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Ancient History

The Great Pandava kings from the times of Mahabharata were believed to have lived in Delhi about 5000 years ago. Population has always kept on increasing in the city since that time. Even in those early days, Delhi was the capital city of the Pandava kings and it was known as Indraprastha back then.

The diverse lifestyles, culture, cuisine and overall development of the city are mostly attributed to different kings and their dynasties that ruled the place and left an indelible impression here. After going through 7 iterations of breaking down and rebuilding, it has now evolved into New Delhi and serves as the capital of the country.

Delhi During the Mahabharata

Delhi was known as Indraprastha during the times of Mahabharata. According to an agreement with the Kauravas, the Pandava kings took one half of the land of Indraprastha and converted the plain barren land into a very fertile and prosperous land with the help of Lord Krishna by their side.

The city almost resembled a paradise on earth with its well-lit streets, huge, exquisitely structured palaces, lots of green expanses everywhere and spotlessly clean ambience. It is also believed that Arjun, one of the Pandava kings, stayed in this city permanently with Lord Krishna after they won the massive Kurukshetra war against the Kauravas.

There is not much evidence to support the fact that Delhi existed during the Mahabharata times. The archaeology department too, has very little evidence to prove this point quite strongly, that Delhi indeed has been in existence for around 5000 years. “The Story of India” was a documentary that featured in BBC. It was directed by the famous historian from the UK, Michael Wood. According to Wood, the design and pattern of the ceramic pottery that was dug underground of Purana Qila in Delhi exactly looked like what the Mahabharata verses indicated. Another strong evidence to prove Delhi’s history is that, while constructing Lutyens’ Delhi, the British did actually destroy a small village called Indraprastha that was in close vicinity to the Purana Qila.

Delhi as Lal Kot

The Rajputs from Tomar were initially settled in Suraj Kund, however later on, they moved from there to the place where Delhi is currently situated. This was during 1050AD and the ruler of Tomar Rajputs, King Anangpal constructed a massive citadel around the entire area. This citadel was named Lal Kot and this was the first and original Red Fort of Delhi. This Lal Kot was architecturally brilliant, well-thought of, contained tall and sturdy towers and massive iron gates that protected the place from all kinds of potential attacks. Of these gates, the most powerful and famous were the Ghazni, Sohan and Ranjit.

The first structure of Lal Kot was built around 731AD by King Anangpal I, however it was renovated and the entire structure got a facelift during the 11th century when King Anangpal II rebuilt it when the Tomar Rajputs shifted their base here. After the Pandava kings moved away from Indraprastha, Delhi was almost ignored for about 1000 years. The Tomar Rajputs should be given credit for bringing the place into limelight once again during the 11th century.

Delhi as Quila Rai Pithora

During 1155AD, Prithviraj Chauhan, the famous ruler acquired Delhi from the rule of Tomar Rajputs. Chauhan was the last and only ruler following Hinduism, who got the chance of ruling the city for a long period of time. However, during the second Battle of Tarain, Chauhan lost and Delhi was acquired by the Slave Emperors.

The huge citadel that was fondly addressed as Lal Kot by the Tomar Rajputs was given the name Quila Rai Pithora by Prithviraj Chauhan. His rule lasted for an impressive 37 years from 1155AD to 1192AD. During the last Battle of Tarain, Prithviraj Chauhan’s golden rule came to an end, as he was defeated by Mohammed Ghori in the battle. One of the finest Hindu rulers of Delhi, Prithviraj was awarded death sentence by Ghori.

Prithviraj Chauhan was always synonymous with bravery and courage. There was no other ruler that time as strong as him. At the tender age of 13, King Anangpal of Tomar Rajput clan, realised his potential and made him King of Delhi during 1155AD. In addition to his bravery and valour, people remember him even today and because of his undying love for a girl named, Sanyogita, the daughter of his enemy.


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