Purana Qila prepares an epic history walk for its visiting delegates that will take them back 2,500 years in time.
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This year’s G20 Summit, held in Delhi, will begin in September. The visiting delegates are in for a unique experience where they will get a taste of the ancientness of India. The delegates will be taken to Purana Qila, where they will travel back 2,500 years in time.
Purana Qila (Old Fort) is a historic fort located in Delhi, India. The fort is believed to have been built by the Pandavas during the Mahabharata era and later rebuilt by the Mughal emperor Humayun in the 16th century. The fort complex includes a palace, a mosque, and several other buildings. It is now a popular tourist attraction and a venue for cultural events.
One of the excavated trenches at this fort’s premises is being turned into a visitor’s spot by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). As per the ASI, those who walk into these premises can see marks and proofs of continuous habitation dating back 2,500 years.
Importance of the location
It has been an important site for trade and industrial purposes throughout all periods, including the Mauryan, Shunga, Kushana, Rajput, and even the Mughal eras. Eight meters below ground level are traces of the pre-Mauryan era, that is, the 4th to 6th centuries.
As one comes up, the soil layers have cultural deposits from various other kingdoms that existed before the Mughals came in. Mauryans, Shungas, Kushanas, and Rajputs are examples of such kingdoms. In the last excavation, the agency found terracotta beads, figurines, and coins belonging to these dynasties. This is Delhi’s only place where there are such cultural deposits; another site is in Gujarat.
Round of excavations
The first two rounds of excavations were conducted in 1954–1955 and 1969–1972 by BB Lal, the then-director of ASI. In these two rounds of excavation, he unearthed painted gray ware. BB Lal, at that time, was on a mission to excavate sites mentioned in the Mahabharata. He claimed to have discovered similar traces of painted grey ware in all of these locations, where he believed the incidents of Mahabharta took place.
The painted grey ware was discovered in the 12th–16th centuries BC. He claimed that Purana Qila is the Pandava Kingdom of Indraprastha. The latest excavations were conducted in 2013–2014 and 2017–2018.
Taking on the presidency of India at a time when the entire world is in chaos, with strong political polarization, numerous challenges, and the expectations of the world’s people is a very difficult and extraordinary task. However, India is confident despite the serious challenges.
This summit will focus on efforts to bring the world back together. The same reflects in the slogan of the G20 Summit 2023: ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future.” Purana Qila will play a role in this by showing India’s cultural diversity on the global stage.
Ready soon for visitors
The excavation site would be ready within three months, which is by this September so that the visiting delegates can be taken here as part of their visit. In preparation for this, the 40×15-meter trench area will be covered with a shed, and walkways and pathways will be created to ensure visitors get to see all the layers of history, starting from the pre-Mauryan period to the surface level, which denotes the Mughal period.
The present citadel at Purana Qila is believed to have been built under Sher Shah Suri before his death in 1545.