and no visit to Delhi is complete without a visit to the Purana Quila or as Sher Shah Suri named it Sher Garh.

Red Fort

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This fort is a monument to Mughal rule and is one of the most exquisite examples of Muslim and Turkish architecture in India. The fort is located on the banks of the river Yamuna which at one time touched the walls of the fort, but now can be seen a kilometer away as the river has changed its course. The fort was built by the Mughal emperor Shah jahan and its foundation stone was laid on 16 April 1639. The fort was completed in 9 years and was fully operational in 1648.

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The fort cost crores of rupees to build and as per records about half of this amount was spent on the exquisite palace that is located in the center of the Fort. The fort uses red colored sandstone brought from Rajasthan that gives it a reddish hue.

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The size of the fort can be gauged from the fact that its perimeter is 2.41 km long and that makes it the largest fort in India. The fort served as a seat of government of the Mughals and the palace inside was the abode of the concubines and queens of the Mughal emperor. After Shahjehan death some work on the fort was also done by Aurangzeb.

The fort was the epicenter of the revolt of 1857, when Bahadur Shah the last Mughal emperor resided here. But after the defeat of the Mutineers and the exile of Bahadur Shah the fort became a cantonment of the British army. Some portions of the fort were occupied by the Indian army after independence till 2003 when the army vacated it.

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The fort is the symbol of free India and the Prime minister addresses the nation on Independence Day from the ramparts of the fort.

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