Purana Quila (Old Fort) spread over an area of 2 Kms & High walls of the Fort rise to a height of 18 metres, is the most popular tourist site in Delhi for tourists as well as lovers ( One can see Lover pairs scattered in Purana qila complex in close embrases), It is located near Delhi Zoo. Purana Quila is today mainatined by archeological dept of india and Delhi Tourism. It was built in 1538 by Mughal Emperor Humayun to to protect the city of Delhi from enemy attacks. During Humanyun time, Purana Qila and its environs flourished as the "sixth city of Delhi".Purana Quila was built on the site of the ancient city of Indraprastha.
The Fort was unlucky for rulers who occupied it, for example Humayun, Sher Shah Suri, and Hemu all occupied the fort, but for brief tenures Humayun on two separate occasions, having lost the fort to Sher Shah only five years after erecting it, and dying within a year of recapturing it 15 years later. Hemu Dying with in one month of his Coronation. Akbar did not rule from here and Shahjahan built a new fort in Delhi known as Lal Qila ("Red Fort").
Sher Shah Suri erected the Qal’a-I-Kunha Masjid (mosque) in purana quila premises along with the Sher Mandal and many other renovations after defeating Humayun in 1539-1540, . After Sher Shah's death in 1545, the city and the fort were recaptured by Humayun, He converted Sher Mandal into an observatory and library. Qal’a-I-Kunha Masjid was the double-storeyed octagonal-towered mosque from where Emperor Humayun accidentally fell to his death.
One can visit the small archaeological museum at the gate of the Purana Quila to see several artifacts belonging to the Mughal period. The remnants of the fort provide great opportunities for photography.
the Purana Quila also Known as Dinpanah ('refuge of the faithful') has a small lake at the foothills of the fort.
The small lake in Purana Quila offers boating facilities.
A sound-and-light on the history of the "Seven Cities of Delhi", from Indraprastha through New Delhi, show is held every evening in Purana Quila for the entertainment the guests and tourists.Humayun Gate is the signature symbol of Purana Qila with the two ubiquitous pavilions on top. At the foot is an amphitheatre where the Light and Sound show about Seven Cities of Delhi is played out in the evenings.
When Edwin Lutyens designed the new capital of British India, New Delhi in 1920s, he aligned the central vista, now Rajpath, with Purana Qila.
During the Partition of India, in August 1947 the Purana Qila along with the neighbouring Humayun's Tomb, became the site for refuge camps for Muslims migrating to newly founded Pakistan. This included over 12,000 government employees who had opted for service in Pakistan, and between 150,000–200,000 Muslim refugees,who swarmed inside Purana Qila by September 1947, when Indian government took over the management of the two camps. The Purana Qila camp remained functional till early 1948, as the trains to Pakistan waited till October 1947 to start.
The single-domed Qila-i-Kuna Mosque, built by Sher Shah in 1541 is an excellent example of a pre-Mughal design, and an early example of the extensive use of the pointed arch in the region as seen in its five doorways with the 'true' horseshoe-shaped arches. It was designed as a Jami Mosque, or Friday mosque for the Sultan and his courtiers. The prayer hall inside, the single-aisled mosque, measures 51.20m by 14.90m and has five elegant arched prayer niches or mihrabs set in its western wall. Marble in shades of red, white and slate is used for the calligraphic inscriptions on the central iwan, marks a transition from Lodhi to Mughal architecture. At one time, the courtyard had a shallow tank, with a fountain.
A second storey, accessed through staircases from the prayer hall, with a narrow passage running along the rectangular hall, provided space for female courtiers to pray, while the arched doorway on the left wall, framed by ornate jharokas, was reserved for members of the royal family.
On a marble slab within the mosque an inscription reads: "As long as there are people on the earth, may this edifice be frequented and people be happy and cheerful in it".Today it is the best preserved building in Purana Qila.
The Sher Mandal named for Farid (sher shah) who had tried to finish what was ordered by Babur but had died during the initial phase and so construction was halted until the arrival of Humayun.
This double-storeyed octagonal tower of red sandstone with steep stairs leading up to the roof was intended to be higher than its existing height. Its original builder was Babur who ordered the construction and was used as a personal observatory and library for his son Humayun, finished only after he recaptured the fort. It is also one of the first observatories of Delhi, the first being in Pir Gharib at Hindu Rao at Ridge built in 14th century by Firoz shah Tughlaq.[clarification needed] The tower is topped by an octagonal chhatri supported by eight pillars and decorated with white marble in typical Mughal style.
Inside there are remnants of the decorative plaster-work and traces of stone-shelving where, presumably, the emperor's books were placed.
This was also the spot where, on 24 January 1556 Humayun fell from the second floor to his death. He slipped while hastening to the evening prayers, following his hobby of astronomical star gazing at the top of this private observatory. He fell headlong down the stairs and died of his injuries two days later. Entry inside the library is now prohibited.
Over 1000 people visit the Purana Qila everyday, of which about 80% are lovers who need private moments in Purana Quila, Which Quila offers in plenty. These lovers hid in the corners or strolled uneasily in the tiny museum. The Old Fort is one of the few public spaces in the city that provides rare privacy to hundreds of young couples. The Fort guards even take the trouble of finding extra-secluded corners for the more discreet, but for a price.
The going rate has gone up from the Rs 200 to Rs 500 but lovers in Purana Qila do not mind the rising rates to have their private moments.