The Ultimate Old Fort Delhi Walk
This 1.5 Kms walk is best done in the morning when the weather is cool. The walk takes you through the Old Fort or Purana Quila area of Delhi. We will cover sights from the 1500s and sample the best biryani in Delhi too.
The Old Fort of Delhi
Purana Quila or the old fort is one of the oldest forts in Delhi. Humayun a famous mughal king of Delhi and Afghan Sher Shah Suri built monuments in this area in the 1500s. The archeological survey of India (ASI) has uncovered artefacts from 2500 years ago in this area making this the oldest inhabited place in the Delhi region.
This fort was constructed by Humayun’s for his city of Dinpanah in the 1500s. It is a big fort with a 2km perimeter. Humayun was defeated by Sher Shah Suri but Suri carried on building the fort. He also renamed Dinpanah to Shergarh based on his name. He only ruled for 7 years but laid the foundations of Akbar, the next king.
Walking Map of Old Fort Area Delhi
Follow the map and start at the point A – Old Fort. Head next to the mosque on the other side of the road
This 1561 structure is a working mosque but not popular. It was build by Akbar’s wet nurse. She was a strong woman in the time of men and held a lot of influence. It is said that there was an assassination attempt at Akbar in this area.
The mosque is really quiet to visit and seems like a peaceful oasis in this busy city. The entrance to the mosque is designed so that you have to bow down to enter it. Wear appropriate clothing if you visit the mosque. Move ahead to the Sher Shah Suri gate which is adjacent to the mosque.
Sher Shah Suri Gate
This decorative gate was meant to be the entrance to Shergarh, Sher Shah Suri’s capital in Delhi. The gate is being restored to its former glory and will take years before its ready. You can only look at it from the outside.
1540-45 saw a lot of construction during his rule. This includes the GT karnal road and highways from Bangladesh to Kabul with many sarai(hotels). Some say Sher Shah Suri also introduced the ruppiah. He extended his capital to Feroze shah Kotla and renamed it Shergarh or the home of the lion.
The Shrine of Abdul Qadir Bedil
Next we take the long walk to Bagh-e-Bedil. The shrine of Mirza Abdul qadir bedil dehlavi. He came to Delhi to learn Sabak-e-Hindi, Hindi writing of Persian. He used to write elegant Persian poetry.
Aurangzeb had ordered people to grow their beards as a proof of loyalty. Bedil said then that the age of goats has arrived. This poet is not very famous in India but his poems are used in day today conversations in Tajikistan! This is why the tomb has been restored and has a plaque in Tazak but some say it’s actually more Russian than Tazak. The prime minister of Tajikistan made a special visit here when came to Delhi.
People say that this tomb might actually not be his. Some say his house was outside Delhi gate in Shahjahanabad and that his might be a grave of an unknown person. In 1930, Khwaja Hasan from the nizamuddin family identified this as his tomb. People also consider him to be a Sufi poet.
Ghalib said that to write like him is “qayamat” or out of this world. And Ghalib was very arrogant and very good.
Sheikh nooruddin Malik yaar para is also buried here. He came in the 13th century in the reign of iltutmish. He fought with another Sufi Abu Bakr tusi. He told Abu Bakr that he has a letter from his Peer (Guru) to stay here. When asked for proof, he vanished and appeared back with it astonishing Abu Bakr.
Abu Bakr tusi’s shrine or Matka pir (earthen pot shrine)
Spot E on the map is the Shrine of Matka Pir.
Abu Bakr tusi’s was supposed to have magical healing powers. People still come here today to pay homage to him and make wishes. In fact, the first female ruler to Delhi, Razia Sultan also came here to pay respects in the early 14th century.
People offer earthen pots to the shrine and you see plenty of them everywhere. Today this place claims to sell the best biryani in Delhi by the kilo. We’ve never tried it.