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Lal Kot and Siri

 

The tour guide from our walk is shown over the next few pages, alternatively you can down load a full tour booklet (pdf 6MB)

 

September 13th 2006

 

Fiona, Lindy, Jo, Emma & Jill

 

 

“History is a set of lies people have agreed upon”

Napoleon Bonaparte


Lal Kot, Qila Rai Pithora and Siri

 

Lal Kot, meaning Red Fortress was the first city to be constructed in the Delhi area since ancient times.  It was founded by the Tomar Rajput leader Raja Anag Pal in 1060.   Evidence suggests that the Tomar ruled the area from 700AD based mainly in the Suraj Kund area.  There were several Rajput clans and Prithviraj Chauhan of the Chauhan Rajputs seized power in the 12th Century.  Prithviraj extended the city and renamed the area Qila Rai Pithora.

Over the previous couple of centuries Afghans had led raiding partied into India for plunder, but this changed in the late 12th Century with the arrival of Muhammad Ghuri who wished to extend his kingdom here.  In 1185 he took Lahore and begun his campaigns against the Rajputs.

The Rajputs defeated Ghuri in 1191 in the Battle of Terain, but their code of honour led to Ghuri’s release. The next year Ghuri regrouped and secured victory in the second battle of Tarain.  Ghuri did not have the same battle code and kept Prithviraj his prisoner.

This enabled Ghuri to take control of Lal Kot and Qila Prai Pithoria.  His empire extended from Delhi through Pakistan , Afghanistan and Turekestan.

Ghuri left one of his Generals and also his slave, the Turk Qutb-ud-din Aibak as Viceroy of Delhi.  Qutb-ud-din Aibak started work on the Qutb Minar and the Quawwat ul Islam Mosque within the city of Lal Kot .  More than likely this was on top of previous Hindu settlements and certainly part of old temples were utilised in the building.

In 1206 Muhammad was assassinated and Aibak declared himself Sultan of Delhi, establishing the Slave Dynasty that was to rule the city for over eighty years.  One of his son-in-laws Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, who became Sultan in 1211, continued Aibak’s work at the Qutb complex, finishing the tower and extending the mosque.

The next Dynasty was established by the Khalji family.  They were an Afghan family and gained power in part due to dissatisfaction in the way the previously Turk dynasty had ruled.

The most powerful ruler of the Khaliji Dynasty was Ala-ud-din Khaji, who assassinated his Uncle to assume power.  Initially this alienated him from the citizens of Delhi but it is said that he won back their favour by scattering gold and silver coins as he entered the city.

During his time as Sultan he also extended the Quwwat ul Islam Mosque, started the Alai Minar, a tower that was to be double in height of the Qutb Minar, and built the Alai Darwaza.  He also constructed the fort of Siri, which had previously been a military camp.

He was once to rely on the strength of this fort as he was besieged for over two months by Mongol armies.  He was though eventually to defeat the Mongols and brought the army Generals back to the fort and had them executed by trampling them with elephants.

His other lasting construction for the city of Delhi was the water tank near Siri Fort known as Hauz Khas.

 

 

 

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