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11 Cities Of Delhi

The history of Delhi dates back to olden Mahabharata era which is proved to be third oldest Indian city following Ujjain and Varanasi.  The city of Delhi has undergone many developments right from the historic Indrapatta (Indraprastha) city to current National Capital. This city was face lifted at several phases. There is a timeline that takes the credit of giving such an amazing look to present Delhi.

This metropolitan city is basically formed by the fusion of various olden cities. Current Delhi is categorized into three major sub-classes like New Delhi, Outer Delhi and Old Delhi (the last two are known to be just Delhi). Historical importance of Delhi is focused only in East and South Delhi, whereas Central Delhi carries the heritage of British reign. North and West Delhi are the extension of old city only after independence.

Present studies on Delhi cover only the Modern and Medieval history. There is no proper evidence to describe the history of this city till the earlier part of first millennium. As the real story behind Ancient history period and Indian Epic is not proved, it has taken its own place in epics for someone to believe.

Indraprastha and Khandavprastha

The Mahabharata legend carries a story that Pandavas acquired 5 townships from their siblings, Kauravas. Those villages lie inside Khandva forest (or Khandavprastha). Pandavas constructed their empire equally beautiful to Lord Indra’s city and hence this place obtained the name of ‘Indraprastha’. This olden city of Indraprastha was located on banks of Yamuna River.

Currently the city went untraceable, however archaeological excavations believe that this area was known to lie in a place where Humayun later constructed Dinpanah and Shargarh was constructed by Sher Shah. Presently, this area is around Pragati Maidan, Old Fort, Indraprastha and also neighboring societies. It was believed that Raja Dhillu from Karna inheritance (Pandavas brother who joined hands with Kaurvas and got killed in the Battle of Mahabharata) later designed Dhilli surrounding Indraprastha and various small villages resulting in a large city. His hereditary branch still prevails in the surnames of Dhull, Dhillon, Dhilwal, Dhaliwal, Dhill etc; they are most famous classes in Jatt clan part of Punjab portion of Pakistan and India. These people are also known to be Raja Jatts, mainly due to several ancestor warriors and kings.

Quick Specs - Indraprastha

Year of Founding: Circa 1450 B.C.

Constructed By: Pandavas

Existing Location: Nearby Old Fort in Delhi

Remnants: None while the only excavations from the neighborhood verified the detail of presence

Qila Rai Pithoraand Lal Kot

Dhilli was retraced by King Anangpal Tomar in the year 736 A.D. In order to regard his findings, they constructed Lal Kot (which means Red Fort). Archaeological excavations proved that Red Fort might have constructed in 1060 A.D. In the year 1180 A.D. the great King Prithvi Raj Chauhan surrounded this particular fort and expanded his territories. He generated a wider and potent region known to be Quila or Fort Rai Pithora. This Qila or Fort was constructed with 13 gates, out of which only three remains now. The LalKot remains can be traced in the backside of Adam Khan’s Tomb. Rai Pithora wall is situated surrounding Mehrauli and Rai Pithora Cultural Compound can be traced at Lado Sarai. The remnants of Rai Pithora Fort encloses at the Lado Sarai Golf Course. Delhi administration controls Rai Pithora Cultural Compound which is an ideal place to go for morning walks.

Though Hindu Mythology and Archaeological excavations prove that Indraprastha was the initial establishment in this region, remnants of Quila Rai Pithora and Lal Kot are widely referred as first Delhi city. Both of these creations are considered to be a single city as Rai Pithora was originally an expansion of the Lal Kot but not an individual city.

Quick Specs about Qila Rai Pithora and Lal Kot

Year of Founding: circa 736-1060 A.D

Constructed By: Rajputs and the Tomars

Existing Location: From LadoSarai to Mehrauli

Remnants: Remnants of Walls in Lado Sarai and Mehrauli

Siri (Dar-ul-Khilafat)

During the early years of fourteenth century, the great Alauddin Khilji constructed his own new capital surrounded by a strong fort. That city was referred as Dar-ul-Khilafat also acknowledged as ‘the seat of Califate’. The city was constructed with 7 gates but none of them exists currently.The fort was then renamed as Siri (otherwise Siri Fort) that helped Alauddin Khilji to strengthen his region. This gigantic fort derailed many Mongol attacks and credited Alauddin Khilji as the leading and primary ‘real’ Indian king. From that moment, he started extending this territory across the breadth and length of this subcontinent. According to legends, the name Siri was fixed to this place as the heads of eight thousand Mongol soldiers who got burried under its wall of foundation. Another legend states that those heads were hanged from the wall. In Hauz Khas, a big water tank was constructed to satisfy the thirst of this oval shaped city. Later on, many rulers specifically Sher Shah Suri reconstructed major part of Siri to design their own specific regions. Alauddin also contributed to various supplements to the Old Delhi, Mehrauli and initiated the construction of Alai Minar opposing Qutub Minar. Various other buildings were carried out at Siri Walls in order to strengthen the power of this great emperor. Thus this city became the first Muslim city of India.

Quick Specs on Siri

Year of Founding: circa 1297-1307 A.D.

Fabricated By: AlauddinKhilji

Existing Location: Around Shahpur Jat, Siri Fort, Hauz Khas and Green Park

Remnants: Ruins of Walls, Tohfewala Gumbadand Hauz Khas compound


One among the generals in Khilji dynasty, Ghazi Malik requested Khilji to construct a gigantic fort on the hills near the southern parts of his empire. Khilji replied back sarcastically asking him to construct one for himself, as soon as he becomes a king. Soon after, Khilji’s Siri throne was taken away by Ghazi Malik who crowned himself as Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluk, thereby initiating the Tughlaq Dynasty. The proposal of Tughlaqabad was initiated on a hill. He was very much moved by his dream, that he employed complete labor force from all the surrounding areas to the construction of his fort. There is belief that, a well-known sufi mystical of the same era, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya was disappointed with this act, as his baoli construction was greatly disturbed because of unavailability of labor force. He later cursed the Tughlaqabad fort as “Yaraheyhissar, yabasseygujjar” (let the fort remain unoccupied or unproductive, or else herdsmen survive here). At the time of completion of this fort, Ghiyas-ud-din had to visit Bengal. There was also another curse by Hazrat Nizamuddin, “HunuzDilli Door Ast” (Which means ‘Abhi dilli door hai or else Dilli is still distant in English). This came true as the king was crumpled to death during his return journey to Dilli.

Quick Specs about Tughlaqabad

Year of Founding: circa 1321 A.D

Constructed By: Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq

Existing Location: Tughlaqabad

Remnants: Ruins of the foremost Fort, Tombs as well as small adjoining fortifications


The son of Giyas-ud-Din Tughlaq (the creator of Tughlaqabad), Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq took a step forward to inhabit the vacant area between the Old Delhi, Tughlaqabad and Siri. He aimed to surround all the towns of Delhi with a gigantic fort and prevent them from Mongolian annexations. He referred this fort as Jahanpanah which means shelter for complete world. This new city was developed within two years of time, but the king took a wrong decision which led to a major disaster. He decided to transfer his whole capital to Daulatabad (located in Maharashtra). The great mistake made by him was to transfer everything to Daulatabad including the cattle and his fellow citizens. During this transfer process, majority of people expired because of thirst and lack of basic facilities. He again decided to revert back to Jahanpanah.  This caused further loss of life.

Few of the significant buildings inside the Jahanpanah are huge Bijai Mandal, gigantic Begumpur Mosque and joined with this fort was Adilabad Fort, a smaller version of Tughlaqabad fort. The 13 gates of this massive fort have totally vanished today. There are only mosques and tombs to prove this period. A renowned traveler, Ibn-Batuta travelled this area and described Delhi as a desert. But once the capital got shifted back to Delhi, he met the king and praised Jahanpanah together with its beautiful constructions and architectural intelligence.

Quick Specs about Jahanpanah

Year of Founding: 1326-1327 A.D

Constructed By: Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq

Existing Location: Entire stretch from IIT-Delhi to Tughlaqabad

Remnants: Khirki Mosque, Satpula, Lal Gumbad, Bijai Mandal, Begumpur Mosque and Adilabad Fort along with many other tombs


Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq and his father Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq was succeeded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq who constructed another city on the eastern part of present Delhi and called it as Firozabad. That city was well guarded by fort built during 1354 on the banks of Yamuna River. He imported a third period Sandstone pillar which was a characteristic of the great Mauryan King, Raja Ashoka. This pillar was also known as Ashok ki Laat or Ashoka Pillar.

This city cannot be traced much currently and the fortress walls are totally ruined. Whereas, the great Ashokan Pillar exists on a 3 floor arcaded pavilion situated besides major royal houses and parishioners mosque at the central core ofearlier fortified region. There are very few evidences of wall within this region.

The region presently carries the popular Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. This stadium carries several world chronicles while is also well known for cricket sports.

Quick Specs onFirozabad

Year of Founding: 1354 A.D

Constructed By: Firoz Shah Tughlaq

Current Location: Feroz Shah Kotla

Remnants: Few remains of the ancient fort as well as Asoka Pillar

Dilli Sher Shahi (Shergarh) and Dinpanah

After the death of Babur in 1530, his sun Humayun took over his throne. 4 years late, he constructed a town that he referred as the refuge of world, otherwise DeenPanah. In the year 1540, when he was heading towards Gujrat, an Afghan born Mughal general, Sher Shah Suri occupied Agra throne and he recognized himself as Indian emperor. He came across many hurdles by defeating vast resources and Mughal army to occupy this throne. Later on, he moved towards Delhi and transformed Dinpanah city to Dilli-Sher-Shahi. He generated popular Delhi Old Fort along with Sher Mandal. He is well recognized for few of his architectural intelligence and is well acknowledged for the most popular roads in India, also known as Shaher Rah-e-Azam, the Grand Trunk Road, also known as National Highway 1, a.k.a. Sher Shah Suri Marg which starts from Sonargaon region of Bangladesh till Peshawar region in Pakistan. This road connects significant cities like Lahore, Delhi, Agra and Calcutta. Dinpanah city also carries Sher Mandal and Qila-e-Kuhna. Immediately after Sher Shah Suri , Islamic Shah passed away in 1555, Humayun took back his throne but he died within a year falling from Sher Mandal located at Old Fort in the city of Dinpanah.  Akbar, son of Humayun constructed the popular Humayun’s Tomb in Dinpanah. This tomb is known to be the architectural basis for the world’s well-known Taj Mahal.

Quick Specs About Dinpanah

Year of Founding: 1534 A.D

Constructed By: Nasir-ud-din Muhammad Humayun and Sher Shah Suri

Current Location: Old Fort and Humayun's Tomb

Remnants:Remains of the Kos Minar in Zoo, Lal Darwaza, Sher Mandal, Oila e Kohna and old fort.


Majority of people believed ‘Purani Dilli’ as the unique Delhi.  In the year 1639, famous Mughal king, Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram Shah Jahan constructed a gigantic city with well protected walls carrying thirteen gates and sixteen windows besides the banks of river Yamuna and he shifted the capital of Mughals to Delhi from Agra. The thirteen gates were referred as Dilli Darwaza, Raj Ghat Darwaza, Kabuli Darwaza, Khizri Darwaza, Kela Ke Ghat KaDarwaza, Nigambodh Darwaza, Kashmiri Darwaza, Lal Darwaza, Patthar Khati Darwaza, BadarDarwaza, Ajmeri  Darwaza, Turkuman Darwaza and Lahori Darwaza. The sixteen windows were called as Nawab Ahmad Bakhsh Ki Khirkee, Zeenat ul Masajid Khirkee, Musamman Burj Ki Khirkee, Nawab Ghaziuddin Ki Khirkee, Naseer Ganj Ki Khirkee, Muslim Garh Ki Khirkee, Shah Ganj Khirkee, Nai Khirkee, Sayyad Bhole Ki Khirkee, Ajmeri Darwaza Ki Khirkee, Buland Bagh ki Khirkee, Ameer Khan Ki Khirkee, FarashKhana Ki khirkee, Bahadur Ali Khan Ki Khirkee, Nigambodh Ki Khirkee and Khalil Khan ki Khirkee. This walled city consists of mansions of dignified personalities and members of Mughal court. Majority of these Havelis (Mansions) exists even now. Few of the well-known havelis are Begum Samru’s Fortress (Bhagirath Palace), Mirza Ghalib’s Haveli, Zinat Mahal’s Haveli, Chunnamal Haveli, Haksar Haveli (the place where Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru got wedded), and Naharwali Haveli (birth place of Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan). At the time of British rule, this place was referred as Contemporary Delhi.

Quick Specs on Shahjahanabad

Year of Founding: 1639 A.D

Constructed By: Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram Shah Jahan

Current Location: Old Delhi

Remnants:Few remains of gates and walls of numerous forts, mansions and red fort

Lutyen’s Delhi or New Delhi

Following British occupancy in India, Sir Edwin Lutyens was given the charge to design new colony for British Empire. He designed the dominant managerial portion of this city. Herbert Baker took over the responsibility to draw structure of Viceroy’s House located on Raisina Hill (currently known as Rashtrapati Bhawan) and popular India Gate. He even drew the sketch of Parliament House and various bungalows for Parliament members. The region got the name as Lutyen’s Delhi as a regard to main architect. Currently the whole region is known to be New Delhi and portion of Shahjahanabad, which was known as Modern Delhi, is currently Old Delhi. The foundation stone was rested on December 15th 1911 and later inaugurated on February 13th 1931. At the time of Coronation Durbar in the year 1911, an official announcement was done to transfer the empire seat to Delhi to Calcutta. The designers tool almost 20 years to finish those buildings and after that, this served as the seat of British Empire and currently the Indian republic.

Quick Specs on New Delhi

Year of Founding: 1931 A.D

Constructed By: British Empire

Current Location: Area between Delhi Ridge, Old Delhi, Old Fort and Ring Road

Remnants: All main British constructionscounting the VIP bungalows, South and North block, India Gate, Sansad Bhawan and the Rashtrapati Bhawan


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