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8th Century To 19th Century

Tomars and Rajputs

The Lal Kot was originally set up during the reign of Tomar dynasty. Tomar Anangpal was named the founder of Lal Kot. Tourists who visit the Qutub Complex, ascribed to the Emperor Chandragupta II, can see King Anangpal’s name written on the iron pillars there.

Anangpal Tomar is also widely known as the man who founded Delhi. Augustus Hoernle also seconds this fact and describes that Delhi was built by him during 731AD with close proximity to the Suraj Kund.

When Prithviraj Chauhan took over from the Tomar Rajputs during 1180AD, he captured Lal Kot as well and renamed it as Qila Rai Pithora. He was also responsible for establishing museums and making the Qila Rai Pithora all more artistic during the 11th century.

After ruling Delhi for a long time, the golden era of Prithviraj Chauhan came to an end when he was defeated in a battle by the Muslim emperor, Mohammed Ghori.

Sultanate Period

Delhi became the capital of the Slave dynasty under the rule of the first Slave Emperor, Qutub-ud-din Aibak who was also the first Sultan of Delhi. He started off as a slave and slowly grew in the ranks to become the emperor. He was the one who had set up the construction of the iconic Qutub Minar is seen today, however, he expired before the building was constructed. The Quwwat – al-Islam, the first extant mosque in India was set up by him inside Qutub Minar. For constructing this place, he is believed to have demolished 27 Jain temples of the state and used its exquisitely carved pillars and other raw materials for the Qutub Minar. Evidences for the same are available currently. Once the Slave dynasty completed its tenure, the Central Asian Turkic and Afghan dynasties, Khilji dynasty, Tughlaq dynasty, Sayyid dynasty and Lodi dynasty took over ruling in phases and were largely responsible for constructing many forts and mansions around the place.

During 1398, Delhi experienced the rudest ruler of its time, named, Timur Lang. He was even more ruthless than the Islam rulers and he took over as the ruler on 15th December, 1398. The entire city was destroyed, robbed, innocent civilians were taken hostage and many others were killed. It was reported during those days that at least 10,000 war prisoners were killed within just 3 days of Lang’s rule. During 1526, the Mughal rule was born in Delhi as Zahiruddin Babur defeated the last Lodi Ruler who ruled over Delhi in the First Battle of Panipat.

Mughal Rule

After the rule of Mughal Emperor Babur, there was an interruption of Mughal rule as Sher Shah Suri defeated Babur’s son Humayun. Sher Shah then went about setting up the city and built one of the oldest forts in India named Purana Qila. This happened during the mid of 16th century. However, he died during 1545 and his son Islam Shah took over control of the capital from him. He ruled Delhi till 1553, when Hindu emperor Hem Chandra Vikramaditya became the first Prime Minister and Chief of Adil Shah’s Army. Hemu, as he was fondly addressed by many was very brave and he had won an impressive 22 battles, including two against the mighty Mughal Emperor, Akbar’s army. On 7th October 1556, Hemu defeated Akbar’s army at Tughlakabad and he set up his rule, known by the Hindu Raj in the northern part of Delhi for some years. His coronation happened at the Purana Qila and he came to be known as Samrat Hem Chandra Vikramaditya.

When Akbar, the third in the row of Mughal kings and one of the mightiest rulers, shifted his base to Agra, Delhi started losing its sheen. It was again in 17th century, that this place came into the limelight once again when the great Mughal emperor Shah Jahan revived the city and named it Shahjahanabad. It is now known as Old Delhi. There were lots of architecturally brilliant buildings set up here including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid. Under his rule, the city of Delhi flourished and the capital was shifted back here from Agra. In 1658 however, after imprisoning his own father, Aurangzeb, Shah Jahan’s son announced himself the emperor by having two coronations. Post 1680, the Mughal emperors slowly started losing power as the Maratha kings started to dominate them.

Rise of Marathas

During 1737, the Maratha Empire attacked the Mughal Empire and tasted victory in the First Battle of Delhi. After 1739 onwards, the Mughal Empire had lost most of its strength and lost the Battle of Karnal too. Nader Shah, who won this battle, burgled the city of all its treasures including the city’s most prized possessions, the Peacock Throne. In 1752, a formal agreement was signed which gave full power to the Maratha dynasty to safeguard the Mughal throne. During 1757, Delhi faced an attack from Abdali, who later gave control of the capital to Najib-ul-Daula after relocating to Afghanistan. In the Red Fort Battle, Najib was defeated by Marathas. The Marathas, however, faced severe defeats by Abdali’s hands in the third battle of Panipat.

After a decade, since the horrible loss in the Panipat Battle, in 1771, Delhi again came under the control of Maratha dynasty as Mahadji Shinde acquired Delhi and announced the Mughal emperor, Shah Alam II for the throne.

Invasion of British

The Maratha rule came to an end in 1803, when the British East India Company defeated the Maratha rulers in the second Anglo-Maratha war. Due to this the East India Company became the sole owners of Delhi.

During the 1857 Mutiny, the East India Company rolled into the British Government, thereby bringing Delhi under the control of the English Government. Bahadur Shah Zafar II, who was ruling Delhi when the British took over, was sent to Rangoon (now Burma) on exile and all the places where Mughal rule was established became properties of British Government.

As there was a huge disturbance in the city during the 1857 mutiny, the capital was shifted to Calcutta for a while. However during 1911, King George V, while addressing the officials at the Delhi Durbar formally announced that the capital was being brought back to Delhi. Edwin Lutyens set up the new city with lots of architectural brilliance and historical monuments later on. The new city and the official government house were finally inaugurated during 1931.


Though India got Independence from British rule in 1947, Delhi was announced as the Indian Government’s seat only during 1949. The northern and western areas of Delhi were filled with migrants who came to the place from Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan to seek refuge during the 1947 Partition. One can also see huge settlement of Hindus who migrated from East Pakistan in the EPDP Colony that is now known as the Chittaranjan Park.


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