Seven Cities of Delhi

Qila Rai Pithora

Qila Rai Pithora also known as Rai Pithora’s Fort was a fort city built in 12th-century by Chauhan king, Prithviraj Chauhan. Chauhan Rajputs had taken over the city of Delhi, from Tomar Rajputs. In 1160 AD, the Chauhan rulers took over Delhi from Tomars, along with it the fort city of Lal Kot, the first extant city of Delhi. Thereafter Prithviraj Chauhan whose capital was Ajmer in Rajasthan, enlarged the Lal Kot, which had large rubble walls and ramparts, and renamed it Qila (Fort) of Rai Pithora or Qila Rai Pithora. The combined fort extended to six and a half km, and city existed with the fort, while older Lal Kot served as the citadel. However, the Chauhan’s didn’t rule long over the city, in 1190s the Afghans started attacking. Though Chauhans defeated Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191, a year later in 1192, his general Qutubuddin Aibak defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain, ending their dynasty. This in turn established Muslim rule in India, with his Mamluk dynasty also known as Slave dynasty, the first Sultanate of Delhi. However, Aibak didn’t extend or change the fort structure, it remained same through his early successors as well.


Mehrauli is one of the seven ancient cities that make up the present state of Delhi. The Lal Kot fort was constructed by the Gurjar Tanwar chief Anangpal I around 731 AD and expanded by AnangPal II in the 11th century, who shifted his capital to Lal Kot from Kannauj. The Gurjjar Tanwars were defeated by the Chauhans in the 12th century. Prithviraj Chauhan further expanded the fort and called it Qila Rai Pithora. He was defeated and killed in 1192 by Mohammed Ghori, who put his general Qutb-ud-din Aybak in charge and returned to Afghanistan. Subsequently in 1206, after the death of Mohammed Ghori, Qutubuddin enthroned himself as the first Sultan of Delhi. Thus Delhi became the capital of the Mamluk dynasty of Delhi(Slave dynasty), the first dynasty of Muslim sultans to rule over northern India.  Mehrauli remained the capital of the Mamluk dynasty which ruled until 1290. During the Khilji dynasty, the capital shifted to Siri.

Balban’s tomb, Mehrauli

In 12th-century Jain scriptures, the location is also mentioned as Yogninipura, now noticeable by the presence of the “Yogmaya Temple“, near the Qutub Minar complex, believed to have been built by the Pandavas.


siri was built by ala ud din khilji in 1303. the site of the city is partially ocupied by the vllage of shahpur but hardly any of the wall remained by sher shah to build the walls of the city. the walls were 17 feet in thickness but only mounds of Earth remained to mark their positions. inside yhe city there were palace of 1000 pillars, but this is also gone, the only thing which remained is the hauz khas of ala ud din.


Tughlabad was founded by tughlaq Shah about 1321 and was constructed very rapidly. The city may be approached from three sides. [There is a road from Qutb Minar, there is one from railway station of tughlakabad and there is a rough track ]  the citadel is approached by a small postern gate it has very fine arched roof and well cut stone , there is no sing of hinge to any door. there is reservoirs and undersround passage.

The Tumb Of Tughlakabad

this lies about midway in south westurn side of the city and opposite the citadel it is built in a fortified way which was once sorrounded by water, held up a dam held accros the valley near muhammadabad fort. the interior of the fortified enclosure is raised and probably built above an outcrop rock. the shape of the fort is irregular and defence mechanism was provided at the the acrade to the left lies a grave which is reputed with bones of thuglaq Shah’s favourite dog.

the King’s tomb is massive and plain


One of the Tughlak rulers,Firoze Tughlak created the fourth city of Delhi , Firozabad or Kotla Firoze Shah next to the river Yamuna. This was a large enclosure of high walls , containing palaces , pillared halls , mosques, a pigeon tower and a water tank. On the top of his palace, Firoze planted an Ashokan pillar from 1500 years ago. He also built several hunting lodges in and around Delhi, as well as mosques, some of which still remain. Apart from raising new buildings, Firoze Shah also repaired old ones,such as Sultan Ghori’s tomb,Qutub Minar,Suraj Kund and Hauz Khas. ( Firoze Shah’s tomb, a lofty structure, lies in Hauz – Khas. ) After Firoze Shah’s death, the sultanate became politically unstable and in 1398, the Turk ruler of Samarkand Taimur invaded India – creating havoc in the cities of Delhi, looting, killing and plundering. He captured Firozabad, prayed at the mosque and went back to Samar – kand with the goodies.Today, Kotla Firoze Shah is famous for its sports stadium – a common venue for cricket matches. The Sayyid and Lodhi dynasties that followed the Tughlak dynasty were far more concerned with restoring stability than patronisation of arts or architecture. Tombs erected in the honour of the rulers are the only monuments of these times (most famous: the tombs at the Lodhi Garden).Architectural glory returned with the Mughals.

Dinpanah (shergarh)

The second Mughal Emperor Humayun in the year 1533 A.D. founded the city of Dinpanah (Refuge of the Pious). This he did after holding consultations with various learned men and various scholars.  The city was also located in very close proximity to the shrine of Delhi`s most revered saint, Nizam ud Din Auliya.

  Its high walls of rubble masonry with a slight batter, 4 m. thick and as much as 21 m. high in places, have a battlemented parapet above the row of arrow-slits, behind which all along the circumference are built a series of chambers in a two-aisle depth. There are massive bastions on the four corners, in addition to five bastions in the western wall, and three gates, all double-storeyed, one on each side except on the east. The gates have a veneer of red and buff sandstones, with an ornamental use of white and black marble and coloured tiles.
                              The three main gates of the fort were Bara Darwaza, (Big Gate) facing west, which is still in use today, The South Gate, popularly known as the Humayun Gate (either because it was constructed by Humayun, or because Humayun’s Tomb is visible from there) and the Talaqi Gate, often known as the “forbidden gate”.
                              Despite the immense exterior, few of interior structures have survived except the Qila i Kuhna Mosque and the Sher Mandal, both of which were said to be constructed Sher Shah Suri.

Humayun’s son Akbar is known as one of the greatest Mughal emperors . However, he concentrated his construction feats in Agra and the later abandoned city Fatehpur Sikri. It was his grandson Shahjehan, the man who gave the Taj Mahal to the world, who created the city of Shahjehanabad, the seventh city of Delhi – in the area that is now known as Old Delhi. The Jama Masjid and the Red Fort are two excellent examples of the architectural splendour of the 17th c.

The architecture of the city of Shahjahanabad is something which cannot be described in a paragraph or two. It was a detailed city (rectangular in shape) (built on the banks of River Yamuna, which has now changed course) with many architectural and visual marvels. The main palace (or citadel) in which the emperor Shah Jahan and the succesive rulers of the Mughal Dynasty lived until 1857 A.D. was known as the Lal Qila (Red Fort). It was called so because of its Red Sandstone walls (Initially the walls were being made of mud until Shah Jahan ordered them to be decorated with red sandstone). The fort covers approximately 125 acres of land.The city of Shahjahanabad as such had eight gates which were locked during night time (in the 17th, 18th and the 19th century). The city had many bazaars, some of which exist even now, for example Khari Baoli (which is today Asia’s largest wholesale spice market). The area of Chandni Chowk (Moonlit Square) (which was also the main street of Shahjahanabad) had many bazaars as well. Some shops in this area are several centuries old ! Other important monuments in Shahjahanabad are Ghalib ki Haveli (the house of famous poet Mirza Ghalib), Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) (an imposing mosque made of Red Sandstone), St James Church (First Church of Delhi), Sunehri Masjid, Gurdwara Sis Ganj e.t.c.