New Delhi: While the British sealed it as
the capital of modern India, Delhi has for centuries been the
power and nerve centre of the regimes that ruled the country,
each one of them leaving behind an imprint on the heritage of
the historic city.
So, while the British brought back the capital to Delhi
only 100 years ago, the city`s role as the political pivot
dates right back to over 3000 years, much before the trace of
recorded history can be found.
New Delhi celebrates 100 years of its existence on
From the Pandavas, who according to belief, set up their
fort Indraprastha on the banks of river Yamuna around the
present day Old Fort, to Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who made
Shahjehanabad his seat, Delhi has traditionally been the
capital city of the Indian empire.
Having witnessed the rise and fall of many empires, the
city also became the home of their remnants, with everyone
from the Slave dynasty of the 13th century, Tughlaqs of the
14th century, Lodis of the 15th century and the British
leaving their imprint on the city.
The several cities -- at least eight -- stand side by
side in the present day megapolis, with the plethora of
monuments bearing the imprints of their respective rulers and
Largely recognised as the first city of Delhi is Qila Rai
Pithora set up by Prithviraj Chauhan in the 10th century.
While the Tomar dynasty is believed to have operated from
Lal Kot in Mehrauli in the eighth century, the same city
became the centre of the Slave dynasty in the 12th century,
when Qutubuddin Aibak and his successor Iltutmish built the
magnificent Qutub Minar, one of the major attractions of the
city and a UNESCO world heritage site.
After the Slave dynasty, a succession of Turkish, Central
Asian and Afghan dynasties, -- the Khiljis, the Tughlaqs, the
Sayyids and the Lodis, held sway over Delhi and built a series
of forts and townships.
Siri, the third city of Delhi emerged during the rule of
the Khiljis, with the Turko-Afghan dynasty bringing with it
Seljuq influences in architecture, a remarkable feature in the
buildings of this period.
Not far away from Mehrauli stand the ruins of the
Tughlaqabad fort, built in the 14th century by Ghiyas-ud-din
Tughlaq, the founder of the city of Tughlaqabad in what is
south Delhi on Saturday.
However, the fourth ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty chose to
make Ferozshah Kotla his capital, establishing the Ferozshah
Fort, whose magnificent ruins form the backdrop of the
international cricket ground adjoining it.
While Mughal rule in Delhi stretched from the mid 16th
century to roughly the mid 19th century, the small
interruption that brought in Sher Shah Suri, resulted in the
establishment of the Purana Qila, in what was then called
However, Delhi`s architecture was dominated by Mughal
influence in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries who brought in
a distinct amalgamation of Persian, Turkish and Indian styles,
seen evidently in the monuments of that period -- the Jama
Masjid and the Red Fort -- in the walled city area.
One of the longest inhabited cities of the world, Delhi
packs in itself centuries of history wrapped up in layers, but
it was the British empire that gave the city its modern day
capital and seat of power -- New Delhi.
When the British shifted their capital from Kolkata in
1911, they brought Victorian era grandeur to the city, with
the magnificence of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and the Parliament
House adding yet another dimension to the melting pot called