Looking at the ruins of this once great fort, it is hard to believe that this is the only city of Delhi that was never conquered by the many rulers who reigned over Delhi. Built by Ala-ud-Khilji in 1303 this fort belongs to the Delhi Sultanate period that lasted from 1191- 1526 A.D. He rose to power with the demise of the Slave dynasty in Delhi and decided to build this new fort towards the north of the place which formed the seat of power of the previous rulers.
One of the main motivations that drove the construction of this majestic fort was Khilji’s desire to ensure protection of his subjects from the invasions of Mongols. In fact legend has it that it was after defeating the Mongols Khilji decided to lay the foundations of this city upon the decapitated heads of 8000 Mongolians. Thus the name ‘Siri’ which is derived from the Hindi word ‘Sir’ meaning head. While this bit sure sounds a bit gory, there are other aspects of this city which were definitely aesthetically more appealing.
The architecture of this fort was designed by the artists of Saljuqs. Built on an oval plan, the city once had seven gates, of which only the south eastern gate is now in functional. The thick of the walls which remain standing even today are a good indicator of the fact that around 70,000 workers were involved in the construction of this city. This could also be one of the main reasons why this city was never vanquished by any conqueror. What then reduced this city to its current ruinous condition? Hold your breath for this one – it was not any war but rather the actions of other rulers of Delhi like Sher Shah Suri who looted this fort and used it as a source of construction materials for the new cities that they went on to construct! Unfortunately there is thus very little of this fort to see today. The upside of such plundering by the other rulers of Delhi is that one can actually see the stones of Siri Fort in Sher Garh and Purana Qila!
Psst. If besides being a heritage enthusiast, you also happen to have a flair for sports, then do pay visit to the Siri fort sports complex located right next to this fort.
Where: Siri Fort Road
Nearest Metro Station: Hauz Khas