Purana Qila Excavations Reveal Pre-Mauryan Era Settlement

Purana Qila Excavations Reveal Pre-Mauryan Era Settlement

Recently, new excavations at the Purana Qila site in Delhi have yielded evidence of the pre-Mauryan period. The ongoing excavations at the Purana Qila aim at establishing a complete historical chronology of the site.

Major antiquities from excavation:

  • A stone idol of Lord Vaikuntha Vishnu, a terracotta plaque of Gaja Lakshmi, a stone idol of Lord Ganesha, terracotta figurines of humans and animals, beads of different stones, needles made of bone, etc.
  • Earlier excavations had found evidence of human habitation and continuity of their activities for 2500 years.
  • Excavations so far have revealed nine cultural levels from Purana Quila. These levels represent different historical periods.
  • These include Pre-Maurya, Mauryan, Sunga, Kushan, Gupta, Post-Gupta, Rajput, Sultanate and Mughal periods.
  • The Purana Qila was built in the 16th century by the Mughal emperor Humayun as part of his new city of Dinpanah.
  • Apart from archaeology, literary sources like Ain-i-Akbari of Abul Fazl (16th century) also mention the fact that this fort was built at a place called Indraprastha.

Architectural Features of the Old Fort Complex:

  • Qila-i-Kuhna Mosque: It was built by Sher Shah. It represents a transitional stage between the architecture of the Lodhis and that of the Mughals.
  • Sher Mandal: It was built by Sher Shah. It is an octagonal structure made of red sandstone. It is decorated with a mosaic of white and black marble. Humayun made it a library. He died after falling from the stairs of the same building.
  • Other Structures: A baoli and a hammam (bath) are also present to manage the water supply. Lal Darwaza and Khairul Manzil are also considered to be part of this complex. It has three majestic gates: Bada Darwaza, Humayun Darwaza and Talaki Darwaza. There is also a wide moat connected to the river Yamuna.

Source – Down to Earth

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