February 22, 2016

Lal Kot - First City of Delhi

Site Name: Lal Kot
Site Type: Historical
Location:  Mehrauli, Delhi, India
Highlights: The core of the first 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'. Lal Kot is the first such city, about which we will discuss 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. He is believed to have brought the iron pillar from an unknown Vishnu temple to Delhi, which lies in Qutb Minar today.

There is also a theory that Tomars settled in Suraj Kund area first and then they shifted to the current Mehrauli area where the Lal Kot was built.


Monument

Lal Kot, which might have stood with much glory once, is in ruins today. 

The original citadel was oblong in plan and a moat ran outside the citadel walls. Several temples and other buildings were there inside the fort. Now, Qutb Minar stands in the site where the temples were originally there within the Lal Kot fortress.

Near Mehrauli bus stand, there is a monument called Adam Khan tomb. Behind this tomb, the ruins of the Lal Kot fort ramparts are partly visible. 

It is not maintained and hardly any locals seem to have idea about this fortress, which is supposed to be the first so-called Delhi.

It's totally in bad shape. If you are a historic enthusiast who do not mind to jump walls and stamp garbage, you might get a glimpse of this site. Else, you better avoid this monument.

Happy travelling.

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