100 Years of New Delhi


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 15 , 2011           01.15 A.M.

On December 12 , 2011 New Delhi completed 100 years of its existence . During British period Calcutta [ now Kolkata ] was the capital of India . During Dilli Darbar of King George 5th ,  foundation stone for the new capital of Indian Empire was laid and thus New Delhi came into existence . It took three and a half months for the British government to decide on shifting the capital . Total cost of shifting was 4 million sterling pound .

1ST AVATAR – HASTINAPUR : It is needless to say that Dilli , now known as Delhi , is much older city . It is one of the oldest existing cities in the world along with Varanasi and Jerusalem . Seat of power since Mahabharat days , Dilli was then known to the world as Hastinapur . Kingdom of mythical Maharaj Shantanu and his descendants ; Kauravas and Pandavas ruled from here and this era ended with Parikshit and Janamejaya . It happened 5,000 years ago . It is said and believed that Purana Qila or Old Fort was built on the same place , where the mythical kingdom of Pandavas once existed . This is the first avatar of Dilli .

Purana Qila ramparts, Delhi.

Purana Qila

Though modern history starts with the Sultanate Period [ 12th century ] but existence of Iron Pillar near Qutub Minar indicates that Gupta Kings must have some kind of authority over Dilli as the Iron Pillar , which is situated in the Qutub Minar compound , was built by king Kumar Gupta 1 of Gupta dynasty .

English: The iron pillar in the Qutb complex n...

Iron Pillar near Qutub Minar

2ND AVATAR – QILA  RAI PITHORA : 2nd avatar of Dilli began to take shape with the Tomar kings . They stablished their capital here . Anangpal was the first Tomar king . Prithvi Raj Chauhan defeated Tomars and stablished Chauhan dynasty . Legendary Prithvi Raj Chauhan was , incidentally , the last Hindu ruler of Dilli . Ruins of his fort Lal Kot , now known as Qila Rai Pithora , is still there . Prithvi Raj Chauhan was defeated by Muhammad Gori and was taken to Ghazni as prisoner , where he died . With his death Chauhan era ended . With the end of this era 2nd avatar of Dilli also lost importance .

3RD AVATAR – MEHRAULI : After Prithvi Raj Chauhan’s defeat and his subsequent banishment , Qutubuddin Aibak became the ruler of Dilli and made Mehrauli his kingdom . Qutub Minar is testimony of his rule . Thus Mehrauli became the 3rd avatar of Dilli .

Qutab Minar in Delhi, India

Qutub Minar

4TH AVATAR – SIRI : 4th avatar of Dilli was built by Alauddin Khilji . Alauddin Khilji made his new capital at Siri . His tomb is situated nearby in Qutub Minar complex .

Siri Fort

Siri Fort

Tomb of Alauddin Khilji, Qutub Minar complex, ...

Tomb of Alauddin Khilji

5TH AVATAR – TUGHLAQABAD : 5th avatar of Dilli was built during the Tughlaq period . It was built by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and its name was Tughlaqabad .

6TH AVATAR – JAHAPANAH : 6th city was built by Mohammad Bin Tughlaq , named Jahapanah . It was situated between Siri and Qila Rai Pithora .

7TH AVATAR – FEROZABAD : 7th avatar was Ferozabad , also called Feroz Shah Kotla . Firozabad was built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq .

English: Remains of buildings at Firoze Shah K...

Feroz Shah Kotla

8TH AVATAR – SHERGARH : 8th avatar was built by Sher Shah Suri . It’s name was  Shergarh . It was situated near the mythical Indraprastha of Pandavas .

Lal Darwaza or Sher Shah Suri Gate, near Puran...

Sher Shah Suri Gate near Purana Qila

Lal Darwaza (Red Gate)or Sher Shah Gate, with ...

Sher Shah Suri Gate near Purana Qila

9TH AVATAR – LODHI GARDEN : 9th avatar was built during the reign of Lodhi rulers . It is known as  Lodhi garden .

10TH AVATAR – SHAHJAHANABAD : 10th avatar of Dilli is Shahjahanabad . It was built as the kingdom of Shahjahan . It was a walled city with 6 gates . Lal Qila and Chandni Chowk are part of this city built by Shahjahan. Lal Qila or Red Fort is engrained in the memory of every Indian as the symbol of Dilli . Indian Tricolour was unfurled from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 14 , 1947 . It is a custom , which is still followed on the Independence Day .

Bird's eye View of Old Delhi.

Purani Dilli.

11TH AVATAR – NEW DELHI : Then comes New Delhi or Nai Dilli , the 11th avatar , which is also known as Lutyen’s Delhi . It is believed to be the 11th city of Dilli within Dilli . Leading British architects Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker were appointed as the main architects of the new city . The new capital was named  New Delhi in 1927 and was inaugurated on February 13 , 1927 by Lord Irwin .

On December 12 , 2011 New Delhi celebrated 100 years of its existence . Magnificent Rashtrapati Bhawan , and the administrative headquarters , known as North Block and South Block amply testify the tale of New Delhi . A city of intrigues , political conspiracies and game Delhi or Dilli stands supreme and was resurrected every time after its destruction .

Along with Jerusalem , Dilli also tells age-old tales of survival and is now a modern metropolis . I conclude this blog with a Hindi poem , which I read years ago and in my opinion these lines tell the tale of Dilli , which is now known as New Delhi .

अपनी करनी के फल तुझ को ,
कुछ तो करते होंगे उदास ;
आखिर तू भी है दिल वाली ,
कुछ तो डरती होगी दिल्ली ||

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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