February 26, 2016

Jahanpanah - The Fourth City of Delhi

Site Name: Jahanpanah
Site Type: Historical
Location:  Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: The fourth city of Delhi

Nearest Railway Station: Delhi
Nearest Airport: Delhi
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air

Hotel: A lot of options are available within Delhi city
Restaurants: Many options and varieties across the city

I am just wondering if there is any other city/town in India which enjoys the continuity of status for such a long period like Delhi. Excluding the Mahabharat period and the other pre-historic periods, if we go purely on the basis of historical records, we can call Delhi as 'The City of Seven Cities'. Jahanpanah is the fourth city. ILet me talk about this site in this article.

History

Anangpal Tomar is believed to be the founder of Delhi. Nothing much is known about his period or other details. He belonged to the Tomar Rajputs dynasty. They were probably feudatories of Gurjara-Pratihara rulers. Tomars established themselves in the Aravalli hills south of Delhi. The period must be sometime in the 10th century CE (It cannot be 8th century as claimed by Wikipedia or other websites).

Anangpal Tomar is said to have built Lal Kot, the first known defence work in Delhi. Lal Kot is the core of the first city of Delhi. 

King Vigraharaja IV, who was also called as Visaladeva or Bisaldeo, of the Chauhan dynasty (a.k.a. Chahamana dynasty) of Sakambhari (modern day Sambhar region) captured Delhi from Tomars in the second half of 12th century CE. 

Vigraharaja's grandson was Prithviraj Chauhan III, who was also called as Rai Pithora, the popular historical figure and who is the hero of the stories of Hindu resistance against the Muslim invaders. He extended the Lal Kot by constructing another fort and named it as Qila Rai Pithora. 

Muhammad bin Sam of Ghur invaded Qila Rai Pithora twice. In his second attempt, he defeated Prithviraj and captured Qila. His slave Qutbud-Din Aibak was made as the Viceroy of Delhi. He enthroned himself as the Sultan of Delhi in 1206 CE and thus started the rule of slave dynasty in Delhi. 

The Slave Dynasty ruled Delhi till 1290 CE. Firuz Shah of the Khalji tribe captured the throne in 1290 CE and thus started the Khalji Dynasty's rule in Delhi. Alaud-Din of Khalji Dynasty laid the foundation of Siri, which was the second city of Delhi. 

In 1321 CE, the Tughlaq Dynasty started their rule in Delhi. Among the eleven rulers of Tughlaq Dynasty which ruled Delhi till 1414 CE, only the first three were interested in architecture. Interestingly, each one of them added a new city in Delhi. 

Ghiyathud-Din Tughlaq built Tughlaqabad, the third city of Delhi. His successor Muhammad bin Tughlaq built Jahanpanah, the fourth city of Delhi. 


Monument

Jahanpanah was originally constructed as a walled enclosure between Qila Rai Pithora and Siri with the objective of providing protection to the people living there. It was constructed by the Tughlaq Emperor Muhammad bin Tughlaq in 1326-27 CE.  The walled city is in ruins today. Its ramparts can be seen in Delhi-Mehrauli road, near IIT, to the north of Chiragh Delhi and few other places. Malviya Nagar park is a better site to get glimpse on its ramparts. 

Happy travelling.

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