Millennium Post

You’ve come a long way, Dilli

Capital city of the country, Delhi, has witnessed various ups and downs, politically and culturally. It is considered to be a city built, destroyed and rebuilt several times. Further, people talk of its seven habitations during different dynasties but the theory of ‘seven cities’ has since become obsolete.

Those who came to conquer and stay would be so impressed by the city’s strategic location as to make it their capital and rebuild it in their own way. There are number of instances of rulers coming from far away countries to settle down in this historical city. The only exception amongst them was the 14th century ruler Muhammad bin Tughluq, who shifted his capital 700 miles away  in the south city of Daulatabad, near Pune. He later had to repent his unfortunate decision.

The present metropolitan city of Delhi comprises of the earlier cities, their remains, Lutyens’ Delhi and various post independence cities.

Delhi, a mix of different cities, still continues to attract people due to its composite culture, exceptional infrastructure, its historical and tourist destinations and fast changing image and look. One may observe that the 15 different cities within Delhi with different kinds of contours and structures are part of the ancient, historical and thriving modern city called Delhi.

The 1st ancient royal city of Delhi has been referred as  Indraprastha as mentioned in our religious epic Mahabharat. Other cities such as Panipat, Sonipat, Tilpat, Maripat, Baghpat, the then five villages demanded by the Pandavas, and Kurukshetra are not far away from  Indraprastha, which is located on the banks of river Yamuna. It was impossible to trace some remains of  Indraprastha despite being developed lavishly by the Kauravas thousands of years ago.

All earlier cities of Delhi were developed around their respective forts constructed as per the likings and approved designs of their respective kings. The first such city of Lal Kot was in the south of the present city. This city was developed by a Tomar King Anangpal. Lal Kot is known as the first Red Fort in Delhi. It is understood that the fort of Lal Kot was constructed in 1050 AD. It was a fort with number of gates including Ghazni Gate, Sohan Gate and Ranjit Gate.

The 3rd city of Quila Rai Pithora came up near Lal Kot in south Delhi. The remains of Lal Kot and Quila Rai Pithora are visible near Mahrauli. With mighty entry by Chauhan Rajputs in Delhi Prithvi Raj Chauhan took control over Lal Kot to extend it to settle a city after his name in 12th century. The city had 13 gates. It is believed that the number 13 proved to be unlucky to the king as his kingdom fragmented.

The 4th city also came up in the south. A fort called Siri was constructed by Alauddin Khilji in 1303 AD to defend his kingdom from the Mongols. It is believed that the city was fully built and conceived by the Muslims. The remains of the city are still visible around Shahpur jat village.

The 5th city came up in the south though little far away from the earlier cities. The fort of Tughlakabad is near Badarpur and Tughlakabad shooting range. The fort was constructed during the regime of Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq around 1320.

The 6th city Jahanpanah was near Chirag village. A forest after the name of Jahanpanah has been developed in the locality. Tughlaq ruled this city from 1325 to 1351 AD.

The 7th city in the series came up in the present central Delhi. The city is  known to the present generation as the fort of Feroz Shah kotla. It continues to be in the news due to Ferozshah Kotla Cricket ground in the city. The fort was constructed during the rule of Feroz Shah Tughlaq, who ruled the city from 1351 to 1388.

The remains of the 8th and 9th city have been narrating the historical events around Kaka Nagar, Zoo at Mathura Road. The cities of Shergarh, Purana Quila and Dinpanah Of Humayun are standing face to face on Mathura Road. The 8th city of Shergarh came up during the rule of Sher Shah Suri, famous for the construction of the present GT Road and the 9th city was developed by Humayun.

The 10th city of Shahjahanabad is famous as it is being discussed to restore its lost glory. The 11th was developed by the Britishers and conceived by an architect Luteyn during 1911 to 1947. The 12th Delhi was developed to accommodate refugees  who migrated from Pakistan. Their temporary dwelling units have become palatial residence at some places.

The 13th Delhi was developed by the DDA. It developed large number of colonies and sub cities like Dwarka, Rohini and Narela.

The 14th city comprises of unauthorised colonies and slums.

The last and the 15th city of Co-op GH societies is looking at the sky and is aspiring to touch new heights. The city of Delhi has no land to spare for the 16th city. In case it appears it will be visible as the hanging city.

Satpal is a communication consultant
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