Monday, 9 January 2012

Siri Fort, New Delhi

Siri Fort, in the city of New Delhi, was built during the rule of Ala-ud-Din Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate to defend the city from the onslaught of the Mongols. It was the second of the seven cities of medieval Delhi built around 1303 (stated to be the first entirely constructed by Muslims), which at present is seen only in ruins with a few remnants. 

The fort was once considered the pride of the city for its palace of a thousand pillars called the Hazar Sutan. The palace was built outside the fort limits, and had marble floors and other stone decoration. Its Darwaza (door) is supposed to have been beautifully decorated. In eastern part of the ruins there are remnants of flame shaped battlements, loop holes for arrows, and bastions, which were considered unique new additions of that period.

In the nearby Shahpur Jat village, some dilapidated structures of the period are seen. Tohfewala Gumbad Masjid is one such structure whose ruins show the form of domed central apartment and sloping wall characteristic of Khaljis architecture. 

Apart from building the Siri Fort, the citadel around it and the water supply system with a reservoir at Hauz Khas for providing water supply to Siri, his new city, Ala-ud-din also expanded the building activity around the religious city of the first city complex of Qutb complex by making additions to the Quwwatul-Islam Mosque, which doubled its original size, additions to the Qutub Minar itself (Nagari inscriptions on the tower attribute to this tower as "Vijaya sthamba" or victory tower of Ala-ud-din) and a grandiose plan of constructing a new Minar (tower) bigger than Qutub Minar. This plan was left half completed, as may be seen from the ruins at the site, due to the death of Allauddin in 1316............

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